Is healing possible in your relationship? What would your healthy relationship look and sound like? Would you show each other the little things that meant so much when you were first together....love notes, flowers, back or foot rubs, smiling when you see each other, having things to talk about, calling just to say, "Hi". Many couples say after a time together that they no longer have fun or laugh with each other, or the person in the relationship is disappointingly different as time and issues have surfaced. "I never knew you had a temper!" "You never listen to me!" "When I am affectionate, you push my hand away." "You are always right and I am always wrong!" "You don't even seem to like me anymore!" "I am not like this with anyone but you...you make me madder than anyone ever has...I used to be a calm person." There are ways to recapture the positive energy and loving feelings. Sometimes unhealthy patterns become endless negative circles. There is a way out.
First, decide if you want to stay in the relationship. You may feel unsure and confused, with part of you hopeless, and another part of you remembering how good it can be. Also, there may be cycles of good times, bad times and when it is good, you want to stay, but you tire of the roller coaster up and downs. Can you create a positive change if the other feels therapy is useless and you come by yourself? Yes. When one party can see a new perspective, learn about destructive patterns of fighting or withdrawing that are common and correctable and not always about the personality or character of either person....CHANGE IS POSSIBLE.
Often, relationships suffer from stressful illnesses, complexities with children or relatives, different expectations of how to have a healthy relationship, or losses. When going through stressful periods, without awareness depression or anxiety in one person has a strong negative impact on the relationship. Since most people are often usually strong and able to solve their own problems, a person may only be aware of "not feeling like my usual self'" or realizing a feeling of being out of control and not knowing how to regain balance. Being able to recognize distancing or increasing irritability, loss of desire or other troubles and getting outside help can prevent blaming the person you are with (which frequently feels like the reason for the difficulties...the other person). Either alone or together with a therapist, you can "put the problem" outside of you or the relationship, look at it in a problem solving way, learn a few new skills (did you ever really have lessons on how to have a healthy relationship?) and transform many troubled relationships into loving, warm, supportive friendships or partnerships. CLUES FOR TRANSFORMING NEGATIVE PATTERNS INTO HEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS STYLES ARE LEARNABLE WITHOUT A PERSONALITY REPLACEMENT OPERATION. Being able to be who you are as an individual, feel appreciated and respected and attractive helps to heal relationships. Learning how to manage conflicts and fights and how to build on positive strengths of each and of the relationship will help. Most of all, the laughter needs to resurface and can by learning how to heal old wounds, develop forgiveness and mutual support, and how to give each other feedback without it seeming like criticism or attack.
I prefer to work with relationship issues by inviting a non-blame approach, a solution focused approach of asking what would specifically be different so you can reconnect positively? Some people have so much unresolved bitterness that 'removing that toxic waste" carefully might need to come before any positive reconnection. The specific needs for relationship healing are discovered and given tools as we work together on goals and successful recovery.
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