Stop Trashing Your Relationship

Stop Trashing Your Relationship

90 Ways We Hurt Our Partners


"It’s hard to admit the awful things we do and say and don’t do and don’t say that cause harm to those we love. All those unskillful choices boomerang back to cause suffering to us as well."

It’s hard to admit the awful things we do and say and don’t do and don’t say that cause harm to those we love. All those unskillful choices boomerang back to cause suffering to us as well. If any of these bloopers listed below are ones that you resort to when you are hurt, frightened, frustrated and angry, please catch yourself red-handed. Then you can be more careful to pause and reflect before continuing to indulge in such destructive communications. These are offered as an inventory to see the ways you may be holding down the wellbeing of your relationship, so that you can enjoy your partnership to the max.

  1. Indulging in issuing your judgments.
  2. Taking an attitude that your partner is the enemy that must be defeated.
  3. Insisting that you’re right.
  4. Making agreements that you break.
  5. Grabbing power.
  6. Issuing insults.
  7. Raising your voice.
  8. Having a hard edge on a quiet voice.
  9. Indulging in criticizing.
  10. Keeping secrets.
  11. Telling lies.
  12. Insisting on continuing a discussion when they have asked for a break.
  13. Bringing out the big guns by threatening divorce or separation.
  14. Violating confidentiality by revealing private information you know they don’t want gossiped.
  15. Using vulnerable information you are privileged to have to throw up to them to gain an advantage.
  16. Agreeing to things you have no intention to follow through on just to get the uncomfortable argument over with.
  17. Strengthening your position by saying, “Our friends agree with me.”
  18. Refusing to get vulnerable by covering fear and hurt by exclusively using expressions of anger.
  19. Stubbornly refusing to apologize even when you know you are responsible.
  20. Stubbornly refusing to accept their apology even though they are sincerely remorseful for what they did.
  21. Launch into your concerns before you have agreement from your partner that they are ready to discuss it.
  22. Bringing up an issue at an inopportune time such as late at night when you’re tired or in the morning when you’re rushing off to work.
  23. Bring up a crucial issue when you need your concentration to drive your car.
  24. Making up your mind that you know where the conversation is going before you give your partner a chance to speak their piece.
  25. Impatience
  26. Interrupting
  27. Using a tone of voice that is loud and accusatory can be worse than the words used.
  28. Entitlement: The attitude of “you owe me.”
  29. Poor listening because you are planning what you’re going to say next and not paying close attention.
  30. Not paying attention to what they are saying because you are preoccupied by other tasks.
  31. When your partner expresses a complaint, you’re defensive saying “you do it, too.”
  32. Bringing up issues from long ago to strengthen your case rather than staying focused on the present issue.
  33. Unflattering comparisons such as “you’re just like your mother”, or “you’re just like your father,” or “you’re just like my ex.”
  34. Other women/men I know do it this way.
  35. Insults
  36. Name-calling
  37. Threats and ultimatums.
  38. Stonewalling which is refusing to engage at all. It’s also known as the freeze out or the violence of silence.
  39. Statements that begin with “You” are most frequently judgments that get the conversation off on the wrong foot.
  40. Disguising accusations as questions such as “How can you possibly think that? or “How could you make such a stupid decision?”
  41. Saying “You always.”
  42. Saying “You never.”
  43. A kitchen sink fight is bringing up so many issues and throwing them all in a big pile so that the original issue gets lost.
  44. Yelling tends to put the other person on the defensive even if you’re right.
  45. Ducking out of responsibility by saying “I was only kidding; why can’t you take a joke?”
  46. Vindictiveness and revenge is punishment that always hurts the one dishing it out as well.
  47. Defaming their character to family and friends.
  48. Sticking with logic when they want their feelings to be understood.
  49. Denying it when you know you made a mistake.
  50. Leaving it to your partner to make the overtures to make up after a disagreement.
  51. Not being wiling to accept that there are some issues that never get resolved, so you persist in attempting to convert their view to yours.
  52. Wimping out about bringing up important issues by withholding truths that need to be discussed even though there will be discomfort.
  53. Blurting things out without taking the time to reflect on how those words will land on your partner.
  54. Telling your partner “It’s too late to bring it up now” because the incident that is incomplete for them happened days, weeks, months or even years ago.
  55. Taking the moral high ground by striking an attitude of superiority and righteousness
  56. Saying, “That’s your problem.”
  57. Justifying using words as weapons.
  58. Pretending that you aren’t hurt or afraid when you are.
  59. Lowering expectations so far down that you are settling for living in chronic resentment.
  60. Speaking from your mind that is full of judgments and opinions rather than from your experience where your feelings are located (especially the vulnerable ones).
  61. Confessing your partner’s sins (such as weakness, selfishness, coldness, obstinacy, anger and aggression).
  62. Not paying attention because you assume you already know what they are talking about.
  63. Using a break to prepare a better defense rather than calm down and find creative solutions
  64. Being stingy with your words of affirmation, acts of service, touch, gifts and spending quality time together.
  65. The attitude of “I’ll be damned if I’ll give in” precludes finding creative solutions.
  66. Forgetting, while we are busy protecting ourselves, that even while angry, appreciation and gratitude for our partner is only a thought away.
  67. When you live with an attitude of grievance, you only have receptors to perceive their faults. You view your partner though faultfinding eyes.
  68. Making being right a higher priority than having harmony in the relationship.
  69. Neglecting to ask the most important question “How may I best love you?”
  70. Then neglecting to act on what’s revealed.
  71. No longer going on romantic getaways and honeymoons.
  72. Allowing other commitments (kids, work, etc.) to get in the way of enjoying frequent lovemaking sessions.
  73. Neglecting the opportunity to have non-sexual touch.
  74. Drifting into boring sexual encounters rather than risking novelty and adventure within the partnership.
  75. Rushing to solution when what your partner wants is to be heard by you with empathy and compassion.
  76. Neglecting to show love to your partner by showing tolerance, acceptance, and care to those family members and friends who are important to them.
  77. Not keeping the relationship balanced in giving and receiving.
  78. Forgetting to commemorate birthdays, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and wedding anniversaries.
  79. Saying, “You’re making a mountain out of a molehill” trivializes their concern.
  80. Placing allegiance with your family of origin rather than with our spouse is what causes the “in-law issues.”
  81. You may feel that you want to “shoot the messenger” when they bring you difficult truth, but you cheat yourself if you are closed to listening to their concerns.
  82. If you find yourself frequently saying “I just forgot” search for passive aggression.
  83. Violating someone’s clearly drawn boundaries.
  84. Changing the subject to distract from the original topic.
  85. Giving unsolicited advice.
  86. Not being willing to let go of the past.
  87. Embarrassing your partner in front of other people.
  88. Not taking good care of yourself so that you don’t bringing your best possible self to the partnership.
  89. Using any touch that is less than respectful, caring, affectionate, and loving.
  90. Neglecting to express appreciation and gratitude on a regular basis with the specifics of what you are grateful for.

Don’t be limited by these popular unskillful choices. By taking a fearless inventory of behaviors that we engage in that damage our relationship and make a commitment to change, we are well on our way to creating a delightful partnership. This is the way we “clean up our act”. When we do an honest assessment of the small, petty, manipulative behaviors that we indulge in, and begin to tell the truth about them, we get the big chance to change.

Poor choices give way to effective ones. It is a major turning point to move out of the disempowered victim position to a position of sharing power with our partner. The relationship that had been characterized by fear driven habituated patterns (that may have been in the family for generations) can come to a close. Over time, in their place, healthy, wholesome patterns of relating emerge that are characterized by the purest form of love.

Originally published on Psych Central. To view the original article, click here.

Read on to learn how a spiritualist and atheist make their relationship work.

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