Tough Choices Are Ahead. Be Wise!

New Hope Counseling, PLLC

'Unleashing the Peace Within'. Vol. Ed. 2


We all eventually fight with our partners or loved ones, but when is enough enough? When should we throw in the relationship towel?

This decision is one of the toughest one's you have ever made, and/or will make. The decision can alter the course of the rest of your life for good or ill. To make things worse, no matter what you choose, someone will find fault with it. No doubt, there are plenty of reasons to either stay or leave. So, how do you decide?

Here are some simple rules of thumb to follow in making such difficult 'cross road' decisions:

1. Don't Decide in Anger or Fear

Anger and fear are part of our human experience. We can hardly go a day without coming across either of these emotions. In fact, for many people these emotions are part of their routine experience and have become even normal to them. So, why not make decisions in either fear or anger?

Fear and anger are similar emotions, as they are connected and often present at the same time. Typically anger in one person evokes fear in another. Yet, both emotions confuse what the real feelings are. Not only do they confuse what the true feelings are, when had, both of these emotions actually change the person, making them 'other' than who they really are. 

An angry or fearful person doesn't speak or think like they normally would. They don't reason the same. Their basic philosophy on life has even altered. Its better to work through the anger and fear before making a lasting decision on either of these misleading emotions or, without exception, you'll be having an 'Adele' moment. Adele moment? You know, "Hello from the other side" moment where you look back in hindsight and recognize you made the wrong decision. Not good!

2. Address Your Part of the Problem First

Okay. So your partner (or family member) is crazy. Let's suppose you are right. Does that leave you blameless? Do you have any degree of personal responsibility in the matter? 

We often are too keenly aware of our loved one's part in the warfare, but not our own. I mean, can you really ever see the proverbial 'piece of corn' stuck in your own teeth?

Did you act the way you intended? Did you act like your better self? Are you proud of your words? Did you say things you didn't mean? Do you accept you are responsible for your own actions, words, and feelings at all times, regardless of what anyone else does? 

Personal responsibility is not a 'bad thing'. It is the glue that holds a free society of equals together, which we embrace as civilization. The truth is, we have a great lack of personal responsibility in the world today. We would all do better if everyone looked at their portion of the problem and resolved it first, before demanding others do anything at all. 

How would you feel if your  loved one, partner, or problematic family member did this to you, if they approached you and took responsibility for their wrong doing? Feels good, huh? Then, its something you should do as well, if you would like it done to you. 

3. Remember Gratitude

Still, your partner (or other loved one) isn't perfect. Okay. I'm not excusing their behavior. He or she won't long escape the natural consequences for such action, words, or behavior. Life won't allow that! (Sorry! Life won't allow it for your either) Yet, we can clear our thinking and confused feelings if we are willing to try to see things differently. One of the ways we can clear our vision, which feeds into our thoughts and feelings, is through 'gratitude'.  

Gratitude for your loved one is the recognition of all the good things that has come as a result of the relationship. At first, this may seem hard to come up with. After all, you may be angry, and anger does cloud your perception. But, as you strive to look back at the good things, the enjoyed times, the results and side effects of the relationship, the strengths developed, the challenges faced, the support given, you may begin to see differently. 

If you can't find anything to be grateful for, this may suggest two things: one, you, my friend, may be part of the problem (this is the most likely option); and, or two, you are simply in the wrong relationship. Oh my!

4. Do Something Kind for Your Loved One

Even if your loved one is being a jerk, do something kind for him or her. Believe it or not, this is very hard to do when you're in a bad mood. To do this, you must wrestle with and put aside your own hurt feelings, at least for a while. Your kind act will send a message of hope and peace, which could have the effect of bridging a gap. It also sends the message that, even though there are differences, you still want happiness for your once dear one. A desire for their true happiness is a key ingredient for love. 

5. Continue to Talk on 'Safe' Topics

It may be that you have 'differences' you can't immediately bridge. That is okay! You loved this person before you came to this impasse. They had these differences then. They have them now. You don't need sameness to love someone. You do need a desire for each other's well-being and, eventually, you need a good set of personal and relationship boundaries. As you are working on developing those, continue to speak on 'safe' topics. 

Safe topics are those areas of past success, common interests, good things that took place through out the day, fond memories of past enjoyable experiences, and anything else which doesn't put up a wall. If in discussing something you sense a wall is coming up again, then 'back pedal'. Back pedaling is a biking metaphor, referring to the conversation as if it were a lovely bike ride.  When the conversation trail gets rough and bumpy, stop the direction of the current dialogue, and go back to a place of former safety, where the chatter felt calm just moments before. Now continue with that old topic or try a different direction. 

6. Listen to Your Intuition

In the end, you are the person who must live with (and be responsible for) your decision. So, make one you truly believe in and not one out of frustration, convenience, and shortsightedness. Make a choice in harmony with your intuition. 

Now, I recognize not everyone is on a first name basis with their intuition. Shame! That is the ultimate goal, and dealing with the deep question of 'when do you give up on you a relationship' is one of the ways to know yourself better. It is even possible that some people doubt the existence of their intuition, conscience, or that sense of light within themselves. Often times the effects of a harsh world can cause someone to doubt him or herself and to become estranged from their sense of self. If such is the case, I would invite that person to not give up hope, nor to give up on that relationship with him or herself; rather, to be patient and seek to reacquaint themselves with that inner part of themselves. The journey is certainly worth it! Nothing else compares to the peace of mind that comes from being in harmony with one's own self. 

If you find you need help or guidance in the process of making your tough decisions, reach out to me at my number posted belong, shoot me a text, or contact me by email. I'd be delighted to help you sort through them.  

Dennis Tucker, LCSW Therapist/Owner

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New Hope Counseling, PLLC

9176 S. 300 W. STE 13, Sandy UT 84070

(801) 979-0610