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How Self-Reliance can destroy your relationship

Updated: Feb 20, 2020

When I become vulnerable in healthy connected relationships I allow trust, intimacy and a authentic relationship to flourish. This allows one to move from a solo act to true connect with others.

Many of us were raised in a culture that promoted self-protection at all cost. That it would be foolish to not depend on yourself. We were taught at a young age to "figure it out" and that it is not good to have to need help. Though independence can be a strength it can also be a barrier.

In my 18 years of working with individuals, families and couples one common theme when someone gets stuck in destructive patters in self-sufficiency and self-reliance patterns of behavior. To ask for help or to be vulnerable can be extremely difficult. In some ways it is like being in quick sand where one fights and struggles to fix the problems they have but the strategies simply take them deeper and deeper into the pit.

The answer to this problem is a willingness to take the hand of a person who is not in that pit with you. This will foster genuine help along with real connection with your loved one. A healthy relationship is not about being dependent nor is it about being independent but rather it is about interdependence. Where we as a couple, connect together and bring what we bring into this relationship were transparency, connection and intimacy can be experienced.

6 Steps to Achieving Interdependence

  1. Take ownership if you are too self-reliant. If it's extreme, pinpoint the source of it and examine your thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs.

  2. Challenge your beliefs and attitudes about accepting nurturing and support from your partner. Resist the urge to be self-reliant around hot-button issues such as money, work, or family matters -- like how you celebrate holidays or vacations.

  3. Visualize yourself in an honest and open relationship and work toward allowing yourself to be more vulnerable with your partner -- a critical aspect of intimacy.

  4. Remind yourself daily that it's healthy to accept help from others and a sign of strength rather than weakness. This might also apply to your work setting.

  5. Develop a policy of joint agreement if you are in a relationship. This term, coined by Dr. Harley, describes an agreement couples make to resist making decisions without an enthusiastic agreement between them and their partner -- especially important ones that impact both people.

  6. Adopt a mindset that it's good to count on your partner. Believe that you can share your deepest feelings with him/her and it will promote healthy attachment, trust and intimacy. You must let them in and embrace the idea that you don't have to go through life alone.

If you find yourself stuck in a pattern of self-sufficient and self-reliance that are causes problems in your life. We are here to help you navigate through these issues. Feel free to contact us at 605-271-7712 or email to scheduled an appointment.


#mental health#marriage counseling #couples counseling #destructive patterns

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