It’s time to detox your relationship
It’s time to detox your relationship. We all know those couples who are so sweet to each other in front of people but you just know that behind closed doors it’s a different story. We’ve also met those couples who just never stop bickering, so much so that it’s uncomfortable for everyone in the room.
I often wonder how long it is going to last.
My parent’s generation would have stuck it out, mine – not so much.
Whilst it is easier for my generation to leave one cannot underestimate how difficult it really is and how much courage it takes.
In a toxic relationship it is even more so.
I believe that relationships can only work if there is mutual respect and equal power. I understand that this is rare but maybe that’s why so many relationships are toxic.
If one of you is brimming with self esteem and the other not, the power dynamic is off.
If one of you is the breadwinner and the other is dependent, the power dynamic is off. When the power lies with one partner, we can be fairly sure that eventually the cracks will show and resentment will creep in.
Sometimes there is nothing we can do about the power dynamic and occasionally it shifts between the partners. One has to be mature about it and address it rather than make as if it doesn’t exist. One of the ways to detox is to set boundaries.
Setting boundaries in your relationships defines how we allow others to treat us. Healthy boundaries allow trust and security and protect us from abuse. Unhealthy boundaries open us up to being used.
Few of us find setting boundaries easy. Those who can probably grew up in a functional family unit where it was safe to express their likes and dislikes. This allows them to be treated with respect and dignity and shows that there are some things they will tolerate whilst there are other things they will not.
Some find it difficult, if not impossible to set and keep boundaries even with their children.
This is often due to an over- willingness to please. They lack a sense of identity and self worth and become a doormat in every relationship. They cannot speak up for themselves and they lose their ability to communicate their thoughts and feelings.
They then allow others to treat them badly and seldom speak out to protect themselves. They become accomplices to their bad treatment. They give up a large percentage of who they are in their relationship and suffer from depression as a result.
So many of us blame bad relationships we’ve had in the past for behaving badly in the present. Many of us have been cheated on and humiliated but that does not mean that every partner will treat you in the same way. So don’t tar everyone you have a relationship with. I’m not saying don’t make it absolutely clear what the consequence of cheating will be but don’t go thinking that your partner is cheating around every corner. It’s exhausting for both of you and will eventually implode the relationship.
Keep your monkeys in check!
Make sure that your boundaries are crystal clear. You cheat, you’re out, no second chances. You raise your hand to me, I’ll chop it off – that kind of thing.
There are also flexible boundaries that can be reached through negotiation. For example: it is Ok for your to go out once a week to play action cricket with friends but they need to be home before 11pm and cannot drive under the influence of alcohol.
Setting boundaries is not a threat. It is communicating clearly your limits and the consequences, that will arise if the boundary is broken.
We all need to know our boundaries, what is acceptable and what is not. This is true in any relationship even those with our friends, family, children and at work.
Personal boundaries communicate to the other person that we have worth. This sense of self respect allows us to make our own decisions and have our own thoughts and feelings. Healthy boundaries make for trust and security and allow each person to live to their full potential. If you respect one another, you don’t control the other person.
I hear about so many couple projecting their fears and insecurities onto their partner. I think the new word for manipulating your partner with guilt and turning the situation to your favour is gas lighting.
I was a recent victim of this. It was so disempowering and I had to wonder if I was loosing my mind. Lucky for me (being the attorney I am) I almost always have a paper trail. I could at least prove to myself that I wasn’t mad.
Boundaries help you to set limits on your time, your money, your physical body and your emotions. For example, if you have set boundaries for yourself at work, you will have a clear set of what is right and wrong in the business environment. This will help define who you are and what you are prepared to do.
If you have difficulty setting you own personal boundaries and/or allowing people to treat you badly, perhaps you should seek some counseling from a Psychologist. We all deserve to be treated with respect and dignity.
Only you can stop the cycle of your own abuse. It takes courage and determination but it can be done.