Mateja Petje Unhealthy Relationships
10 SIGNS YOU’RE IN AN UNHEALTHY OR TOXIC RELATIONSHIP
Mateja Petje Unhealthy Relationships-Prince Charming
Mateja Petje says unhealthy relationships mean for many of us, especially women, growing up in traditional Western cultures that we have a particular belief system. Most have been taught to believe that one day we will meet Prince Charming who will ride in on a white horse and save us from all our suffering and make us happy and whole again. This theme is very pervasive in Western culture including in our books and movies where it permeates everything.
Mateja Petje Unhealthy Relationships-Jerry McGuire & Pretty Woman
Think about movies such as Jerry McGuire (“You complete me”) or another great example is the movie “Pretty Woman”. In the past women didn’t have as many career choices that we have today, so often times they just had to be “happy” and put up with whatever life brought them.
Mateja Petje Unhealthy Relationships-Emotional, mental, financial & physical abuse
That meant women would suffer emotional, mental, financial, and even physical abuse. Luckily, with women’s rights and movement up the career ladder things have changed for women yet on an emotional level we still expect for a man to “make us happy”. This is the core of our misconception.
Mateja Petje Unhealthy Relationships -True for both genders
You might be a stay at home mom or dad or a professional or business owner, the issue remains the same. We all want love, understanding, and a shoulder to cry on. We have all read enough self help books, or even spent years in therapy, yet we are not getting the results. And this goes for both men and women alike. Nowadays it’s not uncommon anymore for a woman to have a demanding career, while her husband stays home or works in a less demanding job. What I’m saying here is true for both genders.
Mateja Petje Unhealthy Relationships- Discussing suffering & abuse
Men usually just don’t share their suffering or even abuse from a spouse due to the stigma attached to it. This is a very difficult situation in terms of healing and moving forward. The fact that men are usually very closed off generally speaking works against the situation many times.
I have had my own share of failed relationships that stemmed from my own traumatic and dysfunctional childhood. I started dating when I was 15 because I thought this was the only way for me to feel loved and understood. Yet, because I never healed sufficiently, I kept attracting abusive, angry, and narcissistic men. I wonder if this rings a bell for you.
Mateja Petje Unhealthy Relationships-Perception
Many of the clients I’ve worked with in my clinical practice have had similar struggles in relationships that have also led to clinical depression, anxiety and lack of self worth. There is a pressure within our society to find that one special man or woman who is your soulmate, otherwise you might be perceived that there is something wrong with you.
Self help books “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”
Probably like most of you, I’ve read a ton of self-help books, including Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and saw healers, coaches and therapists. I’ve learned a lot about myself and relationships which also led me to become a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Mateja Petje Imago Approach
In my professional practice I utilize something called the Imago Approach, a concept founded by Harville and Helen Hendrix. You can find several books which you might find helpful on my website www.NaturalStressManagement.com.
According to this theory, we attract partners in our life that remind us about our primary caregivers, who are generally our parents, and that includes both for their positive and negative traits. To give you an example, a woman who grew up in a home where her mother was very submissive, might find herself attracting domineering and controlling men like her father.
Mateja Petje Your subconscious and unconscious mind
However, don’t despair because with some professional help this CAN be overcome. The best approach that worked for me and my clients is to understand how your subconscious and unconscious mind works. Many times, when we grew up in a dysfunctional home, we made certain beliefs about love, relationships, feelings, money and so on. We might not even remember these beliefs yet we keep living our lives based on those beliefs.
Mateja Petje Utilizing NLP, Hypnosis & EMDR
If we want a different life, the key is to understand your mindset and your beliefs. Many times you’ll find you’re still living your life based on your parents or other authority figures beliefs. As children, we depended on others for our survival and our well being so we were not able to question those beliefs, consequently as ADULTS we can, and we MUST in order to change our lives for the better.
Over time I’ve found the techniques that work best in uncovering hidden beliefs include NLP, hypnosis, and EMDR. You can find more about them by going to my website www.NaturalStressManagement.com
Mateja Petje -How do you know?
Now, let’s talk some more about HOW DO YOU KNOW THAT YOU ARE IN UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIP or even TOXIC relationship. I want you to ask yourself if any of these statements apply to you. By the way, an excellent book I often refer to is by Doreen Virtue, Assertiveness for Earth Angels. Some of these behaviors are more call for an improvement, while others could be too toxic and you might need to leave the relationship.
Mateja Petje -Top 10 relationship deal breakers!
It’s important to know what your DEAL BREAKERS are and what you can tolerate, however there are some that deserve our attention and I am just mentioning a few common ones that can destroy even a happy relationship.
- 1. Interrupting – the person who continuously interrupts you is not interested in what you have to say. Very often, the person who constantly interrupts is frequently anxious or hyperactive (and that might be due to use of stimulants, such as coffee). You need to tell them something like: “Excuse me, I am not done talking yet” and be assertive.
- 2. Constant correcting – this is even worse than interrupting. You constantly walk on eggshells. You need to be assertive and tell them that it feels more like he or she is acting as your teacher and not your partner.
- 3. Clingy/needy behavior. Again you need to tell them you are busy with projects and set proper boundaries.
- 4. Stalking is even worse and in some cases you might need to get a restraining order if situation doesn’t improve.
- 5. Guilt-tripping or manipulating people. You feel resentful and angry. It’s important to say NO and stick to it.
Mateja Petje -Top 10 relationship deal breakers! (continued)
- 6. Angerholics are addicted to being angry. This anger might be a result of upbringing, or also deep feelings of inferiority, disguised as anger. It’s important to get a professional help especially if the angry person continues to be in denial and doesn’t respond to common sense.
- 7. Controlling behavior where typically controlling people act out immaturely or with anger when they feel that they are not in control.
- 8. Addictions, including substance abuse reminds us it’s important to understand that any addiction needs to be treated by a professional. If you find yourself always pleading with the person suffering from addiction, most of the time it will not help as you continue enabling their behavior. It takes a lot of strength and courage to stay in a relationship with an addict. Until they get professional help, you are really in a relationship with a man or a woman who is hidden behind this cycle of addiction.
Mateja Petje -Top 10 relationship deal breakers! (conclusion)
- 9. Name calling is behavior that is verbally abusive. When it occurs you need to speak up because it’s not acceptable. Name calling can hurt even more sometimes than physical abuse can especially for someone who has a trusting, sensitive heart. For example a Highly Sensitive Person.
- 10. Betrayal A betrayer breaks your heart and your trust by engaging in hurtful behaviors such as infidelity, flirting with others, lying to you or exercising extremely poor judgement. In my professional practice I worked with many couples who had suffered infidelity and in some cases, if the relationship had a solid basis, they overcame infidelity issues. However it can takes years. It is always important to love yourself enough and be honest with yourself and not trying to forgive people at every cost.
“4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse” according to Dr. John Gottman
I also wanted to share with you what Dr John Gottman calls “The 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse”. These are 4 main behavior patterns that can destroy a relationship or a marriage (see https://www.gottman.com/blog/the-four-horsemen-the-antidotes/)
Criticism: A complaint focuses on a specific behavior, while a criticism attacks the character of the person.
Defensiveness: Defensiveness is defined as self-protection in the form of righteous indignation or innocent victim hood in attempt to ward off a perceived attack. Many people become defensive when they are being criticized, but the problem is that being defensive never helps to solve the problem at hand. Defensiveness is really a way of blaming your partner.
Contempt: Statements that come from a relative position of superiority. Some examples of displays of contempt include when a person uses sarcasm, cynicism, name-calling, eye rolling, sneering, mockery, and hostile humor. Contempt is the greatest predictor of divorce and must be eliminated.
Stonewalling: Stonewalling occurs when the listener withdraws from the interaction. The antidote is to practice physiological self-soothing. The first step of physiological self-soothing is to stop the conflict discussion. If you keep going, you’ll find yourself exploding at your partner or imploding (stonewalling), neither of which will get you anywhere.
Mateja Petje Unhealthy Relationships-vs Healthy Relationships
Now that we talked about dysfunctional and unhealthy relationship patterns, let’s talk for a minute about key characteristics of a HEALTHY relationship. I like to say, that in a healthy relationship, there is INTER-DEPENDENCE as opposed to co-dependence. Both partners are equal in every aspect and focus on their strengths and work together as a team.
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Dr Gottman 7 key tips for a healthy relationship or marriage
1. Emotionally intelligent couples know each other’s world. They know each other’s goals, worries, and hopes.
2. Fondness and admiration are two of the most crucial elements in a long-lasting romance. I suggest to my couples to keep a jar filled with positive statements of each other and remember positive things when things get tough..
3. Seeking partner’s affection and support and give it freely. It doesn’t always have to be a great sex. Affection is even more important.
4. Treating each other with respect even when you disagree.
5. Solve your solvable problems and let go of things you cannot solve at the moment or learn to compromise.
6. Overcome gridlock and “honor” your partners dreams.
7. Create shared meaning so Marriage can have an intentional sense of shared purpose
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If you can’t come to our office right now after all Mateja Petje offers online and distance therapy! Don’t wait to get better on your own. We all need help sometimes. So why delay your happiness because in the final analysis your mental and physical health is priceless! However no one can motivate you to take the initiative to heal and make the first phone call but you. So please make the phone call all things considered you’re possibly in a dark place and need a fresh start!
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