By Marianne Beach, for GalTime
We’ve all heard the infamous break-up line: “It’s not you, it’s me!” But what if it really IS you that’s been sabotaging your relationship-- without even knowing it?
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Psychiatrist Rebecca Gladding, MD, co-author of “You are Not Your Brain: The 4-Step Solution for Changing Bad Habits, Ending Unhealthy Thinking, and Taking Control of Your Life” offers us the top five bad relationship habits we slip into...and how to break them once and for all.
Bad Habit #1: Pointless arguments
How to Break it: Stop, assess and refocus
Gladding says: “If you find that what started off as a legitimate difference of opinion over something specific has devolved into either of you bringing up old issues or simply trying to make a point to win the fight, you need to stop the conversation and take stock of what’s happening.
Rather than blame either person, simply note what just happened, take a breath if you need to, and refocus the conversation on the original point. Say something neutral, like ‘I think we got off track, you were saying before that you thought/felt." Or "I think we got off track, what I’d really like to talk about is…"
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By not placing blame and keeping to the original topic, you can avoid saying something that you (or he) might later regret."
Bad Habit #2: Making assumptions
How to Break it: Ask instead
Gladding says: “We’ve all done this. He does or says something that you take one way when he really didn’t mean what you thought he just implied. Or, he doesn’t do something in the way you expected him to. Rather than assuming his intentions, thought process or feelings, ask him to help you understand where he’s coming from.
You might be surprised to learn he had actually thought something through more than you assumed, was planning to do something later or didn’t realize how you might take his comment. So, when it’s not clear, ask him.”
Bad Habit #3: Endlessly seeking reassurance
How to Break it: Ask once (or twice), and then move on
Gladding says: “Although it’s important to ask him how he feels or what he’s thinking, there is a limit to this. For example, if you repeatedly ask him the same questions to get reassurance or more information about a prior event or conversation, he might begin to think you did not believe or trust him the first time. Rather than asking him about the same topic/event several times, ask once (or maybe twice), get the answers you need, say what you need to say and then move forward.”
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Bad Habit #4: Checking his email/texts
How to Break it: Have a talk about trust