Last month, my husband took our kids to a Sia concert. One of the songs seemed to have an emotional impact on him so he shared a video of it later with me. What a powerful, emotionally provocative performance. The video described a relationship that had a debilitating destructive negative cycle to it. The beautiful manner in which the dancers captured relational dysfunction made me experience the dancer’s fighting deeply, at a significant emotional level.
Before you skip down to the concert video to satisfy your own curiosity, I’d like you to first view the song from an intellectual level. This first video shares the lyrics of the song. Please take a few moments to view the video and take the time to actually absorb the words.
Now that you have experienced the song intellectually, I would like to break down a few relational concepts before you experience the song on an emotional level.
What is a Negative Cycle in a Relationship?
Every relationship has a negative cycle when things are not going so well. A negative cycle is that black hole that many couples feel themselves getting sucked into during a fight. This is the space where the arguments become rote and the couple begins to realize that although the content of the argument may be different, one could almost write a script for how the argument will proceed and how the couple will make up.
When I do this, he often responds with this…then I do “x” and he does or says “y”.
The negative cycle works hard to get couples to feel either deeply adversarial or cold and numb.
Is the Forgiveness Real or Do You Forgive Too Quickly?
True forgiveness has the ability to strengthen a damaged relationship. The act of forgiveness requires the offender to truly care that s/he has hurt the other and both do what it takes to make the situation better AND to heal the wound.
“I don’t want you to feel that way. I understand now how much I scared you and how much I hurt you”
Sometimes we forgive too quickly, before we ever even verbalize all of the pain. Before we even give our partner or loved one a chance to understand and empathize. True forgiveness may require the party to go back time and time again until the wound has successfully healed.
Forgive and forget or give it to God have the potential of robbing the relationship of a deep joining and connecting healing and could also keep the one who is hurt from healing at the level that validates emotionally. Forgiving too quickly often breeds disappointment, resentment and potential bitterness. It not only harms the relationship, but the one who was originally hurt.
Watch the song again, this time at an emotional level with the above listed information in mind. Notice how one or the other will obliterate safety, even during vulnerable, emotionally porous times.
Have the idea of true forgiveness in mind as you watch the dancers begin to sway a foot and then sway their feet together. Forgiving too quickly, without healing, without stopping the negative cycle in this scenario is damaging.
Wow, right? When do you hold the hammer in your relationship? At these times, do your words sting? Are you aggressive? Or do you take the other extreme and freeze out your partner?
What does the negative cycle in your relationship look like and what can you do to stop it? Altering a destructive cycle can be tricky and some need professional help to truly forgive, heal and change the relational dynamic. Get help for your relationship today!
Interested in Learning More?...
Read more about the Negative Cycle Here
Read more about True Forgiveness Here
About The Author...
Gabrielle Anderson, lmft is the owner of the counseling center in Ashburn as well as a Marriage and Family therapist. She is a married mother of 2 and lives in Loudoun county. Contact Gabrielle here if you would like to schedule an appointment for couples counseling or another therapeutic modality.
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