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Limits of Good Cheer and a Positive Outlook
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD posted:
It is often helpful to approach your partner and life situations with a positive perspective — with forgiveness, optimism, kindness, and benevolence. However, when facing serious problems, this positivity can actually work against you and your relationship; making things worse.


Is this something you can relate with? Have there been times when being positive has backfired on you?




If you would like to read more in detail about this topic in my The Art of Relationships blog, click here.


Dr. Becker-Phelps's discussions and her responses in those discussions are for general educational purposes only. If you need help for an emotional or behavioral problem, please seek the assistance of a psychologist or other qualified mental health professional.


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An_249662 responded:
Over and over, and now. I re-married 11 years ago, divorced 10 years ago, but this relationship keeps going. It's never good, but tolerable. And the toleration never lasts more than six months. We break up, vowing this is it, go 3 to 6 months, then he ends up back in my life, things will be different, then weeks later, he's constantly ranting, just ranting about everything. He packed to leave before Thanksgiving, then he wanted to talk, got emotional, blah, blah, blah, . It's horrible. I own my home, have two jobs, I'm the guardian for my mom, who has alzheimer's. I'm exhausted, and I have to come home to someone who yells because I left my towel on the bathroom floor, or gravel sticking to my snow boots, got on the patio. OMG. I read my words, and see what an idiot I am.
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to An_249662's response:
This sounds like a painfully destructive pattern - which doesn't make you an idiot; many people get caught in such patterns because they get lured back by the positives their old relationship (or behavior) offers or promises. But maybe it means that it's time for you to change what you do?
 
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LMWLISW responded:
OMG what a great article! And in reading it I found a word - Sisyphean (I had to look it up) that truly describes the 9 years of my marriage to a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. For the first 5 or 6 years I just kept trying harder & harder - being more understanding and forgiving of behavior that was intolerable. Then realized about a year and a half ago that nothing I said or did made any difference, so decided to just try and "look at the bright side". Until I couldn't any more. Now I'm in the midst of a divorce, which is profoundly painful & challenging, but I know that if/when I survive it, I will come out on the other side stronger, and also knowing that I will never subject myself to a relationship in which my tendency toward forgiveness & optimism keeps me in an extremely unhealthy relationship. This article helped me confirm that I've made the right choice.
 
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Leslie Becker-Phelps, PhD replied to LMWLISW's response:
I'm so glad you found this validating! Best of luck to you.


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