Sharon Sayler

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I recently read an article by author and life coach Ann Thomas. I enjoyed her thoughtful approach and questions. Ann graciously said I could share with all of you. Enjoy.

Is Your Relationship Growing or Going in Circles?

Do you remember watching fairy tales and seeing the words, “And they lived happily ever after” written at the end of the movie? When I was a little girl, I used to think that it meant that Cinderella, the Little Mermaid, and Snow White never had a fight with their beloved. I thought that they stayed in eternal bliss.

In contrast to these fairy tales, the couples on TV or in the movies who argued ended up divorced, drunk, or unfaithful. They seemed miserable. These experiences made me think that a good relationship meant eternal bliss and that if my partner and I argued, we were doomed. Having such a rigid and unrealistic expectation, set me up to fail in many of my earlier relationships. Then I realized that arguments and dissatisfaction at times is a normal part of every relationship. The key is being able to discern whether the arguments are helping your relationship grow or whether they keep you going in circles.

Arguments are a normal part of any relationship. They are also more likely to occur as one or both of you evolve. Here’s a few reasons why people in relationship argue:

•Arguments can be a dysfunctional habit you picked up from your family of origin (note, you may unconsciously engage in the behavior even when you’re actively trying to change it).

•If you fear intimacy (e.g., because you didn’t feel loved as a child or you were badly hurt by an ex), arguments can arise as a way to create distance.

•Arguments may occur when one or both of you “changes” (even if that change is for the better) because the primal fear of the unknown may be triggered.

• Arguments can arise as a way to try to obtain unmet needs.

Write down the answers to the following questions to help determine whether the arguments in your relationship are productive:

1. Are we arguing about the same things over and over again? If yes, what has improved?

2. Do our arguments remind me of something from my past? (e.g., does the subject matter, energy, or dynamic between the couple feel familiar)

3. Do I spend more time dealing with challenges in the relationship than being in a place of peace?

4. Does our arguments help me avoid an activity or a feeling that I don’t want to experience?

5. Does our arguments help me feel something that I am longing to feel (e.g., feeling in control, passion, loved, etc.)?

6. What is my part in keeping the cycle of arguments alive?

7. How am I growing and evolving from this relationship? (What am I learning about myself, the other person, or about relationships?)

Evaluate your answers. As you read through your responses, what does your intuition or gut feeling tell you about the nature of these arguments?

•Are they productive (even if only incrementally)?

•Where is there room for improvement?

The mates we choose often trigger and test our limits, offering us the perfect platform to evolve. Nevertheless, arguments in relationships should be productive, yielding to a more satisfying and intimate relationship for both of you. If you feel like your arguments go in circles and that you are not being heard, or receiving the support that you want, it’s time to get some help. Consider working with a therapist or coach that works with couples. A neutral third party who can help everyone understand the situation better, serve as a translator and offer effective communication tools. But don’t forget, the first step to any healthy relationship is to start with a strong and healthy you!

————–

More about Ann:

Ann Thomas, Esq., CPCC, ACC, is an author, certified life coach, and founder of Evolving Goddess. Ann specializes in helping high-achieving women who, despite their apparent success, feel unfulfilled and are self-critical. As the author of 101 Affirmations for Radical Self-Love (available at Amazon.com) and creator of the Radical Self-Love System™, Ann gives participants the short-cut to sustainable happiness. This system guides women through the process of taking 100% personal responsibility for their lives, actions, and emotions, which becomes the catalyst for lifelong happiness – from the inside out. Learn more about Ann and her upcoming events at www.EvolvingGoddess.com

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One comments on “Is Your Relationship Growing or Going in Circles?
  1. Savannah Graves on said:

    Relationship Evaluation

    Write down the answers to the following questions to help determine whether the arguments in your relationship are productive:Are we arguing about the same things over and over again? If yes, what has improved?
    Yes, I feel like we fight over the same things, especially the things that don’t need to be fighting about. I mean if we are still fighting then is this improving? Is out fighting helping us grow together? I think arguing can help grow us to be stronger, but there are definitely better way to grow. When we were a new couple we would get really close to breaking up almost every month because of these “feels like the end of the world” fights. Now though, we don’t have this monthly break down, we don’t take it so harsh as we did. I feel as if that proves the point that we are getting stronger, and looking at the bigger picture.

    2. Do our arguments remind me of something from my past? (e.g., does the subject matter, energy, or dynamic between the couple feel familiar) for me I don’t think our arguments remind me of something in the past. I know that I’ve always been a defiant kid. I would argue and ask so many questions that it just doesn’t make sense to the other person any more and id just “win” In conclusion, it doesn’t remind me of any type of energy or what not, I have just always been a fighter with my words.

    3. Do I spend more time dealing with challenges in the relationship than being in a place of peace? Well, I believe that we have been having a rough patch lately. Trying to find out the right things to do, follow our morals and virtues as well as get good grades and deal with teenage drama constantly forming around us. I do want to take into consideration that the negative seems to always out weigh the positive no matter how hard you look at it. In my mind though, when I try to reflect on all the bad that has happened.. it just seems to be a big blur, as if my mind is just blocking it out now. Like I know that there are times when we argue or that we are simply not in good moods and that just ruins the vibe of the other. On the other hand, I can remember specific times that I loved sharing with him. From out first anniversary (eating pizza) or just having him play with my hair and him telling me how much he loves me. To answer your question, I do believe that we probably do argue more that have that state of piece, but I do sincerely believe that we will someday, hopefully soon, get there.

    4. Does our arguments help me avoid an activity or a feeling that I don’t want to experience? There was a point at our low, where it might have been best to take a real break. He even suggested it, actually came to my house and tried to break up with me. I knew that it would have been best at the time, but me being my stubborn self, I turned it into a debate and eventually an argument than finally there he was crying in my arms telling me how much he loved me. I cant help but think that I forced him into staying with me. I just didn’t want to feel the pain of loosing someone so important to me. I didn’t want that heart break. I want to make it clear that, that was the only time I ever used an argument to hide the feeling of heart break.

    5. Does our arguments help me feel something that I am longing to feel (e.g., feeling in control, passion, loved, etc.)? No! Not at all! I hate these arguments. i do not argue to feel happy or in control. The reason I argue is to find a reason, a conclusion to what is causing such discourse.

    6. What is my part in keeping the cycle of arguments alive? I think I feed into the bad vibes, I get whiny, so does he and then we just go at it until one of us gets tired and realizes it.
    7. How am I growing and evolving from this relationship? (What am I learning about myself, the other person, or about relationships?). Ive learned that its not all about me. I feel as if i’m here on this earth to serve, to love someone more than myself. Im definitely and nurturer. I just want to hold and take care of the things I love. I know that my purpose here is to help people.

    Evaluate your answers. As you read through your responses, what does your intuition or gut feeling tell you about the nature of these arguments?
    Well to tell you the truth, they need to stop. They really just need to stop. I know that a health from of arguing, called a conversation or debate is healthy. Thats the form of argument people should use to avoid drama, anger and sadness. As for us, I do see that our arguments have been decreasing. I see us making up more and im so grateful for that. Its just taking a very long time for this to dissipate and I know if we tried harder to see the love and peace, we can come to a conclusion that we both agree too.

    Are they productive (even if only incrementally)? I don’t think our arguments are productive, its the stupid stuff like past events. Jealousy, anger, depression, anxiety, lack of trust. We fight about the past and fail to live in the present. This needs to be stopped. It will take time and I understand.
    Where is there room for improvement? Yes of course there is, im not worried if there is room for improvement but I’m worried about the patience I hold to wait for this to get better. For him I feel as if I could wait forever, yet this is making me numb to the fighting. Turning into this never ending circle of fight and love.
    Conclusion:
    The mates we choose often trigger and test our limits, offering us the perfect platform to evolve. Nevertheless, arguments in relationships should be productive, yielding to a more satisfying and intimate relationship for both of you. If you feel like your arguments go in circles and that you are not being heard, or receiving the support that you want, it’s time to get some help. Consider working with a therapist or coach that works with couples. A neutral third party who can help everyone understand the situation better, serve as a translator and offer effective communication tools. But don’t forget, the first step to any healthy relationship is to start with a strong and healthy you!

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