Eventually, we realize the issue isn’t just an occasional unpleasantry, rather it’s a limitation in our friend’s personality. For example, a friend who is chronically late; or a friend who asks for favors without being willing to reciprocate; or a friend who makes offensive comments or judgments about how you raise your children, etc.
Confrontation can be very nerve-racking. One of the concerns many people have with confronting others is that addressing an issue will somehow make them appear less accepting of their friend as a whole. Another concern is that people fear confrontation will hurt a person’s feelings, which then could lead to the situation reversing and the friend being mad at us.
However, let’s look at it from another perspective for a moment.
It’s amazing the benefits something as simple as a Dry Erase Board can bring to a relationship. A very common complaint couples bring into therapy is how forgetful the other is when it comes to daily schedule, or necessities that need to be picked up, etc. These often serve as the catalyst for significant arguments and power struggles within the relationship. While keeping track of basic necessities is helpful, the Dry Erase Board can also serve other positive functions in a relationship.
Here are a few notables:
Rarely a day goes by where I don’t hear a complaint about how significant others “should” be a certain way, or “should” be doing things differently. For example, “My husband should be putting me first”, “My wife should leave me alone for 15 minutes after I walk in the door”, “My boyfriend shouldn’t want to have sex so much”, “My girlfriend should check with me before making plans”, and so on.
Becoming Aware of Cognitive Distortions
In Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT), there is a concept known as “cognitive distortions.” These are the areas of our thought processes that can lead to conflict and friction if we don’t become aware of them. “Should statements” are cognitive distortions because they reflect entitlement — the idea that something is owed to us. Moreover, “should statements” make an issue personal.
As humans, our lives are defined by our social connections with one another. Professionals refer to these connections as “relationships” — denoting every kind of relationship we can have with another person (not just romantic relationships).
Our friendships, our family bonds, and yes, our romantic relationships, these are all the kinds of relationships that most of us value and depend upon in our daily lives.
And so it’s only fitting we have a blog devoted to exploring these varied but important social connections.
Relationships in Balance, with Nathan Feiles, MSW, LMSW, is a blog about the various relationship dynamics that we encounter in our daily lives. These can include relationships with significant others, family, friends, ourselves, co-workers, peers, bosses, therapists, teachers, clients, doctors, and so on.
Relationships tend to function best when they are in a state of balance (or homeostasis), however, the task of achieving a healthy balance in our relationships is more easily said than done — especially if we didn’t grow up with healthy role models in these areas.
“I’m introducing this blog to Psych Central to offer insight, tools, skills, stories, techniques, and more,” says Nathan, “to help with establishing balance in our daily relationships with others, as well as with ourselves.”
Nathan Feiles, MSW, LMSW is a therapist in the New York City area. In his counseling and therapy practice, Nathan works with individuals, couples, families, and groups, with an inclusive goal of helping people achieve a comfortable balance in their lives. He is known to utilize a variety of treatment modalities in his work in order to best suit the needs of each case. You can learn more about him here.
Please give him a warm Psych Central welcome!