Preventing Relationship Breakdown. Don’t Take It Personally!

Menopause can take a toll on your relationship. But there are ways to feel connected and respected.

Danielle screamed at Terry. “How dare you talk to me in that tone! It’s ugly and disrespectful. Why have you been so hard on me lately?” Terry, stung by the venom in Danielle’s voice, countered: “Why are you so touchy? You’re always taking things personally and snapping at me. Your fuse is so short, it’s hard to be around you.”

“If I’m such a monster, why don’t you just leave!” Danielle fired back. And on and on it goes…

Sound familiar?

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Most of us have days when we take things personally or feel overly sensitive to a tone of voice or perceived slight. When hormonal imbalances enter the picture, many women findthemselves becoming more thinnedskinned and taking things personally. And that can be dangerous; like walking on quicksand. You lose your footing and sink deeper and deeper into the black hole of irritability, impatience, moodiness and outbursts, most likely heading straight to relationship breakdown.

It happens in a flash. Someone says or does something (or neglects to say or do something) and you freeze up and withdraw, are reduced to tears, or explode into a blazing rage. You may wonder, “Where on earth did that reaction come from?” Here are three steps to reframe the situation:

Hormonal imbalances cause many women to find themselves becoming more thinned skinned and taking things personally

Re-Think Before You React

Is your knee-jerk response out of proportion to the situation? Maybe it’s stirring up childhood hurts – an earlier time you felt slighted, misunderstood, unappreciated, disappointed or treated unfairly.

Dismiss Feeling “Dissed”

Taking things personally is almost always related to feeling rejected. And rejection involves feeling ‘dissed:’ disrespected, dismissed, discounted, dispensable, disdained, disregarded, and discarded.

Prevent Feeling Resent

Hurt feelings and misunderstandings quickly lead to anger and resentment. And resentment takes up so much relationship space that there is barely room for connection and intimacy. It doesn’t have to continue like this. Couples can clear out the resentment and create space in their relationship for teamwork, appreciation, respect and connection. Below are 10 tips to help you make that happen.

 10 Tips for Feeling Connected and Respected

1 Practice clear communication. It avoids misunderstandings and hurt feelings. Rather than fill in the blanks with your own assumptions, check things out. Consider saying: “This is what I heard you say. Is that what you said? Is that what you meant?”

2 Choose appropriate timing. If your partner is in the middle of something, it’s not in your best interest to interrupt at that moment for that ‘serious talk.’

3 Step back and ‘walk alongside yourself.’ This provides objectivity and opens up space for making choices. Do you want to go down the same old path? Or can you choose to go back to the fork in the road and try out a new direction?

4 Identify what you need and ask for it clearly and directly. It’s not always easy to do! This is not about “If you love me you’ll read my mind.” By the way, telling someone what you want is a much more effective way of getting what you want than complaining or finger pointing.

5 Keep your expectations realistic. It’s the best way to reduce disappointments. Disappointments often feel like rejection and lead to hurt feelings, anger and resentment.

6 Respect differences. We all have different personality styles. Seeing the positive side of differences makes it easier to not feel threatened by them. After all, we grew up in different families with different ways of doing things.Preventing Relationship Breakdown2

7 Understand “reciprocity.” – Each partner’s behavior affects and is affected by the behavior of the other.

8 Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How might they be feeling? How might their history affect their actions and words? Once you get out of the center of your own orbit, you won’t feel so much like a target.

9  Take a ‘time out.’ It works wonders. Try breathing 10 times slowly and deeply. Or you can say, “I need to collect my thoughts. I’m going to take a walk. I’ll be back in 20 minutes and we can continue this conversation.”

10 Remind yourself not to take things personally. Say to yourself, “This is not just about me; this is also about the other person, our different styles and experiences of growing up and how we sometimes misunderstand each other.”