Relationship Breaking Points. What is Relationship Breaking Points? This is what we discuss today.
How do you know when your relationship is in trouble and when should you get professional help?
We love that question because there’s no easy answer to that. Healthy couples do have arguments or heated discussions from time to time, it doesn’t necessarily mean you need emotional help or relationship or professional help, but why not? Why not make it easier on yourself and your relationship? One of the questions is when do you know when you’re at your breaking point? We‘d rather you come in before your breaking point. So if you’re starting to question your breaking point or if you’re at your breaking point that maybe the breaking point.
That’s a big thing, coming in beforehand or if you feel like you’re at your breaking point that’s also the time where you probably need to call us and come to us or anybody, to start really figuring out what got you there. We want to emphasize that you can call us and we can talk and see if you’re ready to come in, just because you pick up the phone and call someone in mental health or anybody it doesn’t mean you’re committed to a lifetime of therapy. There’s a lot of stages in between and we’ve seen people, we’ve talked to people on the phone a lot, we’ve emailed people and helped them. We have had people come in for one assessment, one meeting and everything in between one meeting and ten years of therapy. It’s all in between.
So if you’re questioning the breaking point, it’s a good time to pick up the phone and call somebody. What we would call a breaking point, what we call in mental health- a breaking point is when the argument starts becoming invasive in your life. Does it impact your other relationships? Does it impact your work? Does it impact your health? Those are the three main areas we look at. In fact, we talk about this too, some area of your life has to be impacted negatively for us to even give a diagnosis. According to the DSM which is our Bible, someone has to come in, so if someone came in and said I’m crying all the time, I can’t sleep, I can’t eat and I’m a mess. If they say it’s not affecting work or it’s not affecting relationships then we couldn’t give him a diagnosis of depression.
That definition of breaking point comes from the DSM and again is a sign that this is beyond just an argument or a healthy discussion. If you said the arguments or those feelings or the anger you’re going through is affecting work if you said you can’t go from work to play. If you can’t go from the argument to being able to let it go and still function at work the normal way- that is telling. It’s very challenging if you’re stuck in a pattern, that’s another time to take stock and realize, this may be a breaking point or you’re getting to one.
What happens when people come in is they’ve actually been doing the same thing over and over and over and I don’t mean just arguing over and over but it’s the same argument different details. So someone’s late and then someone gets mad about it being late and then another person feels that they’re being chastised or scolded so then they don’t talk for a day or two and then everything’s fine and they do that over and over and over. They’re burying, burying, burying. That’s the big part of emotional and relationship problems is the burying. If you see this pattern and you can’t see your way out because you could see a pattern and say look I’m going to try this a different way, I’m going to try a new approach, I’m going to handle this differently which is different than stuffing. We don’t mean stuffing and burying it because that’s never good but if you have tried a different approach and that’s really what we do in therapy.
We talk about different approaches to these problems because we can’t tell the future, we can’t read your spouse’s mind and we can’t read your mind. We can’t say- do this and things will be better but we can say let’s try this and then we see all together what happened to the relationship. Did it get better? Did the discussion go better? Was there less volatility? It’s a lot of trial and error. We need to find out what works for both of you or what works for you. When they’re comfortable, it’s baby steps.
Making those small changes, making smart choices. That’s life, it’s making small changes and see what works for you because what works now, may work while your children are small or while you’re in the early stages of your relationship may not work when you’re in the middle stages of your relationship or the mature stages of your relationship. It’s very important to have this trial and error approach. Two things, so in the example of my being late argument, I might advise the husband who complains about his wife being, instead of attacking her, criticizing her, scolding her, to try the approach of the I feel X when you do Y. I get really irritated when you’re late for our dates, it makes me feel like I’m not important or our date isn’t important. By taking it on as your issue, your hurt, your problem, that’ll make her less defensive and therefore she will probably engage more in the discussion with you. Or certainly be more willing to change, versus if you’re always late.
That’s a big part of what we do in here in terms of if you can’t even see the pattern and we help you see the pattern, talk about ways you can break the pattern. Breaking the patterns is key. If you see a pattern that’s not working for you or if you are in a rut and having the same argument over and over again or if your arguments/heated discussions are impacting your work, your health, other relationships give us a call and we’ll be glad to talk it over with you. Please share with those you love. Relationship Breaking Points are important to know.
For more topics go to www.drldabney.com. Or for a 15-minute consultation call 757-340-8800.