Are you and your partner looking for ways to fix a toxic relationship? Here are 4 ways you can tackle a toxic relationship.
So, are you ready to save the relationship and make it healthy?
Love is a dance of connection and separation. There are times when you feel the need to spend time alone.
Some of us need more connection, others need more independence. Sometimes these differences lead to a toxic relationship.
There are only two ways to create a toxic relationship that isn’t that toxic:
Road One leads to separation and finding a safer partner.
The second path leads to seeing problems in the relationship as a slingshot for growth.
Even though both of you fall on opposite ends of the spectrum, a relationship can work. But the only way it can work is if the partners can see the problems in the relationship as a catalyst for understanding and respecting each other’s differences. If they don’t, holding hands quickly turns into pointing fingers.
If the idea of your partner’s closeness makes you feel like you’re suffocating, or if you feel like your partner is ignoring you (on purpose) in a few ways throughout the day, the best thing you can do for your relationship is to talk about it.
By examining the breakup and annoying moments in the relationship, both partners will gain a deep insight into each other so they can start learning how to give each other what they need.
How do you fix a toxic relationship? 4 Powerful Exercises To Make A Toxic Relationship Healthy
Exercise 1: Talk about it
If one of you feels left out or overwhelmed by your partner’s needs, use the exercise below to understand each other better.
Answers: There are no right or wrong answers here. Each answer depends on your reality. The goal of the exercise is for both partners to understand each other.
The only way to do that is to get to know one vital ingredient that makes relationships last. This vital ingredient is…
Both views are valid. When partners believe there is only one truth, they fight for their position. This belief is a dead end.
There is only one assumption that will make a conversation about separation or excessive closeness useful: that in every fight, there are always two points of view, and both are true.
Once you and your partner accept this idea, it is no longer necessary to argue for your position. You can now focus on understanding your partner’s situation and working together to find a common solution.
Read how to navigate the stages of love and build a healthy relationship
There are always two sides to every struggle. Once you understand and acknowledge this, you will quickly find that reconnection comes naturally.
Instructions: Think about the last argument you encountered. Rate the following emotions on a scale from 1 (100% felt this way) to 5 (0% felt this way).
During our fight I felt:
Like my opinions don’t matter
Next: Find out what triggered those feelings:
Rate what triggered these feelings on a scale from 1 (100% felt this way) to 5 (0% felt this way).
I felt unimportant to my partner
I felt cold toward my partner
I felt rejected
I feel overwhelmed by the demands
I felt left out
I didn’t feel attracted
I didn’t feel the affection
My sense of dignity has been compromised
I couldn’t get my partner’s attention
My partner was controlling
Exercise 2: Revisiting the past
Now that we’ve identified your emotional reaction, it’s time to step into the time machine and revisit your past. We may repeat unprocessed patterns from our past relationships in our current relationships. See if you can find a relationship between the trauma or past behavior and your current reaction.
Note: If you have been sexually harassed, raped, or experienced any other trauma that your partner was not aware of, now is the time to bring it up. In my work with others, I’ve found that sharing our deepest pain with our partners helps them understand us. It also gives them the ability to work with us gently on trauma so we can begin to heal together.
The following list will help guide you.
When I (or my partner) turned away, it reminded me of:
Past traumas or difficult times you’ve been through
The way my family treated me when I was growing up
My deepest fears and insecurities
I have unfulfilled dreams
Events I haven’t dealt with emotionally yet
The ways others treat me
The things I’ve always believed in about myself
Nightmares that keep me awake at night
Take time to discuss each other’s answers. Ask open-ended questions so you can understand each other better. It’s not about who feels bad or who is more right. It’s about taking the time to understand other people’s fears and their deepest fears.
When your partner tells you something that shocks or surprises you, say, “Tell me more about that.” You’ll learn more in one answer by really listening, then in years, you’ll be able to try to guess why your partner is doing what they’re doing.
Exercise 3: Write it down
Now write a summary of your view of the disagreement, followed by your partner’s view.
If you do the exercise correctly, you will quickly see that your views of what happened and why it happened the way it did are not matters of “facts”.
We are all complex people whose emotional reactions are determined by a lifetime of perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories.
Exercise 4: What is your role?
It’s normal to blame distance and loneliness as our partner’s fault. But no one is to blame.
To break the pattern that causes the emotional roller coaster in a relationship, both partners need to take responsibility for the problem. Both need to be recognized for playing a role.
To help you, read the list below and assess the things that may have contributed to your feeling of needing more affection or more space.
Note: Don’t try this if you are still upset. When our emotions are tense, the fight becomes nonsense.
When partners try to resolve conflict when they are upset, they are more likely to say unfortunate words that will damage the relationship. Taking a 20-minute break and focusing on the positives of your relationship will do wonders to come together to solve the problem.
Step 1: Use the list below to take some ownership of your contribution. Rate the following on a scale from 1 (100% who felt this way) to 5 (0% who felt this way).
I’ve been feeling very sensitive lately
I haven’t expressed much appreciation for my partner lately
I felt very nervous and irritable
I’ve been so critical lately
I haven’t shared much of what’s going on in my life lately
I feel depressed
I might have a chip on my shoulder
I haven’t been too affectionate lately
I haven’t focused on being a good listener lately
Step 2: Now write how you contributed to this problem.
I can now see that my contribution to this problem was…
Step 3: Now take a minute to write down some of the ways you can change the situation in the future.
When an event like this happens in the future, I can improve it by…
Step 4: Give your partner one piece of advice so that he can avoid this issue with you.
To avoid this problem in the future, my partner can …
The more you work through the exercise, the more you lean toward each other when the relationship hits a rough patch. Instead of using conflict to push each other away, you can use it to bring you closer.
The emotional bond will deepen in your relationship and you will develop a deep friendship that can handle any problem the world throws at you.
This doesn’t mean you’ll never argue again. you will. It just means that these arguments won’t undermine the relationship anymore.
These four exercises will teach you a lot about yourself and your partner. It takes courage to remain vulnerable and open when you are feeling down, hurt, or angry.
When the spouses seek safety in the lair of withdrawal or in blaming the other for not approaching, it is not loved that he has failed; They are the ones who fail to love.
When you truly love each other and see a future with each other, never give up.
Yes, things can be bad sometimes but that doesn’t mean they can’t be fixed. If you follow the above pointers, you will be able to successfully transform your toxic relationship into a less toxic one.