10 REASONS YOU MAY BE STUCK IN AN UNHAPPY RELATIONSHIP
Stephen J Betchen
A fear of change often prevents people from ending a destructive relationship.
Goethe wrote: “Everybody wants to be somebody; nobody wants to grow.” A client—who was in a miserable and unworkable relationship—decided to stay and suffer rather than make a change. His reasoning was, “I’d rather live with the devil I know than the devil I don’t know.” In response I asked him: “How do you know you will end up with another devil?” He said, “Why take a chance.” This individual’s stance is all too common. Most people seek psychotherapy to ease their pain but are reluctant to exert the effort required to do so. These individuals weigh the of price of change unfavorably against the gain it may bring. Because clinicians cannot offer any guarantee of success people are reluctant to risk their status no matter how dysfunctional. To shed some light on this issue, I offer 10 reasons people often remain stuck in an unhappy or destructive relationship:
1. To avoid anxiety. When we make a change, we usually experience at least a modicum of anxiety about our future. Self-doubt may flood us: Am I making a big mistake? Will I miss my old life? While there is rarely a guarantee that all will end well, our dynamic will most likely remain the same or worsen if we do nothing.
SEEING BEYOND DEPRESSION
There’s new evidence that depression is not just a disorder of the mind—and blood tests for signs of inflammation promise treatment options precisely tailored to each patient’s needs.
I was a young doctor in 1990 when I met a patient with rheumatoid arthritis. Mrs. P told me quietly but in no uncertain terms that she ticked all the boxes for a diagnosis of co-occurring depression
. When I reported this to the senior physician in charge of her case, he said: “Well, you would too, wouldn’t you?” and changed the subject. He meant that her mood was obviously a reasonable reflection on her current state of disability and a future of inexorably deteriorating health
and mobility. Mrs. P was “understandably” depressed because she was thinking about, and ruminating on, what it meant to have an inflammatory disorder. And so there was nothing we physicians could do about it. It was a matter of the mind, not of the body—the province of psychiatry
Mrs. P’s symptoms, which were intimately interconnected in her lived experience of arthritis, were split apart by doctors into mental and physical symptoms. Having diagnostically divided Mrs. P in two, we proceeded to treat her physical disease—her swollen joints—in completely different and disconnected way from her mental illness—her depression and fatigue. We used the medical language of immune cells to treat her inflammation, and a different team of doctors, in a different hospital, used the language of serotonin and psychotherapy to treat her depression.
PARENTS NEED TO AGREE ON HOW TO RAISE THEIR CHILDREN
Rob Pascale & Lou Primavera
In an earlier article, “Married with Kids,” we talked about how the introduction of children into the home can wreak havoc on some marriages. These problems often result from work overload—their lives are no longer just about managing the house, or jobs, or making each other happy. The responsibilities that are dumped on new parents can mean that both, but especially wives (since they shoulder most of the burden), are perpetually stressed
, exhausted, and pushed to their limits.
For those who are hit particularly hard, their relationship can suffer not just because of less time devoted to each other. When under chronic stress, there’s a strong possibility that partners will at times let their emotions get the better of them and they will then take their frustrations out on each other. There may also be disappointments that derive from unmet expectations. Expectations have a lot to do with adjusting to parenthood, and the more partners are off with regard to how they thought things would be, the greater is the likelihood of resentments and conflicts.
Problems can also result from differences in parenting philosophies. In some marriages, one parent may prefer to take a relaxed attitude while the other may want to institute more structure and rules for the child to follow. When parents bump heads on how to raise their children, not only do they give themselves reasons to argue, but they also work against the interests of the child. Sometimes in these situations one parent may try to gain the child as an ally against the other parent. The child may then feel forced to take sides with one parent or the other, or become confused as to what they’re supposed to do. The parent who loses that power struggle can feel alienated from the family, and may resent their partner or the children.
THESE 4 BEHAVIORS RUIN MARRIAGES IN LESS THAN 6 YEARS (AND WHAT TO DO INSTEAD)
There are four toxic behaviors that harm all relationships. They are toxic because they take away the emotional safety required for emotional connection and conflict resolution.
Dr. Gottman calls these four behaviors the Four Horsemen. Like the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the New Testament, they symbolize the end of time for a relationship.
When these four behaviors become a habitual way of communicating problems, they end a relationship within 6 years, according to Dr. Gottman’s research.
12 SIGNS IT’S TIME FOR YOU TO LET GO
The renowned psychologist Carl Rogers noted that people are often unhappy because of a lack of congruence in their lives, which is another way of saying momentary complexity blinds us to the simple solutions of life. For Rogers, simply sitting with a patient and having them talk through their problems, without the therapist leading them or making judgments or giving advice, was the best way for them to let go of their problems. Rogers determined that when you give a person a safe and supportive space to think through things, they tend to do so more effectively.
Right now, I want to give you a safe and supportive space to think, so you can let go of any extra baggage that’s been weighing you down. Try this: pause for a second to notice what’s going on in your body. Are your jaw muscles clenched? Are your shoulders or neck tightened? Do you notice a part of your body holding on to tension—perhaps tension fueled by something you’re subconsciously worried about?
Most of us are holding tension in our bodies and stress in our minds, whether we realize it or not.
60 GET-TO-KNOW-YOU QUESTIONS FOR A NEW ROMANCE
Want to get to know your new lover a lot better? Use these 60 revealing get-to-know-you questions to get to know everything you need to know.
Relationships are all about compatibility.
Even if there’s a lot of infatuation and sexual tension to start with, all it takes is a few wrong likes and dislikes to fall apart.
For a relationship to be successful, both the partners can have different likes and dislikes, but their principles towards life and their approach towards the future have to be the same.
If one of you likes working hard while the other person lives for the moment, it is bound to leave one of you with a few moments of repressed anger.
JEALOUS BOYFRIEND – 10 WAYS TO MAKE HIM NOT-SO-JEALOUS
Having a hard time dealing with a jealous boyfriend? If you’re sure your boyfriend is a keeper, here are 10 steps to change him from jealous to not-so-jealous.
Dealing with a jealous boyfriend is rather difficult.
And it’s actually a lot easier to just walk away from the relationship in the first place, instead of constantly having to remind him how much you love him.
But on the other hand, you may be misinterpreting his insecurity as jealousy.
And it’s not easy to tell the difference.
13 DOWN-TO-EARTH WAYS TO EXPRESS YOUR LOVE WITHOUT WORDS
Paul Timothy Mangay
Saying “I love you” is a monumental step. But can you express it without saying it outright? Here are 13 ways to express your love without using words.
In this day and age, the profession of love has taken the form of a narcissistic attention-grabber. You might have seen at least one of the countless viral videos featuring flash mob wedding proposals, or elaborately-staged skits for some dude to confess his feelings for a girl he has liked since elementary school. Nowadays, it seems romanticism screams to be heard and will, at times, demand an audience to be appreciated.
Taking a different approach
While large gestures are considered sweet, because our standards for affection require leaving cheeks blushed and hearts racing, you don’t really need a film production company or a gang of agreeable buddies to make your love known.