Posts Tagged ‘Relationship’

How to Recharge Your Relationship

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Relationships can give you powerful experiences, but they can also be rather fragile and break easily if you are not careful. Anyone who has ever been in a relationship will know that a million and one things could go wrong in a relationship.

For example, due to work reasons, 2 individuals may be forced to stay apart for a prolonged period of time, which is not healthy for a relationship. Sometimes, due to petty fights and quarrels, a relationship ends prematurely. Other times, two people just stop seeing each other because the spark is gone.

When it comes to maintaining a relationship, bear in mind that there are avoidable and unavoidable circumstances. For instance, giving a relationship to continue being able to make a living is an unavoidable circumstance. It’s just unfortunate. But it happens at times. That is just life. But having petty quarrels and fights or allowing a relationship to go stale can be avoided. In other words, you can do something about such situations, and help turnaround a relationship that is heading southwards.

So the challenge is, how do you recharge a relationship when tension is running high, and you barely want to speak with your partner? Or what do you do when you realize that the spark during courtship is gone?

The very first step that you can take, is to accept that there is a problem with the relationship. It’s now time to face the problem, and to stop running away from it. Some couples refuse to communicate and face the challenges until it is too late. You never want that to happen. The moment you accept that there is a problem, you have set the gears in motion. Healing can then begin. Now, you must do what you can to recharge the relationship with positive energy. Here are some tips.

Making love is a big part of the relationship. Two people sharing the same experience, enjoy a complete sense of togetherness. The act itself will help bond two people closer together. So you may wish to consider using this simple act to help heal the relationship.

But bear in mind that you shouldn’t just jump from a fight into a love making session. Chances are, your partner will just push you away. Give each other time and space for the negative emotions to die off. Then make your approach with love and compassion. Let your partner feel that he or she is missed. When you do that, you have taken the first step. The rest should come naturally. Your partner will reciprocate, and both can enjoy the company of each other again.

If you really want to spice things up a little, you can consider bringing some naughty toys into the bedroom.

Divorcing a Narcissist

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Going through the process of a divorce is not easy, and rarely pleasant. It is a huge loss to be dealt with emotionally, and there are many practical considerations to be managed as well. There are issues surrounding the loss of an ideal picture of marriage and family, the breaking of a commitment, the loss of the intimate relationship you once shared with your spouse, financial issues, living arrangements, the impact on mutual friends and family members, and of course the effects on your children. Unfortunately, if your spouse is a narcissist, these issues can become even more contentious and difficult to settle.

Chances are, you are getting a divorce because your partner continually commits bewildering, confusing, and destructive acts. When the divorce becomes a reality, it is likely that the gloves will come all the way off and you will experience even more hurtful behavior. Lacking in empathy, and not receiving the accustomed “narcissistic supply,” (admiration and attention) from you anymore, you might be discarded as worthless to the narcissist and any fa?e that your spouse put up to keep you in the relationship may drop. It is important to stay as collected as possible in this situation, and stay as focused and unengaged emotionally with your spouse as possible. He or she is not the person to go to for help or emotional support. Here are 4 practical tips for leaving the narcissist successfully:

1. Cover your legal bases and do it soon. Anytime there is property, significant assets, and/or children involved, an attorney is very important. Enlist the services of an attorney who you feel safe and secure with, and who understands the dynamics of a potentially “high conflict” situation, as well as a thorough understanding of more peaceful alternatives like mediation. If the attorney glazes over or dismisses you when you bring up narcissism, find another attorney to work with.

2. Make some immediate financial preparations. In the short term, make sure you have access to money. Get a credit card in your own name, while your credit is still combined with your spouse’s. Open a bank account in your name as well, and stash some emergency funds in it, just in case. Court orders are designed to protect you from having your access to funds blocked by a spouse, but it is always wise to expect that your partner may not “play by rules.” Make copies of all financial records and information ? tax returns, W-2’s, paystubs, loan information, insurance policies, employee reimbursement accounts, mileage plans, car titles, property appraisals, bank statements, credit card statements, 401K statements, investment statements, and the like. Your attorney can give you a complete list of all documents needed. See a financial planner for advice about settlements and future outcomes.

3. Log and document everything ? times, dates, and events. Record all the immoral, unethical, illegal, and destructive acts your spouse commits. This is particularly important if you live somewhere where there is fault assigned to divorce, or if you have child custody issues. If you have concerns for your children’s safety with your narcissistic spouse and he or she doesn’t agree to your custody terms, you might want to ask for a custody or parenting time evaluation. These can take many months so be sure to request it right away if it is necessary.

4. Avoid interacting with your narcissistic spouse, except as absolutely necessary. Avoid personal conversations, or assimilating his or her criticisms or manipulations of you. Remember, it is likely your spouse will try to belittle, dumbfound, or cause you to question your perception of reality. Be careful what information you share, keeping in mind it may all be used against you later.

Debating Whether to Divorce

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Making a decision to get a divorce is a painful and difficult process. There are many factors to consider, such as ideals of home and family, concepts of commitment, shared finances, the cumulative investment of time and energy, the impact of mutual friends and family members, changes in living arrangements, and of course the impact on the children. All of these considerations should be weighed carefully against the reasons for leaving the marriage. There are instances where the marriage has become so toxic and emotionally or physically destructive that the best option might be to leave. While everyone must make their own choices about how much they wish to tolerate, here are 3 scenarios that are extremely damaging and it may be wise to consider terminating the relationship:

1. There is abuse in the relationship. Whether emotional or physical, the long term effects can be devastating. If you are being physically abused, this is extremely dangerous and you are advised to contact a domestic violence shelter, or counselor that specializes in this issue, for help and support. You will need help to construct a plan to assure your safety, based on your individual circumstances. Keep in mind that one of the most dangerous junctures with a physical abuser is during the time of leaving the relationship. If the problem is emotional abuse, criticism and controlling behavior that makes you feel inferior or crazy around your spouse, the effects can be devastating. You may feel worthless, depressed, and question yourself constantly. If you have children, the effects on them of witnessing abuse can be very serious.

2. Your spouse is addicted to drugs and alcohol, and refuses to get any help to address the problem. This can be painful to live with, as it is likely your spouse puts you and your needs aside regularly in pursuit of his or her next high or drink. It is difficult for your partner to be fully present in the relationship emotionally when self medicating to that extent. You may be tempted to put your own needs aside in order to focus your attention on managing the various drug or alcohol induced crises that arise. You may be caught up in legal or financial woes caused by your partner’s addiction (job losses, legal charges related to DUI’s, personal injury, or even a death resulting from drug or alcohol abuse). If children are involved, they are witnessing disfunction and may even be in danger themselves, arising from poor judgment or neglect at the hands of an addicted parent.

3. Your partner has a pattern of infidelity in your marriage. An affair can be a catalyst for a renewed commitment and better accountability and communication, but only if trust can be rebuilt over time. In a situation where infidelity continues, the story is different. Beyond being emotionally painful, you are risking your physical health and even your health if you continue to be intimate with someone who is intimate with others. A healthy relationship cannot be successfully built on mistrust and repeated betrayals. If you have children, know that they are observing your marriage as the prototype and example for their own.

Codependence and Your Relationship

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

The term “codependent” is frequently used to describe the character traits and common behavior patterns of people who are closely involved with addicts. These character traits can often be found in individuals who choose to stay in other types of relationships where the dynamic is unbalanced and unhealthy, such as a relationship where one partner abuses the other. These tendencies and traits can become a problem if the victimized or traumatized partner exhibits too much tolerance, doesn’t set appropriate boundaries, and then perpetuates the cycle. When the involved parties remain in the status quo, there is little motivation for anyone to change. Here are 4 signs you might have codependent tendencies in your relationship:

1. You tend to minimize or rationalize the destructive things your partner does. You might find yourself thinking that there are much worse situations and behaviors out there. You might be right, but it is a bit like comparing natural disasters ? a tornado may cause more damage than a flood, but neither situation is desirable. Just because somebody else has it worse, doesn’t mean that the behavior you are tolerating is acceptable.

2. You try to hide your partner’s bad behaviors from others, or make excuses for it. You might feel a sense of responsibility for your partner’s reputation and feel driven to protect it. You might also feel ashamed of others knowing what you tolerate in your relationship, and prefer to avoid any kind of judgment. Your excuse-making may extend to also taking responsibility and attempting to cover your partner’s commitments for him or her. Unfortunately, not allowing your partner to experience consequences only cements the concept that he or she can treat you as they please and be irresponsible, and nothing bad will result. In the meantime you feel stressed and frustrated, and become increasingly preoccupied with controlling your partner’s harmful behavior and neglecting your own needs.

3. You feel as if you could not survive without this relationship, this partner, no matter how bad it gets. Perhaps you express frustration, and even set ultimatums ? but chances are you tend to back down if it appears that the relationship is truly being threatened or ending. Somehow, something feels better than nothing, and you might even drop an argument entirely in order to avoid rocking the boat.

4. You worry that something bad might happen to your partner if you leave and are not there to make sure he or she is okay. You feel guilty and responsible at the thought that your partner might self destruct without you there to rescue him or her. It is more comfortable for you to stay in a relationship where you are the giver and the caretaker, then to pursue a relationship that is equal give and take.

Pathological Partners

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Relationships require effort, energy, and commitment from both partners to be successful. When each partner is well balanced and emotionally healthy, this work can produce a mutually fulfilling, supportive, loving union that grows and deepens over time. However, for some couples, this success story is virtually impossible. There is a percentage of the general population that is afflicted with a personality disorder such as sociopathy or psychopathy (the terms are frequently used interchangeably).

When most people think of the term “sociopath,” they imagine a serial killer, or a person who tortures animals. While people who engage in these behaviors are often sociopathic, not all sociopaths physically torture or kill.
Many sociopaths, while all mentally hard wired in a similar way, will focus their attention on advancing a different set of desires and agendas. While they may not have the sensationalism or notoriety of being serial killers, these individuals commit damaging and destructive acts toward others in their circle, including toward intimate partners. If you have the misfortune to be closely involved with or married to a sociopath, it is likely that you find yourself often hurt, confused, or bewildered by the callous and shocking acts of your partner. While only a licensed mental health professional can diagnose a sociopath, it is helpful to understand the signs. Here are 9 signs your partner or spouse may be a sociopath:

1. Lack of remorse or guilt response. A sociopath may cry about being caught for doing something wrong, but ultimately does not have the same guilt response, or conscience, that the rest of us possess. In fact, your partner might even feel the victim “deserved” it or asked for it by being weak or vulnerable.

2. Difficulty controlling impulses. Your partner likely has difficulty delaying gratification, and may be prone to addictive behavior like drug abuse, alcoholism, or compulsive sexual behavior.

3. Non-conformity to social norms. In other words, your spouse might think and act as if the regular rules and restrictions placed on us by society simply don’t apply to him or her.

4. Consistently displays irresponsibility. Your spouse may not hold down a steady job, make bill payments on time, or honor commitments, like those made in marriage.

5. Frequent boredom and a need for constant stimulation. This can lead to risky behaviors, without concern for the safety of others or even self.

6. A tendency toward violent behavior. This may be evident in fistfights, assaults, and other violent displays.

7. Lying, deceitfulness, and conning behavior. Your partner might lie about everything and anything in order to benefit him or herself. Some sociopaths sponge off of the generosity of others and prefer manipulating others to sustain a parasitic lifestyle.

8. Shallow displays of emotion, and superficial charm. Your spouse may possess a great deal of charisma, but over time it becomes evident that there is no “deeper” emotional life.

9. An inflated and grandiose self worth. Your partner might think and behave as if he or she is a superior being and adopt a disdainful attitude toward others to match.

Toxic Marriages

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

A happy, fulfilling, romantic relationship is something many people desire and attempt to bring into their lives. A marriage in particular is an important relationship most people work very hard to protect. If both partners are committed, put forth effort, and are reasonably balanced emotionally, a successful union is definitely within reach. However, there are certain dynamics that might exist within a marriage or other intimate relationship that make a healthy union very unlikely. When certain behavior patterns cause destruction and emotional pain for one or both partners, the relationship becomes a toxic one. Here are 4 signs that your relationship is toxic:

1. There is abuse in the relationship. This may be physical or emotional abuse, and both are very damaging. If you are living with or fear the threat of physical abuse, this is a very dangerous situation. Physical abuse often escalates over time, and it is important to contact a domestic violence shelter or counselor specializing in this particular issue for specific help. There is an increased risk for harm at the time of leaving a physically abusive relationship, and it is important to create an appropriate safety plan for getting out. Emotional abuse is a pattern of criticism, punishment, and controlling behavior that causes emotional damage to the victim, and increases feelings of inferiority, incompetence, and is crazy making for the victimized partner.

2. Your husband or partner is actively abusing drugs and alcohol, and refuses to accept help or treatment for the problem. This is a very difficult situation, but the truth is that your partner is putting you and your needs in the relationship as a lower priority than achieving the next high or drink. The influence of an addictive use of substances makes it very difficult for your partner to be fully present and giving in the relationship. It can become a trap to be caught up in managing the various crises that come about in your partner’s life as a result of the substance abuse, and neglecting your own needs. Your husband or partner’s potential financial and/or legal problems resulting from the addiction can cause you serious issues as well. Your safety may even be put at risk if, for example, you get in a car with your partner after he or she has been drinking.

3. There is repeated adultery or affairs in your marriage or relationship. An affair can become a catalyst for better communication and accountability between partners and strengthen the relationship, provided both partners recommit and do not continue the adulterous behaviors. However, if the betrayals continue, there is no real foundation to rebuild trust or intimacy. In addition to the emotional pain of the betrayed spouse, there is the risk of physical illness and even death if you are intimate with someone who is not monogamous with you.

4. Your husband or partner has a personality disorder, like narcissism or sociopathy. These disorders have a specific set of symptoms, but the results can be similar for the non-disordered partner ? bewilderment, confusion, and hurt over the destructive actions of your partner. Unfortunately, there is little in the way of effective treatments for these disorders at this time, and the disordered partner rarely acknowledges that there is a problem to begin with. This makes the prospect for change very small.

Anger and Divorce

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Divorce is a painful and difficult process that can provoke a wide array of emotions. Hurt, grief, relief, anger ? all of these can be present and it can take time to work through and resolve these feelings. One emotion that can become consuming before, during, and after the divorce is anger. Particularly if there has been a blatant betrayal like infidelity, or the process has been adversarial, anger may be present. It can be useful for a period of time, as anger can be energizing and motivate us to take actions to better our lives. However, when it becomes consuming and prevents us from finding peace and serenity over time, then it no longer serves us. Here are 4 steps for letting go of anger from a divorce, and clearing the deck for happiness, fulfillment, and joy moving forward:

1. Allow yourself to feel the full effects of the emotion. Note the sensations in your body, the clenched jaw, tight shoulders, or overall body stiffness. Notice the feelings and how they manifest, whether it be an ache in the chest or a sinking feeling in your stomach. Now, make a conscious decision that you no longer wish to carry around all the negative energy and allow it to hurt you. Commit to the idea that you deserve peace and joy, and this anger stands in the way of that goal.

2. Begin to look at your ex spouse with a different set of eyes. Allow for the possibility that he or she did the best they could with what they had to work with. Is he or she an addict? A cheater? A narcissist? Understand that some people develop coping mechanisms in life that damage other people they are close to. It is unfortunate, but collateral damage in these situations is all too common. Just know it is their coping strategy, not yours.

3. Accept the idea that you are exactly where you are meant to be, at this moment, in your skin, exactly as you are right now. So is your ex, so let go of any sense of responsibility to “punish” him or her, and visualize releasing your partner into the universe, to God and whatever may be in store for his or her future. Begin to imagine your future, and the possible benefits that could arise from the experience you went through. There are many different people with many different experiences, and you have just woven another level of experience and understanding into the tapestry of your life. What did you learn? Could your knowledge help others? Protect you from further harm in the future? Explore the possibilities.

4. If you have any anger that is self directed, repeat the above steps to forgive and accept yourself. Repeat the steps until you begin to feel some release and greater acceptance and objectivity. If negative thoughts persist and begin to cycle through your mind, imagine a large red “X” through the thought, and say “Stop” or “Cancel” out loud. Then proceed to another activity that will engage your mind.