We marry our baggage.

We are naturally attracted to partners that trigger us into the 5 losing strategies. When this happens we become a different person, a younger more immature part of ourselves. Our brain gets hijacked.

We act like immature children – lashing out with anger, blaming, retaliation, sulking, withdrawing, arguing, etc. Sound familiar?

If one of your parents was prone to angry outbursts, then you and/or your partner may do that. Or perhaps one of your parents gave you the “silent treatment.” Get it? We all repeat patterns from our childhood.

If you’re not aware of this you could find yourself divorced or staying in an unhealthy relationship. Or, do the work and your relationship will be a joyful opportunity for personal growth.

The Five Losing Strategies (and what to do about it)

Check the ones that relate to you. I suggest you share these with your partner. Change starts with awareness.

1. Being right. Arguing about whose “reality” is right. You know what the “real issue” is and it’s all about proving your point.

Fix it: Who’s right? Who cares! Arguing about whose reality is correct has no place in intimate relationships.

2. Control. “Trying to get your S/O to be kinder, more open, listen, be different…”

Fix it: We can only control ourselves. You change and your relationship changes.

3. Unbridled self-expression. “I feel it so I have to tell you!” Anger, yelling, oversharing, etc.

Fix it: Healthy boundaries. You do not need to say everything that’s on your mind.

4. Retaliation. I’m hurt so I get to hurt you back. Being a victim.

Fix it: Stop blaming your partner for how you feel. You’re responsible for your own feelings.

5. Withdrawal. Shutting down, giving up, putting up a wall. Hopelessness or superiority.

Fix it:  Don’t settle for the status quo. Take leadership. Get help if you need to.

Well, there you have it. What doesn’t work and how to fix it. I’ll follow up next time with the 5 winning strategies.

*Adapted from Relational Life Therapy developed by Terry Real