Blame May Damage Your Relationship

Blame May Damage Your Relationship

My colleagues and left the fairground. My feet were hurting. I was happy to feel the sun on my face and to leave the noise of the exhibition hall behind me. My phone was ringing. I picked it up. “You left a rotten mango on the kitchen table,” my partner yelled at me. I felt irritated about his blame.

Do you think that blame could ruin a relationship?

His phone call wasn’t the warm welcome I had expected. What was he talking about? I had left the mango in the kitchen because he liked them. I took a deep breath and said, “It was ok when I left.” He continued yelling. “And you didn’t clean up the apartment. It’s full of cat’s hair.” His voice was full of contempt. He was partially right. I had left on Sunday without having cleaned the house completely. I did not have time for it. Who has set up a rule that I have to do everything on my own? My inner voice whispered in my ear. I started to feel angry but I did not bother to say anything. I did not see any sense in it. He continued yelling. I hung up How long will he continue to blame me for everything? I asked myself silently.

Constant blame ruins a relationship

This blame game had been going on since a couple of years. I felt a sense of powerlessness. Three months ago, I had asked him to go to couple’s therapy and he had refused it vehemently. That night in the hotel room, I cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t take the blame anymore. I had taken it long enough. That night, I decided to leave him despite the pain and heartbreak the separation would cause. Blame is toxic for a relationship and constant blame damages a relationship. When he blamed me, I felt disconnected from him, I only understood everything I did wrong but I never got a sense what I could do better. After our break-up, I started to look for healthy ways to communicate.

Promise yourself a no-blame policy

Nowadays, I have promised myself a no-blame policy in my relationships. It is mutual. I don’t blame others, but I take care of my emotions and communicate them assertively. What are my unmet needs and desires that are hidden in these emotions? This helps me to communicate properly and keep my boundaries intact. If somebody blames me, I ask them to stop, give them empathy and inquire about their feelings and what they really want. This helps me to understand them better. It also gives me a choice – I can decide whether I can give them what they want. In the end, I don’t want to mess up other people’s lives but create something with them that makes their life more beautiful. For me, that’s what relationships are all about.

Will you promise yourself to refrain from blaming?

Do you want to read more? Check out my memoir “A Brave, True Story.


Do You Know Your Boundaries?

 I felt tense. It was early in the morning. I moved around on my chair to relieve my tension. The trainer gave the instructions for the next exercise. I knew I had to say ‘no.’ What would people say about me? What if I was the only one who didn’t want to do this exercise? I wasn’t sure what would happen. I just knew I had to communicate my boundaries.

Do you know your boundaries?

The day before, I had started another coaching training. We had made a new experiment to let go of a limiting belief. The instruction was: Yell as loud as you can. I don’t like yelling but I gave it a try. After that, I felt confused and full of doubt. It just didn’t feel ok to me. The instructors insisted that we would do more of it the next day. That night, I didn’t know how to handle it and meditated to find my answer. The answer was simple – just say no if you are supposed to yell again.

How can you empower yourself?

The next morning, the instructor told us the rules for the next exercise, “Yell at another participant who sits still in a chair without reacting to your words.” She looked at the group of about 40 people full of expectation and asked us, “Who will be the first one?” I did not want to do this. Yell at other people is a no go for me. Although I felt scared, I spoke up and said, “Sorry but I will not participate in this exercise. I do not want to yell at other people.” I felt relieved and thought that I was done. She looked at me disapprovingly and said, “Have you considered this thoroughly? If you don’t do it, you will never achieve the goal you have.” I didn’t like that she pressured me and I could feel how I shrank in my seat.

My inner conflict started again. My goal was important to me. I really wanted to accomplish it. My anxious part became afraid. What if the instructor is right? She felt tempted to change. I felt the eyes of the fellow participants staring at me. It would have been so easy and comfortable to say yes and fit in well into the group, but it just didn’t feel true to me. I chose to not give in to the pressure and took a risk.

I looked at the instructor and said, “No, I will not do it.” My tension released and I was relieved. I was proud of myself that I had resisted being nice and adapted. I had respected my boundaries and felt a new sense of empowerment.

Why are boundaries important?

Healthy boundaries are essential for healthy relationships. Unfortunately, many of us have never been learned as children what boundaries are and how to keep them intact. In my childhood, my boundaries have been continuously violated. As an adult, I learned to feel them and to set them in a healthy way. This has greatly improved my relationships and my sense of well-being. Boundaries are personal. They describe what is ok for you and what is not ok for you, or what you are willing to do and not willing to do. They are deeply personal, which means that my boundaries are likely to be different to your boundaries. And that’s perfectly ok. Important is that you become aware of your boundaries, explore and and respect them. Don’t allow other people to override your boundaries. Your boundaries protect yourself from emotional harm. Having healthy boundaries is an act of self-love and self-respect.

How aware are you of your boundaries?

Do you want to read more? Check out my memoir “A Brave, True Story.

Do You Say Yes When You Should Say No?

Say No

Learning to say no was one of my greatest obstacles for having a joyful and authentic relationship. My struggle originated from my childhood where I had experienced dysfunctional relationships. As an adult, I repeated these unhealthy patterns in my romantic relationships. I often said yes when I meant no and I gave in easily if my partner expressed different needs.

How often do you say yes when you should say no?

Initially, I thought that it was the only way to show my partner that I loved him. However, I paid a price for being nice and submissive: I abandoned myself and lived up to my partner’s expectations. I also felt increasingly resentful towards my partner and myself. The longer the relationship lasted, the more frustrated I became. I lost self-respect and my sense of worthiness and my partner lost respect for me.

Do you experience a similar dynamic in your relationship?

Over the years, I noticed the negative impact of my behavior and decided to change this. I set my intention to become assertive and to be authentic in my responses to my partner’s requests. Achieving this goal wasn’t always easy. There were many voices in my head that motivated me to say yes for the wrong reasons. It took me some time to understand the differences between saying a heartfelt yes and saying yes out of the wrong impulse.

Can you differentiate between a heartfelt yes and a yes out of a wrong reason?

If we grow up in dysfunctional families, we are likely to have learned a distorted truth about saying no and we tend to say yes due to the wrong reasons. To say no is often labeled as unloving, so we learn to deny us and put the other person first. This imbalance causes major problems in our relationship. The truth is that your needs and your partner’s needs are equally important. Here are five impulses that caused me to say yes when it would have been honest to say no.

  1. Saying yes because I wanted to receive more love.
    My inner child had learned that she would only receive love if she did what people asked her to do. She learned to say ‘yes’ to receive the love and attention she needed. As an adult, I learned to give my inner child the love she needed. I also understood that I can’t influence whether my partner loves me or not, I can just show up as I am and allow him to get to know the authentic me. Do you say yes because you want to be loved and accepted?
  2. Saying yes because I feared punishment.
    In my original family, there was a constant threat of being punished if I didn’t do what the adults wanted. As an adult, I had to use courage to say no despite my fear of punishment because it was deeply rooted in my inner child. Do you say yes out of fear of punishment?
  3. Saying yes because I wanted to avoid conflicts.
    In my childhood, I experienced conflicts that were perpetuating and unsolvable. As a result, I avoided any type of conflict and gave in immediately if my partner wanted something different. It seemed an impossible task to stand up for my needs and find a solution. The first times that I stood up for myself I did it with shaking knees… but once again, to respect myself I had to learn to go through a conflict and to trust that we would find a solution that fits us both. Do you say yes in order to avoid a conflict?
  4. Saying yes out of guilt and shame.
    My family relationships were manipulative and based on guilt and shame to keep the family functioning. It took me many years to get completely rid of this dynamic. Guilt and shame are destructive emotions. If we say yes based on guilt and shame, we tend to over-give and to deny ourselves by putting other people first. It took me some time to learn to say no instead of yes when I felt guilt or shame. However, it was an important step to fully reclaiming my power. Do you say yes out of shame and guilt?
  5. Saying yes out of any sense of duty or obligation.
    In my past relationship, I became a perfect cook even though I dislike cooking. I felt obliged to do. What do you say yes to out of duty and obligation?

All those times when I said yes out of the wrong reasons, I used to say no to being me. I used to say no to my power and my joy. I now say a heartfelt ‘yes’ for the joy of giving, and I say no whenever my inner voice tells me so.

How about you?

Loss of Self-Confidence – Sign of Emotional Abuse?

emotional abuse

It started slowly. It was hard to put a finger on it. I felt like a failure, unworthy. I had a sense that I was fighting with an invisible enemy. Who was it? Were these the effects of emotional abuse? I wasn’t sure, but I knew I had to deal with it.

Do you suspect that emotional abuse is part of your life?

I could not really put a finger on it. My work fulfilled me and I was happy with my life. Why had I lost so much self-confidence? My choice was to dig deeper and look at my relationships. I was wondering whether there were any people who were emotionally abusive towards me. The question did not feel comfortable, but I decided to be honest with myself and observed what happened in my relationships.

Start with being honest with yourself

I started to observe the relationship with my sister. We weren’t really close because we lived in different countries and were really different. But something seemed off. I started to label her behaviours. She constantly criticized my work. When I shared my dream to move to Canada, she told me that I would never make it. When I did something she did not like, she yelled at me. She belittled my professional achievements. She ridiculed my spirituality. When her cat was diagnosed with terminal cancer, I told her that I could send him Reiki but I also told her that it would only allow him to die gentler. She agreed and I sent him Reiki. Six months after his death, she accused me that I had killed her cat. I didn’t know anymore what to say. Did I wanted to be treated that way? No, not at all. I decided to give me a time-out and didn’t contact her for a while.

Step away from people who appear toxic to you

The distance helped me to see things more clearly. As I’ve shared in my memoir “A Brave, True Story”, I grew up in a family with abusive relationships. Guilt was a way to hold the family together. My family denied the existence of any higher power. When I grew older, I chose a different path. I move beyond the conditioning I had received in my childhood. I learned that it was possible to have nurturing and loving relationships and I knew how to do it. My sister had never started this journey. Growth was not important for her.

After I healed myself, I wanted to support her on her journey to overcome our childhood experiences by being a role model. However, I did not realize that she never wanted to. From her and my family’s perspective, healing was impossible, spirituality was something for crazy people, and counselling was only for the outcasts of society. Since I knew her so well, I had found excuses for her abusive behaviour. She just repeated what she had learned in her childhood. However, she was also an adult and responsible for what she did. In order to have a healthy relationship, she would have needed to change, too.

Emotional abuse is not ok.

As a result of her emotionally abusive behaviour, I had lost self-confidence. It had been a slow process that affected me on a deep level. I would never have expected that the influence was so deep since we did not live in the same country, but it was. I told my sister that she either would need to do counselling or I would refuse to have contact with her. She refused counselling and I ended our relationship. It was the hardest decision of my life, but it was the loving decision towards myself.  Emotionally abusive behaviour affects my physical, emotional and mental health, and eats away my soul. I was not willing to accept it in my life anymore. I can’t heal my sister’s past, nor can I save her. That’s her responsibility and whatever choice she takes it’s up to her. I can only take responsible for myself and protect myself from emotional abuse. As long as my sister does not take responsibility for her abusive behaviour and seeks professional help, she will repeat it.

Ending abusive relationships is a path to freedom

I grieved the end of our relationship and focused on taking care of myself. My inner dialog was very negative. My sister’s voice was constantly in my head, telling me: “You’ll never make it.” Dance and positive affirmation helped me to transform my inner dialogue. I went to counselling to work through the difficult emotions connected with emotional abuse and chose to forgiving myself and her. Overtime, her influence faded away and my self-confidence returned. I promised myself to keep my life free of emotionally abusive behaviour. Based on my experience that is the wisest and most empowering choice that I can take for myself.

How about you?

Do you want to read more? Read my memoir “A Brave, True Story.”

Do you know your rights in a relationship?

I see often that my clients aren’t aware of their relationship rights. We never learned about our relationship rights in school and our family may also not serve as a good role-model. If we grew up in a dysfunctional family, we are likely to have learned a misleading perception about love and relationships. I experienced abusive relationships in my childhood. As a result, I had a distorted perception about my relationship rights. I felt insecure and wasn’t able to set healthy boundaries. My lack of knowledge led to major conflicts in my past relationships. I disrespected my rights and my needs. Knowing my relationship rights gave me clarity and helped me take the right direction in my relationships.

Independent of what happened in your childhood, you are an adult now. You should know your rights and claim them.

Here is a list of your relationship rights:

  • You have the right to be the most important person in your life.
  • You have the right to be happy and happier than your partner.
  • You have the right to take care of yourself, no matter what.
  • You have the right to change your mind.
  • You have the right to say no, without further explanation.
  • You have the right to expect honesty from your partner.
  • You have the right to make mistakes.
  • You have the right to your personal space and time needs.
  • You have the right to be uniquely you, without feeling that you are not good enough.
  • You have the right that your needs are equally important as your partner’s needs.
  • You have the right to be treated with respect and kindness.
  • You have the right to receive emotional support.
  • You have the right to express your opinion and to be heard by your partner.
  • You have the right to have your own perspective, even if your partner has a different opinion.
  • You have the right to all your feelings.
  • You have the right to live free from criticism, judgment, accusation and blame.
  • You have the right to encouragement.
  • You have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.
  • You have the right to leave your partner.
  • You have the right to be playful and relaxed.
  • You have the right to forgive others and forgive yourself.
  • You have the right to give and receive unconditional love.
  • You have the right to change and grow.
  • You have the right to heal, to let go of fear, shame and guilt and to become whole.
  • You have the right not to be responsible for your partner’s problems, feelings and behaviours.

Sometimes, we don’t dare to claim our rights because our inner child is blocking us. Within ourselves, there is an inner child that doesn’t know what is right or wrong.  Her perception of love and relationships is shaped by her childhood and her past. She repeats these experiences because she is loyal to her past. You childhood was as it was. Your parents gave you what they were able to give you when you were a child. Now you are an adult and it is the time that you learn to take care of this child within yourself and that you teach her the truth about love and relationships. If she receives your love, she stops looking for love in the wrong places. Become a compassionate mother for your inner child and a courageous heroine in claiming your rights. This is an important step you can take today to create a fabulous relationship.

I’d love to hear from you. Just leave your comment below.

Do you want to read more? Check the post What if you always attract the wrong man?

Do You Know the Secret for Fulfilling Relationships?

Have you ever wondered what is the greatest secret that leads to fulfilling relationships?

I have asked myself this question about a thousands times until I found the answer: The greatest secret that leads to fulfilling relationships is having self-esteem. Sounds simple, doesn’t it. Actually, it wasn’t that simple for me because I never established it as a child but I developed is an adult. I have experienced profound changes in my relationships when I raised my self-esteem, and you can do the same. Read this story:

Many years ago, I was observing people how they talked to one another. I did not dare to join them because of my low self-esteem. I thought that I could not share anything interesting so I stayed distant and silent. In that time, I did not honor my worth and had many negative believes about myself. This limited my life and my way to relate to others. Until I found out that self-esteem was something I could develop and improve by myself. So I started to transform my negative thoughts with persistence and patience. I stopped to focus on my failures, but on what I had learned and I started to acknowledge my positive sides. I stopped wanting to be perfect and started to be kind to myself. Gradually, I began to love and to honor who I was, with my good and bad sides. I changed from a rigid and judging perspective towards myself into a loving and compassionate one.

Raising self-esteem is important for your life. It allows you to experience a higher degree of positive feelings and to have better and more fulfilling relationships with your partner and friends It makes you independent of the approval of others. Let’s face it, the people you love will not always have the same opinion as you have. Not every friend will understand the decisions you make or the things you do. Or people might even judge you that you are wrong. Does it mean that you are wrong? No, you just have different opinions.
Self-esteem also protects you from staying in abusive or unhealthy relationship. It allows you to set healthy boundaries and to say no. Furthermore, it improves your efficiency in achieving your goals.
With a healthy self-esteem you can be who you really are, you can say your opinion and speak your truth and still feel respect and compassion towards others, even if they have a different opinion.
Some people have already developed a healthy self-esteem during their childhood. Others not. I assure you, everyone can develop it. Start your journey today and develop self-esteem by following this advice:

You are unique and wonderful!

I admit, many years of my life I compared myself with other women and always felt horrible. My hair was never as beautiful as theirs, not to mention my figure and my height. I looked into the mirror and felt horrible. Then, I got angry with myself and I decided to stop comparing and focus on what I have. I remembered that my mother always liked my eyes. So I started to like my eyes. Over time, I became more and more content with my exterior image, even though it is not at all perfect. Stop comparing yourself with others! Focus on the features that make you special because that is what you are – unique and special. Look at yourself in a compassionate way. Look into the mirror and tell yourself every morning, I am beautiful, I love me, I am loveable. I know that you are.

Establish a loving and compassionate inner dialog!

I often had a very destructive inner dialog. I told myself sentences like I will never make it, You are not good enough or Others are better than you. With these demotivating words, I made myself feeling bad and did not even try to achieve what I wanted. I observed my inner dialog and consciously changed any negative tendencies. Now I am telling myself things like I will achieve it, I give my best.
Observe your thoughts and transform any negative inner dialog into a positive one. Become your own motivator and start to talk to yourself in a loving and compassionate way.

Concentrate on your learning!

Everyone has made mistakes – at least I have made a lot in my life. The important point is what you have learned from your mistakes. Take two papers. On the first paper, write down the mistakes that are still bothering you. On the second paper, write down everything that you have learned from your mistakes. Now, say, Thank you to the first paper and pull it into pieces, burn it in a safe place or throw it away. Keep the second paper with what you have learned and read it frequently.

Set achievable goals and respect your own rhythm!

When you set yourself goals do not carry it to the excess! Set a realistic time frame for your goals so that you are able to achieve them. Ask yourself when you set your goals, What would be the kindest action towards myself. Get into action to achieve your goals and celebrate each time when you have achieved it. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t meet the timeline. Just set a new date and move on.

Improving self-esteem is a life-long task.
You are work in progress and can enhance yourself and your relationships each day. I invite you to start your journey to improving your self-esteem today. Learn to love and respect yourself, and you will see how your exterior world will change, too. Use the energy of spring to fall in love with the wonderful person you are right now!

I love to read your comments below!

You want to learn more? Read this article about self-worth.

4 Easy Ways To Say No

Some time ago, a friend asked me, “You have to come to our karaoke party this Saturday. I miss you.” I hate karaoke parties, and I knew that I would need time to relax. One voice in my head told me, “You are egoistic. You have to be there. Be nice!” The other one said, “I just don’t want to.” In the past, I would have gone to a party where I felt at the wrong place all the time, and I would have felt drained. Now I simply said, “No, I can’t.”

Do you fear to say “no”? Do you want to be nice to others? Do you fear conflicts?
If you struggle with saying “no,” don’t worry, you are not alone. Many times the difficulties exist due to learnings in our childhood. Were you allowed to say “no” as a child? How did your family use it? How did people react to it? As a child, I learned that “no” was a word that I wasn’t allowed to use, and that it might provoke a punishment. As an adult, I feared that the other person would either reject me or explode in a rage of anger, so I had major difficulties to say “no”. Was it good for me to say “yes” even though I should have said “no”? No, it wasn’t. I abandoned myself and lost the focus in my life because I tried to please other people. Furthermore, I made the activities with resentment like a recalcitrant horse because I didn’t enjoy them. Then, I learned to respect my needs and to say no.
The voices of fear and guilt are inappropriate advisors, and they shouldn’t be your motivation to decide what you are doing. There is a difference between doing things because you have to do them or because you want to do them. How often do you do things because you feel obliged to do them? How often do you please others? If you try to please others at the expense of yourself, you are not nice to you at all.

Healthy boundaries are a key for healthy relationships!
If you say “no” to what you don’t want, you respect your boundaries and priorities. You can’t control how the other person will react or how they will feel about it. You can just take care of your needs and priorities. If you start to respect your needs and your boundaries and say “no” when you want to, other people will get to know you in an honest and authentic way. Honesty is the key. Learning to say “no” is a healthy habit that will improve your relationships. Try out different occasions and find a way to say “no” that makes you feel comfortable!

How can you say “no”?
Here are four effective ways that helped me to learn it:

A simple “no” without any explanation is enough.
Say gently and firmly: “No, I can’t.” That’s it. There is no need to be aggressive or angry. You have the right to say “no” and you do not owe the other person an explanation.
“I don’t know yet, I’ll think about it. I’ll let you know tomorrow, next week,… ”
This way helped me when I felt pressured and gave me the time to become aware what I wanted. Use this method with people you have difficulties with or if you do not yet know what you want. Then, tell them your answer. Nobody can oblige you to do something that you do not want to do.
If the other person insists, repeat it.
Especially, if they are not used to it, it is likely that other persons insist on what they want, or they simply ignore your answer. In this case, repeat your answer firmly. Don’t capitulate. You don’t have to explain it, just repeat it.
“No, I can’t but what do you think about… “
Say no, and make a counter proposal that fits with your need. Your friend wants to meet you this weekend and you can’t? Make a proposal for a day when it is convenient for you or propose another activity you prefer. Don’t give in but start to negotiate a solution that fits you both.

The more you practice, the more comfortable you will feel. Start with an option that feels right for you and play with it. See it as an adventure on your journey. Saying “no” and respecting your boundaries will increase your self-esteem and self-confidence. You will experience a higher degree of contentment because you allow yourself to do what you really want. Live your life in an assertive way, respecting your needs and the needs of others.

Would you like to give it a try?

I love to read your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post Do you know your rights in a relationship?