Monthly Archives: January 2014

5 (25) Potential Relationship Killers

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Divorced Super Sized

I see books all the time about the five types of relationship killers. It’s ashamed we stop at five because naming the top five may not hit on the bumps in a relationship. If you look at a lot of the social and psychological data on relationships, the list looks more like this. (Note these are not in order of most damaging to least. There is no way to do that as each entry has its own dimensions and they differ couple to couple).

  1. Communication issues
  2. Dependency vs independency
  3. Money
  4. Ineffective problem solving or arguments
  5. Changes in sexual desire
  6. Affairs/one night stands/porn/excessive flirting
  7. Friends/family/in-laws
  8. Life Stress: job/unemployment/death/chronic illness/sudden illness/mental illness/increase in responsibilities/aging/moving/life style changes
  9. Habits/vices/addictions
  10. Taking the other for granted
  11.  Rushing into a phase in the relationship too quickly: weddings/babies/retirement
  12. Lack of trust
  13. Lack of Intimacy: feeling like you have to hide who you are due to fear of being unlovable/ no physical intimacy (touching)/ feeling like you have to be someone else to be loved
  14. Lack of care: feeling like you are uncared for or your partner does not understand you
  15. Judgementalism: feeling like you are always scrutinized, you can’t do anything right or being perfectionist and believing you can’t do anything right.
  16. Tests: partner sets up little tests to see if you pass and are worthy of trust/love
  17. Unrealistic expectations: if this is love, why am I so miserable – expecting partner to meet or fix your inner emptiness or meet unrealistic expectations or fantasies
  18. Lack of contributions in household, family responsibilities
  19. Raising kids
  20. Respect
  21. Comfort levels
  22.  Different goals in life
  23. Step parenting
  24. Mistakes: shutting down due to fear of making a mistake, making things worse
  25. Living in the past

In the next couple weeks, I’m going to address each of these risks and discus them in more detail. In the mean time, what is important to know is that while these can range in metaphor as a splinter, dagger or serial stabbing.

What one couple sees as a serial stabbing another might see as a splinter. Why the difference and which couple is going to ride the wave and come out feeling connected? The quick and easy answer is in fluidity and desire to the commitment.

Fluidity means the ability to bend and not brake, to see the whole picture and not hyper-focus on one detail.  Think about your relationship as a porcelain bowl, for example. If you drop the bowl into a swimming pool full of water, it will get wet, but most likely will stay intact. If you drop it in the sand, depending on the height you drop it; it might stay intact or crack. If you drop it on concrete – it’s shattered – almost every time.

There are ways to make you more mindful – more fluid. Keep in mind, however, that you are only one person in a relationship. The strongest relationships have fluidity in both partners.

Until next time….

A Demon Named They

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I have a demon that sits on my shoulder. Its name is They. I’ve had it on my shoulder for more years then I can remember but didn’t realize it was there. It is insidious, cunning, charming and just malevolent and I have been listening. The result, I often reformat my thoughts, actions and feelings about me and the world without any real examination of what I am doing.

You may know this demon. I have seen it on many of my friends, family and clients. I’ve learned to recognize its influence on others and find this easier to do then prevent myself from being blindsided by the demon that haunts me.  You can recognize the affects of “They” when you hear yourself or others make comments like: They told me to do it. They won’t like it. They think I’ll fail. They told me so-and-so does not like me. They think I’m boring. They won’t care if I disappear. They said it can’t be done. They think I’m horrible. They think I’m not worth the ground I walk on.

“They” is a really interesting demon because it can play both pitcher and batter. For example, let’s say you and your significant other are having a disagreement. Not only can the demon “They” on your shoulder tell you things like; he doesn’t love me, he doesn’t understand me etc.

If there is a demon, “They”, on your significant other it might coax your SO to say things like, I think you’re a moron.  You are wrong. Everyone things you are an ugly piece of sh-t. …. You get the idea.

Notice the insidious of this… The demon “They” when playing ball with another of its kind can change forms to be I or You or He or She.

The good news is that demons CAN’T force you to think, do or say anything you don’t want. So how do you go about protecting yourself? No, it’s not as easy as just saying, in the name of Jesus be gone…. Why?

I give you this modern day parable.

An old man is in a row boat with oars floating aimlessly about a mile from shore. He is a survivor of a horrific storm that blew him too far from shore to return. If he doesn’t make it back he will die from lack of water, heat stroke or maybe he might capsize and be eaten by sharks. So, he prays for help. In 99.9% of cases that prayer will strengthen the will power of the man. Give him guidance, endurance, perseverance to aid him in accomplishing his task but it won’t self-propel the craft to shore.

The man has two oars. He has to do his part. Maybe he’s rowing along and a ship appears. Or the tide shifts and he find oaring is easier or he moves through the water faster. We can call these acts of grace, acts of God, the Universe, Karma. No matter what, the man is still doing both rowing and praying/meditating on the desire for assistance and a positive outcome.

Now back to our demon problem.

First we have to identify that we have evil inclinations around us, trying to influence us. You can’t have positive energy without negative. I don’t care what name you wish to give this negative energy, words are words. What matters is the effect this energy can have on us.  So, identify when you hear yourself thinking, acting or feeling something (especially all of the sudden) in the ways discussed above. Identify the negativity exists and you are buying into its reasoning.

Second, tell yourself you don’t have to listen, don’t have to act on what you are being told. Check the facts, pray or meditate about it, invoke the name of a deity, but take a stand. I’m not going to listen.

Third, replace those horrible messages with mindfulness, loving messages. Directly reverse what you are hearing. Shout them loud if you have to. Write them on post-it-notes and display them around the house. Do this often on a daily bases.

 Finally, if you do assess the situation and find you are involved with someone or people who usually listen to the demons on their shoulders and act in accordance, you have two choices. Make yourself demon proof and stay involved with those people or shake the dust off your shoes and move on to healthier people who will see and encourage the goodness in you.