How Your Self-Esteem affects your Relationships

SELF-ESTEEM

How Your Self-Esteem affects your Relationships

Do you stand up for yourself in relationships? If you don’t establish boundaries no matter how nice the person you are dating is, they will cross them. The truth is that relationships take both people sacrificing and contributing time, energy, patience and love for it to work. Here is how your self-esteem affects your relationships, though you might not be aware of when or how.

First, let’s define self-esteem. This is how you feel about yourself. Do you have a positive or negative self-image? What is your self-worth like? Some people think they’re worth a billion just for smiling. Others feel their utterly worthless. Most of us fall somewhere in between this spectrum. Self-esteem should not be confused with the ego which is the deciphering of your self-importance, helping you to realize how unique and extraordinary you really are. If you have low self-esteem you are liable to think you are lucky to have your partner. But they are just as lucky to have you. You will spend all of your time catering to their needs and fail to speak up for your own needs. It will be all give and zero take. You might expect your lover to know what you want and feel disappointed when they can’t read your mind and suddenly make your desire reality.

But this isn’t living in reality. After a while pent up anger, frustration and resentment will be pointed at your lover. You will be driving away the very person you want in your life. Or else you will be the perpetual servant waiting on your lover without receiving your fair share in return. Find ways to pump up your self-esteem. Start dressing how you want others to perceive you. Believe in yourself. Outline your dreams and ways to make them a reality. Celebrate each small accomplishment and watch your self-esteem grow. Write down five things you love about yourself and refer back and reflect on those things often. Ask your lover, friends and relatives to tell you what they love about you. Write down your skills. Think about how you can use those skills to better your station in life.

Perhaps go back to school, assert yourself and ask for a raise, or quit your job and do a year volunteering in Africa. In your relationship, show parameters. Ask to get your needs met. Be polite but direct. Be patient. Show the person and tell them. If they can’t take part in an equal exchange of power and care get rid of them. Know how to establish and assert yourself or else you’ll be taken advantage of in love and all aspects of life. For more advice read, Self Confidence NOW: Proven Strategies to Instantly Improve Your Self Confidence & Boost Your Self Esteem by William Wyatt.

ADHD and Relationships

couple at therapy

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.

Using HEAL to Restore Trust

HEAL

Using HEAL to Restore Trust

A loving, supportive romantic relationship is one of the biggest joys in life. But it can also be a source of regret, guilt, anger, resentment and sorrow. We learn all about weddings and courtship as children and teens. But we really don’t learn much about how to make marriage work. This is reflected in the divorce rate. The latest is 41% for first marriages and 60% for second ones. Life’s stresses and having different expectations for things can railroad even the best of relationships. Something else that weighs heavily on a relationship is a phenomenon called “attachment injuries.” This is when a particularly stressful or painful event arises in our life and we need our partner to comfort us but they aren’t available either physically or emotionally. This leads to resentment and suppressed anger. Therapist Dr. Melanie Greenberg has come up with a certain type of therapy to counteract these issues and get relationships back on track. It’s called HEAL, an acronym standing for Hear, Empathize, Act, Love. It exchanges self-protecting behavior with reconnecting, loving, and compassionate behavior.

First you have to listen actively to your partner. Consciously take down your defenses and open up your heart to them. Look at their facial expressions, body language, register their tone. What else are they saying with these nonverbal cues? How are they really feeling? Are they actually expressing some sort of need that isn’t currently being met? Companionship, understanding, control, and love are all needs that perhaps are going unfulfilled. The best way to calm your significant other is to really listen, find out what need isn’t being met, and be open to changing and working hard to meet their need. Next, empathize with your partner. Realize what it’s like from their point of view. Feel what they are feeling and let it come over you. Sometimes one emotion such as anger resides at the surface, but is put there by another emotion lingering underneath, perhaps frustration, loneliness or feeling that you aren’t in control of your own life. Sometimes there is a deeper reason. But sometimes your partner just needs validation and compassion. Oftentimes these two are enough to quell the problem. The next step is act. Talk with your partner and find out what needs to be done or what you need to change in order to meet their needs. Finally, love. Feel love for the person and express it unconditionally. If your relationship has trust issues, restore it with HEAL.  For more advice read, I Love You But I Don’t Trust You: The Complete Guide to Restoring Trust in Your Relationship by Mira Kirshenbaum.

Top Divorce Indicator Prevention

contempt

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.

How the Different Genders’ outlook on Sex Affect a Marriage

sexless

How the Different Genders’ outlook on Sex Affect a Marriage

One of the things long-term couples fight about is sex. Men generally want sex no matter what stage the relationship is in. Meanwhile, women see it as the end result of a healthy relationship. Therefore men still expect to have sex when the relationship is rocky, while women prefer to abstain because emotionally, they don’t feel like it is the right thing to do. Men sometimes see this as not fighting fairly. To a man, the two things, emotional well-being and sex, can be compartmentalized. To a woman, however, they cannot. As physical intimacy declines so does emotional intimacy. A vicious cycle occurs. The husband may confront the wife about “withholding” sex, saying it is unfair. At this point the wife, who thinks he only cares about sex, may regress even further. At this point the husband too may pull away, resentful of the wife. Here the two sides interpret sex differently. But instead of reaching out and discussing or discovering how the other interprets it, the miscommunication creates resentment which further widens the rift between the two. The emotional problems in the relationship may be glaringly obvious to the woman but not to the man. These rolls can be reversed too. Certainly there is a husband out there right now withholding sex due to a wife’s negligence or transgression.

Famed marriage researcher Pepper Schwartz however says this is the most common type of sexless marriage, where the woman feels hurt or emotionally detached and the man disgruntled about the lack of sex in the relationship. In this situation she says “there’s a lot of anger and two people who simply don’t know how to change their behavior.” The husband feels victimized. He may disappear into his “man-cave,” local sports bar, golf club or other such hangout. He may believe that all marriages are meant to end up like this, two mild adversaries living side by side. Due to his alienation from his wife, he feels no responsibility to what has transpired. The wife however believes that he should own up, open up, and apologize for what he’s done wrong so they can move on. But he feels he hasn’t done anything wrong so the cycle continues. In this scenario both parties are aggrieved while each blaming the other. Both feel disillusioned about their partner and perhaps even the institution of marriage itself. Each feels resentful and angry. Yet to bridge the gap it often takes patience and openness to see why the other party is aggrieved. It also takes the ability of one to analyze the past and see where things went wrong, and to see their own contribution to the conflagration. Once we can recognize where we ourselves went wrong we can address our partner in a new way. It takes two. No one person had hurt this marriage in and of themselves.

When a couple hits rock bottom, it’s often time to work through their problems with the aid of outside help. Generally either they seek out marriage counseling, live two separate lives side-by-side or one party files for divorce. This type of marriage is also ripe for infidelity, which could be a wake-up call. But more often than not it causes the end of the relationship or at the very least a worsening of relations. Luckily there are 12-step programs for codependency, psychological services, marriage counseling, faith-based services and so much more. To preserve intimacy and joy in your marriage, look to the positive contributions your mate brings. Come to understand and accept who they are, faults and all. Do the same for yourself. Think about what is important to you in a marriage and stick to and preserve it. Learn to let the other, lesser things go. Spend time relaxing together, even if it’s just for fifteen minutes a day. Take part in adventures together. Do things for the two of you, just as a couple. Forgive. Don’t hold a grudge. Write little notes to one another. Tell jokes. Make each other a nice hot cup of something. Always remember to fight fairly. Talk things out no matter how long it takes. Always try to see where your partner is coming from. Choose to work at it and you can keep your marriage abundant and bountiful with love. For more on this topic, pick up a copy of the book, The Busy Couple’s Guide to Everyday Romance: Fun and Easy Ways to Keep the Spark Alive by Editha Rodriguez.