If you’re in it, you may not even be aware of it—it is what is known as a vicious relationship “cycle.” What is a cycle with regards to a relationship?
A cycle means there is a behavior pattern, or something that is repeating typically with both of you involved. Think of something in your marriage or relationship that happens over and over again, and you can’t seem to get out of it.
It’s like a roller coaster ride you stay on forever. There are ups and downs, and then at the close of the ride you end up right back where you start, and then the ride begins again. If this seems familiar to you, read on. You may be in a cycle that could potentially tear apart your relationship. Here are some common cycles that couples get caught in and how to heal them. Realize that your first go at healing may not be enough, especially if you’ve been in a particular cycle for a while. But it can be a start. With more practice, you’ll eventually be able to get off the cycle and heal for good.
The Blame Game
When a couple keeps score over a long period of time, you can bet they’re in a vicious cycle that needs some healing. You’ll know if you’re in the blame game if both of you are constantly saying, “I may have done this bad thing, but you did this other bad thing, so…”
As if the other person’s negative behavior cancels out their own. It’s a rather childish way of trying to get your partner to see you in a different light or to make them realize that they are just as bad as you are. Only it doesn’t really work that way. They typically just end up resenting you more. Then the cycle continues.
Heal the cycle by taking the relationship scorecard and ripping it up. Realize that keeping score doesn’t help anyone—you or your partner. If you did something wrong, own up to it. Don’t bring up with the other person has done, even if it’s related. Simply say, “I did do something wrong, and I’m sorry.” Your example may help your partner do the same thing. But definitely talk about it. Make a pact that you won’t keep score anymore, and you’ll kindly remind each other not to.
Avoiding the Issue
You may not realize this is a cycle at first, until it blows up in your face. Here is what usually happens: The first person in the relationship will say or do something that offends the second person, only the first person doesn’t realize it. The second person will avoid saying anything about how bad it made them feel; they will then stew on the issue, which will just grow in negativity in their mind. Until one day as something completely unrelated unfolds, second person will bring up the original issue in a blow up fashion. The first person will wonder why they didn’t say anything before! There are lots of reasons why we avoid, like we figure the issue will just go away, or we don’t want to let the other know they hurt us. It makes us very vulnerable, and that’s the last thing many of us want to be. We feel like it’s easier to just avoid, but in the end it doesn’t help anyone.
Heal the cycle by owning your feelings and talking about them. If talking is too hard, then write them out. Don’t let them stew. If you feel mixed up inside, try to figure out what is the root cause. Meditate, get some exercise, and clear your head in any way you can. While you are calm, bring your thoughts and feelings to your partner. They must then listen and repeat your feelings so you know that they understood them. They must then validate them. Hopefully this will lead to a successful outcome, which will prompt the same behavior in the future.
None of us are perfect people, and when we are deep into a relationship sometimes we fall into the cycle of pointing out those flaws. Who knows why we do it. Perhaps it makes us appear superior or shifts focus to the other person’s flaws rather than our own. No matter the reason, anyone who is the victim of constant criticism for being a bad person can only take so much. They will go away feeling worthless and horrible that someone they love thinks that of them.
Heal the cycle by never attacking the person. You can disagree on things or even not like someone else’s behavior. But you can never say the person is bad or not worthy of your love. Instead of saying, “You are the worst husband,” you can say, “I don’t like it when you put me down in front of your friends.” It specifically attacks the behavior rather than the person. You can then talk about the behavior and how to make everyone in the relationship happy. It’s definitely a way to healing.