We all need people in our lives. But it’s darn near impossible to find someone who is perfect. (You romantics in love, wait a year or so and you will agree.) So how do you have people in your life and not end up in a love/hate relationship? I am have a hypnotherapy and psychotherapy private practice. I get to hear stories about people’s relationships. Most are love/hate. (Well, maybe the word “hate” may be too strong in some cases.) Marianne, married less than a year, tells me about her family. She has two half sisters with whom she shares a love/hate relationship. “I would do anything for them but I can’t stand them. They are so self-centered.” When she talks about her new husband she complains about how mean he is and how nice she is in comparison. Marianne is one of those “nice” people…always saying what you want to hear and never saying the truth. Consequently Marianne is high manipulative and ends up either disappointing people, pushing them away, or hurting them with her lies and manipulations. Marianne deserves her “mean” husband. Marianne deserves her “self-centered” sisters. Without realizing it Marianne has a love/hate relationship with herself. Had she looked more deeply within herself she would realize that she contributes to the conflict that exists with her sisters and husband.
Now, mind you, some love/hate relationships are pretty twisted. One woman told me recently that her husband beat her off and on over a twenty year period. You might ask, “Why did she stay?” Good question. Likely is that she stayed because of her own twisted view of herself driving her to have such thoughts as, “I love him. He didn’t mean it. I probably deserved it. He will change. Most of the time he’s really nice.” So it’s clear we need to have some healthy boundaries. And we need to look within ourselves to see how we contribute to our love/hate relationships. And sometimes we are in relationship with someone who is just plain difficult and there is nothing we can do but acknowledge the love/hate aspect of the relationship. Here are some examples: You are related to that person and you have to related to them for legal or other reasons. You work with that person and there is no way you can avoid relating to them. They are your next door neighbor and you have to negotiate something regarding the property line.
Sometimes it’s true that we are stuck in a love/hate relationship. Or another way of putting it you may be stuck in a need/dislike relationship. Whatever the relationship or circumstance consider this: You can’t change other people but you can change your own attitudes and behaviors. If you are stressing out too much in a relationship look to yourself. What is your attitude? Do you have a chip on your shoulder? Are you being too judgmental? Ask yourself what attitude or behavior change you need to bring some peace not just to the relationship, but to yourself.