Every single relationship I've ever seen is dysfunctional in some way. We were not taught how to have happy, stable relationships so we either fight and get critical or we withdraw and don't talk about real issues - whatever your particular flavour of dysfunction is, trust me: you're not alone. I think it's really important to highlight this because we can often think other people's relationships are perfect - and it's just not true. Their relationship might be going smoothly right now, especially if they're in those first few years of being together where their hormones are keeping them feeling pretty connected, but after that we tend to get back to feeling the way we dominantly felt in childhood, and react to those feelings in ineffective ways because we were never taught how to validate ourselves and accept our emotions properly in childhood either.
So, since your relationship is likely pretty dysfunctional, what's the good news here? Are we all just doomed? Well, not quite - relationships tend to be dysfunctional, but the only way to create a HEALTHIER relationship is actually to work WITHIN the relationship you already have - you don't need to throw your relationship out because it's dysfunctional, you just need to learn to relate to each other in a new way.
And that's actually great news because if you're able to CREATE a happier and healthier relationship FROM a dysfunctional relationship, you can have all the great aspects of your current relationship and simply work on the not so great aspects, rather than having to start from scratch and go through the process of wondering if you'll ever find anyone, etc.
So, let's talk about this - if you're currently just dating your partner and you have some really different values or want different things in your life, then it might not be a matter of dysfunction, it might just be that you're not a good match. If you're dating and you have a widely different desire for sexual intimacy, you may not be a great fit - because that WILL become an issue later on. But if you're married and/or have kids or if you are already committed and you're pretty sure you want the same things out of life, you just have a screwy way of communicating with each other, THAT we can work on.
So do some assessment - are we simply reacting to childhood wounds or are we actually not a match because we want different things out of life or out of relationships?
Once you've assessed that, if you decide your issue is one of dysfunction, start mapping out your cycle. When you do this, I do this. When you say that, I feel this and respond in that way. Example: When you go golfing, I feel abandoned - and I often felt abandoned growing up, so it's an easy place for me to go. When I feel abandoned I call you nonstop to try to ease my anxiety and then you feel like nothing you do is enough, which is how YOU often felt in childhood, and on and on we go.
Then decide how YOU want to show up in your relationship. "Next time I feel abandoned, I want to be able to actually seek the comfort I never got growing up." Okay, well what does that look like? Maybe it looks like saying to your partner (after breathing for a bit) - I'm feeling that old abandonment feeling and I know this is just a childhood thing. Can we spend some time cuddling on the couch tonight?
Thinking about what you need and then asking for it is going to be KEY here.
This is just one small part of it - I'll have many more blogs and videos coming up on how to turn your toxic/dysfunctional relationship around. Remember - nobody taught us these strategies in school, so it makes sense that we struggle so much with relationships! Now is a great time to start learning about and implementing small changes that can make a really big difference to how your relationship feels.
Reach out if you'd like some additional support via my contact form at jenatharani.com and make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel for some awesome video resources on how to make your relationship feel way better!
FREEBIE: 10 days of gratitude workbook (relationship TRANSFORMING) - grab it at jenatharani.com
E-Course: After An Affair: Rebuilding Your Relationship (Trust, Sex and All) - https://www.jenatharani.com/ecourse-affairs
Healthy communication tools for a way better relationship: https://www.jenatharani.com/communication-workshop