Hi, there. I’m a therapist. This means I get to see all different crazy things people do in relationships.It’s my job is to make things better. But I don’t do that by holding someone’s hand and telling them I’m sorry bad things happened to them.
In fact, I do the opposite. I asked them what happened at the beginning that showed them something was wrong. Those are the things you notice quickly – for just a nanosecond, before you move on and pretend they didn’t happen.
(For those who are wondering, a nanosecond is one billionth of a second. This is about as long as it takes me to decide to grab a second piece of cake.)
When these things happen, you might do what I used to do when I was entering into a new relationship. I would notice the “off” interaction for a moment, notice that I didn’t like it and then say to myself “Oh well, it’s not that big a deal.”
Then I would move on as if the incident had never happened.
Bad idea. I don’t want to be a stink pot or make a big deal out of everything, but when you bypass those things that feel wrong to you, then you (not the other person) are setting a foundation for relationship aimed for disaster.
Now, you could, when one of these incidents occurs, stand tall like Zena Princess Warrior and make a death-defying announcement that no one gets to treat you this way. But that would be annoying and kind of weird. That would be treating this person as if he were the accumulation of every person who had ever wronged you. Ouch! If he’s in his right mind, he should run in the other direction – fast.
But what are you supposed to do? Just be quiet? No, but there are many ways to address the situation without coming across as over-the-top. Some people use humor. Others use a gentle request.
In all the work I have done, it always boils down to using one of six, healthy relationship approaches. I call these The Six Boundary Solution Styles, but these are not the same old boundaries you have seen in the past.
This new approach to boundaries includes the whole spectrum of ways to relate to others – not just standing on the table and yelling “no!”
It includes being more open and vulnerable, flexible and yielding as well as being more solid and firm, assertive and intense. There are six different approaches to shaping your new relationships and getting things on track from the start.
And guess what- none of them includes going along with things you don’t like it or giving someone else’s bad behavior your stamp of approval.
If you’re like me, you can look back and see the mistakes you made at the beginning of your relationships. Think about all the things you pretended were okay when, in reality, they weren’t. And what a mess that made later on.
I want to know, and so does everyone else, what are some of the things you ignored early on that later proved disastrous? Please add to this blog by posting now. Thanks!