Archive for July 26th, 2006

July 26, 2006

Symptoms of a Difficult Relationship

by Rod Smith

26 Indications you might be in a difficult or troubled relationship
(This is longer than my “normal” post. Please read it all, if you read it at all!)

Comments come to me as Emails. I will make time if you want to talk.

Comments come to me as Emails. I will make time if you want to talk.

When relationships become troubled, they are usually so for predictable reasons. Common themes are:

1. Women (yes, it usually is women) who “love” too much, who believe any man is better than no man.
2. Men and women who are in relationships where too much happened too soon and then things turned out very differently than expected.
3. Men and women who feel trapped in an abusive cycle or in a dead-end marriage who feel helpless at the prospect of making necessary, radical changes, and,
4. Men and women who discover that “love” (not the real thing of course) really is blind (and deaf and mute).

Always, with matters of the heart, let your head take the lead. Always speak up, even when speaking up puts the relationship in jeopardy. Always know that too much too soon is a sign of danger ahead. Always take the action required for your safety and well-being. Always be suspicious when someone who says they love you, wants to speak for you, decide things for you and gives you the impression that you are not quite capable of being a full person without their benevolent assistance. It is of course equally troubling when someone suggests they are not capable of being a complete person without your benevolent assistance.

Here are some ways (apart from those included above) that you might be in a difficult or troubled relationship:

1. You’re so used to walking on eggshells it feels like your world is covered in them!
2. You know that no matter how innocent or insignificant a disagreement might be it will get magnified out of all proportion.
3. You wish you could say something but when you do you, the payback is so grilling, grueling, and eternal that silence is preferable.
4. Innocent statements are misinterpreted, misquoted, and repeated incorrectly forever.
5. You whisper under your breath what you’d really like to scream loudly for the world to hear.
6. If you are silent you are avoiding conflict.
7. If you speak up or speak out you are “looking for trouble” or being unnecessarily confrontational or argumentative.
8. You have to watch your every word, smile, frown and subtle rolling of the eye since the smallest of actions on your part can carry super-sized meaning for your partner.
9. You tiptoe around hiding your wants, dreams, and ambitions.
10. You tolerate behavior from your significant other that you’d not tolerate from anyone else.
11. You fear fallout (divorce, separation) and yet want one. You’ve thought being abducted would be a better alternative than your current setup.
12. You fight about everything. There’s never a straight line between two simple desires or destinations. Everything is made more complex because jealousies, tensions and well-remembered history come between you when making the most simple of decisions.
13. You feel trapped by what is supposed to be love but have second thoughts (actually you’ve had a million thoughts!) about how love is supposed to feel.
14. You are usually wrong about everything and are repeatedly told you are stupid.
15. When you admit fault, even stupidity, you are at fault or weak for admitting it.
16. When you are right you are wrong for being right, then, when it clear you are right, you think you are perfect and trying to show others up.
17. In your “intimate” world white is black, black is white and the water is very murky. Up is down: down is up. Seeing happy couples makes you suspicious about what they must be hiding.
18. Your innocence is faked and you are told your innocence hiding real guilt.
19. Pointing out obvious errors or flaws in your partner is interpreted as entrapment.
20. Loving your partner (in their preferred manner) is not only emotionally exhausting it is impossible.
21. You are physically burned out and emotionally drained from trying to carry emotional needs of someone who cannot or will not take responsibility for meeting his or her own needs.
22. You secretly wish your partner would find someone else but then you wouldn’t want what you have endured visited on an enemy.
23. You are accused of seeing someone, of being unfaithful, or desertion when you pursue the most innocent of activities.
24. Your most innocent personal pursuits (reading, choosing when you go to bed, visiting friends, being with your family, shopping alone) are a waste of time or held under suspicion because you are choosing time away from your “partner.”
25. Your partner can do nothing alone and cannot fathom that you would want to anything that does not include them.
26. It feels like you are “sharing” life with an emotional piranha and yet, for some unfathomable reason you stay and feel unable to escape.

No one can abuse you without your cooperation. Put a stop to it today. If you are in danger, do everything it takes to get yourself to safety. Leave your husband if it is necessary. It is better to be safe than dead, free than “abducted” in the name of marriage. There are things more important than marriage – like patience, honor, respect, freedom, goodness and peace. If he says he loves you but you detect none of love’s qualities and are living in danger and fear, do whatever it takes to secure your safety. If you do not stand up to an abusive person, the abuse will accelerate and patterns establish themselves ever more firmly. Turn around begins within the heart and a good place to start is with a few simple decisions:

Take the Pledge of A Growing Person

I am a person with a history to be respected, a present to enjoy and a future to build. I am fully capable of living my life to the full. I do not need a man or a woman to make me complete although a respectful, equal and mutual relationship will enlarge my life. I will not be sidetracked by unhealthy relationships again. I will not build friendships, go out with, or become intimate with anyone who does not regard me with utmost respect. I want equality, honesty and trust in my relationships. I am better off single, alone and lonely than I am “sharing” my life with a man or woman who lies to me, cheats on me and disrespects me. I will start to move my life in a healthy direction despite the difficult hurdles that are in my path.

Rod Smith, Copyright, 2000

July 26, 2006

Healthy Relationships / Rate yourself

by Rod Smith

All relationships have the potential to be both healthy and unhealthy.

Here are signs of healthy relationships:

1. People are close because they choose to be. It is not forced, obligated, manufactured or pretended.

2. Sarcasm is never used. Remember sarcasm is the use of words so as to intentionally hurt or wound another.

3. Individuals can be unpredictable and free. Forgiveness is easily given both to others and self.

4. No one ever dominates, manipulates or intimidates anyone.

5. People listen.

6. People do not pretend they are okay when they are not.

7. People do not spend a lot of time analyzing their relationships.

8. People have both individual and shared goals.

9. Each person is permitted and indeed encouraged to speak, plan, choose and feel for him or herself. Others do not usurp these important functions: the individual is given his or her complete freedom.

10. People understand it is more important to love than it is to be right or to win.

11. People laugh a lot but not at each other.

12. People do not use each other to further their own (often hidden) goals.

Copyright, Rod E. Smith, 1998

July 26, 2006

How do you fix a relationship (that has been) burnt out by “lack of space”?

by Rod Smith

(This post HAS NOT been “finished” for the newspapers. It is a work in progress waiting for YOUR input – please comment and help other readers with your insight).

There is ALWAYS hope....

There is ALWAYS hope....

Remember there are NO easy answers when it comes to love and humanity and toxic love and fallen humanity.

It is very difficult, although not impossible, to “fix” a relationship that has been “burnt out” by “lack of space.” Sometimes, for grievously toxic couples, it might be impossible and a complete break-up may be necessary.

In a dating relationship a complete break (without the promise of something in the future) might be necessary. Yes. I mean a real and full and proper end to what was, with no hope or promise about restarting the relationship in the future.

In a marriage, the necessary journey toward simultaneous separateness and respectful togetherness is a tough, but achievable, one.

When emotional over-crowding (“space invasion”) has occurred, when two people, and for clarity’s sake I will call them Jack and Jill, have reached saturation point with each other, the very presence of Jack can send cold shivers down Jill’s spine. If Jill has felt invaded (consumed, overwhelmed, drowned) by Jack, this will only serve to make Jack become stronger in his attempts to re-establish the proximity he once knew. And the cycle continues (usually with even greater intensity).

At least one of the more difficult things for Jack to understand is that Jill wants to be without Jack, after having been so very “close.” It is difficult for him to understand how Jill could want, even enjoy, being without him.

Some separation (real separation) is probably required.

Both persons, during such a separation, will benefit from gathering their community around them for honest support.

Both persons, during such a separation, will benefit from seeing that there is life after this relationship, even if it does not feel like it.

Remember SPACE is needed because it was not there (established, discussed) in the first place! Everyone NEEDS space (separateness) and if this need is not met, the relationship will begin to shake and rattle and symptoms will begin to emerge in other areas within the relationship.

July 26, 2006

Appearance is everything – how to hurt your partner while looking innocent

by Rod Smith

Rod Smith, MSMFT

Please forgive my cynical tone, but I have seen three couples in the past few days who have perfected the art of hurting each other while remaining “perfectly innocent.” Here’s how to do it:

Bargain with sex. Use it as a reward for getting what you want. This will go a long way to grind down your partner’s confidence. If you are really good at this, you will feel somewhat like a puppeteer who is able to get whatever he or she wants out of a puppet. Over time, if your partner is sufficiently complaint (something you want to ensure!) you will always get your way in all areas of your life and being a loving partner will hold little challenge for you but to remain ahead of the game.

Be very passive. Withhold your opinions, insights and contribution from your partner in matters that hold little interest for you, yet be very vocal when things don’t turn out as you expect. Sit back. Leave all the important decisions (that do not really interest you) to your partner. Avoid getting fully involved yet leave room for blame. This is quite an art, but once perfected, it will serve you well.