spiral2grow, a counseling practice in Midtown Manhattan (New York City), provides the necessary skills to break negative vicious cycles that is so detrimental to couples’s relationship. Our experts, couples therapists and marriage counselors, understand how to overcome vicious cycles and help building successful relationships by teaching healthy relationship skills. spiral2grow, located in midtown Manhattan at 260 Madison #8023, New York, NY 10016, offers proven vicious cycle solutions in a variety of formats: individual counseling, couples counseling, marriage therapy and relationship workshops.
Breaking Negative Vicious Cycles in a Relationship
Negative patterns in relationships are like negative thoughts – they tend to become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Habits, in general and, negative behavioral patterns specifically, are hard to break because they are the product of ongoing repetition. It also has secondary gained and fulfill a psychological need. Many negative patterns in intimate relationships are the result of historical baggage that manifest itself in breakdowns in communication. Fortunately, most of these vicious cycles can be broken and changed to establish new healthy patterns.
Breaking negative behavior patterns in relationships requires insight and self-awareness. It requires a commitment from each partner to stand by each other and work together to weather the storm in their relationship. Regardless of the level of commitment of your partner, if one person is working and changing, it change the whole dynamic of the relationship. So, don’t be discourage if your partner is not as committed as you are. In some instances, it may also require the assistance of a therapist (a psychotherapist, marriage or couples therapist) in order to help get to the root of the negative behavior and to facilitate the process of change.
Few examples of negative patterns that cause difficulties in a relationship:
- Living in the Past – Everyone is haunted by ghosts in their lives. The problem arises when the ghosts of the past take on a life of their own. For example, if someone has gone through a bitter divorce it can affect one’s ability to trust another person. However, you need to let go of the past in order to have a healthy relationship. If these issues are not dealt with, the same feelings of mistrust and insecurity will unconsciously be transferred to a new partner and can lead to a pattern of broken relationships. Moving on after experiencing a trauma is difficult and this is why it may require professional help from a therapist and relief is not instantaneous. Nevertheless, this is a very worthwhile investment.
- Giving Someone the Cold Shoulder – I am sure everyone has come across someone who is “the strong silent type.” This pattern of behavior often stems from a mindset that showing emotion and vulnerability are a sign of weakness. For example, if someone is having a difficult time at work, they may feel very upset and angry. If this person views displaying emotions as a sign of weakness, they will feel reluctant to discuss this problem with their partner. These negative feelings can boil over and lead to a vicious cycle of keeping one’s partner at arm’s length whenever they are upset. If communication has become an ongoing issue in a relationship, couples therapy can be helpful in restoring the lines of communication and teaching your “silent partner” how to express themselves in a healthier manner.
- Being Argumentative – There are some people who always need to have the last word and insist on proving they are right. While disagreeing and debating are healthy forms of behavior, you also need to know when it is time to throw in the towel regardless of who is right. In all intimate relationships, you should pick your battles wisely and respect each other’s feelings. Sometimes agreeing to disagree will get you much further than a long drawn out argument. Not letting go of an argument sends the message to your partner that you do not respect their opinions and feelings. Someone who regularly engages in this negative behavior needs to carefully evaluate their priorities in terms of their relationship. It is important to remember that even if you win the battle and show you are right, you will end up losing the war – and your relationship.
- Withholding Sex – This is a common, yet frustrating behavior pattern that can occur in intimate relationships. This behavior stems from underlying difficulties in a relationship that need to be addressed. For example, when a woman feels tired because of her personal obligations and is not receiving affection or getting assistance from her husband, it is not uncommon for her not to want to have sexual relations. However, the husband may interpret the withholding of sex as a form of passive-aggressive behavior. This leads to a vicious cycle of broken communication, unfulfilled needs, and resentment. In this situation, it is important to communicate one’s need for affection and assistance. Once these needs are met, the cycle of withholding sexual relations will be broken.
- Power Struggle – If you both walk on eggshells around each other, feeling scared, misunderstood and feeling stuck, you may experience power struggle that make your life miserable. After a while of this power struggle amplify. You find yourself that even the smallest disagreements get blown out of proportion leaving you feeling alone, abandoned and totally disconnected from the one person you love most.
- Being Rigid – A couple’s ability to adapt to life’s inevitable stressors and make necessary changes to meet these difficulties head on is linked to the development of emotional intimacy. Couples who are flexible and not rigid and work together during hard times are likely to feel closer to each other than those who work at cross-purposes.
- Unrealistic expectations – One of the great relationship destroyers is that of unrealistic expectations. Expecting something out of the relationship that the other is either ignorant of, unwilling to provide, or simply unable to provide. Disappointment, frustration and anger is the result.
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