When something disconcerting, hurtful or wrong occurs in your relationship, there are usually are three options that arise.
1. Acknowledge event, but don’t address it 2. Acknowledge and address the event 3. Pretend it didn’t happen and act like you are fine when you aren’t
The healthiest choice would be number two, acknowledge and address the event. However, it is the manner in which you do this that can ultimately affect the outcome.
Generally, when we’re hurt our emotions take over and our response could vary from anger to being withdrawn. When acknowledging something painful and addressing it with the person that has hurt you can be difficult at best. The key is to address the event itself and not attack the person.
If necessary, wait to address the person and event until you have time to process all of the emotions and circumstances. Sometimes things aren’t always as they seem.
Once you’re in a place to have the necessary conversation, it’s helpful to be in a neutral space, plan for enough time and privacy.
Try and place yourself in the other person’s shoes as you discuss how you feel and why. It’s important to think about how you would want somebody to address you, if you were the one that created the hurt. This is not to minimize the event, but to have beneficial, helpful communication so that the event or behavior is not repeated.
Options number one and three, acknowledgment without addressing and pretending the hurt didn’t happen, only ultimately hurts you.
Healthy relationships thrive on open, constant, mature communication. No partner is perfect, there are bound to be misunderstandings and hurts. The key is that both partners are willing.
Secrets…Partial or Full Disclosure? When you are in a monogamous relationship, married or not, should you share deep secrets from your past?
Secrets like; Infidelity, addiction or traumas like molestation, rape or abuse.
In the safety of a deeply committed relationship you should be able to share without the fear of shame or rejection. The issue then lies with how much you want to share and why.
As someone who has experienced trauma, it is something I rarely disclose. It isn’t about hiding my past, it comes from not wanting to relive the agonizing experiences.
If and when I choose to share my past, I state that the trauma happened but do not include the specific details. If I was pushed to disclose more that what I was willing to, two things would happen;
1.) I would completely shut down and never speak of it again
2.) Regret sharing at all and feel as though my sharing something so painful wasn’t enough. Enough that I bared my broken soul
For some people talking about their trauma is helpful in the healing process and releases the trauma a little at a time. For me, sharing the details of a traumatic event is reliving it down to the sights, sounds and smells. Fear, pain and horror return with a vengeance and I am thrust right back into that terrifying place and time.
It took years of on and off again therapy for me to move forward and deal with the hurts from my past. If and when I choose to share it could be to possibly explain why I might react to a situation, place or event in a negative way.
Imagine you have a wound that has almost completely healed and someone walks up to you and rips the bandage off. Your wound is now open, hurting, and once again needing time to heal.
Anyone that has experienced trauma processes it their own time and fashion. Sharing those buried secrets is sacred and those who hear them should actively listen, be supportive and understanding. Be respectful of boundaries knowing the high level of trust it takes to express such an experience.
For those of you that have a partner who has experienced trauma, thank you for your compassion, empathy and patience.
If you have been a victim of abuse, please see the resources listed below and know you are not alone.
National Sexual Assault Hotline
Hours: Available 24 hours 1–800–656–4673 (HOPE)
Domestic abuse: Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) or text 88788
“You get more bees with honey; than you do you do with vinegar”
If you haven’t heard it before, now you have.
Think about it this way…
Who do you think I’m going to call back and assist first, if it all?
The person that left me a expletive riddled message (vinegar) or the person who was respectful with their request (honey)?
Whose food do you think the server is possibly going to mess with?
The person who berated them for taking too long with their cocktail order? Or the person that was patient and thanked them when the drinks did arrive?
Who’s car in still in the shop “waiting for parts”?
The list is endless with scenarios like those above and the real events below.
Last week I witnessed an angry, middle-aged male customer verbally bash a young female retail worker in a department store as she tried address his concern. As I rounded the corner, the interaction was quickly escalating. Just then another male customer approached them and told the irate man to stop harassing the woman. He stepped in, stopping the verbal abuse that contained foul language and name calling. The angry man, obviously “vinegar” then began to verbally assault this gentlemen, who promptly said, “Let’s take this outside.” Of course, it ended there because the irate man was a coward.
It was awe inspiring to see a stranger step in and defend someone being bullied that way. Truly a hero.
To me, being polite/nice is just about being a decent person. But, for many people like myself who work in the public service industry receiving basic politeness is sadly becoming more uncommon.
Recently, I went to have a few thick glass shelves cut shorter to re-purpose them. While waiting l watched the master glass cutter cut other pieces of glass along with my pieces like they were butter. I sincerely complimented him on his work. He refused to let me pay and stated he appreciated my patience and that he didn’t feel like he had to rush his work.
When these types of events occur, they solidify polite “honey” behavior and create a pay it forward domino effect.
Keep “vinegar” in the bottle and share some “honey” today.
Marriage is supposed to be forever, but as statistics show, it’s a 50–50 crap shoot. Marriage can be such a source of joy, but it isn’t always easy, and it’s not supposed to end. Divorce is hard and then it’s over, but the scars never go completely away.
Repeating a pattern of choosing the same type of partner with the same dysfunctions or emotional issues is relatively common from first to third marriages. Self-awareness and good therapy can help a person avoid making these same mistakes.
Many newly divorced people don’t take enough time to deal with the pain and loss, heal and reflect on what went wrong in the relationship. Instead of taking the time necessary to grieve and recover, some divorcees rebound into a relationship to avoid being alone.
Some people are so afraid of being alone they will stay in an unhealthy relationship/marriage. Learning to be and live alone is paramount is learning about yourself and what you may or may not need or want in your next partner.
Typically second and third marriages don’t have children to help bind the relationship, as most children are born into the first marriage. Children of previous marriages can cause complications and create chaos, thus potentially destroy second and third marriages.
Why is there such a deep culture of “Divorce Shaming” when approximately half of all marriages end in divorce? It takes an enormous amount of courage to risk your heart again for a second, third or whatever time.
If the marriage fails, it doesn’t mean the couple should be shamed for its demise. Ideally they will take the time needed to evaluate what went wrong and why, analyze their actions and patterns, and address any shortcomings and make positive changes. Are you not entitled to love again and have another marriage if you want one? You are certainly not predestined to live in a loveless, abusive or dysfunctional marriage for fear of “Divorce Shaming”.
I have this friend Donna; who met her first husband at 19 and married at 22. He was the “life” of the party until that “life” fell into alcoholism. Donna’s divorce number one ended with two small children. Donna then rebounded into marriage number two. She married a man she already knew and trusted and with whom she felt safe. But she later discovered he had been addicted to drugs. He was over six years clean and sober when they married. Then he fell off the wagon twice during the last few years of their marriage, which led to divorce number two. Five years later, Donna’s third marriage was to a man who had to undergo drug testing for work. She thought he was the safe choice. However, Donna was wearing “denial goggles” with regard to his level of alcohol consumption.
Donna had unwittingly chosen three addictive personalities without addressing the common denominator in all these marriages, which was her. Breaking her negative pattern of selection took therapy, self-acceptance and accountability for her decisions. During her therapy it was noted that the failure of these marriages was not entirely her fault. It was at that time Donna finally learned to become unashamed. Her ex-husbands had addiction issues that were not addressed, as well as issues that were hidden from her until after the “I Do’s” were done.
Donna felt “ashamed” and stayed longer in all her marriages than she should have for fear of judgement and failure. She hated herself for being a poor role model for her children. Her friends even convinced her to stay, saying things like “There aren’t any good men left at your age” and “Who would want you with all that baggage?” Those words sunk deep into her psyche, heart and soul, which were already badly broken.
Who has the right to judge? Who has the right to “Divorce Shame” anyone else? Would you shame a child for bed-wetting, especially if they did not or could not understand the root of the cause?
Does “Divorce Shaming” stem from religion and guilt? In the Bible it states that marriage is forever, yet David was committing adultery with a married woman and then had her husband killed to boot. Not only did God forgive David; he anointed him a king.
I know many couples who have had separate bedrooms for years, live like roommates and probably want to stab each other in the neck with a steak knife. (Just kidding.) Many grown children have stated they wished their parents had divorced when they were growing up. They hated listening to them berate each other, yell and fight continuously. The irony is their parents always stated that they stay together for the sake of the kids. Huh? What?
So if you are or have been “Divorce Shamed”, let it go. Maybe your lessons make you a better partner, lover, husband or wife. Why would it be considered shameful to try again? Only your own fear will hold you back. Words have no power unless you give it to them.
Divorce Shamers…shame on you. Not everyone gets the first marriage that lasts forever. Some do, some don’t. But no one on earth gets to judge, ever.
Remember role models, upbringing and expectations play a large role in whom we marry and why we divorce. Some people have solid foundations at the beginning and some have cracked and broken ones. Bottom line is we are all human and we all deserve to have love, give love and be loved.
Is judg”ey” an actual word? Not sure. To me it means that you may judge something or someone in a lessor context than being fully judgemental.
Judg”ey” ~ “That girl’s lip injections make her look like a duck”.
“Judgemental” ~ No one should inject their lips because it looks fake and disfigures what God created. Either statement is a form of negativity and negative expression.
Generally, people that make judg”ey” or judgemental comments are not secure in who they are and build themselves up by tearing others down. They seek the approval of their judg”ey” remarks by people with same opinions and self esteem issues.
We live in a country that allows exceptional freedoms and we as humans are gifted with free will. That gift is priceless.
That free will allows people to do, speak and live as they see fit. That doesn’t mean you have to agree or condone anyone else’s choices.
With the ever growing push for acceptance of all people, from all backgrounds, wouldn’t it be helpful, if we stopped and replaced a judg”ey” comment with a positive one or didn’t say anything at all?
My Mom was forever repeating a few catch phrases when I was growing up and at the time her words went in one ear and out the other. But now, I can truly appreciate their simple wisdom.
“If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”
“Do unto others, as you wish them to do unto to you.”
Can you imagine a world like that?
Consider a self challenge and refrain from saying anything judg”ey” for 21 days. When those judg”ey” thoughts arise find and replace them with a positive about that person/situation or even something positive in your life, like your health, family, etc. to avoid speaking the judgement.
Your personal relationships, especially with your partner and children will benefit the most from this practice. Loving someone unconditionally means that you don’t judge them. You are accepting. Don’t be afraid to positively share necessary constructive feedback and guidance with your partner/children regarding certain behaviors. That guidance is priceless when also modeled.
Rules are in place for everyone’s protection and to circumvent anarchy. If someones behaviors/beliefs are not going to cause you or anyone else harm, what gives you the right to be judg’ey” or judgemental?
Have you ever been left wondering what went wrong in the demise of your relationship? Have you been blindsided when someone has broken up with you? Do you know if it one big issue or a combination of things that built up over time? Was it just lust and then no foundation? Wouldn’t you want to know so you could process, learn and grow?
Why not conduct a relationship exit interview?
Employers have been implementing this process for years gaining valuable information about employees, supervision, company vision and other insights.
My suggestion for this process is to wait a while after the initial break up to let emotions settle down. Then reach out to your ex and ask to meet in a neutral location to talk about what went wrong and why. This might be to their benefit as well.
They may or may not be willing, but if you don’t ask you won’t know. You can also go back to previous exes as well.
In delving into the past, you can see if any patterns present themselves in your behaviors or in the type of personality you are drawn to.
Maybe as a man you are drawn to very strong women because your Mom was, but in turn your Mom was also very critical of you. You may be unconsciously attracting a partner that belittles you. The next time you meet someone make sure they make you feel good about yourself, if not, they are not your person.
Asking your ex why they left you may seem masochistic as no one wants to hear about their faults or shortcomings, however it is how we learn and can adjust our behavior(s) if necessary.
My pattern was what I coined as “being a runner”. For me once an argument ensued I would shut down and leave. Every argument no matter the issue was the grounds to leave the relationship. This was incredibly unfair and unrealistic. My mentality was if I left first, I won’t get hurt.
Boundaries tend to be a very common relationship tanking issue. Boundaries with friends, family, co-workers, and money are just a few.
There could be a variety of reasons why your relationship could have failed but being willing to find out and make improvements takes maturity.
You can use 7, 8 or 10 seconds, whatever it takes to get you to slow down and think before reacting. Reacting can include speaking, facial expressions (frowning), body language (like rolling your eyes) and reflex physical movement (waving arms). Taking the time to pause, breathe and think first, can make all the difference in the world.
When you respond too quickly, you run the risk of saying or doing something you may regret. Our personal relationships can suffer the most when instantaneous reactions come before thinking them through.
The next time you are facing a confrontation, an argument or hard to handle news, try to stop for those 8 seconds and think about what you are feeling and why. Before replying think clearly if what you are about to say will be helpful or hurtful.
Putting yourself in the other’s persons shoes can also bring needed perspective. Most of the time, the upset or angry person is mad at themselves too. Their frustration may be thrust in your direction even if you are not the root cause.
Empathy can help play a large role in perception. Instead of becoming defensive, think of what the main issue might truly be. Reaching out with comfort and genuine listening can defuse a negative situation and potentially turn it positive.
Living with someone, whether you are married or not requires an enormous amount of patience, perseverance and flexibility. No matter how “in love” you may be, there are bound to be topics that can create power struggles.
Here are a few examples;
Temperature – whether it is too hot or too cold
Windows open – windows closed
Lighting – too bright or not enough light
TV Shows to watch or not watch
Household chores – share of the workload being balanced
The list could go on and on. What is touched on here appears minimal compared to more serious relationship issues. However, when there is a constant need for one or both partners to have “things” there way, it can become a power struggle. Some sort of compromise should be made when these situations arise or one person may feel as though the relationship is a dictatorship.
Generally, one person is more adaptable in a relationship and will naturally make concessions. But, if that generosity is taken for granted, resentment may set in.
A typical conflict that can create a power struggle for many couples is temperature. Men usually run hotter than women. To address this matter in my own relationship, when he is running hot, the ceiling fan over our bed goes on a timer, so it shuts off when the temperature drops at night. While the fan is running, I add an additional blanket. Another issue is lighting. I am hyper light sensitive and need time to adjust to bright light in the morning. The compromise is that the drapes are opened slightly until my eyes adjust, then I open the drapes up completely.
Another compromise is the even and odd day of the week solution. For example: Even days of the month the windows are open and odd days the windows are closed.
Compromise can be reached all on topics if both parts are willing to give and take. If one person is always set in stone, the other person may need to decide whether or not to adapt, adjust without resentment, live with resentment or leave.
There are much larger struggles that will arise in relationships like money and children. If you can’t compromise on issues like temperature and chores, what will happen when more serious problems arise?
Take an inventory of the issues you and your partner consistently struggle with and take the time to make compromises together. In doing so you will deepen your communication skills and create more balance in your partnership.
Do you express clear expectations in your relationship? How do you express your expectations?
At times you or your partner may have the ever-elusive, unknown expectations. This is where you just assume your partner knows what you want without clear communication.
Making expectation assumptions can lead to a lot of misunderstandings and hurts.
You and/or your partner have to “know” the expectation before you can try to fulfill it.
Unless you are;
a.) lucky as a Leprechaun
b.) a mind reader
c.) so completely in sync with your lover you always meet all their expectations (you make me sick! Just kidding)
He asks, “What do you want for your birthday?”
She says, “Oh, nothing really. I don’t really need anything, just save your money.”
What this unspoken expectation really means is:
Buy her something she wants, and you should already know what it is, if you had been listening to her.
Talking about what you want in a way your partner will “hear” you is key. Not by complaining or shaming them with guilt. Ask with a tone and words that are respectful and kind, the way you would want to be asked.
When an expectation has been unmet, mature communication can clear the future roads. Just like teaching or parenting, if the child doesn’t know what the expectations are, how are they supposed to meet them?
Don’t set your partner up to fail. Be mature, open and talk to your partner with positives and explain what your needs are and why. Once reasonable expectations are clear, they should be easy to meet. Don’t we all want to please the person we love the most?
Ask yourself how you feel when you meet someone new.
When you meet a new person, stop and think about how you feel when you interact with them.
If you meet someone new and they make you feel negative and/or make you question yourself, your intelligence, appearance or personality that person is not for you. Move on. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out why or try to change their minds.
Someone that likes you will not make you feel bad about yourself. It shouldn’t take more than a date or two to figure out whether or not that person is worth your time.
This terrific quote sums up this thought process;
“Hurt people, hurt people and damaged people, damage people”.