All of us in relationships come into our union with the skills we learned growing up. Many of us might have come from homes where the problems never got solved. Some of us might even be new to even thinking about saying, “I am sorry.”
That’s how I grew up. My family was full of love and deep connections, but the display of those emotions was buried under a lot of anger and disappointment. When someone drank the milk and another family member wanted some, that person would yell, “Who drank the milk?” If someone answered, then there would be an argument about why they drank all the milk.
A lot of us in relationships try and get what we want to make ourselves feel comfortable. Sometimes our mates do things that make us uncomfortable and then we tell them what we like and don’t like. This is very common.
But when we get into difficulty with our partner and they don’t do what we like, we might fall into a pattern of telling that they are lazy, stupid, mean, unkind and more. We might start to label them. And this labeling can have a devastating effect.
Sometimes we get so mad at the person we are in a relationship with that the only thing that can come out of our mouths is the worst thing we can ever say to another human. This happens when we are terribly wounded, they just can’t see that we are in pain, and they are not understanding us. We feel it’s so important that they just understand us, that we have to crush them with all our might.
Yeah, I have been there. It is never nice. It is always the worst thing we can do to people we love. And it is so hard to take back all the terrible things that we have said too. It is so hard to make things right again.
I know this as well. In my past I have destroyed many friendships and relationships with my anger and my crushing. I have even sworn at my mother. Yeah. I did that.
Many times, in relationships one partner will say something to their mate about how their habits are the right way to do things because that is the way they grew up. This is very common.
All of us are taught how to be humans by the training we received when we were little. If we grew up putting our clothes in the hamper when dirty, then this is the habit we will bring into our relationship.
If we grew up laying our clothes on chairs or on the floor as a child, and this habit is still with us, then we will do the same thing in our relationship.
When we are in a relationship we can easily tell when our feelings get hurt. Since there is just another person it is quite obvious that we can pinpoint who did what to us and made us feel bad.
Then most of us try and get our partners to realize they hurt us and to stop doing the thing that caused the pain. This is very common with couples. But if you are the person who is often being told they are hurting their mate; you might begin to feel that you are not fully loved.
Criticism in relationships is incredibly common. Wonder why? All of us in a relationship like things the way we like them. Including how our partners act. We like them not to embarrass us and we like them to talk to us pleasantly. As humans we prefer things that please us. This is entirely normal.
But as someone who is sensitive to criticism, I know how terrible it feels when someone points out what you do not do well. It hurts some of us to our core. We can’t help it, that’s just the way some of us are wired.
I was talking to a potential client for couples counseling when she asked me if I would be giving her a prescription to follow in order to get better.
I was stunned for a moment and I think in all my years of counseling I have never been asked this. But I do know there is absolutely no way to understand a couple without meeting them, and I don’t have any idea what would be helpful for them, because there is no one size fits all plan for couples.
All of us in a relationship have felt unsure about how stable our relationship really is at one time or another. This is very common with people who join each other with love and sometimes feel that love change in some ways that makes them feel uncomfortable.
Many of us who make it through these unstable parts can look back and be glad we did. But for others who wonder if they will ever get past the uneven stages here is some advice.
No one knows whether your relationship will last. But one thing that does help is if one of the partners says to the other when things get rough, “Don’t worry baby, we will work this out.”
Our childhood patterns are important to us when we are young. They keep us safe and help us survive. We often often bring those childhood patterns with us into adulthood, and because we can’t seem to change them, we sometimes let them stand between us and the love we experience in an adult relationship.
You may have experienced this in your own relationship. If you get your feelings hurt and your first response is for you to leave and just remove yourself from the pain, then you are reinforcing a childhood pattern that you have used in your past to defend against being hurt.