Like Anything Else, Unhealthy Behaviour is on a Spectrum.
Have you ever entered a relationship and experienced a sense of personal disempowerment? Felt inadequate from the first meeting or slowly developed insecurity over time? Anxiety becomes the new you and your thoughts tend to veer toward the negative. Your body language becomes closed-off and the interactions, less than pleasant. You begin to feel minimised and sometimes lose your personal identity as time goes on.
It is not easy to recognise that power is a 'shifting experience' and that the person that takes initiative is often the person who holds the space. How then to safely take the initiative?
My experience of 20 years in this field has taught me that "The most empowered person in any situation is the person who needs no power".
So what does this actually mean? It is about being as self sufficient as possible, without a massive ego. Not needing anyone's approval but at the same time being able to feel empathy, compassion and curiosity. Really 'understanding' or 'getting' to know yourself and others so you can make informed decisions.
To Fully Recover from a Controlling Relationship It is Essential to:
1: Understand the behaviours you are dealing with.
2: Know your own emotional and cognitive vulnerabilities.
3: Learn practical relationship self-defense strategies (do your drills to perfect your skills).
4: Manage anxiety by engaging in 'emotional state change'.
5: Set safe, effective limits and boundaries.
6: Learn how to build your emotional and cognitive resilience and avoid making the same choices again.
There are 2 kinds of relationships that don't tend to work out long-term:
1: To be their mother or father
2: To be their therapist
The relationship that is preferable is one where we can negotiate our needs with our partner. If you really want to be empowered, try 'not having to be right' about a 'hot' topic. Rather, listen and choose how you interact so that you can work collaboratively toward your combined goals.
If necessary, be prepared to strategise before you enter an interaction with someone. Flying by the seat of your pants or just doing what you always did is guaranteed to get you the same results.
If someone is totally unreasonable, aggressive or you just feel unsafe it's okay to 'exit' that interaction without blaming the other person.
These things may seem hard! However someone who is not needy, dominating or manipulating can 'hold the space', which creates natural charisma.
by David @ Milan
You will likely experience some or all of these issues if your relationship is in danger of failing:
1: A lack of communication that leads to fighting rather than negotiating your shared needs
2: Long-term stress which can lead to Mental health issues such as anxiety and depression
3: Consistent worry about your relationship
4: Thoughts of separation or divorce
5: General aggression or outbursts of aggression that do not make things better
6: A feeling that there is an emotional wall between you and your partner
7: A lack of trust in what is said or done by your partner
8: Starting to look around for better relationship options
9: Increase in the use of emotional regulators such as alcohol, food etc.
10: A persistent feeling that your partner does not 'get you'.
11: Spending more time apart.
Most people who experience a relationship going down have past issues that they have not resolved and those issues are affecting your mood and thoughts; or you may be under serious physical mental and emotional pressure, or both!
Sometimes relationships start to fall apart when there is change in the relationship like a child being born, financial insecurity, loss of employment, substance dependence or mental health issues.
What to do about it:
If you are not getting along with people in your life you are more likely to have difficulty coping and this can be a 'slippery slope' if left unattended. The old fashioned way of dealing with issues by forgetting them or 'sweeping them under the rug' is not an approach that leads to good outcomes.
There are some things we often have to do to save a relationship:
1: Recognise that there is a problem
2: Go to a GP or other professional to begin to address underlying personal issues if there are any.
3: Learn coping strategies for the management of our own stress
4: Learn about people in general; how we process emotional and cognitive information.
5: Adopt strategies for the management of our thoughts and feelings
6: Use personal skills to begin relationship repair where possible
7: Continue to practice
8: Couples or individual coaching or counselling may also be of benefit.
Addressing relationship issues and taking responsibility for our thoughts, words and deeds is often the hardest thing we will do. If it was easy, then more relationships would survive.
It can be hard to 'lean into' the hurt and make effective efforts to move forward toward self understanding and relationship repair.
Narcissism is a combined spectrum of behaviours and a person may not exhibit all of them right away. Often you are not aware when meeting and dating that there is even a problem as they can appear charming and can seem to ‘morph’ into what you are looking for in a relationship. But over time things change. No-one I know has said that they entered into a relationship to experience
someone who is;
· self-enamoured, self-absorbed
· demonstrating low levels of empathy
· displaying an attitude of entitlement
· chronically mismanaging anger
· manipulative or exploitative
· feeling superior
· living in an ‘alternate reality’
· Pathologically defensive.
Unfortunately, many of us are susceptible to the behaviours exhibited by this kind of personality.
Here are some of the symptoms of being in a relationship with someone displaying narcissism:
1. An ongoing feeling that YOU are at fault for their behaviour, feelings and thoughts as there is a consistent blame-shift that makes this type of person 'never wrong'.
2. A deep sense of anxiety that can lead to 'people pleasing'.
3. Difficulty sleeping.
4. Changes in appetite; either eating too much or not enough.
5. A decrease in self-care.
6. Increasing isolation from friends and family as the narcissist will continually dislike your friends, family and will attempt to isolate you.
7. Increase in your alcohol or drug consumption to cope.
8. More self-doubt as the narcissistic personality will 'gaslight' you and you will begin to second-guess yourself.
9. Loss of self-identity as you move into 'survival mode'.
10. Other forms of Domestic violence (such as physical, emotional, sexual, financial) as the narcissistic personality type can use extreme versions of coercion to gain power and control.
How to manage the situation:
You might find yourself at the GP, depressed and anxious. It could be a good time to get a GP mental health care plan to see a professional (such as myself) to discuss your options. Regardless, its important to learn:
1. Behavioural responses that will reduce the power that the narcissist has over you.
2. The extent of the problematic behaviours and what is behind them.
3. Safety planning
4. To avoid these relationships in the future by being able to recognise likely narcissists from the get-go.
Upon coming out of these relationships, it is important to rebuild self-esteem & be equipped to protect yourself from future problems.
There is so much to know about recognising, countering and managing overt and covert manipulation. A skilled life coach can help! Feel free to book a session with me for specialist knowledge, skills and techniques that are not commonly available.
Individual skills training and coaching in Perth or online:
Many of our clients also claim a Medicare rebate after each session.
We love to talk in person! Start the ball rolling by calling our Mundaring and Canning Vale offices on 0488 186 603. For you convenience, we offer an initial 20 minute phone consultation for free to start working-out how we can help you right now.