Daily habits that cause relationship damage
Very often we lash out when we don’t mean to and do lasting relationship damage to those close to us. Read on and see if there is anything here that sounds familiar.
When we have been deeply wounded or under-nurtured at a basic level, so deep in our childhoods we can’t even remember, it leaves us never feeling good enough. We develop coping mechanisms to block out the constant self-doubt and build a fire wall for protection. We might over/under eat or exercise, self-medicate with substances or alcohol to kill the pain. Or we might lash out at others as a form of protection. These only serve to escalate relationship damage in our lives whether personal or professional.
There are 3 ways of doing this, each as damaging as the other
1. The Blame Game
The blame game can assume a variety of forms. We can assume blame for ourselves and absorb guilt. That only serves reduce our self-esteem even further. Not everything is our fault. Another equally damaging line of thought is to attribute blame or responsibility to a “higher power.” This can only muddy waters when personal responsibility is involved and therefore diminished by “God’s will” or “karma.” It is not karma that someone was killed when a drunk driver ran a red light. It was down to the personal negligence of an individual.
But regularly or constantly attributing the blame to others can also very damaging. It might appear to give us the upper hand. It makes us feel “better than” and diminishes the other person. There always has to be someone who is responsible and who is at fault. That means there is something wrong with the other person.
- Who left the office without putting the lights out?
- Why didn’t you make the monthly call to x client?
- Why weren’t the proofs checked properly?
But constant blame attribution can be corrosive on relationships and lead to their breakdown. It will eventually backfire.
2. Ridicule, Sarcasm and name calling
Sarcasm is said to be the “lowest form of wit” and even though the odd cleverly constructed barb might seem amusing, it can be devastating to the recipient and says volumes about the speaker. An occasional dash of sarcastic commentary can be extremely amusing. We all like a sharp wit. Think Saturday Night Live. But sharp wit can cut deep and an unrelenting flow can tip into emotional bullying. That person will have probably been the victim of the same treatment of sarcasm and ridicule. It is learned behaviour, often from childhood experience. Psychology Today suggests that:
sarcasm is hostility disguised as humour.
Think of the times when you might have done this:
- You idiot/dummy/clown
- You have the the finesse of Trump on a Twitter tirade.
- Tell me… Is being stupid a profession or are you just gifted?
Making comparisons is an insidious way of putting someone else down and making the perpetrator feel more powerful. The hardest ones are the ones that can’t be changed – height, skin colour, intellect, nationality, or some other physical feature.
- If you were as smart as…..
- Why can’t you be like
- Shame about …
- You’ve got legs like …
So whatever you do when you lash out, remember you can cause relationship damage. Make sure you read the post: A deep breath is key to managing emotions . Getting on top of our reactions and behaviour is within our control. We just need to commit to change.