How To Mend Broken Relationships (Before It’s Too Late)
Some things you just can’t learn in school. When it comes to building and maintaining relationships, often we end up learning as we go unless our upbringing offered us an education in healthy interpersonal dynamics. This can leave a trail of broken relationships as we try to navigate them without emotional coping tools and often without the guidance of a mature and experienced person.
Left to figure it out on our own, we often repeat the same patterns in our relationships even if all we want is to find our way out of that cycle. We’re left without a real grasp on how to do that. The number one thing we often observe people doing in broken relationships is playing the blame game, pointing fingers at other people.
In this article, you’ll learn some of the common pitfalls we fall into in relationships so you can begin to see how to heal them. We will offer you alternative approaches to handling conflict that will help you to soften yourself and reclaim your ability to overcome difficulties in getting along with people.
Easy Ways to Glue Your Relationships Back Together
First is realizing that you cannot blame another person entirely for the issues between you. Even if you think the issue isn’t your fault, your reactions are still within your control. When we respond to someone, we often say things that are hurtful in response to feeling hurt. This only exacerbates the problem.
To mend a relationship where you felt you were not at fault, have a conversation an objective third party about the things you could have done better or what you could’ve communicated more clearly. Arguments bring up complex emotions, so consider how you may have complicated the issue at hand. When it comes time for apologies, own your part of the argument to glue the emotional bonds back together stronger than they were before.
A Different Perspective
A second viewpoint you’ll need to relinquish is believing the person who hurt you meant to hurt you and that they are a bad person. When we are hurt or angry, we often only see the other person in the negative context of the argument, and we no longer focus on the good traits and the human emotions the other person is also juggling.
In order to overcome the resentment your brain is producing, think about potential motivations behind the actions that caused the problem. Seek to understand your loved one’s own unique viewpoint, pain, and circumstances without judging them. This is called putting yourself in someone’s shoes. It’s not about being right or proving your point. The goal is to glue your relationship back together by starting to develop more compassion.
How to Move Past the Pain
People’s words and actions can cut us like knives; one misspoken word can be taken quickly to heart. When we experience a hurtful situation, our brains often make us re-live that pain, creating a stronger memory of it over time in our subconscious mind and ruining our ability to work through our differences with the other person. The key word here is ‘differences.’ It’s not that one person was right and the other was wrong; it’s rare that anyone decides to be mean for the sake of causing intentional harm. Instead, it’s usually confusion, insecurity or stress that creates these situations. Our differences are merely different viewpoints and experiences of the same moment.
In order to overcome our differences, there are 3 useful techniques we can implement. The first is to commit to listening to the other person’s experience and feelings. This will help us start to see from their eyes. It will help us understand their past and how it has coloured their own life experience. Maybe they were bullied or abused as a child and they have low self esteem that has made them defensive now.
Take Time to Listen and Accept
After we take the time to listen, we need to communicate our intention to them to mend the relationship. Planting this seed allows for new growth and healing in a positive direction. It starts to create new emotions in the dynamic between you and that person to alleviate the tension.
Finally, come to a place of acceptance. The good, the bad, and the ugly needs to be laid out on the table and acknowledged. That means that you are also looking at your own insecurities and reactivity. Once the multiple challenges involved are no longer hiding in the dark, you have the advantage of at least being aware of them and not pushing them away. This can reduce the emotional “hangover” we get from unmet expectations and unresolved conflicts in our relationships.
Don’t Get Discouraged
Even when you may feel a relationship is beyond repair, you can still try these techniques. As long as you feel safe and there is no imminent threat that makes mending a relationship a danger to you, it can greatly benefit you to try to repair damaged feelings.
In all parts of our daily lives we need to take responsibility for our actions, be able to put ourselves in someone else’s shoes, and listen without trying to defend ourselves. Compassion is easier discussed than put into action, but it allows us to enjoy our life to a much greater extent when we take steps towards, instead of away from, each other.
Approaching our broken relationships with compassion can heal the pain, sadness, and anger within us that may be keeping us from living joyfully and optimistically. As we seek to mend our relationships through kindness, compassion, and understanding, we will see people’s hostility towards us diminish because the world mirrors our own thoughts back to us in reflective and honest ways.
We all make mistakes, and we’ve all wanted second (and third, and fourth) chances. Offering open, honest communication and compassion alleviates and avoids the bitterness that can spoil a perfectly peaceful and loving life.