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3 ½ Ways to Change a Dysfunctional Relationship

As humans, we are the only species that need relationships. These relationships impact every part of our lives. When we connect with others in healthy ways we feel good. When those connections do not work out we feel terrible and unfulfilled. Many people feel stuck in dysfunctional relationships. Are there ways to change this? Absolutely!

Change Dysfunctional Relationship Tip #1: Know Yourself

Start in the center of a dysfunctional relationship—YOU. What is causing you pain? Why are you in the relationship? Do the activities in the relationship represent your values? A relationship that may seem OK at the start can slowly disintegrate, but when you notice things you do not agree with, it is always OK to stop and evaluate. When you evaluate the relationship focus only on yourself, what you want and need, and how you are responding. This will help you see what is, and what is not working for you.

Change Dysfunctional Relationship Tip #2: Let the Past Go

Regardless of how good or how bad events in your past have been, there is no way to change what happened. Focusing on the past can stop you from creating the life you want today, and can make a dysfunctional relationship feel permanent. Whenever you start to focus on the past, stop. Remember that you cannot change the past. And then change your focus to the present by answering the question “What will I do today?” This simple question propels you into choosing for today things that will help you move forward in your life and your relationships.

Change Dysfunctional Relationship Tip #3: Use Control

There are two recommended ways you can control to change a dysfunctional relationship. First, understand you are in total control of your thoughts, your words, and your actions. Although these things can become habits over time, they always start with a choice to do, say, or think in a certain way. Refuse to allow others to take the blame (or credit) for your choices. Instead, feel strong and confident that you control you.

Second, refuse to control others. Just as you are in full control of your choices, the people around you are in complete control of their choices. Someone else’s words and actions are not your fault. It is not your responsibility to make others do or say things. You can give them information, and care deeply about them, but do not try to change them. Using control in these two ways can liberate you from a dysfunctional relationship.

Change Dysfunctional Relationship Tip # ½: Change Your Picture

Everyone has mental pictures of how they want their life to look. These pictures are influenced by your past, your experiences, and your values. Sometimes, without realizing it, you can hold onto a picture and try to create something that is not in your best interests. You may believe that you must be in a relationship no matter what. As a result, you have remained in a dysfunctional relationship that is causing harm.

Fortunately, you can choose to change this picture. You can decide that you want to be happy and safe, either in or out of a relationship. As you change what you want, you may work on repairing the relationship, or you may end it. Since your goal is safety and happiness, rather than a relationship, your perspective and choices will lead to a better outcome.

Are you interested in learning how to avoid dysfunctional relationships, letting the past go and knowing you, letting go of the past, using healthy control and choices, and changing the pictures in your life? Our Internal Empowerment training does exactly this, and more! Students learn to take control of their lives and make the choices that lead to meeting their goals. We are looking forward to connecting with you!

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IECAST is a 501 (c)(3), Public Benefit, non-profit organization dedicated to perpetuating productive and mindful individuals, families, and organizations. We bring this vision into reality by developing diverse, internally empowered leaders who use the principles and practices of Choice Theory® as taught through the Internal Empowerment Coaching program. Our goal is to teach individuals, families, and organizations to reframe, reorganize, and reallocate resources to become effective coaches and leaders.