The way to rebuild a troubled relationship is to recognize why it was troubled in the first place. Most problems in a relationship stem from one or both partners trying to control the other, or one or both have low self esteem.
Controlling or being controlled in a relationship doesn’t have to involve abuse, or abusive tendencies. Control can manifest itself in many different ways: Criticizing, blaming, complaining, nagging, threatening, punishing, and bribing or rewarding. If you or your partner uses any of these behaviors, then you are both under the influence of external control.
To fix this problem you must choose to not do these things to each other. The moment before words come out of your mouth, you have a choice to say them or not. If what you are going to say is going to do more harm to your relationship than good, you should choose to not say it that way or to say it at all.
In order to conquer the external control demon try replacing them with positive things that help build better relationships like: Supporting, encouraging, listening, accepting, trusting, respecting, and negotiating differences. These are the things that help build a lasting good relationship.
Often times you can forget that your spouse is not an extension of yourself. You assume that they are thinking and feeling the same things you are. Your spouse is a separate person and should be treated as such.
You must ask them how they feel or what they are thinking, never assume you already know, unless you are a mind reader. Also don’t assume they know what you are thinking and feeling either. They can’t read your mind, you have to tell them.
Sometimes the problem is within your own mind. You feel insecure about yourself for what ever reason, and you assume your spouse feels the same way about you as well. In turn you lash out at your partner when they are completely innocent of any crime. If you find that you frequently feel that your partner is judging you, you should take a good long look at if they really are, or if you are judging yourself harshly and passing the blame onto them.
The way to know if you are insecure or have low self esteem is if you exhibit any of the following behaviors.
1. Have trouble accepting compliments.
2. Seem to apologize all the time for yourself.
3. Won’t leave the house if you feel like you don’t look good.
4. Have trouble asking for help.
5. Feel shy around people, or don’t talk when you have something to contribute.
6. Feel out of control in your life.
7. Judge yourself harshly.
8. Criticize yourself frequently.
9. Feel like other people don’t like you.
10. Criticize others to make yourself feel better.
If you have low self esteem the only person who can fix you is you. How you feel about yourself is not caused by anyone else, but originates within your own mind. How you talk about yourself in your own head and to others can create a negative self view. The only way to feel better about you is to accept yourself as you are. I know that is easier said than done, but it can be done. Give yourself more credit, more compliments, and a break. Don’t be so harsh on yourself. Learn to like yourself, and then eventually love yourself. Because you won’t allow anyone else to love you until you love you.
You often can’t recognize that the problem is within you and you blame your partner for all the problems in the relationship. Yes, it takes two people to mess things up, and it takes two to fix things. But, in order to have a successful relationship you must take responsibility for yourself, how you feel and how you behave. No one controls you but you, and you can not control anyone else. So if you take responsibility for your role in troubled relationship and are willing to put in all the effort you can to make it work; you will be on the first steps towards rebuilding your relationship.
*References: “external control, the seven habits of external control and seven caring habits.” come from Dr. William Glasser’s book “Choice Theory” and “Getting Together and Staying Together” I suggest reading these books for further understand of these theories in relationships.*