Relationships are challenging enough without us getting in our own way. Yet some of the most common issues that sabotage relationships today actually lurk within us. We may be blissfully unaware that the problems we encounter are not brought about by our partner or date, but by a host of other influences that can sabotage and even tank a relationship.
If you find yourself dissatisfied and struggling in your relationships or dating, you’ve likely encountered one of the following top hidden issues. Luckily, once discovered, you can begin to address these foilers. Read on to discover your hidden influencers and learn how to banish your negative thoughts and fears, and change your actions to achieve the relationship you desire. Note the live links that will instantly connect you to articles that can help you better understand and address these issues.
Your Attachment Style
Take a moment to learn about your attachment style here. Formed in our infancy, our attachment style greatly influences how we select and form relationships. Each style comes with a host of assumptions and triggers that subconsciously influence relationships. Becoming aware of your style and that of your partner will help you to objectively shift your perspective and manage expectations. You’ll also gain valuable insight into how your partner experiences your relationship style. Knowledge and awareness enable us to make better choices instead of simply reacting to our triggers.
Your Relationship with Yourself
You’ve probably heard you must love yourself before you can love someone else. If you think this is not true, take a closer look at how you feel about yourself. Of course you can love to your current capacity even if you have low self-esteem, but you limit your ability to truly foster a healthy, loving relationship. Having strong self-worth permeates everything you do. It builds confidence, increases appreciation for self and other and reduces expectations (or perhaps increases understanding and forgiveness when something arises). Think of it this way, if you can’t have love for yourself and all that goes with it (kindness, forgiveness, caring, etc.), when you know you best and have the most control over your relationship with self, how can you love another without struggling with the same issues? The answer is to know yourself and love yourself! Doing so increases your joy and your ability to cope with any disappointment.
We all have fears. The key here is in learning how to confront and manage your fears. In relationships, the most common fears that can be triggered include: fear of intimacy, fear of abandonment, fear of regret, fear of loss, fear of love, fear of not meeting expectations of others, and many more, even including fear of your own mortality. The key thing to remember about fears is that while they feel real, not all fears are actual concerns in reality. The important action to take is to recognize your feelings and address them. Do not suppress your fears. Talk them through with yourself and apply reason to any fear. Most things in life are solvable when we break them down into reasonable segments (take one thing at a time and honor your feelings, but also apply logic and positive action). If your fears are too strong to address on your own, talk with a qualified therapist or trusted coach.
Past Relationship Injury
Most of us have experienced disappointment or even heartbreak due to a relationship injury or break-up. Relationship injury can occur on very mild levels (a forgotten special day, a hurtful remark, being ignored, etc.) or much more serious levels that lead to break-ups and divorce (abuse, addiction, betrayal, etc.). When we enter a relationship our hopes are usually high and expectations can build. We all deserve respect and a reasonable degree of forgiveness, but if you have been seriously injured (physically or emotionally) in a past relationship, it is critically important to address these past events and your feelings regarding them. Work through these sensitive issues with a therapist in the area of specialty that addresses your specific concern. It is critical to overcome past pain and injury so that you can freely enter a new relationship and full reap the rewards of a healthy, loving relationship. When past injury is not resolved, it can and likely will continue to influence relationships going forward. No amount of burying your pain will make it go away on its own.
With every communication there is a sender and receiver. We may believe we are excellent communicators (sending and receiving) however, in most cases of miscommunication, it is usually something we were unaware of that set something off course. And, given that more than 80% of all communication cues being non-verbal and involuntary, it is no wonder we all struggle at times with communication. We may not say exactly what we mean (or the opposite–too much, too quickly, too soon) and the recipient may be taken by surprise or misinterpret our true intent. We all have many powerful psychological drivers that influence how we interpret communication. It can be difficult at times to determine exactly what is at play, especially during an emotionally charged discussion. Since no one is perfect, a golden rule for more effective communication is to seek first to understand the other person, then consider and carefully communicate what you wish to convey. Too often we get into trouble reacting and communicating our feelings much too quickly and later have regrets. Click here to discover ways in which you can easily improve your skills now.
We would love to hear about your experiences and all the ways you have overcome your own issues. Join in the discussion in the comments section above.