Posts tagged with "relationship advice"

relationship illustration by Rita Azar for 360 Magazine

How to Heal a Strained or Severed Relationship

In Your Personal × Professional Life

By: Allison Kelly Jones, Author of Measure Twice, Cut Once, Navigating Negativity in Toxic Relationships

Sometimes we find ourselves in personal or professional relationships that sour for various reasons, but there are always two players in the strain. Some people continue to engage in “tit for tat” behaviors deploying everything from the silent treatment to guilt or passive/aggressive conduct which is never a good way to “conduct” ourselves. So how do you get past the hurt? How do you reconcile the issues while being true to yourself? How do you “move the needle” towards reconciliation in your personal relationships or resolution in your professional ones?

There are never any innocent bystanders in toxic relationships and being honest about our role in conflict is the first step and it starts with first admitting our behavior in the situation. If a person says or does something to upset you and you swallow your feelings, gossip instead of confronting it or try to ignore it (which causes inner turmoil), you too are playing a role in the dysfunction whether that of a martyr or the passive/aggressive person. An insult or act against you isn’t solely about the other person, so an honest internal check of how it feels in your body is in order and let it be your guide. Decide if you want to nurture the relationship and build or if the relationship has run its course and you may need to cut the relationship with kindness. In my book, “Measure Twice, Cut Once, Navigating Negativity in Toxic Relationships” I discuss the behaviors that identify toxic behaviors in ourselves and others as we decide how to proceed when engaging with difficult people and situations. If you decide to engage and nurture, it starts with forgiveness and forgiveness doesn’t require you to forget the offense, it only matters that you decide to accept that what has happened has occurred and you are letting go of resentment or vindictive thinking or behavior by separating the person from the offense. Taking accountability for your role and communicating how the other person’s behavior affected you and their responsibility for wounding you, doesn’t minimize or validate wrongdoing, it allows you to move into a space of healing. 

Secondly, Look for the good in the person. We all fall from grace and we all need it in our lives at different times. Who hasn’t done something wrong to another person? Lied on someone. Took credit or too much credit for something we shouldn’t have. Said something insensitive. Did something purely out of spite. We would do well to remember that everyone needs grace and hopefully got it. When you are upset with someone, it’s hard to see past an offense and separate the person from the offense, but if you could remember times they were in a more positive light or a time when you were viewed similarly can help reign in feelings of resentment. 

Next, try on some empathy by seeing the other persons point of view because there are always points to ponder from the other side. You are not always right. Keep in mind that our ego wants us want to be unkind, but we should be mindful that compassion can go a long way in being an effective advocate for resolution in any matter, personal or professional. 

Afterwards, identify the real issue. Conflict doesn’t just “pop up” and it seldom comes without warning. There are always behaviors that occur that sow discord over time. The real source of clashing may not be miscommunication, rather it is usually based on perception of an issue. Separating fact from fiction from feelings can help.  Ask yourself what the real issue is that’s bothering you, meaning solid concrete tangible things, e.g., “Allan yells at me at work (Fact) and it feels belittling (Feelings) and people may think I’m weak (Fiction)”. Ask questions of yourself first and then Clarify, Verify and Communicate your need. 

When communicating your need use “I” language because you are only responsible for what is in your span of control. Trying to defuse a situation by pointing fingers usually blows the issue up further. “I’ don’t like when you yell at me” – “I don’t understand what you mean.”  Next, confirm what you are hearing from them. “So, let me make sure I understand” I think what I hear you saying is…”  Communicating what your needs are and listening for the message on the other end is important to resolve the issue or reconcile the relationship. 

Finally, give it time and space if needed. If your attempts at resolution are rejected allow the time and space for the other person to discern, decipher and decide what they would like to do without pressure is important. Next, reach out occasionally and ask for smaller measurements like a 15-minute coffee break or a text as a reminder that you really want to try to resolve the issue. Be consistent until you can’t.  

If all else fails and you have to break from the relationship, let the other person know in a letter or a call/message that you really wanted to move the needle to make everyone comfortable, but your efforts have gone without merit and you are now choosing to let go without resentment.  With family try to offer ongoing family therapy both on your own or together, but have no expectations, simply know that with time all things heal or work out for the greater good because not all relationships are intended to endure. Some are there for a blessing or a lesson, but it’s always for your growth.

BIO: 

Allison Kelly Jones is a southside Chicago native who joined the military after high school and traveled the country as a federal contractor and subject matter expert in human resources, business development and federal personnel programs. She was the on-air talent for her eponymous business show on CBS AM, “The Big Talker” in Washington D.C. Allison spent a vast amount of her career mentoring and coaching many people to personal and business success and has been sought after to deliver powerful and contemporary lectures on topics that engage, empower, and inspire people to live their most genuine and happy lives. Her philosophy is, “we are here to learn who we are and what we are here to do and whatever it is, it is to be shared.” 

Manifestation is truly the only way to have the life you desire most, and Allison instructs people on how to manifest their dreams, doing so as a personal and business coach and also as a professor of business in Arizona.  

For More Information visit HERE.

 “Measure Twice, Cut Once: Navigating Negativity in Toxic Relationships” is available on Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Peaceful Relationships in Turbulent Times

3 Steps You Can Start Using Right Away

Are these scary times taking a toll on your most intimate relationship?

If so, you’re not alone.

Fear and stress can lead to impatience and anger. And before you know it, you’re in a gut-wrenching argument with the person you love—right when you need each others’ support and companionship the most. 

Then if these painful disconnects go unresolved, you can find yourselves drifting apart. In China, the divorce rate shot up when quarantines were relaxed, and we’re already hearing the same in this country.

But it’s not from spending too much time together in the current lockdown. It’s because we’re not good at maintaining true closeness when we’re frightened.

From decades of helping people have happier, more fulfilling relationships, we offer these three steps for alleviating fear and amplifying love—even in highly stressful times. 

Step #1: De-escalate yourself—before you try to de-escalate the argument

It’s natural to want to de-escalate the friction between you right away. But we recommend focusing on de-escalating yourself first.

This is not just taking a few breaths or counting to ten, although that’s useful. It’s a deliberate shift in your self-talk that dissolves your distress enough that your caring heart and clear mind come back to the forefront. 

It starts with noticing what’s going on inside you and then naming it for what it is. 

For instance, as soon as you recognize that you’re upset, you might say to yourself: “Yikes. My stomach is in knots. I’m raising my voice. I’m reacting as if the person in front of me is an enemy, not my beloved. I obviously got triggered and might be over-reacting… Hmmm…” 

When you do that, your neurobiological self starts calming your inner fear-fest and restoring your ability to think clearly and connect warmly—which puts you in the right place to approach your partner again

One way to know you’re ready to reconnect is that your desire to get back to love will be louder than your impulse to be defensive and right.

Step #2 — Restore the loving connection between you—before you get into a conversation

It’s so tempting to launch into discussing whatever went awry so you can fix it quickly. But don’t! 

The pain of an argument comes from the disconnect between the two of you—not from the issue that triggered it.  

Here’s our favorite way to restore our connection before we talk: 

Whoever’s ready first (that was usually Paige early on) approaches the other gently and says: “I’m sorry for my part.” And then Don would say: “I’m sorry for my part, too.” And as you might imagine, the distance would melt, and within seconds we were in the full embrace of love again.

Of course, this only works when it’s 100% genuine, and it might take some practice to discover what works for the two of you. But when you do, the subsequent conversations will go much better.

Step #3 —  Listen and speak to create deeper understanding—before discussing what to do next time

We got this step very wrong in our early years. 

As soon as we were back in sync, we’d start talking about what to do differently—thinking that’s how we’d avoid reigniting the problem. Logical, yes. But it usually backfired. We’d start arguing again, or, if we agreed on a solution, it wouldn’t stick.

In time, we found that a real resolution only emerged from a full conversation. That meant having a compassionate, level-headed exchange where the goal of our listening and our speaking was to understand each other better. 

This requires listening with a genuine curiosity about your partner’s experience of whatever went awry and why it was so upsetting. When practiced with patience, this kind of listening makes it safe for your beloved to speak openly and honestly.

Your speaking also wants to be compassionate. Meaning, while being honest about what upset you, you’re choosing language and tonality that are easy for your beloved to hear without getting triggered again. That means describing your feelings and perspective without blame.  

Pitfall alert!

During this mindful make-up conversation—especially in these ultra-stressful times—it’s easy to slip back into criticizing your partner, defending yourself, or shutting down again. If that’s what happens (which we know it can) just go back to Step #1. De-escalating yourself again, and then… You get the idea.

These three steps—de-escalating yourself first, then restoring your loving connection, followed by listening and speaking for deeper understanding—provide a framework for creating patterns of communication that yield an ever-deepening bond of love. 

We know the quest can be messy, especially now. Still the potential for experiencing new dimensions of extraordinary love is well worth it.

About

Paige Marrs, PhD, and Don Marrshave been joyfully married for over 33 years and have worked together since the day they joined their lives. They co-authored two how-to memoirs, both of which teach through story. Their most recent book, Grabbing Lightning: The Messy Quest for an Extraordinary Lovereveals their messy, intimate journey to a love greater than either of them knew to reach for. Paige and Don have offered their program, The Love Conversation® Approach, for more than a decade to provide couples and singles the tools needed to resolve their challenges so they can experience the depth of love they yearn for. You can learn more or sign up for their newsletter, LoveNotes, at www.TheLoveConversation.com.