Here is another one JUUUUUUUST for you. We are going to spend our time talking about periods, cramps, and mood swings so get ready for some FUN! This is what I refer to as the Trifecta of Unhappiness.
Are they gone yet??….
I have a confession to make to you, Ladies. I feel a little guilty and need to clear something up. The title of my blog is kind of like that bait and switch fraud that happens in retail stores. I lured you in for some implied, good-natured male bashing and then force (or encourage) you to look into your own behavior. The truth is, this blog really has nothing to do with men…
How mean is that?
The real purpose of this blog is to address a few problems that I see in many of the women who join my Relationship Detox program and, if I am to be completely honest with you all, problems that I have experienced in my own life.
In my mind, these problems have become known as The Trifecta of Unhappiness: Non-Communication, Periodic Litmus Tests, and the Wounded Martyr Syndrome. You won’t be able to Google these because I created the names to describe a few of the most common problems that I see.
These issues REALLY don’t have much to do with our partners. However, after we’ve addressed our OWN part of the problem, I swear we will be less inclined to punch our partners in the throat. So, please take that into consideration before you decide to sue me for that whole bait-and-switch thing.
Just remember…I’M DOING THIS FOR THE GREATER GOOD. And that’s all that really matters, right?
OK Ladies, are we ready to start taking care of our OWN problems? Let’s go…
I think Valentines Day is a perfect time to write this blog. On Valentines Day, or any special occasion, we sometimes hold certain expectations from our partners.
Ok, before we go any further, lets pause for a moment and be TOTALLY HONEST with ourselves. We DO sometimes have expectations, don’t we? (Let me remind you, we can be totally honest here because I smoothly tricked the men into NOT reading the blog).
As a hard workingwoman, I can completely understand why we do this. Women are SO BUSY taking care of everyone else, PLUS THE FREAKING DOG, that we feel depleted, unappreciated and are looking for SOME indication that our sacrifices are valued.
At times it can feel as if our sanity depends upon someone else validating our hard work!!! So, receiving flowers on Valentines Day can become less about “I love you” and more about “I appreciate all the sacrifice you’ve made for our family AND I love you very much.”
The question is: Who told our partners this? No one… but that will be addressed later in the blog. First, lets go over some of OUR parts of the problem, also know as The Trifecta of Unhappiness.
The Trifecta of Unhappiness
Wounded Martyr Syndrome
This probably isn’t something to brag about, but I was pretty much an expert at this. For years, I would sacrifice what I wanted to do (or say, or have…even the song we listen to on the car radio) and go along with what my husband wanted. In essence, I effectively took myself OUT of the decision making process for everything BEFORE there was even a conversation about it! Afterwards, I would privately feel bad that “we never do (or say or have) what I want…” I would feel sorry for myself… the poor, sad, wounded martyr that I was (insert pity party here). I was so unhappy and, because there wasn’t a conversation, my husband didn’t even know there was anything wrong! This is the first piece in the Trifecta of Unhappiness.
I can now understand why this happens. For some people, their ego needs them to BE the victim. For whatever reason, they are comfortable in that role. Perhaps it was their role growing-up or maybe they feel it takes away from the responsibility of correcting a problem. I’m not sure. For me, it was pretty clear-cut. I was completely and totally conflict avoidant. It was easier for me to avoid a potential conflict and feel bad about the result afterwards than it was to have an argument but possibly get my needs met. Back then, if you had told me that I would eventually be teaching people HOW to successfully experience and tolerate a conflict, I would have laughed in your face!
Learn to recognize if YOU are being a wounded martyr! It is and issue that falls squarely on your lap. Find your voice…
Right now I am wondering HOW I can avoid having my husband read this? He’s my proofreader so that may be a problem…. I’ll let you know what he says….
Periodic Litmus Tests
Do you ever wonder if your husband is actually listening to you? And you tell him subtle hints about something to SEE if he is actually listening? AND when he doesn’t do that thing you subtly hinted about, you conclude that he NEVER LISTENS TO YOU AT ALL?????? If so, you may be guilty about conducting Periodic Litmus Tests, which is the second piece of The Trifecta of Unhappiness.
Periodic litmus tests are small little experiments that you create to test a hypothesis you have about your partner. Does he find me sexy? Is he listening? Does he appreciate me? Is he a complete and total ass? After all, it would SEEM pretty reasonable that if he appreciated your hard work he would help out by TAKING OUT THE FREAKING GARBAGE ONCE IN A WHILE! So, you leave it by the door… or comment about how tired you are…
The problem with these tests is that they FEEL manipulative to your partner (because they are) and they are essentially setting your partner up to fail. NO ONE passes these tests. And regardless of how carefully you’ve thought it out, just because your partner didn’t do X doesn’t MEAN Y.
Here how it can sound like in my office:
“I KNOW my husband is having an affair. He has been working late ever since this new woman started. He always does this… whenever there is a new woman at work, he works late “training her in” and then forgets that I even exist, I bet she doesn’t even know he’s married! I catch him on his phone more than usual. I asked him if we could meet for lunch last week and he said he ‘was too busy at work’ to meet me and you know what that means!”
Did you catch the litmus tests in that example? Don’t place MEANING on a BEHAVIOR when you are setting up your partner. In my experience I have learned that X rarely “means” Y.
Bonus: Intro to The Crazy Monkey Brain
The Crazy Monkey Brain will be a topic for a future blog, but it is a good idea to address it in this blog too. This is the constant chatter in your head about the argument that you didn’t ACTUALLY have with your partner but is HAPPENING ANYWAY in your own head. And you get SO FREAKING MAD at how he is responding in your head that you want to PUNCH HIM IN HIS FREAKING THROAT in real life!!! So he walks into the house unsuspectingly and you are already FURIOUS that he is spending time FLIRTING with that cheating, super-model, co-worker and COMPLETELY ignoring and NOT APPRECIATING YOU that you can’t even look that cheating ass in the EYE much less talk to him the rest of the night! While he is confused and exhausted from putting in extra hours training in yet another millennial guy named Jamie.
Warning: The crazy monkey brain is extremely difficult to turn off especially at night.
Which is an excellent segue into our last issue:
Effective communication skills are vital to ALL important relationships in your life. It is up to you to be able to communicate your needs and expectations in the clearest manner possible. Non-Communication is the third piece of the Trifecta of Unhappiness.
Here’s another example:
I once had a client who was convinced her husband was going to leave her. She came to see me to help organize her life around her soon-to-be-single status. What I found out was the majority of her “evidence” centered on small litmus “tests” she had been giving her husband for the last few months. If he ___________ it would mean ____________. And for months she took her “data” and compiled the results. Happily, we discovered that her husband wasn’t going to leave her but WAS really absentminded, preoccupied with work, and a little dense about romantic gestures.
Do you know what helped her figure this out? GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS, PEOPLE!
As soon as you give up your part of the communication responsibility (non-communication) YOU have placed your relationship on a downward trajectory. In not communicating your needs, you will soon feel unloved and disregarded.
Being able to communicate better helped me with my conflict avoidance with my husband (and managing my anxiety). It was hard work, but it was worth it. And if I can successfully move from conflict avoidant to being able to tolerate conflict, you can too.
Do your part
Do your part in your relationship and learn an effective way to communicate and handle conflict.
In my health coaching practice, I help clients discover a healthy new way to approach all of the important relationships in their lives!
- How to speak so others will clearly hear your message
- Understand how your body reacts to conflict and how to manage your emotions
- How to avoid the TOP killers of all relationships
- Appropriate boundaries for the many different relationships in your life
- And more!
If you would like to learn these skills to improve YOUR relationship, then click this link to schedule a time to talk with me.
So, Ladies. What did you think of the blog? Did any MEN sneak in and ready it?