Trouble or Troubled
Relationships have their ups and downs. But in a healthy relationship, the ups and downs are minimal and partners eventually find a sense of equilibrium with one another. Too much up, too much down, or too much of both could mean trouble. But who’s rocking the boat? Well, it might be both of you. Are You Trouble or Troubled?
They say every relationship has something to teach, and sometimes the lessons are revealed over a lifetime, long after the end of one relationship and the beginning of another. Sometimes it’s the need to learn these lessons that brings us into a relationship with someone else in the first place. Sometimes it’s not so much a matter of figuring out who’s to blame for the troubles in a relationship as it is growing to understand the side of yourself that entered and maintained such a relationship in the first place.
Do you have a short fuse? Are you reactive? Do you feel the need to “take it out” on someone if you’ve had a rough day? Do you like fun in excess? You might be trouble. Although relationships are built on open and honest communication, it is certainly possible to take openness and honesty just a little too far. Sometimes impassioned expression can turn into yelling and, eventually, an all-out meltdown.
On the other hand, do you have trouble saying what you think or feel? Are you afraid to assert your needs? Do you find yourself staying in a relationship even though you know it’s bad for you? Do you isolate yourself when you feel overwhelmed? You might be troubled. Although he or she may not contribute to the ups and downs of a relationship in any obvious way, a troubled person goes along with the oscillation of unhealthy ups and downs. There is a difference between being nice and being co-dependent. Sometimes a relationship needs a good healthy dose of truth.
If, after reading this far, you think you might be one of the two – trouble or troubled – don’t despair! There’s hope. Remember, every relationship bears something to teach. It’s time to do some proactive soul searching. Try the psychological principle of “opposite action”. If you’re trouble, learn to assess the potential consequences of your actions. Next time you feel that desperate need to externalize your thoughts and feelings, take a breath, step back, and ask yourself if you’re being reasonable.
Alternatively, if you’re troubled, learn to recognize your thoughts and feelings. After that, learn to communicate them in an open, direct, and assertive way. You might feel so overwhelmed that clear communication is difficult, but you owe it to yourself and your partner to give it a shot. Changes in yourself will change the relationship, which will in turn lead to your ongoing individuation.