Thursday, September 1, 2011


A friend of mine recently sent me an article written by a psychiatrist that outlined 10 relationship deal breakers (I’ll call them the “Don’ts”). These deal breakers were centered on toxic behaviors that negatively impact relationships. In the article, the author suggests that if we recognize ourselves in any of the behaviors, we might need to seek professional help in order to understand what’s going on with us. While I believe that seeing our nasty little behaviors summarized so succinctly and held up like a mirror to our faces can actually have some impact, I am not quite convinced that a lack of awareness about underlying causes, or an inability to control the crappy stuff that we might be doing in our relationships is really the issue. Toxic behaviors damage relationships. That ain’t a new one for us to know. I think that most of us are already aware of this and fully capable of controlling these behaviors. It’s more about what we believe that causes us the most damage- that the role of our partner is to make us happy and they are responsible for our thoughts and emotions, as well as any actions that we might take because of them.

When we believe that the source and the responsibility for our happiness is outside of us, we are far more likely to be demanding , manipulative, or downright inconsiderate of others in our quest to ensure that we get our needs met. We look at the occasional fallout as a necessary evil and we choose to ignore the fact that clingy, whiney, needy, bitchy, controlling or dismissive behaviors serve no good purpose if our intention is to have a truly loving relationship. We choose to ignore the impact that this ultimately has on us or the people we become involved with. The “don’ts” are justified and then dismissed. We are simply reacting to their failure to address our needs; their failure to do right or to make us HAPPY.

Now, of course there are some of us who actually need help because we are emotionally or psychologically incapable of avoiding the “don’ts”. But for the most part? We know what not to do. It’s called The Golden Rule. We picked that up long ago. We just don’t want to take responsibility for who we are BEing in those moments when we conveniently forget that rule-and that is a person who is choosing to play powerless and small, blaming others for our reckless behavior. Now, that? That’s the “don’t.”

-Written by Angie

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