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Published on August 14, 2020

How to Deal With an Emotionally Unstable Partner

How to Deal With an Emotionally Unstable Partner

When you fall in love, you think that your partner – and your relationship – is perfect, right? The idea that one of you could be emotionally unstable is the farthest thing from your mind. After all, being in love causes your brain to release all sorts of feel-good chemicals that make you feel like you’re on Cloud 9. In fact, when scanned, a person’s brain who is in love looks a lot like a person’s brain who is on cocaine. So, you really are feeling “high” when you’re in love!

However, as most of us know, that feeling of being in Heaven with your new love wears off after a while. Your brain eventually stops creating as many feel-good chemicals, and you slowly start returning back to normal.

In reality, this phase of love doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It’s just a fact of life.

While some people do go on to live happily ever after, others begin to realize that their supposedly “perfect partner” is not so perfect anymore. In fact, some even come to the realization that their partner is downright emotionally unstable.

Uh-oh. What do you do when that happens? It’s almost unbelievable – literally. How did this person turn into someone you hardly even recognize?

The problem is that you probably still love the person. And if that’s true, how do you deal with your emotionally unstable partner?

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Before we discuss how to deal with them, let’s first start by talking about how to recognize the symptoms of an emotionally unstable individual.

Symptoms of Being Emotionally Unstable

All of us have our bad days and our mood swings – it’s just the nature of being human. But how do you know when someone has crossed over the line from having just normal, everyday emotions to being downright emotionally unstable? Here are some of the signs.

Angry Outbursts

Everyone gets angry at times. It’s a normal and natural occurrence for every human being. However, how you express your anger is key to healthy relationships. So, if your partner seems to have outbursts of anger for no apparent reason (or over small things), then that is a sign.

Overly Dramatic

Again, we all have things happen in our lives that we don’t like. But a lot of people just deal with it, try to change things, and move on with their lives. An unstable person, however, will turn their life into unending drama when they don’t need to.

Gaslighting

Gaslighting[1] is psychologically manipulating another person into questioning their own sanity. For example, if they told you they would do something, they will deny ever saying it when you bring it up. Then, you wonder if they really said it or if you just imagined it. But that is just one example.

Mood Swings

It’s normal for people’s moods to change. No one can be happy 100% of the time, right? But for most, the change in mood is relatively minor. It’s usually dependent on something outside of themselves. But an unstable person could have extreme mood swings for no good reason.

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Inappropriate Anger

When most people get angry, it’s usually at someone who is close to them. That makes sense, because those are the people with whom we spend the most time. But if your partner frequently yells at a server in a restaurant or other random people, then that is not healthy.

Lack of Empathy

Empathy is the ability to feel what another person feels and to see things from their perspective – not just your own. Emotionally unstable people are generally unable to do this. They only see their own side of a situation.

Tries to “One up” You

They always seem to be in a power struggle with you. For example, if you had a bad day, they will tell you how theirs was worse. Or, if you are having an argument, they will always try to gain the power to “win” and make you lose.

Inability to Admit When They Are Wrong

Emotionally unstable people can’t admit when they are wrong. In fact, admitting they are wrong is a threat to their psychological well-being. It shakes the core of themselves and their self-identity. So, they will never admit “defeat,” even if they secretly know they are wrong.

Sense of Entitlement

They think they deserve everything, and nothing needs to be earned. For example, they demand that you do things for them because they think it’s their right to do so.

Dealing With Problems Irrationally

The best way to deal with problems in relationships is to have both people on the same team, and for them to come up with a mutual solution. However, emotionally unstable people are unable to do this because they only look at things emotionally, not logically.

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Too Intense

The intensity with which they express their emotions is extreme. They don’t tend to be moderate in any of their interactions. This may generate a feeling of walking on eggshells around them because you are afraid of their intense communication.

Blaming Others

Unstable people don’t ever look in the mirror and take personal responsibility for their actions. Instead, they always point fingers at other people and blame them for everything that is wrong in their lives.

How to Deal With an Emotionally Unstable Partner

Now that we know some of the signs and symptoms of an emotionally unstable person, here are some things you can do to deal with them.

1. Step Back and Observe

Ask yourself if you did anything wrong. Because they tend to gaslight other people (see above), emotionally unstable people have you question your actions and sanity. Be objective, and observe them and yourself. Did you really do anything wrong? Probably not.

2. Get Other People’s Perspectives

Tell your stories to trusted loved ones. Tell them what happens in your interactions, and get their opinion about whether or not your partner is overacting, or if you actually did something wrong. Someone on the outside will likely have a clearer view of what’s going on.

3. Don’t Play Into Their Drama

As the saying goes, “It takes two to tango.” In other words, someone can’t play a game by themselves. They need another person to participate. But don’t give into their drama. Refuse to engage in it and walk away.

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4. Walk Away When They Attack You

If and when they verbally, mentally, or emotionally attack you, just leave the conversation. Don’t allow them to do that to you! Demand that they talk to you nicely, and don’t accept anything less than that. If they can’t give you respect, then end the conversation until they can.

5. Demand Respect

Remind them that how they are speaking to you is unacceptable. One very important thing to remember is this: you teach people how to treat you. Demand that they treat you with respect[2].

6. Stay Calm

Don’t get sucked into their emotional storms. It’s easy to do because you want to defend yourself, but this just plays into their drama. Try to stay calm and rational because that’s the only way people can talk in a healthy manner.

7. Don’t Fall for Gaslighting

When they try to gaslight you, refuse to accept it. Take notes on things that they tell you and what they do, so you have a record. When they try to deny things to make you look crazy, pull out your record and show them the truth.

8. Suggest Therapy

Many times, an emotionally unstable person cannot get better on their own. Going to a trained therapist or psychologist is something that they should probably do – both on their own, and perhaps as a couple as well.

9. If All Else Fails, End the Relationship

Unfortunately, not all relationships can survive – even under the best of circumstances. If you have tried all you can to fix your relationship and make it healthy with someone who is emotionally unstable, sometimes it’s just time to end the relationship and find someone else that you are more compatible with.

Final Thoughts

Being in a relationship with an emotionally unstable person is never easy. You feel like you never know how they are going to act or what they’ll say next. But that’s no way to live. Everyone deserves to be in a happy, healthy relationship. Don’t forget to love yourself enough to put yourself and your happiness first!

More on Dealing With Emotionally Unstable People

Featured photo credit: Kate Kozyrka via unsplash.com

Reference

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Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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