Top ways to Ruin Relationships
Here you go: The top ways to ruin your romantic relationship. Frankly, these ways can be applied to most any relationship. The irony is, we tend to be better behaved in our other relatksohips; more mindful of what we are doing and what comes out of our mouth. We are experts at adding drama to our intimate relationships and here are some ways we do that.
Wanting them to be something they’re not:
In other words, Loving conditionally. It is said that, in many relationships, when women enter into relationships they see the potential and the possibility in their mate. Almost like their mate is a 1/2 finished craft project. Versus when men enter relationships, they tend to think that what they see is the best it’s going to be and expect some wear and tear. Eg a man looks at that woman as is with an expectation that some things will get rusty and worn whereas women look at men as a starting point, as this is good but….there’s room for improvement. To be fair, this approach is often how women approach ourselves. It is best if we let the other person in our relationship be in charge of their own self improvement. Let him do him. You do you. Sure you may think there are some things he could do to make his life better or to make him happier and if you want to ruin the relationship, by all means go ahead and share these ways as that leads to a second way that we can ruin a relationship:
Boy is this fun – not! Nagging is the ultimate relationships weakener. Seriously. Nagging someone or telling someone something they should be doing is not helpful for your relationships. I know, I know, you’re thinking “but it will make their life easier” or “they’ll be happier if they do this….” That is potentially accurate. With a bit disclaimer: if they decide to do it themselves! Take my personal example. I intend to put my clothes away when I take them off. My thought is that when I put them away, I’m taking care of myself and my things and I feel proud. Sometimes I put them away. Sometimes I don’t. If my husband said something about me putting my clothes away, his reason would be coming from a place of love and support of me as he knows it’s something I’m working on. Still…if he were to tell me to do it, I’m 90% sure I’d go into defense mode and feel irritation towards him. Even though it’s something I want to do! That’s not helpful for our relationship. Pick your battles. The next time you are about to nag, please pause to remember it is not your job to live their life. You are not their parent nor are you their coach. If they want your help. Let them ask. Leading to point three…
Anyone out there think their partner or the people in their lives can read their minds? Do you say things like “they should know that I need help emptying the dishwasher” or “they should know that I’m so stressed and offer to help”. They don’t. They can’t read your mind. We assign so much meaning to what our partners are doing or are not doing. We think they are deliberately not helping. Like they’re siting on the couch intentionally ignoring us while we are emptying the dishwasher as loudly as possible. Open your mouth warrior. They can’t read your mind. Don’t think the thought “If they loved me, they’d know my needs”. Ask for what you want.
The people in our life learn how to treat us based on what we’ve said in the past. Maybe in the past you were going for the martyr award. I know I was. If my husband or kids asked if I wanted help I was like “nope I’m fine” while brewing some serious inner resentment and thinking they should know I don’t mean that. Oh come on! Let’s speak up and ask for what we want. People can’t read other peoples minds. Stop making assumptions for what they’re thinking or feeling. Life is so much easier, when we don’t expect the people in our life to read our mind. Want to eliminate drama? Use CCC; clear concise communication. Which leads directly to the next way we ruin our relationships:
When we hold grudges we think we are doing something to the other person. Like they can tell if you’re up in your room holding a grudge. Truth bomb: the person you’re hurting the most is you. Take the last grudge you held; the last time you were pissy and walked around all entitled with your pissiness. What did your partner do? If he’s a half-sane human, he stayed far away from you. Maybe first he tried to reason with you or to apologize. Yet, when it became clear that you were committed to your grudge and grievance, what did he probably do? Stay away. Far away. Leaving you with your grudge. Feeling pissy. It’s like what they say about anger: staying angry at someone to hurt them is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die. Don’t do it. If there’s something that needs to be discussed, discuss it. If there’s a big emotion to be processed on your end, process it. Don’t hold grudges expecting that to change something.
Also called freezing out our mate. Telling yourself he doesn’t understand or he won’t get it so you don’t tell him. No he won’t if you don’t open your mouth and try to explain. Stonewalling, freezing out, or giving him the silent treatment gets us nowhere. For the health of you and the health of your relationship, please bring awareness as to what you’re thinking when you choose to not say anything or to give him the silent treatment. Chances are you’re using the past to determine your future. What happens when we do that? We get more of the same. If you want something different, do something different.
Notice your thoughts and choose to think something different. If you’re thinking he always reacts in this way or he always says this, that’s an opportunity to get curious. Why does that always happen? How might you begin a conversation differently to get a different outcome? It takes two to tango. If you are thinking he always does this when I say that, then think of a different way to say it. Maybe you start your sharing with “You always ” or “you never” try beginning with “I”. I am sad that or I feel …when you
What’s stopping us from speaking up?? Usually it’s coming from fear, possibly fear of being vulnerable. Of telling him what you really think and his reaction to that. If you are looking for your relationship to shrink or become disconnected, keep doing that. If you are looking for something better, choose to speak up and get vulnerable. Sure, you may be afraid of his reaction or what he says. But aren’t you in a pretty sh*tty place right now?
I like saying “I will be who I want to be in the relationship” meaning, if I want my partner to be open and honest, then I get to start by being open and honest. Why do I think he needs to start? Silliness. I want him to be vulnerable yet I can’t be vulnerable first? Do I want more emotional connection yet I’m holding back from connecting emotionally? Let’s stop pulling away and stop looking at the past as an excuse for why we aren’t being more open or vulnerable. If you’re thinking that you’ve been hurt before, then, in my mind, you have two choices. To leave the relationship or to act differently in the relationship to see if it can change. There is not an option in my book of “suck it up” and think “this is what it is” or this is as good as it gets. You are here to thrive. To be happy in life. To be wildly in love. To feel completely accepted, by yourself and by your partner. Not speaking up because you’re afraid it’ll go the way it always went, is not logical. Either confirm that your partner isn’t willing to change and you have a decision to make (and ahem, get a coach!) Or be vulnerable, speak up and start a new way of being.
Sarcasm or contempt:
If you are at the point, when you are consistently sarcastic in your communication with your partner or, if you look at him and truly feel contempt, please seek a counselor. Let me be a voice of reason and tell you that you’ve reached the sign that your relationship deserves professional help. If he won’t go with you, go alone. You matter and contempt is a road sign that you’re heading down a dead end street. You don’t figure out the way out on your own. You’ve tried that and its time to lay down your super woman cape and get support. You matter to me.
You still with me? I have Two more ways we weaken our relationships….
Doing it all
Oh my. I hear you. The things we say: “I’ve got it. It’s fine. No worries. I can do it. ” All while building a little fire of resentment inside, wondering why no one is helping, wondering why people don’t realize that when I say no, I mean yes? Oh my. Let’s be kind to ourselves. Many of our behaviors, the doing it all, saying yes when we mean no, are imbedded in us because of the society we were raised in. Get a coach and start to investigate your beliefs on what it means to be a good girl, a good wife, a good woman.
We may have been taught that we shouldn’t ask for help. Or that good girls don’t speak up. Good girls don’t ask for what they want. Good girls get it done without complaining. Maybe our mothers modeled the this work, work, work, toil, toil, toil. Did your mother model this for you? Mine did. This role model of womanhood as doing it all without joy. With eye rolls, with lapses of crying. While muttering under her breath. Though I don’t know what’s worse: My mother-in-law did it all yet with a crazy ass frozen smile on her face. Both of these women were doing the best they could. Both put their needs behind those of their partners and other people in their lives. Both women were passive aggressive and manipulative. Both are internally discontent.
Let’s stop. Let’s use clear concise communication and start asking for what we want. Start saying no when we mean no. Start accepting the offers of help. The way to break patterns of generational disfunction is to break patterns of generational disfunction. You stop doing it. You say yes when you mean yes and say no when you mean no. If someone asks if you need help, practice saying yes. It will feel uncomfortable. It will feel like you’re doing something wrong. If someone who modeled this martyrdom witnesses you doing things in a new way, they will probably criticize you. You’re breaking the code.
Remember reading in past posts about crabs in a bucket? It’s okay. They can keep showing up in a bitter and resentful way. You are reading this post because you have a different vision of your life. Because you have a different belief as to how relationships can be. Start to loosen your grip on doing all the things. Open your mind to the belief that your way is not the only way. That others can do some of the things around the house too. Decide to let your partner in, in on more of the parenting decisions or house decisions. And then, once you decide to let them do something, maybe because you’ve read a post like this or read a self help book, then what? Be careful not to slip into this amazing way of ruining a relationship:
Once you do delegate, do you then hover and criticize? Sending the message that you can do it better or that your way is the only way? Sorry, dear warrior. Your way leads to a life of resentment, fatigue and burnout. Would you rather have perfectly folded sheets or sanity and connected relationships? Then begin to loosen your grip. Back up. Stop hovering. This goes back to the beginning of the podcast and the #1 way to weaken your relationship: thinking your mate needs to be different or that his way of doing things isn’t as good as yours. Back down dear woman. Could you find space to think that his way may work too? Maybe your way is better yet his way is good enough and good enough is done.
Is your goal to feed the kids a Pinterest worthy dinner or to develop an auto-immune disorder because of all the cortisol, the stress hormone, that’s running through your body? I know of so many women who were forced to stop doing it all because of the cancer diagnoses or the auto immune disorders. How about you use this podcast as a permission slip to change some things before those diagnoses. Or maybe you’re the one who already has the diagnosis, who’s already been rushed to the hospital with a kidney stone or heart palpitations, and you’re still doing it all? You think it’s not related to lifestyle. Come on, dear woman. Listen to the whispers of the universe. You matter to me.
And that is it. Top ways to ruin our relationships, though certainly not all of the ways we do. My invitation is for you to focus on one of the areas this week and minimize how often you do it. If it’s a deep routed habit, especially one that has been modeled for you, it will not be easy to shift. I do promise you that it will be worth it. You are meant to connect with others. If you’re in an intimate relationship and don’t feel connected, it will erode all other areas of your life. Trust me. I did that for 19 years. There is another way.
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