In 2006, a team of Norwegian researchers set out to study how experienced psychotherapists help people to change. Led by Michael Rønnestad, a professor of clinical psychology at the University of Oslo, the team followed 50 therapist-patient pairs, tracking, in minute detail, what the therapists did that made them so effective.
Romantic relationships offer some of life's greatest joys. They can also cause great pain. As we open ourselves up to another person, we leave ourselves vulnerable to rejection and abandonment, thus fueling some of our deepest insecurities. For many, especially those who have experienced childhood trauma or unstable familial relationships, such insecurities can lead to self-sabotaging behavior.
Journal about the experiences in your relationship that trigger behaviors you experience as self-sabotaging. Ask yourself: What was happening? What did you feel at the time? What were you afraid of? How likely is it that the outcome you feared would happen?
Having an awareness of what triggers these behaviors can prepare us for the inevitable conflicts that arise.
Many people find themselves repeating the same unhealthy relationship patterns-despite their best intentions. Consider codependency-when two people with dysfunctional personality traits become worse together. Enmeshment happens when clear boundaries about where you start and where your partner ends are not clearly defined. Think of the most unhappy couple you've ever met.