Table of contents:
- What is an unhealthy relationship?
- Code of Conduct in Unhealthy Relationships
- Trying to Heal Unhealthy Relationships
An unhealthy relationship … how much pain and how much hope in these words.
When we enter into a relationship with someone, what do we expect? We expect decency, reliability, trust, fairness, commitment, love. In other words, we expect that the person with whom we have entered into a relationship will meet our expectations.
Are we waiting for something unreal? Of course not. We expect something that is as simple as air necessary for any human being, since this being is social and cannot live without relationships. And what, sometimes we get the result? We get unhealthy relationships. What is it, why do they occur and what mistakes do we make? Moreover, it happens that we regularly enter into unhealthy relationships and this definitely requires our attention.
What is an unhealthy relationship?
So, first of all, let's talk about who we get in a relationship with. Imagine the calm surface of the lake. A drop of water falls from somewhere from a branch onto the lake. This drop is us. From the drop that disturbed the calm, circles begin to diverge, gradually expanding in different directions. Circles on the water are our surroundings. It is not for nothing that we say, referring to the people in our life, a close circle, a distant circle. The circles go to infinity. The energy of the drop diverges further and further from the center of the fall. Our energy, which is essentially the emotional charge of relationships, weakens the further this circle is to us.
If a stranger said something unpleasant, how quickly did we forget about it? Maybe at this moment his point of view hurt us, but we do not know him and, in fact, his opinion does not affect anything. We reacted as best we can and moved on or drove off if driving.
It follows that when we talk about unhealthy relationships, we mean people who matter to us. The circle is lent. Who are these people? And here it would be possible to classify them as relatives, close friends, husbands, wives, partners, and this is true, but in part. The truth is that the more we expect from the relationship, the more hopes and fantasies we have, the more emotional energy we put in, then, alas, the more chances for disappointment. There is a wonderful phrase about desires and reality - "if reality does not coincide with expectations, then you should think about your expectations."
In this regard, as usual, there are two pieces of news - one good and the other even better.
The first piece of news is that we ourselves are the cause of any unhealthy relationship. If we know the reason, then we can do something with it. One can object, well, how is it so! I'm doing everything right, why am I my own enemy? And he or she … (omitting the epithets) does not understand me, does not appreciate, behaves incomprehensibly how, and so on, you can continue, each has its own story. This is the reason.
Relationships are two people, two unique personalities, with their own scale correctly wrong, with their own hopes, with their own model of behavior, reaction to events.
A trivial example:for one person a broken cup is a tragedy, for another it is a reason to buy a new one. The reality is the same, the attitude to the event is so different.
The second piece of news, which is even better, is that by changing our own patterns of behavior, we can change attitudes. The illusion is that we either hope that the person who is significant to us will understand and behave differently, or we ask or demand that he change. An ineffective strategy in an unhealthy relationship, because in order for our partner to change, our desire is not enough, he must want it.
Here comes the fun part. And how to make him want it too? It should be as valuable to him as it is to me. Here we come to the most important stage, which will allow you to improve your relationship. It is necessary to determine the values of each. Sincerely ask a person who is dear to you, but how would he like? Why is this important to him? How does he think this can be achieved? Express what is valuable to you and how you see it can be done. Because, despite the difference between friend and friend, entering into a relationship we want the same thing. We have different understanding of how to achieve this.
By the way, this will be the first positive change in your behavior, if until now you have either driven your aggression inside and endured, feel like a victim, or showed aggression outside, which caused resistance, on the other hand. Both are bad. Prolonged suppression of our reaction, the policy of regular “stepping on our own throat”, leads to psychosomatic problems, our body tries to process the conflict. The effect of a boiling pot with a tightly closed lid can burst at some point. On the contrary, excessive active confrontation shakes and destroys relations even more.
Code of Conduct in Unhealthy Relationships
If you feel unhappy, feeling a wound inside, then the most important thing is to determine the degree of unhealthy relationship.
If your partner behaves aggressively, up to violence, humiliates you, completely devalues you, constantly behaves from the role of "I am super, and YOU are insignificant", then you should think about getting out of the relationship with the aim of your own safety. Sometimes, even with a complete nightmare of what is happening, it is not easy, because we can talk about addiction or codependency, as an escape from reality.
It is better to end a toxic relationship, mental energy will be required to restore and build new healthy and happy relationships. Life goes on and there is no point in wasting it on what destroys.
Trying to Heal Unhealthy Relationships
In all other cases, it makes sense to try to heal unhealthy relationships. There are several stages here.
- Stage # 1 - Honestly admit to yourself. Realize that something is wrong and accept it as reality.
- Stage 2 - Observation. Try to observe yourself and try to answer the following questions: to what or to whom am I reacting? How does it make me emotionally? How do I act in a given situation? what is the response? How do I look from the outside and who do I look like to myself? What is my need (for care, punctuality, cleanliness, trust, etc.) being violated?
- Stage # 3 - Desire. Answers the question, how do I want our relationship to look? It is useful to dream here. Introduce yourself first. How do I want to react? What do I want to feel? How will I look? Who do I want to be like in a relationship? Are there any ready-made role models? The more details you describe to yourself your picture of happiness, in all details, the more successful the final result will be.
- Stage 4 - Abilities. Analyze what wonderful qualities you have and what other qualities you would like to develop, for example - I am purposeful, I love order, reliable, but I want to be more punctual, thrifty, etc. Choose the two brightest abilities from each block. Do the same exercise for your partner. From your point of view, which abilities he has the most valuable, and which could be improved.
- Stage 5 - Negotiations. Yes, it is negotiations, because this is the key to healthy relationships, as in business - this is a win-win situation when two parties win at the same time. If you have not had such a practice before, you should take care of some of the rituals of the process. 1) About time and place. Nobody and nothing should bother you. For the first conversation, 15 minutes will be enough. 2) You need to speak calmly and kindly, you are the initiator of changes and want to do better. 3) you need to start with what you value in your partner. Then talk about how you would like your relationship to develop, your dream picture. Then ask how the partner would like. Agree on your positions and agree on the rules by which you will move on.
This is the ideal situation. Something may go wrong, for example, the partner was not ready for such a scenario and brushed you off or reacted not in the way you expected. Don't be discouraged, this is normal, just unusual for the other person. He was not aware that you had already done a lot of inner work and were ready for changes for the better. Give it time and try again. There shouldn't be any violence. Talking politely and sincerely is a skill that will develop over time.
Unhealthy relationships are really a problem. Being in them, it is difficult for us to behave consciously and to control our emotions. It is more habitual to move in the same rut of interaction, this is the way we are made. But, in order to achieve a different quality of relations, the track will have to be changed and this is a serious joint work. As the great Albert Einstein said - "It's crazy to do the same thing and expect a different result every time."
Who will help us to understand the situation and choose the right path? Alas, not our friends, to whom we will run first. Friends are our support, they are on our side and therefore are not entirely objective. Our loving relatives are even more biased, they will protect and advise. And any relationship is a scenario of two personalities and two points of view.
Therefore, if you cannot cope on your own: it’s scary, there is no strength, you don’t know how, then the most sensible solution would be to contact a specialist who has effective methods and experience behind him.
"Every day sends us - together with the sun - the opportunity to change everything that makes us unhappy"