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May an ill- Functoning Relationship be Restored to Health?

Updated on February 17, 2009

Opening communication lines to solve problems

For those who were raised in normal home environments, getting through the detours and storms couples encounter may be fairly direct and problems solved without a lot of difficulty.

For others, the process is not so simple. In the former, relationships are not allowed to get so far out of control they cannot be repaired. This is because the parties have normal communication patterns, openly resolve problems quickly, without assigning blame, and are pretty sure when they leave for work that the home (and partner)will be still functioning when they return in the evening.

What are normal communicaton patterns?  A better way t say this might be, how do coujples talk with one another effectively?  What works?  What doesn't work? Have you both agreed on trying to solve the problins together or with a trained counselor?  Even children learn over time that all on the field of play deserve a chance to be heard.  they learn to be good winners, as well as losers, Sometimes it is necessary to take an unpopular position when the truth is known.  Some kids will never backdown, even in the face of the truth. Poor winners strut their superiority.  Poor losers cannot accept defeat and blame the loss on the officiating, the weather, the rules, etc;,and take the fun out of the game for everyone. But the kids who are allowed to express themselves at home and in healthy ways where all participate,have learned negotiation skills that wil prove helpful for a lifetime. They have learned to give and take and that one can lose and still be all right.  They are willing to face challenges because they know that not making a goal happens to everyone. The outcome of a game or enterprise is only a temporary setback.  the results have no effect on the worth or perception that one is bad or good as the result of winning or losing. It is this kind  of thinking that allows ther developing individual the courage to reach for more without  fear.

have all the answers,that you have tried all avenues and everything leads to a dead-end.  Your partner "has an attitude or begins to disagree before you even have the words out of your mouth. Why do they do this after agreeing that they will let you make your point before going on or interrupting before you are finished?  If I ask someone if they are perfect, the answer in every case is,  "no, of course not."  But during colunseling sessions or wnen trying to work out a problem with a mate, he/she cannot seem to let the other make a point before barging in and shutting down whatever the partner had to say.  Part of this is a need to be in control, which  was learned at home. 
those not in control are believed to be out of control.  therefore, to be out of control is dangerous and one wouldn't ever be caught not in control.

While one or the other partner admits they make mistakes like everyone else, it seems they are unable to allow the other to communicate freely.  The fear is that flaws will turn up and convince the partner of their absolute rightness on he issue at hand. To shut off this  perceivedt threat,, The threatened party may feel it is necessary to shout out, a defense before the skirmish has begun. If  it is impossible to work out rules for getting a point across that both can accept, then a therapist may be necessary to break the old habits so that each partner succeeds in making a departure point from which they might start anew.  It seems simple enough that grown ups express feelings without fear of retaliation or the other breaking off the communication and running away.

The truth is, some families just never learn to communicate effectively.  The rules of childhood, therefore, become the rules adults use to try and keep the lines of communication open.  Interrupting, name calling, leaving the area, cursing, shouting the other down are ways of communicating.  They are just not effective. Salvadore Manuchin, a well known family therapist, notes that : One cannot not communicate.  So when your sister states that her husband, dead drunk on the floor is not communicating, she neeeds to look again.  He is making a drunken statement to everyone in the household, whether they want to see the merssage or not.

Almost every failing relationship and some that have apparently failed, deserve another chance.  The parties deserve the chance to make a case that will help bring the conflict to a satisfactry resolution. We all know how much is at stake when partners split. But pride and anger(which is unexpressed hurt) can break off any chance at the bargaining table. Cheating, for example, places a  terrible burden on the relatioship. 
When the offender simply will not allow the offended party a chance to express the hurt, it simmers beneath the surface and turns into destructive feelings that release at unexpected times. furthermore, intensity of the feelings are unpredictable but are not allowed as an excuse for murder and mayhem. Standing over the dead husband, smoking gun in hand, the wife my be heard to say  "If only he would have listened."

If you or your family are feeling stressed and feel thefre is no way anything will ever change, you are probably right if you continue to complete  tired patterns of communicating that  only seem to  make things worse.

Social services in almost every county or city in every state in the u.S. offers some fom of counseling based on ability to pay. Private therapists commonly accept insurance.  Many other resources, such as abused women hotlines and safe houses are available through crisis and suicide hot lines listed in yellow pages.  Upon inital contact, Be prepared to answer  the question about what it is you expect to gain from therapy.   You may be confused and not prepared, which is all right.  Not every relationship may be mended and your therapist isn't there to "save the marriage."  She will help; you explore options and provide support  and shelter, if abused, for you and children(if any). The decision you make will be explored with you by the therapist who will be with you every step of the way.

Life inevitably produces hard times for each and every one of us. In larger group exercises, the author would ask individual participants if they would trade the problems of others for their own.  What do you think the answer is?  What is the answer for you?


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    • Teresa McGurk profile image


      9 years ago from The Other Bangor

      Solid advice --sounds logical and thorough. And compassionate. cheers, T.

    • solarcaptain profile imageAUTHOR

      mike king 

      10 years ago from california

      Because of my disability, it often takes me two or three times the effort to complete a blog .I am not getting paid to write. So if someone has the ability to remove my hubs, please let me know in advance. This material is copyrighted and of no value to anyone else. If you are carrying a grudge, then I feel sorry for you that you allow me to take your power. That must feel pretty bad.


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