Let’s face it, sometimes love is easier than relationships. In relationships we come face to face with ourselves and have the choice to giddy-up and grow or run for the hills. Not only that, but every relationship will test you, so finding the “right one” unfortunately doesn’t mean the one with less arguments or disagreements. In fact, many relationship experts will say that it’s actually a bad sign when the fighting stops.

So if you’re in a tough spot with your partner, don’t get discouraged. There are so many ways to break negative cycles in relationships and develop healthy ones together. Commitment is the first step! As far as what comes next, we spoke to a local Scottsdale relationship therapist at Therapy With Heart to understand how to break negative cycles and create more loving connections with our partners.

Common Examples of Negative Communication Patterns in Relationship

Bad habits develop over time. Likely when your relationship first started, it was fun and fresh and supportive and safe and then something changed; a ‘hurt’ happened; someone was triggered; or something happened to make one or both people feel insecure. Insecurity is often the root of hurtful or negative communication which is important to know and understand because understanding paves the way to compassionate and healthy habits.

Negative communication cycles usually follow a predictable pattern. Person #1 says something that person #2 views as an attack or criticism. Person #2 then reacts defensively or aggressively. Wash, rinse, repeat. These negative cycles are damaging to relationships and can eventually become overwhelming, draining and lead to separation or divorce.

The following are common examples of this.

  • Blaming
    • “You always do this”, “It’s your fault” ,“You’re crazy” ,“You’re the one who..”
  • Keeping Score
    • “I’m the only one who..”, “When’s the last time you..”, “How many times have I asked you?”
  • Bringing up the past
    • “Remember when you did this?” “You don’t change” “There you go again”
  • Threats
    • “I’m done.” “I can’t do this anymore” “We should get a divorce

How Non-Violent Communication Can Break Negative Cycles of Communication

Non-violent communication is a technique used to bring presence and awareness to a situation so that you can see it for what it is instead of getting stuck in past experiences. This is especially powerful for breaking negative cycles and reactions. It involves asking clarifying questions focused on facts, feelings, desires and requests to communicate more effectively and compassionately. You can practice this by asking yourself the following:

  • What just happened?
    • Focus on the present moment and describe the facts of the event (avoid judgment, assumptions or criticisms)
  • What am I feeling?
    • Get clear and communicate your feelings about what specifically happened (avoid blaming, victimization, or attacking the other person).
  • What do you want? What is the end goal?
    • Dig deep and identify what you want from the situation or what you aren’t getting.
  • Ask for what you want
    • Communicate as clearly as possible to avoid misunderstanding. Also know, requests are not demands. Identify actions to help you get what you want without anger, resentment or frustration.

How Couples Therapy Can Help

Change is hard! And in the beginning it might take some extra outside support to help you work through the process and get better at slowing down and identifying how you feel and what you want. An experienced therapist can offer insight and ask provoking questions in a safe and supportive environment. They can also help redirect the conversation if it starts reverting back to old patterns.

Whether you start to practice nonviolent communication or use other resources such as therapy, breaking the negative cycles is possible!

Author's Bio: 

Marina Pal is a renowned author and social media enthusiast.