Why do relationships get so difficult? You may find the relationship with your partner tricky, or those with your family members or your children can get fraught too.
Are you trapped in negative repetitive patterns? Do you have the same old arguments that never get resolved?
We often don’t get many good examples of how to be in relationship with others in a healthy way. When I look at many of the leaders out there, they are really good examples of how not to relate. The news reports mainly on the negative and dysfunctional behaviours and so do popular TV soaps – of course the latter especially as the drama makes for interesting viewing.
But we may not want this drama in our own lives on a regular basis.
The cause of relationship difficulties
Growing up we may not get shown healthy ways of relating. Parents may argue or get angry with each other and how they deal with this will have an impact on the children. It will affect children at the time it is happening as well as later in life. You may repeat what you saw at home, whether you want to or not. Suddenly you realise that you sound just like your mother or father with your partner or children.
Did you learn how to resolve your conflicts, or did it get pushed under the carpet? Is it a habit to pretend it’s not there at all? Maybe when you were angry or disappointed you were told of for this, or put down and dismissed. Then you quickly ‘earn’ not to show this anymore and put on your nice face.
You adopt these patterns when you are young and they are really helpful. They allow you to make the best of a difficult situation in which you didn’t get any support.
Unfortunately these patterns are still around when you are an adult and may get in the way of relating in healthy ways. If you learned not to show your emotions or talk about how you feel for fear of being dismissed or ridiculed, then this will be challenging for you in your relationships as an adult. You may not even recognise this, but often the early fear is still stopping you from relating in constructive ways. You may not even feel the fear anymore. It may feel ‘normal’ that it is hard to be open and vulnerable with your partner or loved ones and share how you feel.
One tip for change
One thing to do is to be gentle and compassionate with yourself. Recognise that the difficult habits and patterns are there for a very good reason. They helped you get through the difficult times and kept you safe.
So rather than giving yourself a hard time about this, befriend these so called difficult patterns in you, as they did a really good job for you. The more you can see them as an ally rather than an enemy – the more relaxed and at ease you can feel with yourself.
The more relaxed and at ease you are with yourself, the more this will come through in relation to your loved ones too. You may notice you feel more compassionate towards their patterns too.
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