Making Positive Relationship Changes
There is still hope for couples who find themselves in destructive patterns, but they must learn new skills.
Consulting with a trained therapist is generally the most effective way to do this, and I can help.
One skill to learn is how to avoid flooding, which is a feeling of being overwhelmed by your partner’s negativity and your own reactions. In flooding, you feel that you have reached your limit and can take no more. A person who experiences flooding feels hostile, withdrawn, and defensive. This person feels the need to calm down and may feel like running away from the situation just to get some relief. A therapist can teach the partners how to stay calm in these situations and to use positive thinking techniques. Both partners also need to redefine the attacks on them as simply the way the other person is trying to make a point.
Arguments are not necessarily a sign that the relationship is in trouble. In fact, conflict is a way to clarify our expectations about our role – and our partner’s role – within the relationship. This clarification allows both partners to feel comfortable and secure. The couple needs to know that they can trust each other. Mutual respect can emerge out of productive arguments. Making conflicts constructive is a skill that can lead to a lifetime of love, intimacy, and the experience of knowing that you are cherished by an important person in your world.
Dr. Baya Mebarek, Psy.D.,LMFT