Last week we looked at the unhealthy relationship dynamic models and looked at several unhealthy relationship behaviors. This week we continue to examine the remaining unhealthy relationship behaviors which we can change with just a little effort.
Trying to change your partner
Girls, we all know this one. When we think we can change that bad boy or commitment phobe into the perfect boyfriend. Guys, I’m sure you’ve experienced this too. This never works for several reasons.
Usually the person doesn’t want to change because they perceive there to be distinct advantages to them being how they are. Also, when someone tries to change their partner, the person in question may feel trapped or begin to resent the partner who has tried to initiate change. Lastly, by trying to change someone it inadvertently (and often unintentionally) communicates the partner doesn’t unconditionally love the other, or that in some way they are viewed as unacceptable.
As you can see not only does this strategy often fail but it usually has a detrimental impact upon the relationship.
Carrying past hurt into the relationship (overreacting to things due to your past hurts)
I was very lucky in that I allowed myself ample time to heal from my past hurt before entering into another relationship. But love doesn’t know our timeframe and often hits when we least expect it.
If you still have past pain that is unresolved it is worth remembering that our memory is historical. By historical I mean that when a situation arises our brains look for a time in the past when something similar happened.
What tends to go awry is that when we have unresolved pain our current partner may do something relatively benign but it will trigger a painful memory which may cause us to react disproportionately to the current situation, or trigger.
If you keep this in mind it may well protect you from disproportionately reacting to things however what I would recommend is to seek out therapy, as in my experience, this is the best and by far the most constructive way to heal from pain.