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10 Devastating Behaviors That Can Destroy Your Relationship

10 Devastating Behaviors That Can Destroy Your Relationship

While many of us commit ourselves fully to the relationships that we enter into, these good intentions do not always guarantee success. In fact, our devotion to a loved one can blind us to the relationship mistakes that we all make from time to time, which in turn have the potential to irreparably damage even the most secure of unions.

Many of us make these mistakes unknowingly, while also ignoring the potentially damaging behaviour of our partners. Given this and the impact of these mistakes, it is crucial that we make an effort to understand the issues and tackle them before they begin to take root within a relationship.

10 Relationship Mistakes that Can Have Devastating Impacts

With this in mind, here are some universal mistakes that can undermine your relationship and errode the trust that exists betwen two people: –

1. Being Financially Irresponsible

The topic of money can make or break relationship, especially if your issues stem from a reckless attitude to spending or an unwillingness to save. Problems can also arise if only assume financial responsibility for your self, as this creates a divide within the relationship and shows a lack of consideration. To avoid this, adopt a financially responsible attitude that reassures your partner that you have a future together, while also planning your expenditure to account for the needs of a loved one.

2. Having no other Interests outside of your relationship

At the other end of the behavioural spectrum, it is just as debilitating to be completely and utterly consumed by your love for somebody else. This can cause you to adopt a rigid, single-minded focus on your partner, which in turn prevents you from having any other interests outside of the relationship. Such an attitude can prevent you from developing as a person, while also bringing out negative emotions such as fear, anxiety and paranoia.

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According to Dr. Seth Myers, the best way to negate this is to make a list of how and when you used to spend your free time when you were single. This provides a handy reminder of your interests, while it also offers some inspiration outside of the relationship and will allow your partner to breathe.

3. Creating a Co-dependent Relationship

This leads us neatly onto the topic of co-dependency, which can often evolve in relationships where one or both individuals have few outside interests. This type of relationship is defined by a pattern of behaviour in which you become dependent on your partner for your confidence and self-worth, meaning that you spend the majority of your time seeking validation.

Of course, interdependences can have an incredibly positive impact in fields such as art, sport and business, while the entire concept of a relationship is built on the idea of two lives joining as one. It is crucial that you maintain a sense of self-worth and your own unique identity, however, this prevents you from becoming too reliant on your partner to fulfil your emotional needs.

4. Acting like you are single

While we have touched on the dangers of co-dependency, it is important to remember that a loving relationship is defined by two people who love, support and interact positively with one another. Balance is therefore key, as while you should avoid the pitfalls of a co-dependent relationship you must also remember not to behave as though you are single.

When you act like you are single without the consent of your partner, you behave in a way that marginalises them and disrespects your feelings. Always keep in mind that you are part of a loving union and be willing to compromise on your single lifestyle, using the attributes that attracted you to your partner in the first place as inspiration.

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5. Acting in an Insecure and Overly Sensitive Way

We all have periods during which we feel sad, unworthy or depressed, and this can have a negative impact on our outlooks and behaviours. Such feelings can also wreak havoc within a relationship, as they negatively affect your partner and trigger emotions such as insecurity and jealously. No matter how much your partner loves you, they cannot be expected to constantly deal with your own insecurities or lack of self-worth, particularly if their conduct does not warrant such emotions.

Feeling of this type are likely to be rooted in past relationship failures, but it is crucial that you recognise this and strive to break past patterns. By realising that the problem lies with you and evaluating your relationship objectively, you can begin to live in the present rather than being haunted by the ghosts of the past.

6. Showing a Lack of Affection

Not all people are created equal, and while some of us are extremely affectionate others struggle to display their feelings through physical intimacy or touch. While most relationships can tolerate this difference to some degree, there needs to be some compromise and you must make an effort to show affection in any way that you can. Without this your relationship can become stale and drift into friendship, while your partner can begin to feel unloved or undervalued.

Hand-holding, cuddling and hugging are simple ways to showcase affection without compromising your physical boundaries. Even if you do not like public displays of affection, you can at least make the effort to do these things in private and behind closed doors.

7. Excessive Criticism and Nagging

Excessive nagging or criticism of a partner can drag any relationship down, no matter how long two people have known or cared for one another. There are many reasons for this, but the primary issue is that it drives negative reinforcement and focuses on what an individual is not doing rather than their positive contributions to a relationship. It can also trigger feelings of resentment, both in adult relationships and those between parents and children.

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Over time, this can also create a breakdown in communication where one person constantly makes requests and the other simply ignores them. It is therefore important to tackle this dynamic before it takes hold of the relationship and becomes ingrained, so try to address this by using positive enforcement when asking for things to be done (or done better). It is also important to show empathy and allow your partner time to respond.

8. Display a lack of Attention or Communication skills

Before, we mentioned that a sustained lack of affection can hinder your relationship. The same principle applies in instances where one partner does not pay attention to the other, or at least fail to communicate their interest in their thoughts, words or achievements. Our obsession with technology has made this a more prominent issue in the modern age, as couple spend a great deal of their time immersed in social and digital media rather than conversing with one another.

Fortunately, recognising this issue is the main step towards resolving it. From here, you can make a concerted effort to spend time together without technology or distractions, as you instead talk to one another and commit fully to the conversation. Technology should be discarded at meal times, as this provides a great opportunity for loved ones to talk and connect with one another.

9. Being Dishonest

It is suggested that we all lie at one point in time or another, either to create a false belief or hide the evidence of a wrong-doing. In most instances these are small, insignificant fabrications, but it is important to remember that lying is a compulsive behaviour that can quickly escalate out of control and cause huge damage to a relationship. Whether this manifests itself in infidelity or a series of small, related lies that gradually begin to take hold, this behaviour creates mistrust and destroys the fabric of any relationship.

The only answer to this is to be honest, and trust in the bond that you have with your partner. A loved one is far more likely to forgive transgressions if you are courageous and honest with them, so this is always the preferred course of action if you are serious about enjoying a long and fruitful relationship. If you are incapable of this, you are not ready to be in a relationship or prioritise the needs of others ahead of your own.

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10. Following Impulses and Compulsions

Unfortunately, lying is just one of the many compulsive behaviours that can ruin your relationship. These can offer occur as a result of unhappiness or resentment within a relationship, as we indulge in a particular action to find comfort and solace. This can manifest itself in numerous ways, from shopping and gambling to over-eating.

These behaviours also show scant regard for your partner and your relationship, particularly as it suggests that you are unable to share the innermost feelings that are causing such conduct. You must therefore become open to being vulnerable and communicate your emotions to your loved one, as you work together to resolve the underlying issues and become stronger as a couple.

Only then, and by heeding the other warnings here, can you avoid these relationship mistakes and look forward to a long and happy union!

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Last Updated on October 16, 2018

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

How to Overcome Your Irrational Fears (That Stop You from Succeeding)

She could hear her beautiful baby crying but was frozen in the doorway unable to move. The crying got worse and she knew that unless she comforted the infant soon the baby would be inconsolable, and yet her feet wouldn’t move. She didn’t look at the cot but the floor in front, where the venomous hairy monster sat before her…. .okay it was a UK spider so not likely to kill her at all, and yet still her body was frozen as the tears fell down her face. “What a useless mother you are” she berated herself.

That awful mother was me 14 years ago. My fear of spiders had not been controlled for years and I was at the stage where I wouldn’t open a newspaper until my husband had read it and removed the images of spiders. I hated houses that had wooden floors or skirting boards because every knot in the wood could be a spider about to crawl across me.

At the height of my fear, I tried to get out of a moving car. Clearly this harmless 8-legged creature had massive levels of power over me but now that fear is gone, I’m never going to love spiders but I’m not going to leave the room because of one and I can read the word without freaking out and sobbing.

If you think that fear is irrational, what about the fear of going to airports? Or the fear of not asking for help?

Today I want to look at how our irrational fears impact on us, how they can destroy (and I don’t use that word lightly) our success. They can damage our health and even stop us from living our lives. And then I’ll share the benefits of fighting that fear and most importantly how you can fight your fears too.

How irrational fears impact your life

The thing about irrational fears is that we are not keen to look at them. It makes us feel inadequate, weak and daft because we can’t do things that it seems everyone else can. That gives the fear power.

Fear loves negative emotions and saps up yours making your fear bigger and uglier and even more powerful. Not ideal to say the least. Fears can cause us to:

  • Avoid situations where that fear may have to be faced. Dodging parties, new jobs, new experiences where we aren’t sure we will be able to protect ourselves.
  • Stop us from sleeping for fear the thing we fear will “get us in the night.” For me this was massive, and I stopped sleeping which had massive implications when my job was to look after a toddler and a baby. I felt half dead most of the time!
  • Feel ill with the stress. Stress can be the cause of wrong decisions. Drinking alcohol when we shouldn’t, eating chocolate because it makes us feel better, the list of excuses is long that we hold on to so that we can avoid the cause of our stress.
  • Cause more distress as our minds overload us with negative thoughts of inadequacy. This can damage our confidence. Having coached thousands, I know that a lack of confidence is usually the underlining impactor on most people’s success across all areas of their lives.
  • Risk looking aloof or arrogant because we won’t participate like other people. Our fears can even isolate us in our personal and professional lives too.
  • Feel debilitated. Needless to say, these fears may look irrational and shouldn’t exist to the outside world but to the sufferer they are debilitating. Even impacting on their earning potential, love life, hobbies, travels and personal and professional success.

Why bother to fight the fear

Couldn’t you just ensure you live your life in way that you don’t have to deal with your fear?

I had a client that was so scared of flying that they couldn’t even take their partner to the airport, another who had avoided public speaking for over 20 years and yet now at the height of their profession they had no choice, what were they going to do? Quit? There was another who could never ask for help and another who feared people finding out who they really were.

All these fears and many more can be fixed but only if we can appreciate the benefits of fighting the fear.

Let’s look at the benefits of fighting your fears:

If you’re going to change the way you do something, something that has impacted on your life, thoughts and actions for years, it can be hard to believe change is possible.

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The first thing you must do is give yourself a big enough reason why. Go back through your life and remember all the occasions that this fear was there.

I can still see the spider trapped in my hair because it had obviously been on my hairdryer. I also remember that I probably looked ludicrous in the South of France in my underwear running down the lane screaming and flinging my hair everywhere. The poor spider had not only been flung a long way from my head but was probably destroyed in the flight.

Remember the feelings, the actions, the negative feelings you felt afterwards, for me it meant that every time I picked up a hairdryer I could see a spider crawling towards my ear in my hair. Guess how helpful that was for reinforcing my reactions and irrational fear?

Really experience the fear. Make it so painful that you probably notice your heart racing, your shoulders drawing up and your breath changing. That fear is causing physical change in your body, doesn’t feel good does it?

When the irrational fear is challenged and destroyed, it can’t have power over you. So new opportunities can come your way and instead of fearing them and what people will think of you for your choices, you can be open to;

  • New hobbies
  • New travels
  • New opportunities
  • More success
  • Financially more secure
  • Happier
  • Healthier
  • Confident

The list is long so what can you do to get rid of your fears?

How to fight your irrational fears

In my book Fight the Fear: How to Beat Your Negative Mindset and Win in Life, I cover 12 of the biggest fears that I see impact on success and happiness. Not all of these are obvious but they all have far reaching impacts on our lives.

Here are some of those ideas to help you fight your fear and get more of what you want out of life:

Why did this happen?

For some people they really need to know why the fear started, for others all they want is to get rid of it. If you need to understand yours then don’t skip this tip. Learn how your fears are made and appreciate where yours came from. If you don’t care how it arrived, you can jump to top tip 2.

I’ve seen some clients who are not prepared to look at how to get rid of the fear until they’ve understood how it got here in the first place. It’s not my place to tell them that is right or wrong, just to help them find the right steps to lead them to a happy path.

When a fear first starts, we don’t acknowledge a fear has entered our lives. It is only after a few occasions that we begin to notice that there’s a strong negative emotion connected to this “thing”. That’s how fear is allowed to grow because as humans we have in-built responses that have kept us safe for our entire existence. This means we are meant to perceive fear and either run or fight, either way our bodies jump into action creating physical responses to the perceived threat.

Look for when you first noticed the fast heart beat, the shallow breathing, the shaking hands, the redness. You have created an automatic way of dealing with this fear. It could be that it felt sensible to fear this because you had an unhappy outcome, although it is usually the case that your head has the facts and your heart is not prepared to hear them as it creates a version of the event that is far scarier than it actually was.

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Learning how to remove the emotions and feelings will help you to change your body’s response. The first time I fixed someone’s fear of public speaking, they told me that it physically closed their throat, I worried that was it possible with words to change our physicality? The answer was yes! With the tools and techniques I share below.

The tool kit

From the many people that have contacted me after reading Fight the Fear to my clients, I know for even myself creating a tool kit is a must. This is not a bag that you physically must haul everywhere. This is about learning tools that really resonate with you so that when you can feel the fear start to impact on you, you’ve got your kit ready to take it on.

I don’t have the space in one article to share all of those tools so let’s visit a few:

1. Why I’m awesome

Creating a 2-page handwritten document of why you are awesome can help. This document will be packed with achievements, successes, overcoming adversity and all of those will be full of positive emotions, actions and feelings. It is not easy to write, and I get many messages telling me so however it is a powerful reminder that you can stand up and accomplish.

2. Draw out your emotions

Earlier we looked at how irrational fears can damage every aspect of our lives. If you were to follow the negative spiral down you can follow the positive spiral up again.

I draw these individually for clients and with each action, thought or feeling we put an arrow between them. Each arrow is an opportunity to do something different. If we know that irrational fear is an automatic thought process, then we can start to see that we need to think, do or feel something different. Top tip 3 will help with that.

3. Acknowledge that you need to change

It’s not easy to change, and that is a belief that many hold. Top tip 4 could assist further, however for this tip, remember that when you want to do, think or feel differently, you’ve already achieved the first step and that is recognizing something must change (you don’t need to know what). But if you aren’t sure yet if there’s really something different you want to do, this story about Nancy may help you to figure it out.

Then it’s about acknowledging it. That means not only accepting it but feeling that it is yours to take on and change.

Then for 2 weeks, decide that you won’t allow the thought to be in your head. There are usually some negative thoughts allowed to fester in your head. At this stage, just say “No I’d like you to stop.” After 2 weeks choose a new thought that you would prefer to hear in your head, maybe “I can cope with situations that scare me” or “I am stronger than I know”.

There will be times when you fail. Don’t berate yourself because that is another negative thought you are allowing your head to process. Just start again and at times like that have a read of your “Why I’m awesome list”.

4. Choose your words carefully.

I’ve heard many clients tell me that “It’s going to be hard to change” “I can’t remember a time in my life where I wasn’t petrified” or “This is a lot to ask”. Any thought that gives power to your fear takes away power from you to fight it. Therefore, choose how you word your goal to overcome your fear carefully.

Think thoughts like “I remember when I achieved xxxx and that reminds me I’m far tougher and more capable than I give myself credit for”. (Take the xxx from your why I’m awesome document.)

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5. Believe that you have the control power

The only person that can control what we think and feel is us. I know it can feel like other people are impacting on us, however they can only do that if we give them permission to do so.

If you really think about that for a moment, can you see that you have the right to think and feel anything you want right now? I’m certain you wouldn’t choose pain, fear or anxiety. So, what would you choose to think about your fear?

6. Put up physical reminders

Working one to one, I can find the fear, work through it and create a tool kit of thoughts, feelings and actions that will help them fight that fear and get rid of it. For some, they don’t need physical things to help them; others do.

For example, the CEO who was petrified of public speaking but could handle a conference call with 300 without a second thought, imagined the microphone was a phone when they spoke in front of 400 people to help reinforce the positive thoughts and ideas we’d created.

Or the client that always worried that they were an imposter and “someone else can do this better” pinned on their office wall a tag cloud of all the words that made up their “Why I’m awesome document”.

So they had a daily reminder. They were the right one for the job and they could do it. These daily reminders all come down to one key point — help you to Hack the Habit Loop.

What would be your visual clues to remind you that you can overcome this?

7. Physical supports

Music, environment and even smells can impact on us. Know the music that makes you feel alive and ready for anything. Try aromatherapy oils to feel positive and energised. Even choose your work environment or clothing to empower you.

Changing these things is physical and giving yourself physical ideas to action can help power up your emotional state too.

8. Don’t go it alone

The fear to ask for help is very real (and has a whole chapter in my book) so I know people really struggle with this. The fact is we all need people. We are not insular by design and as such it can be tough to admit that you have a fear impacting on you.

However, by sharing your fear with a trusted friend, colleague or loved one can mean that when you are feeling the fear. you can talk to someone. It could be that you share with them the contents of your tool kit and ask their permission to be added to it. That way they know what works for you and how to best support you.

It’s not a sign of weakness to tell people about your fear. It takes massive levels of strength to say, “I have this fear, and I want to get rid of it.”

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9. Get physical

One of the reasons that a fear can escalate is because we have come to accept that response. Our body reacted in a certain way, once repeated the behaviour and it became a formed habit that was accepted.

Challenging a fear can be done using our body too when we appreciate that fear is actually a reaction inside our bodies. We don’t need to understand where in our brains or what chemicals are racing through us to use our physicality to help us challenge our fears.

When I was writing my book, the Cuddy Superhero pose was proved and disproved by various researchers around the world 3 times. Whether it’s real or not, the fact is the way we stand, the way we breathe and even the speed at which we speak can impact on us as well as those around us.

If you have a fear of public speaking or a fear of people thinking you are stupid or a fear of what people are thinking you can look at how you speak, stand and move. If you compare these with people you deem confident and happy in these situations, how do you look? What can you learn?

The research around placebo’s reinforces us that if it feels like it is working, then keep doing it! What could you use to help reinforce your power and fearlessness?

A little fear can be good

As someone famous once says:

“It is not fear, it is performance energy.”

Despite having an absolute hatred of public speaking 10 years ago, I now love an audience and yet I have a healthy level of fear. That level of fear says “Are you well prepared?” “Do you know your audience?” “Have you rested your voice?” “You really want to deliver to this audience what they need” And those thoughts are sensible.

And just remember, it’s never ever too late to face your fear and do what you desire most! It’s even possible to start over your life no matter what stage of life you’re at. Here’s the proof:

How to Start Over and Reboot Your Life When It Seems Too Late

So as you reduce your fear, be aware of a good level of fear.

Featured photo credit: Isaiah Rustad via unsplash.com

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