Podcast 47: 11 keys to Healthy Relationships

Even if Anxiety is a Major Factor

Podcast (Audio Only)

Joanne Williams explains from a therapist perspective some of the most common obstacles and remedies for healthy relationships.

Today's podcast is part 1 or 2 Part 1 about 11 keys to creating healthy happy relationships at home and work.

Part 2 or next week’s podcast will be about how anxiety can be an obstacle in relationships and 10 keys to creating and keeping a health relationship.

Why are relationships so hard?

Is your relationship like the Taylors in Home Improvement where everything works out and everyone laughs and loves and takes care of each other’s needs and live happily ever after or like the TV show of ‘Sheldon’ the spin off from the Big Bang theory, with eccentricities all over the place and having to accommodate what you might think are whackco ideas because anxiety controls another part of your partners life and it affects your relationship . 

Maybe things changed since you married or after having children or since Covid.  And if you are looking for answers, I will bring you some answers.

If your work with a boss that blames everyone except himself and doesn’t take any responsibility to right the ship without creating systems that we all can understand and use as a team to play by the same rules.? All of the situations can be helped using the 11 keys to creating a great relationship.

Does it seem like Anxiety tends to follow you wherever you go?

It does, we tend to seek out familiar or what we know and understand from our families or upbringing.   So you may already have more skills than you think and know and understand friends or partners or bosses with anxiety, better than you thought. 

Our early childhood experiences shape our later relationships, romantic and otherwise.

As infants, we develop an "attachment style" that reflects how we relate to our early caregiver(s), reflected in a "secure", "anxious "anxious avoidant" or "anxious ambivalent" (either "resistant" or "passive") style.

Attachment anxiety can produce specific behaviors in the course of developing a romantic relationship: seeking closeness, seeking comfort and support ("safe haven"), seeking security to be able to explore the world.  Do you recognize your style or your partners, needy, insecure, maybe controlling with ridge rules, all these are from anxiety.  

But we tend to be drawn to a partner with similar issues, or family backgrounds in the beginning, in the “love is blind time phase”  it is the similarities, the familiar comfort

Does this ring in bells think back? And now it is 2 years into the relationship you have moved in together or have children and are married. Oh no! what do I do.

I think most people in relationships live a life of quiet desperation. Because they never learned what to do or how to have a healthy relationship.

I repeated what I learned from my parents’ relationship, marrying my junior high sweetheart, who was an alcoholic Maine fisherman and I was desperate to get out and I didn’t know how. But, I figured it out and did.

I had to spend my own money to pay for therapy for years, to get enough emotional skills, by building inner self securities that I never received from my family to get out and not make the same mistake again in my next relationship. 

If this is you, don’t blame yourself, this is all part of a grander scheme to have a healthier life for the next generation, if you are willing to look at ways to make the needed changes for yours and your children’s sake.

But, why are relationships so hard.  There are no rules books to play by and nature has a bit of trickery in it too.

When You fall in love with someone, or in lust, as my husband likes to calls it,  and you think it will always be this way, you only see rose petals, candles and hear the soft music playing in your head and the fantasized movie set of the fabulous wedding, perfect house and beautiful children. But, then, the record scratches and you wake up.   No one told you how hard this was going to be, to make this happy picture happen, you may have just thought it just happens and live happily ever after without knowing how to do it..  Then discontent and disillusionment sets in.  Is this a nasty trick?

Nature actually does trick us to fall in love, with a chemical endorphin, the same chemical that allows moms to bond with a baby, or when we see a puppy with those big eyes, it trips this chemical Oxytocin, a warm melty feeling of euphoria.

Then after about 18 months, it wears off and you see things differently.  It is like you wake up from a wonderful dream and reality sets in.  And you actually see each other’s flaws that were never an issue before.  Love is Blind when Oxytocin is involved.  It is like we are drugged for a while, long enough to make commitments or marriage arrangements, and some people,  when they wake up feel disoriented or tricked. And The blaming can start. You See your partners flaws for the first time.  You think Why didn’t I see this before?

Many times a couple will marry, with traditional vows and then realize that they haven’t discussed what each other actual want; about personal choices, like child rearing, of dividing up of chores around the house or financial responsibilities.

Many couple ASSUME, that the other person knows the way it should be, the way  “ I like things”, because their mother or father did it that way, they assume everyone understands that is way it “should” be.  Expecting things to be done the way that your parents did it, is usually a kiss of death.

You need help to change entrenched habits that you may not even see, until your partners points them out in any unsupportive way and you never learned how to fight fair and use words to express what it is you need and the downward spiral starts.  

Without clear communication to clarify expectations, couples can slowly descend into arguments, blaming and assuming.  None are very effective tools.  And nowhere does it spell out about making sure each person gets their needs met first. 

WHAT do you mean by making sure you are getting your needs met first?

How can anyone at home or at work be happy if they aren’t getting their needs met.  How can you continually give to another if your needs aren’t met first?   Like the flight attendants says, put your oxygen mask on first before you help someone else.  Since if you don’t put yourself first, you would die, without oxygen.  Same in a marriage.

This is one of the most misunderstood concepts I see working with couples as their therapist. Make sure your needs are met first, by yourself, not by the other person, before trying to please someone else.  This will start a win win situation for both.   Or make sure that there is a “2 way street” of give and take so no one feels taken for granted or taken advantage of or not heard.

And it is what I see as the #1 issue in relationship failure.  Thinking you are to give to EVERYONE else first. As mothers especially. Or that it is somehow your responsibility to make sure everyone else is happy.  You cannot make anyone happy or sad.  It is up to them. And them alone. 

And if you are with someone who expects you to make them happy.  This is a no-win situation because at some point that person will get angry and resentful or shut down and passive aggressive acting out will start.  Like affairs, avoidance, or shutting down.

Don’t give up, get help, read a relationship book, go to counseling, alone if your partner doesn’t want to.  One person in the relationship getting happy, can shift the dynamics.

Or  You could rework your unspoken contracts to make sure that you both agree that you are each responsibility for your own happiness. And roles in the relationship and the other deal breakers before it is too late.

Breaking your unwritten agreements.

Plenty of couples draw up pre-nuptial agreements but very few sign off (officially) on the things that are deal-breakers for them, such as cheating, untreated addictions, using joint funds without discussion.

It doesn’t matter what your agreements are, as long as you are both clear about, and okay with, what it means. For example, who will do the main parenting job and who takes which part the responsibilities for it or is it expected to be shared 50/50?

Here are 11 things you can do starting today to change your relationship to communicate better and build back the trust in each other,  if you practice it.

  1. Decide that you want this relationship to work. Instead of talking about how it won’t work.
  2. Be so happy when your spouse calls or texts you. And When you or they walk through the door, be soooo happy to see them. This one thing will rock their world.
  3. Treat each other like a million-dollar Stratovarius 100 year old violin. Cherished, special, no one like it. You adore each other and act that way to each other. I know, it won’t happen 100% of the time, How about 25% of the time, that would make an impact.
  4. Communicate the way you want to be communicated with. Low tone. No emotion, facts only of what you need to get your need met. Don’t let it emotions build up. If you or they do. Let them stomp off. Make a rule that you must say to the other first.  I will be back and we will work this out and name the time.  (Must be in the same day) I suggest within a few hours, once you cool down.
  5. Never believe that your mate would EVER EVER INTENTIONALLY do or say anything to hurt your or say something bad about you. Choose to not believe it.
  6. Treat each interaction like a deposit in the bank of love or as a withdrawal, according to the other person. You want you love balance to grow and be more than your withdrawals. When you take a hit you balance with stay over -0- Make sure you continually make deposits.
  7. Create win wins interacts every chance you can and every situations. A win win is when you both feel you have won something and feel satisfied and heard. https://esapros.com Once you met your needs first, you have more to give to the other person and you feel a win already and can give to the other to create a win win for both.

8.Crave out a sacred time for the two of you to be together, even if it is coffee on the porch, no kids or distractions. Just the two of you. This gives you reconnect time and time to focus on what you feel in love with in the first place.

  1. Always always always say what you appreciate about your partner at least 3 times per day, for cooking, cleaning, taking out the garbage, or taking the kids to school. And FEEL IT and MEAN it. This is transformational.
  2. Have Patience and see your partner for the sacred son or daughter of source that they are. See them like the angels see us. Perfect the way we are.  Unconditionally. No conditions of when we love them, no matter what they do. Whether they please us of not. They are with you for just the right reason. You just need to find it.
  3. Understand that there is some higher reason you are together. I believe that you made a contract in heaven to come down with a group of souls and the one that drive you the craziest are probably the ones you wanted to learn the greatest lessons from, for your advancement as an enlightened being and can learn the greatest lessons from, if we stop blaming them and appreciate what they have to give us.

Learn how to get your needs met.  Don’t’ wait until the anger and resent are seeping out, get counseling, get a book, go to a seminar or retreat and learn how to have a happy relationship, to have a happy life and the most important thing of all is to teach your children how to have solid happy relationships.

Focus on the good of your partner and what we love about each other, and we work together in our counseling sessions.

Cherish each other and appreciate each other everyday, reconstituted your contracts too figure how to negotiate to help each other get their needs met.

Don’t blame or complain, always go back to appreciating your partner or what you fell in love with to focus on, instead of the flaws and faults.

I broke the mold of abuse and poor relationships in my family with 2 successful happily (as Possible) married adult children raising 4 amazing healthy grandchildren.  I now get to observe and see the fruits of my emotional labor to change my families’ dynamics of poor relationship skills.

You can create happy relationship for a lifetime, nothing is ever perfect or as you think it “should be” with learning to accept and have patience and never blame or assume that it is anyone’s responsibility for your own happiness you can do it.

Reach out if you need counseling, this last year has been brutal on some relationships.  Grow from the pressure instead of having it weigh you down.

This is by no means a replacement for therapy of any medical attention if you need it.  Always reach out and take care of yourself or if you are feeling like you want to hurt yourself, there is always someone standing by at 1800-273-8255 or call 911. Remember to Share the Love.

You can contact us at anxietysimplified.net or to find out more how to get an Emotional Support animal for housing or a Certified Psychiatric Service dog to go anywhere with to feel the calm.