What to Do if You Find Yourself in a Toxic Relationship

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What to Do if You Find Yourself in a Toxic Relationship

Are you in a toxic relationship? Sometimes it dawns on you all-of-a-sudden. At other times, you slowly come to realize that something is very wrong. If you aren’t sure, here are some signs. Is there a lack of respect in your relationship? Do you avoid one another and loathe the time you spend together? Does the atmosphere fill with negative energy whenever you are in the same room? Does the idea of spending time with your spouse or partner fill you with dread? Is there a lot of contempt and insults flying like knives whenever you are in a room together? If any of these sound familiar, then the relationship is toxic. Sometimes things get way off track, or something happened that the relationship is having difficulty recovering from, the death of a child perhaps or infidelity on the part of one or both partners. At other times, it’s the buildup of many unresolved problems that start to drive a wedge between the two. The more differences the further apart they are.

In a toxic relationship you can feel emotionally abused, neglected, manipulated, taken for granted, or deprived of a sex life. Your spouse or partner could have cleared out the joint account, disappeared for days on end or buffeted you with one juvenile remark after another. Whatever the situation, when you find yourself in a toxic relationship, where there is no way of resuscitating it and bringing it back to life, you have to find a way to extricate yourself as painlessly as possible, and that can be tricky. Though many relationships can be saved, in the case of one or both parties hurting each other repeatedly, a clean break is best. There are three easy steps that you can use to get out with as little discomfort as possible. First, have a clear understanding of why you want to leave. A charming lover can muddy the waters, confuse you, woo you back and make you forget, for a time, why exactly it was you were leaving. You need to have concrete examples you can hang onto when things get confusing. You can even make yourself a little slogan or mantra to remind yourself of why.

Make a clean break. Decide when you are moving out or when you are breaking up with them, do it and then close off all avenues of contact. You don’t want to get sucked back in again. Many feel vulnerable after a breakup. That means you may be more likely to be receptive to their charms. Also, seeing and hearing from them will keep those wounds fresh. You want to be given the chance to heal and move on. Unfriend them from your social media pages and erase them from your phone. It may seem drastic but it will also be effective. If you work with this person or see them regularly, keep distance. Be professional if not slightly cold and don’t slow down to chat when you see them in the hallway. Give them a polite nod, say hello and keep moving. Sooner or later they’ll get the message and will stop trying to get your attention. Feel your self-worth. It is when we feel bad about ourselves that we are the most vulnerable. When we feel good about ourselves, we usually won’t put up with foolishness. Don’t get sentimental about the relationship. Remember what they put you through and that you deserve better. For more advice read, Psychopath Free: Recovering from Emotionally Abusive Relationships with Narcissists, Sociopaths, & Other Toxic People by Peace.

Top Divorce Indicator Prevention

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Top Divorce Indicator Prevention

Want to know the top divorce indicator and how to prevent it? The top indicator is how a couple communicates. Does their speech build people up or tear them down? The University of Washington’s Professor John Gottman is the nation’s top expert on couple’s studies. After more than twenty years of research, he has found that the single most common indicator of divorce is when couple’s show contempt for each other. Contempt can be defined as negativity, sarcasm or a negative judgment regarding their partner. The opposite of respect is contempt. Additionally, there are four major statement that symbolize contempt. Whether the contempt is intentional or not is another matter. Your language plus a directive for instance is such language. “You should, You are, You’d better, You have to,” are examples. These kinds of statements are showing that the person is being judged and told what to do. It’s only natural then that they get resentful and defensive, not good emotions for a blissful marriage.

Universal statements are the next sort that reveal contempt. “You always, You never, Everyone or Such a” are often included in these statements. They show a person’s behavior or character in a negative light. Statements like “You always leave your socks on the bathroom floor.” “Everyone gets places on time but you.” “Everyone knows what a slob you are,” and so on. These statements hurt our partner in a few different ways. These statements only say what is wrong and shame the person they are directed to. Yet, they fail to say things in a positive light. And they don’t say how to make things right.  What is the solution to the problem? Also, this sort of logic is easy to pierce. If you say, “You never pay for anything.” The other person can just say, “I paid for dinner just last year.” This person gets a laugh and the statement has been negated all at once. Then there is invalidating feelings. If you tell someone they are blowing things out of proportion then you are invalidating their feelings. Instead, validate your lover’s feelings. Tell them you understand how they feel and why they feel that way. When you have a problem address the behavior and how it made you feel. “You didn’t pick up your socks and it made me feel like your maid” should be enough to drive the point home. Always talk to your partner with respect and expect the same in return. For more advice read, Communication Miracles for Couples: Easy and Effective Ways to Create More Love and Less Conflict by Jonathan Robinson.

Free yourself from Post-Divorce Negativity

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Free yourself from Post-Divorce Negativity

Few events in life can fill you with so many negative emotions such as sadness, a sense of loss, despair, depression, anxiety and hatred like a bitter divorce. Even conscious uncoupling can be deeply unsettling. The first thing to realize is that it is all inside your own head. You may feel a torrent of emotions. But you decide exactly what to do with them, how to manage them and ultimately whether you come out a stronger, more developed, self-actualized person at the end who has experienced a kind of personal growth from this experience, or if you miss that chance due to retaining bitterness. If you are hurling all of this hatred and anger at your spouse, you’ll soon realize it’s like swallowing poison to murder someone; it hurts you terribly, but the impact on them is limited. Instead, an outlook of yourself both as patient and doctor is sufficient. You have these emotions and now it’s time to see how to best tend to them so that you get the best outcome. Your spouse as well may be casting vitriol at you every chance they get. You can’t control what happened or how they feel. Nor can you control their behavior. What you can control is your reaction to it, and how much you will let it bother you. There are some simple beliefs you can adopt to help shed your negativity and also protect yourself against your ex’s. Here’s how to free yourself from post-divorce negativity.

Realize that whatever your spouse says about you is their problem, not yours. Be sure to clear your name. And if they are using the children to spy or as a weapon, make sure to nip that situation in the bud. The children should never be put in the middle. They will suffer for it. But other than that, they will say what they will. You choose how you react to it. Their speech is all about them, not about you. What’s more, other people will be watching how you react. Will you be classy all the way, or sink to their level? In the end others judge them for their behavior, and they’ll sink themselves. Instead of seeing divorce as an end, which it invariably is, see it as a new beginning. You have freedom to be who you want to be, and discover a whole new you. Your life won’t be perfect after divorce, but it is still pretty good and it can be even be better. Make a dream board. Write in a diary. Make a bucket list. Go back to school. Get some more training or try and climb the ladder at work. Invest in a hobby. Take a trip with a friend. There are so many things you can do and so many directions you can take your life in now that your ex isn’t weighing you down. There will be good days and bad. If you need to cry it out, do it. It’s a healing process and think of it as such. But don’t wallow in grief. Know when it’s time to pick yourself up and get going again.

Realize that every experience you have in life is another lesson that makes you wiser and therefore a better person in the end. It may not feel like it now but this could be a completely transformative experience for you. Not everything in life is meant to endure. Change can be very scary and it can be hard to say goodbye. Just keep things moving. Make the necessary steps, no matter how small or staggering. Sooner or later you will make it to where you are supposed to be. Sometimes it feels satisfying to take part in divorce drama with your ex. But sooner or later you will understand that it weighs you down far more than it lifts you up. After a divorce you may feel like damaged goods. But the truth is people are judging you far less than you think. Understand that your life and your happiness is ultimately based on your own thinking and no one elses. You can make the world a better place and you can make your life all you want it to be. It’s all up to you. For more, pick up a copy of the book, The Rediscovery of Me: Reinventing Life after Divorce by Dr. Marcia Brevard Wynn and Earl Sewell.

The Rules of Engagement for Fighting Fair

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The Rules of Engagement for Fighting Fair

Arguing in a relationship is eventual, even necessary. From fighting, boundaries are found, deep seeded issues are exposed and can be dealt with, and development and healing really have their roots in conflict. What breaks people up is fighting unfairly. You need to learn the rules of engagement for fighting fair. The first one is focus on the goal. In the heat of an argument all of a sudden lovers become adversaries who throw down their gauntlets and will do whatever it takes to win. But this mindset is poisonous for a relationship.

Instead, focus on tackling a problem cooperatively instead of competitively. If you are used to fighting a certain way explain to your partner before your next squabble that you don’t want to do this anymore. That you love them and don’t want to fight like this with them but want to find a way to work together instead. If they are yelling at you or goading you into a fight, don’t take the bait. Instead, walk away. Or tell them “I don’t want to do this with you.” Or “I hate it when we hurt each other.” That will stop them cold. Focus on the crux of the conflict. Do the two of you interpret the same set of events in different ways? Interpretation is everything.

If you think something is no big deal but your sweetie flips their lid, and you act like it’s no big deal instead of validating their feelings, you are essentially saying that they are no big deal, since they care about it. Then they will go on and on to prove to you why it’s important, and if you dig in on your side to protect your ego, whammy, you have a fight on your hands. Instead, try listening actively. Listen to what your lover says and repeat it back to them. See if you’ve got it right. It might sound silly at first. But if you can figure out how the two of you interpret something you can plan a way of dealing with the situation that suits both of you. Oftentimes fights are more over miscommunication than anything else. Usually both sides mean well but misunderstand one another, and so a fight ensues.

Tell the person how you feel when they say certain things that upset you. Don’t throw past arguments or issues in your partner’s face. That isn’t fair. It isn’t helpful and they will resent you for it. Don’t call each other names. You will regret it and they will be hurt. Sarcasm doesn’t move anything forward, it only slows the process down. If you feel yourself getting heated or your lover is, suggest that you two couch the problem and discuss it at another time. Be sure to mention when so that your lover doesn’t feel like you are blowing them off. Don’t insult or give a low blow. Show respect when fighting. Think of arguments as the pruning that helps your relationship develop and grow. For more advice read, The High-Conflict Couple: A Dialectical Behavior Therapy Guide to Finding Peace, Intimacy & Validation by Alan E. Fruzzetti, Ph.D. and Marsha M. Linehan, Ph.D.

Ending a Manipulative or Controlling Relationship

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Ending a Manipulative or Controlling Relationship

If you somehow found yourself in a manipulative or controlling relationship, it may seem impossible to end it. Though it can be difficult, it can certainly be done. You may feel guilty, somewhat responsible, wondering if they can make it without you, or visa-versa. But that’s just the manipulation talking. How can you be happy, fulfilled and truly free with this person in your life controlling you? You need to prepare, go through with it and move on with your life.

First, realize that you are being controlled. Has the person had terrible outbursts followed by how much they want and need you? Did you try to leave before and they threatened you, or even threatened suicide? Have they slowly wormed their way into every aspect of your life? Do they put you down in front of others? Are they extremely jealous? Write down a list of all the controlling and manipulative things they have done, or are doing. Keep this list and refer back to it when you feel your resolve wavering. Remember all the reasons you want it to end, and then make arrangements. Are you two living together? Make arrangements to move elsewhere. Do so quietly. Plan what you are going to say. Make it short, sweet and to the point. Let them talk but don’t let them drone on. And don’t let them charm, or cajole or convince you to stay. Don’t budge. Remember your list and don’t back pedal, keep moving ahead.

It may help to end the relationship in your mind first. Pretend you are confronting the person and say all the things you wish you could say, if they weren’t so manipulative. Remember the good times and the bad. Reflect, but realize it’s better this way. You’ll never be able to live your life with them controlling and manipulating you. Think of yourself as single. Be firm. And once you drop the hammer, don’t contact them. Erase them from your phone. Block their email. Unfriend them on Facebook and other social media sites. Keep away from them. Don’t give them a chance to explain. How many chances have you given them? Do not tell them where you are going or where you’ll be living. If you see that person, just walk away from them. Do not give them a chance to chat or explain things further. They are only looking for an in to suck you in. Realize that they are a charmer and have the ability to manipulate you, and resist them.

If there is something you absolutely need to contact this person for, do so through a mutual friend, or have your friend contact them and pick up the item. If it has to be you, pick it up in a public place. Take the item. Thank them and get out of there. Give them short yes and no answers. Be cold. Don’t give in to any of their advances. Spend some time with your friends, relatives and other loved ones. Get busy with work, school or whatever you are doing. Love yourself. And recognize how much better life is without someone manipulating you. For more advice read, In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George K. Simon, Jr., Ph.D.