By Matt W. Sandford, LMHC
People always want to know ways they can improve their relationship and there are a plethora of content out there on how to spice things up, how to communicate, how to spend quality time together, you name it. But it seemed to me recently that there isn’t as much available on what not to do, or on what things ruin relationships and so I thought I’d take that on. This is styled in the – backwards way of explaining how to mess up your relationship. Here goes:
- Focus on the facts and details and not on the underlying emotions and their meaning.
When there is disagreement and arguing among you and your significant other, make sure that you zero in on what you remember about what you said that was right and what they said and how it was wrong. Stay on the nitty gritty details of who said and did what. Make sure you don’t go to what I call the “second level” – which is the meaning underneath it all. Don’t open up your heart and express how you felt about it and certainly don’t pursue the other person’s heart and ask them about how they perceived things and felt! You won’t be able to really blow this thing up good if you end up talking together and taking turns sharing and listening and trying to understand each other’s perceptions.
- Focus on blame and finding fault and not on solving problems together.
When you guys have tension and misunderstanding, you are going to want to do all you can to blame the other person for as much as you can, and definitely include blaming them for your feelings and perceptions and thoughts. Try to find fault in what they do and be as critical as possible. And you will need to get really defensive as well. Don’t forget that part! Don’t allow yourselves to be drawn into working together to solve problems. You really want to avoid the conception of you guys being a team and such and the whole idea that you are in love and FOR the other person. Don’t let yourself slip into reminding yourself of their positive qualities and the times when they were supportive and affirming or you might lose your resolve! Don’t lose sight that your goal is to win or you might find yourself working on the same team and that’s bad news for breakups.
- Exclusively focus on the wrongs of the other person and do not take responsibility for your own wrong doing!
So, bear in mind these strategies work together as a cohesive unit. This one means that you cannot admit to anything, apologize, or be willing to acknowledge your contribution and gulp! – actually change your mindset, perceptions or behaviors! I’m serious! If you back down like that, you might actually repair things! The other person might actually respect you, feel that you are a safe person and begin to respond to you with more vulnerability and be willing to own their own stuff. And then you are toast! You guys will then be connected intimately. You’ll be trusting each other!
The Wrap Up
Sure, there are lots of ways to wreck a relationship, but I wanted to give you what I think are some of the very best ones to focus on. I mean anyone can practice neglect, getting dragged away by work responsibilities, cheating, and focusing on stressors like money. But I figured that you wanted to go about it the right way and ensure that you’d be alone really soon!
Best of luck to you !
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