When couples are in conflict they become collectors of grievances. No perceived slight or error is given a free pass. The more we keep score of our partner’s mistakes the longer we become entrenched in a seemingly endless cycle of anger, resentment, and disengagement. Here are some suggestions to break the pattern.
Healthy relationships may sometimes be hard, but they’re not all that complicated. It’s a fundamental distinction that is easy to miss. Hard implies the necessity of effort, which positive and sustainable relationships unquestionably require, but “complicated” essentially means that the relationship is difficult to understand. That’s another notion entirely.
People often believe there is something wrong with them when they can’t entirely “get over” an extremely painful situation or loss. While I steadfastly believe that we have the capacity to emerge from these experiences stronger and healthier, the concept that we can somehow “undo” what has happened or arrive at a point in time when the pain permanently dissipates is often a fallacy. We may be able to vastly improve upon how we carry the burden, and reach a place where it no longer negatively dominates our lives, but an integral part of healing is accepting that we are in some way forever altered by what has happened to us.
The term “flying monkey” is widely used by mental health professionals to describe individuals who enable the narcissist and do their bidding. Sometimes this person has no idea that they are being manipulated by the narcissist. Because narcissists always view themselves as the victim, they are highly adept at convincing enablers that they aren’t at fault for the situation in which they have found themselves.
Whether we acknowledge it or not, we tend to view a happy, contented life as a fundamental right that can easily be acquired without too much thoughtfulness or the experience of discomfort. There’s often an inherent belief that if we live the life that we were raised to believe is “good”, happiness will just sort of magically follow. The reality is that nothing can be further from the truth.