Even the greatest of relationships and the best of intentions can be affected by the stresses of everyday life. What’s worse, like water from a leaky faucet can erode even thick iron over time, our own toxic relationship and communication habits can erode even a rock solid happy relationship slowly until it becomes so thin and unhappy it breaks.
Luckily there are a few positive steps you can take to stop the erosion of your “happily ever after” and detoxify a relationship poisoned by toxic communication skills. When practiced daily, these “fixes” can rebuild what has been stretched thin. If you are one of the lucky ones who are either in a new relationship or haven’t let life’s dramas get to your relationship then use this list as a guideline of what not to do.
Onward and upward! Here are my top 5 ways to detox your relationship:
1. Accentuate the positive…. Eliminate the negative. Negativity is a form of “water torture”. When you complain, even when those complaints are not directed at your partner, the barrage of negativity wears them down. Think about it. If all you hear is negative coming out of your partner’s mouth it would be mind numbing. Don’t you think? Forget about what complaining about your relationship does for a moment. Even simple complaints such as “That movie was just awful.” or “This traffic sucks.” is enough to make your partner run screaming for the hills.
Detox Solution. If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Find the good in any situation and it will make you a happier person. Say something positive and you will relax your partner and turn a negative into a positive.
2. Confirm….don’t contradict: It amazes me how many times in a day partners contradict each other even when the difference is small and irrelevant or adds no value to the conversation. Come on beauties; is it really important to interject that you left the party at 10:30 instead of 11:00? Or that you ate chicken piccata not chicken parmigiana?
Detox Solution: Unless you are correcting a crucial mistake, do not contradict your partner in publicly . Support and agree publically; disagree or correct privately and, even then, ask yourself “Will the earth explode if I don’t correct him/her?”. Your relationship will thank you.
3. Don’t pick apart….Pull together. A common habit that many people have is to frequently criticize their partner. This is one of the worst relationship destroyers; even worse than being a constant complainer. Constantly picking apart, criticizing your partner’s every move is sure fire way to stress an intimate bond to the breaking point.
Detox Solution: Rather than nagging, picking or being downright critical try to develop a routine of expressing compliments which neutralize the toxic effects of criticism. Everyone fears disapproval, especially by their partner. People naturally equate approval with love. Compliment your partner, make him/her feel approved of, safe, loved.
4. Turn a “NO” into a “YES.” The word “no” has to be one of the most hated words in the English dictionary. I know it’s mine. When your partner requests something and you say “no” (or even ignore it which is a tacit “no”) it puts up a wall between the two of you. Your partner feels like his/her requests are not valid; they feel unappreciated; they feel ignored.
Detox Solution: Just say YES! Ok, there are other options too. ”In a sec.” “Coming.” “I’ll do my best.” Even “Maybe” is a better response than just “NO!” If the request is unreasonable you can always renegotiate.
Note: There are a few instances where a request is so beyond what you can accept. Those are your personal deal breakers. You absolutely can say “no” because to say “yes” would be harmful to your own emotional health.
5. Let go of the reigns. Attempting to control your partner is one of the most damaging things you can do to your intimate relationship. Trying to tell your partner what to do is not showing mutual respect and encouraging the balance of power in a relationship. Men especially are particularly affected by this behavior because a controlling partner is emasculating and makes him feel ineffectual. Women too feel the effects of a controlling partner by feeling worthless and overly vulnerable, as if verbal punches to her psyche and spirit.
Detox Solution: Accept your partner. Your way isn’t always the best way and it certainly isn’t the ONLY way so respect your partner’s differences. That is, after all, one of the things that attracted you in the beginning.
Wishing you peace and balance,
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