While conflicts are a normal part of relationships, the way we handle them defines the health of our relationships. Sometimes, we find ourselves in conflict with our partner, in ways that tend to be repetitive. We tend to get stuck in negative patterns. We argue over the same things, come back to past hurts, react in negative ways, and make issues even harder to talk about.

These negative patterns can be very hard to break. Over time, they can cause lasting damage to our relationships with the people we love. Here are two things that can really harm a relationship…

1. Negative sentiment override

This happens when you find yourself in such a negative state, that even a neutral comment made by your partner feels negative. This is when you take everything personally, even though the other person may not mean it that way. Every conversation becomes a battle. Hence, your relationship gets stuck in an attack-defend cycle.

Over time, there are chances that communication gets so hard that it breaks down completely. Criticism, hurt, withdrawal, contempt, and guilt all seep into the relationship. This is when there is a huge escalation of negativity, sometimes to the point of no return.

2. Negative attribution

This is when you tend to minimize your own errors or faults, attributing them to the situation, but maximize the faults of your partner attributing them to lasting negative personality traits or character flaws of the other person. This is a position of “I am okay, you are not okay”. We get highly critical and begin to only see the things we don't like about a person, rather than what is good about them. Small things and eventually everything about them begin to irk you.

This is when you get stuck in the cycle of judging and labelling. Slowly resentment creeps in. Resentment is when we want people to be a certain way, and they are not the way we want them to be. We want them to change, and they may not be comfortable with the constant criticism, causing friction in the relationship. We hold in all this anger and resentment in our hearts over years sometimes. It’s almost like, our energy gets stuck.

So how does one overcome this?

Luck, chance, or finding the perfect partner don't create healthy and happy relationships. Rather they are consciously built, block by block, especially in the difficult moments of life. They are built by breaking these negative patterns, restoring the flow of positive energy and releasing all these negative sentiments. There is so much release in knowing that we are doing the best we can at every point in time. That we are learning, and we are growing, and in knowing that the other person is trying their best too.

How are the health and quality of your intimate relationships? How would it be if you could just drop the criticism and judgment for today, and relate from a different space within? Just imagine the transformation your relationship could go through! And so today, give yourself the space and chance to let it all go and restore the flow back in your life and in your relationships.