How to Ruin Your Relationship

I watched this 90 sec video this morning, and in it psychologist Harriet Lerner hits on about the three or four things that a person can do to destroy his or her relationship–

So how do you ruin a relationship? —

1.  Be defensive.

2.  Be demanding: Want to be understood more than you are willing to try and really understand the other person.

3.  Focus on the other person and his or her actions and reactions, and trying to control and change these, instead of focusing on yourself and your own actions and reactions and trying to control and regulate and master these.

So what then would be the three or four ways to instantly help heal and better your relationship?

1.  Be less defensive.  Be more open and honest and decent.

2. Instead of being more demanding for yourself, be more demanding of yourself.  Be as demanding of yourself as you are of your partner, your supposed “beloved.”  Everyone wants the best for themselves, but few people are willing to give the best of themselves.  Yet when you truly love another–when your truly love anyone–one of the marks of that love is that you hold their happiness and well-being equal to your own and you demonstrate it consistently–i.e., you prove it (your love) through your choices and actions repeatedly and consistently.  You don’t just say you love the other person, you actually make tangible choices that prove (demonstrate) your love for the other person–choices where you take on what’s worst and weakest and most petty and narrow and narcissistic and avoidant in yourself and you rise above it–you choose to go against the grain of these pygmy tendencies, you sacrifice your own comfort and immediate easy gratification (for the sake of something more meaningful and principled and noble), and you extend yourself in a way that shows you aren’t basically just an emotional child in adult clothing, a little trousered monkey, or a grubby little self-centered reptile in human garb.  Instead you learn to behave in ways that honor your words and expressions of love: you act with appreciation, generosity, goodness, care, understanding, nobility, kindness, warmth, decency.  You push yourself past you “what’s in it for me?” reflex–your “I want you to listen to me, understand me, do this for me first, fill my begging cup, make me feel good and more loving, before I’ll do it for you.”  You learn how, in a conversation, to push yourself past focusing on what you want to say and listening to your own points, and trying to come up with ways of getting the other person to come to your side, and instead you truly listen to the other person, and you instead begin focusing on coming up with a way of communication that is more respectful, kind, loving, compassionate, understanding, win-win.  Meaning, you seek (first) to understand the other person rather than to be understood.

3.  “Be the change you wish to see.”  Try that first.  And if after having tried that thoroughly and deeply for a while, and having journeyed down that road sincerely, that still doesn’t make things better, then, okay, fine, go ahead and focus on trying to change the other person and get him or her to listen better and be more understanding.  At the very least–the very least–you should be in a position better than you were a few months ago to actually be a better person in the relationship–the right type of person for the relationship 🙂

Merry Christmas!



About John

I am a married, 46-year old, Midwesterner, with four children. My primary interest is in leading a very examined and decent and Loving life; my interests that are related to this and that feed into this include (and are not limited to) -- psychology, philosophy, poetry, critical thinking, photography, soccer, tennis, chess, bridge.
This entry was posted in Conscious Love, Emotional Maturity, Harriet Lerner, Immature Love, Love is a Choice, Love is a Decision, Real Love, Self-Extension, What is Love? and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to How to Ruin Your Relationship

  1. Love it…Merry Christmas 😀

Comments (feel free to speak your mind and even to disagree!)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s