I’m actually fiercely loyal, loving and thoughtful. However, I am absolutely capable of walking away from a relationship of any kind if it’s not good for me. I don’t walk easily, and sometimes I should have walked earlier. What triggers this behaviour in me?
Mostly, it’s a sudden raising of my awareness that person X is treating me in a way which doesn’t feel healthy for me. Sometimes I become aware of a numbness of my previous feelings for that person. I work on it first. I explore how I’m feeling. I consider what I want to do about it. Sometimes I talk to that person in an effort to resolve the situation. It could be a partner, a friend, a business acquaintance; these are all relationships which can affect me on a personal or professional level.
Has anybody sprung to your mind while you read this? It doesn’t have to mean somebody who has treated you badly. Sometimes we outgrow people, or relationships.
Do you find yourself always investing more in one particular relationship than the other person ever does? Do you feel resentful, angry or depressed because you’ve been treated in a way which causes you damage or upset? Maybe it’s time to do a ‘relationship audit’.
Look at your relationships with your partner, your children, your parents, your children, your friends, your work colleagues, even. Don’t only look at what you get from the relationship, but also what you invest.
Do either of you have characteristics or behaviour that is a relationship destroyer? Look out for: –
Lack of trust
Lack of respect
Laziness (not making an effort – no investment)
Abuse, of any kind
Lack of intimacy
Lack of healthy communication
Lack of assertiveness – ignoring your own needs, maybe never asking for them to be met.
Sometimes you can set yourself up for consistent failure and unhappiness with relationships, all on your own. Do you have an unwritten, unspoken relationship ‘rule book’? For whatever reason (and that’s a whole different subject!), this will undoubtedly cause you heartache, over and over again. When people don’t abide by your rules, you’ll feel hurt, disappointed, angry and undervalued. It could take many years before you realise that you are the common denominator in broken friendships or partnerships. Write your rule book down. Reflect on it. Does it seem unrealistic when you see it in black and white? Consider easing up a bit.
When you’ve completed your ‘audit’, consider what you would like to do in each case. You do have choices! Maybe you will discover that you would benefit from having honest and assertive conversations designed to get back on track. Maybe you feel that you need to invest a little more yourself, whether it’s emotion or time. Maybe you want to walk away, to hit delete. Whatever you choose to do, do it thoughtfully, realistically and not in the throes of anger or other negative emotions. You need a cool head to do this kind of exercise, or you may regret your decisions later on.
Whatever you do, I wish you happiness in the future, with relationships that are mutually rewarding.
If you think you could do with a little extra support to work through this exercise, get in touch.
By Judith Flowerday