Are You Wasting Too Much Of Your Life In Bad Relationships?
by: Jay P. Granat, Ph.D.
After practicing psychotherapy for almost twenty-five years, I am more
convinced than ever that people are very complicated. Consequently,
interpersonal relationships, which are comprised of these complicated beings,
are also hard to make sense of and to manage effectively from time to time.
People seek out therapy all the time because they are struggling with
relationships. Parents come for help because they can’t get along with
their kids. Children and teenagers come for help to improve their relationships
with their moms and dads.
Bosses come for counseling because they can’t manage their
employees. Husbands and wives get marital counseling in an effort
to better understand one another, get along better and save their marriages.
Sometimes, whole families come for therapy to see if siblings, in-laws,
parents and children can learn to function like a loving family unit.
Once, I had fourteen members of a family in my office.
Similarly, many people seek the advice of a therapist because they
are in conflict with friends or colleagues from their jobs or from their
Recently, I counseled a patient who was involved in a significant struggle
with the other parents of her son’s baseball team. Apparently, the atmosphere in the stands
had grown more than a little unpleasant, since the friction, jealousy and competitiveness among
the mothers and fathers had all become very high during the baseball season.
Dysfunctional relationships can be extremely draining. They consume
an abundance of energy and they can produce a lot of physical and emotional
stress. People are frequently sad, anxious, depressed or furious because of the way
someone has been treating them.
Sometimes, solutions to interpersonal problems are quite complicated, since
they require people to significantly change their attitudes and behaviors quite significantly.
These kinds of changes are usually not easy for us humans to implement into our lives.
In some instances, I like to remind people of what a good friendship and
a close and loving relationship feels like. Positive relationships are really quite
rewarding and very easy to maintain.
Spending time with people who treat you with kindness, dignity and respect
and who are fun to be with is one of life’s real pleasures.
I encourage everyone to discover people who will nurture them and with whom they
enjoy spending time with. These relationships are effortless and we don’t have to
waste much time or energy to keep these friendships alive. They are simple,
pure and very rewarding. People in these kinds of friendships enjoy taking care of
one another and helping each other out when someone needs support.
Most of us know which relationships are positive and which are poisonous
for us. Now, of course I realize that there are some relationships which we
don’t choose or select. We can’t flee every difficult boss or avoid every
challenging in-law completely.
However, I would encourage you to try to minimize the amount of time and energy
you put into relationships that are generating a lot of stress for you. You will feel better
and have a better life if you focus on people who treat you the way you would
like to be treated. These friendships produce great interpersonal synergy and
they tend to be the most enjoyable.
So, maximize the time you invest in positive connections and minimize your
attachments to dysfunctional interpersonal connections.
Want to learn more about managing stress? You may enjoy this program.
Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., LMFT is a psychotherapist, author and licensed marriage and family therapist.
He is the founder of www.101DivorceTips.com and www.StayInTheZone.com. Dr. Granat has appeared in many major media outlets.