Don’t let a Selfish Partner Hurt you

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Don’t let a Selfish Partner Hurt you

It may be hard to recognize the selfish, at least at first. Oftentimes they are social butterflies. Everyone loves and adores them. And everyone wants to cater to them, including you. But as time goes on and the charm starts to wear, as you get to peek more and more below the surface sometimes you start to see that this person’s whole world revolves around them. There isn’t room for you at all. You find yourself giving more and more, but they never return your energy or affection like they should. Instead, they suck you dry like a psychic vampire.

Don’t let a selfish partner hurt you. First, realize when a person is selfish and when you haven’t communicated your needs with them fully. Perhaps they don’t know what you want or how to fulfil your needs. Be patient. Communicate in lots of ways. See if they have a need to fulfill your desires but don’t know how to go about it. Help them. If they find excuses or are too resistant chances are they are selfish. But oftentimes one person in a relationship thinks the other should automatically know what they want. No one automatically knows what anyone wants. It isn’t a sign of love or not loving. It just means you have to learn to communicate your needs effectively.

Next, consider what the speech or behavior they are exhibiting is and if it is in fact selfish. What things do you do for them? Make a list. See what things they do for you. How does the list measure up? Some people look to date those that they can manipulate to get their own needs, wants and desires fulfilled without any concern or regard for the other person. Does this sound familiar? In a normal relationship the power dynamic is equal. But if you never do what you want to do, never go to the restaurants you want, never see the movie you want, never visit your family, and always undercut your desires to that of your partner, that person is indeed selfish. Your partner is probably convinced of how great they are and how lucky you are to have them. They think you need them and should get down on your knees and thank the heavens for putting them in your life. Talk about nerve.

If you think you are constantly being manipulated by a selfish person and no matter how many times you confront them, or try to get them to change, they don’t, make plans to end the relationship. Start drifting from them physically and emotionally. Detach from them. If they start freaking out show them the behavior you have to put up with. Use their words against them. Make it really uncomfortable for them. Then approach them about splitting up. Chances are they will be happy about it by then. No one wants to be in a relationship where they aren’t having fun, where they are being used. So turn the tables on them with coldness and you will have your freedom soon enough. For more advice read, Controlling People: How to Recognize, Understand, and Deal with People Who Try to Control You by Patricia Evans.

Silence is a Relationship Killer

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Silence is a Relationship Killer

Sometimes when something is wrong in a relationship one or both people will practice bouts of prolonged silence. This isn’t a moment of reflection or a collecting of thoughts. This is a wall put up. It speaks to an absence of emotional and verbal intimacy. The truth is, prolonged silences propagated by a strong emotion is a relationship killer. It speaks to an intense feeling just below the surface. Bottling feelings up inside does not relieve them. They tend to build like steam building inside a furnace. Sooner or later it’s going to explode. And the results will be ugly.

It’s better to communicate directly. Take some time to sort out your thoughts. Ask your partner for a particular time when you are calmer to discuss the issue. Talking about the issue with your partner will actually make you feel better, not cause you to act out. Another problem with silence is that it is a form of control or coercion. We usually think about loud, yelling people as controlling and coercive. But silence does the job just as thoroughly. It can even be seen as a form of bullying. Even though they aren’t being physically hurt you are controlling them through your silence. Instead of talking to them, explaining to them and persuading them of your point of view, in a respectful manner, you are asking for obedience and apologies merely by clamming up.

Sometimes silence is used for a particular offense. The aggrieved party then plays a film out in their head with them as the lead role and their lover doing and saying everything they want to make it right. They wait for their beloved to say and do these very things. And when the lover has no idea what they want, they get very agitated. This isn’t fair. No one is a mind reader. And if you respect the person you are going out with, you need to open up and talk about what is troubling you. At other times silence can be a punishment. But the problem is that instead of making the relationship stronger it actually starts to tear it down. There is no avenue of communication. Anger, sadness and depression can set in in one or both parties.

The relationship can’t move forward until the silence is broken, either by one party opening up or the other apologizing, or kowtowing and promising to make it up. The first situation is desirable as it will get the problem solved, though it may have hurt the relationship, showing one person that the other is very high maintenance and doesn’t have good communication skills. In the second one, one party is dominating the other. Sooner or later the dominated party will feel that they are being abused and seek greener pastures. Neither speaks well to the relationship. So speak up. Communicate. And if you are with someone that uses silence against you, evaluate if you want to stay with them at all. For more advice read, Why Can’t You Read My Mind?-Overcoming the 9 Toxic Thought Patterns that Get In the Way of a Loving Relationship by Jeffrey Bernstein, Ph.D. and Susan Magee.

ADHD and Relationships

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ADHD and Relationships

When one person has ADHD in a relationship, and the other person doesn’t, unique problems can occur. The power dynamic can become that of a parent to child, which isn’t healthy. The non-ADHD person becomes the one with the power, guiding, reminding and helping their partner. When the ADHD partner has a chore to be done, their counterpart may remind them, indeed several times, until the ADHD partner does it. Or the non-ADHD partner may give up and do it themselves rather than keep reminding their other half. Eventually, too many chores or responsibilities are allocated to the non-ADHD partner.

The symptoms of ADHD unmanaged are permanent. Distraction, memory problems and other symptoms start to weigh on the relationship. The non-ADHD partner becomes the parent, the ADHD partner the child. The power dynamic in this relationship becomes off kilter, leaning only to one side. This leads to a lack of respect on the part of the non-ADHD partner as they begin to view their partner like a child, and a condescending attitude can ensue. The ADHD partner begins to resent their significant other.

Adaptation is generally considered a good thing. One partner sees an issue arising and both partners change to meet and overcome it. Some research has shown however that stronger couples see problems coming down the pike and counteract them before they become an issue in the relationship. For ADHD, this power dynamic increases over time. As more and more control is lent to the non-ADHD partner and the more they become the parent, the other the child, the more resentment builds. Both people in this relationship have their problems with the other. One doesn’t want to do all of the work of the other. The ADHD partner doesn’t want to be treated like a child. They get tired of constant reminders, general bossiness and nagging. And the non-ADHD partner gets tired of doing so. And this dynamic puts a strain on the relationship. The couple feels less inclined toward positive feelings of love, affection, physical intimacy and romance.

Child/parent dynamics will almost inevitably lead to relationship or marital dysfunction. ADHD should be treated with the help of a mental health professional. Both partners should be involved. But if you are married or seriously involved with someone who has ADHD or if you have ADHD make sure to talk about it in depth with your partner. Treatment should also be sought. For more advice read, The ADHD Effect On Marriage: Understand and Rebuild Your Relationship in Six Steps by Melissa Orlov.

Do You Suffer from Love Addiction?

love-addiction

Do You Suffer from Love Addiction?

Everyone’s seen at least one couple like this. Where the woman is gorgeous, sweet and has a startling career or is packing a tremendous IQ. But she’s engaged to a dimwitted, repugnant loser. What on earth is she doing with him?! Or the guy who has everything going for him and he dates a woman who is coarse, vain, boorish and obtuse. What’s going on here? They may be love addicts, all hopped up on intimacy. They would rather be with someone substandard than be all alone. Rutgers University biological anthropologist Helen Fisher says love comes on in our brain like an amphetamine, followed by a dazzling opiate, all of which our own systems create. There is scientific data backing her up. A recent study of heartbroken lovers found shocking results. They had their brains scanned under an FMRI and found that a painful breakup mimicked quitting a cocaine addiction. That’s how powerful love is, and how the absence of it can feel. And of course, just like anything some people get addicted to it.  For those who truly suffer love addiction, generally one or both parents were emotionally unavailable. Here the person is perpetually trying to win the love they missed out on in childhood.

Tennessee detox and recovery clinic “The Ranch” specializes in all kinds of addictions, including sex addiction, emotional co-dependency and intimacy disorders. Psychologists there say that love addicts come in many different hues. Love addiction is defined as a compulsive need toward romance, relationships and sex that is harmful to both the addict and his or her partner. According to Ranch psychologists, “Although it may sound less damaging than other addictions, it shares many similarities.” Here love is a façade. The person goes and creates situations filled with drama as an entertainment and distraction. Only their lover can make their life meaningful, they say. Without their partner they don’t want to live. At least, until another one comes along. For women in their 40’s, a biochemical reason may be at fault. Hormones trick women of a certain age into thinking they are so in love, far more so than usual, in order to receive a fresh course of genes before the last of the eggs are gone, signaling the onset of menopause.

There are different kinds of behaviors a love addict can get involved with. Some get too attached. Then they undermine the relationship themselves causing it to end, so that they can get another partner and feel that rush of love beginning anew, once again. Others have abandonment issues. They will hold onto a bad relationship no matter the cost. There are those who are manipulative and controlling, others clingy and desperate. Sometimes love addicts target those who avoid intimacy, forming a sort of strange codependency, a mechanism where the relationship becomes a constant skirmish filled with pain and pleasure, in a war without end. Picture a tornado of constant bickering intermingled with makeup sex. But is that really a great love worth fighting for as such addicts claim? For most of us it is a recipe for a long-term headache but a relationship which won’t last. Besides dopamine—the reward neurochemical released in the brain, oxytocin is also present. This is the bonding biochemical which initiates the “calm and cuddle” response. This, evolutionary anthropologists’ believe, is essential to the creation and raising of children.  In men, a similar neurotransmitter is present called vasopressin. So take a look at your relationship, or the one you just walked away from, to see if you’ve been laid victim to a biochemical dependency, if in fact you are as the Huey Lewis song claims “Addicted to Love.” If you believe you may actually have a problem pick up a copy of, Facing Love Addiction: Giving Yourself the Power to Change the Way You Love by Pia Mellody and Andrea Wells Miller.

Reasons for Divorce Nobody Thinks About

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Reasons for Divorce Nobody Thinks About

Some people are in denial of course. But for many couples divorce doesn’t come straight out of the blue. It was a buildup, a confluence of negative elements that suddenly builds into a deluge. Either there is an enormous blow up fight, or one person or both just decide they need to get out. But the roots of these negative behaviors have their seed in the past. Here are some reasons for divorce nobody thinks about as a big deal but can snowball over time and cause havoc. Do you feel better than your spouse or that you deserve better? Some people make jokes about this early in the relationship, or the other says they are too good for you and you believe them. Either way, that feeling is going to encroach on the relationship later on. Take a good look at your spouse and remember what tremendous qualities they have.

If you feel too constrained in a relationship don’t think about getting married. And if you do feel confided in your marriage you will probably look for any reason to cheat, or even get out of it. Explore those feelings and see where they lead. Lack of communication in any relationship is a serious issue. The best relationships are the ones where not only does our partner understand us but we understand them perfectly. But it takes a lot of hoops to get there. If you can’t communicate over little things your marriage won’t last. Marriages are rocked by serious problems in life. So if you can’t get over little things what happens when a big one comes along?

Watch your expectations. Some people have really high expectations early on and it starts to weigh on the marriage later. You will both have expectations that the other will not meet. Learn to mitigate these and remember your spouse’s positive qualities. Really it’s up to you and your spouse to invest in your marriage. You need to talk a lot and really investigate what goes on when you have a fight. Talk not only about issues but about your patterns. What sets one person off? What makes the other ignore subjects or leave, escaping the issue? You need to create a space where the two of you feel comfortable to discuss anything, without it being used against them later. Make your relationship more cooperative and less adversarial. See in which topic such as money or chores, or what issues such as one always feeling blamed or the other not feeling listened to, come up the most often. Why are these such touchy subjects in your marriage? What baggage does each person bring that contributes to your fights? Learn how to analyze your marriage and put positive patterns in place to supplant negative ones. For more advice read, The 11 Reasons Why Marriages Go Wrong and How to Make Yours Succeed by Richard Chesser.