Continuing my blogs about the relationship-crippling impact of toxic thoughts and how they destroy relationships, below is a list of the 9 primary toxic thoughts (as featured in my book, Why Can't You Read My Mind?).
How many of these do you or your partner struggle with?
While there may certainly be kernels of truth underlying some of these types of toxic thoughts, it is the extent to which we distort, exaggerate, and overly focus on them that can suck the joy out of loving relationships. But being able to look for, and then dwell on, your partner's positive qualities and behaviors is the key to overcoming these toxic thoughts about him or her.
Happy, satisfied couples that do not get bogged down in toxic thoughts have a better, more realistic, and healthy way of thinking about each other. It is this way of thinking that enables such couples to improve communication, solve problems, and enhance romance. This true foundation for a happy relationship, this elusive secret to your success, can only be found, or built, in one place—your own mind.
[Let me add: You did not get into your relationship to be treated poorly, ignored, or abandoned. Being abused or denigrated, subjected to reckless spending, deprived of a sex life, or forced to put up with problematic, immature behavior is not what I'm asking of you. If this is occurring in your relationship, your partner needs to make major changes. Individual and couple's counseling may be needed. And if your partner will not cooperate with counseling, you need to face the fact that he or she will probably never change, and then decide to try living with him or her the best you can, or move on to a new and hopefully more satisfying relationship. I am all for trying to save relationships, but in the face of repeated hurts and insensitivity, it may be best to move on.]
Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein is a psychologist with over 23 years of experience specializing in child, adolescent, couples, and family therapy. He holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany and completed his post-doctoral internship at the University of Pennsylvania Counseling Center. He has appeared on the Today Show, Court TV as an expert advisor, CBS Eyewitness News Philadelphia, 10! Philadelphia—NBC, and public radio. Dr. Bernstein has authored four books, including the highly popular 10 Days to a Less Defiant Child (Perseus Books, 2006), 10 Days to a Less Distracted Child (Perseus, 2007), Why Can't You Read My Mind?, and Liking the Child You Love, Perseus, 2009).