Published in Oct 2020 / Updated in Aug 2021
Just imagine how terrible or tasteless your life would be without your most important relationships. Our lives revolve around our relationships with other people, our lovers, parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, or business associates. But how do you fix a dysfunctional relationship when it goes sour?
That’s probably easier said than done, especially for people who have a pattern of getting into bad relationships and jumping the ship when things go south.
Some relationships – whether we admit it or not – are always worth saving. For instance, it’s never too late to work on the broken relationship you have with your sister or child.
The relationship you have with the best partner you have ever met in your life is worth fixing if you get the feeling that it’s failing. A healthy relationship with someone you love is one of the best things you can hope for in this life.
And with that, let’s see how you can fix your dysfunctional relationship.
1. Don’t Escalate
I hate to say this, but you have a dysfunctional relationship because you take part in making things worse. Sure, you were provoked, and you had every reason to get angry.
But for the sake of your relationship, you should try to have a different response to the provocation. Just because you were told something demeaning or critical, it does not mean you should come out guns blazing.
Sometimes, you have to be the bigger person for the sake of your relationship. At times, you have to apologize when you should be getting an apology. And it’s not because you did anything wrong but because the person feels that you owe them an apology.
You will be surprised at how quickly people come to their senses once they realize you are willing to admit to your mistakes, real or imagined.
Escalating might be the reason you never get over the minor issue that has caused a rift between the two of you in the first place.
So, the next time your estranged partner, brother, or friend comes trying to provoke you into a fight, remain calm and understanding. This will create the impression that you don’t hold a grudge against them, and they might let go of the ill feelings they have towards you.
And just like that, your dysfunctional relationship might be completely fixed.
2. Don’t Be An Enabler
You might not be escalating the bad relationship you have, but you could be enabling it. As much as we hate to hear, we are the ones in the wrong, sometimes it’s true we made the mistakes.
Maybe this person wants your respect and appreciation, and all you do is treat them like crap and take them for granted. That contributes to the dysfunctional relationship you have.
If the person does not appreciate certain behavior, then the relationship will not run smoothly if you do things that piss them off.
Try to be considerate and avoid doing things that make your relationship worse.
Nobody is saying you have to bend over backward to make them happy. But at least you can do what is reasonable to make sure you live in peace with this person if the relationship is worth it.
No good relationship exists without boundaries. So, learn not to cross those close to you and offend those who want to be in your life for your mutual benefit.
3. Empathize With The Person
It’s hard to think of someone else when you are going through a hard time. When you have a dysfunctional relationship, it weighs on both of you, and it can be hard to imagine that the other person is having as hard a time as you are.
But with a little empathy, you can realize that you are not the only one suffering.
You might even discover that the other person is suffering more than you are. An empathic person would obviously back down after realizing and give the person a chance to heal and feel better about themselves.
It’s true what they say: a little kindness goes a long way. It might be the magical pill that heals your fizzling relationship.
Many relationships fail because one or both people think the other person no longer cares, and nothing says “I care” than showing empathy to the person and letting them know that their concerns are always in your heart and mind.
So, learn to put yourself in the other person’s shoes and see things from their perspective. You might realize that they require more sympathy than you do, which would be all the motivation you need to soften your position and make the relationship work again.
4. Make An Effort To Make Things Right
Just as healthy relationships don’t just happen without any effort on your part, broken relationships don’t magically fix themselves either. Communicate.
You may feel at peace when you are no longer fighting with the person you share an unhealthy relationship with. But that does not mean things are now fine.
It’s important to get down to the root of the dysfunction that’s ailing your relationship. If you look at every issue tearing your union apart logically, you will easily fix the issues you face.
At the root of many dysfunctional relationships is an issue that sets this unhealthy dynamic in motion. Maybe someone felt disrespected, or there were lies or a simple misunderstanding.
If you attempt to address that issue specifically and avoid lashing out at each other or mistreating each other, you might fix your dysfunctional relationship.
At the end of the day, nobody wants the stress of dealing with an unhealthy relationship. We all want to be surrounded by people who want the best for us and help us have happier lives, not people who get upset every time we interact with them.
So, make an effort to make your unhealthy relationship healthy. Good relationships take effort, and so does making an unhealthy relationship right again.
5. Don’t Be A Victim
Some people are natural punching bags. Wherever they go, they always play the victim, and they can’t help it. This way of thinking has made many people have very many dysfunctional relationships where they get no respect.
So, don’t be a victim. It might be the reason you have a dysfunctional relationship.
We are not saying that it’s always your fault every time you have a relationship that doesn’t work.
However, letting people walk all over you is not going to help you form healthy relationships. All good relationships require respect, and the victim act denies you a chance to be a respected part of any relationship.
If you feel that your boundaries are being overstepped, mention it. Don’t let the person think they can get away with anything they want to do without consequences. That relationship will only lead to misery, especially for you.
If your partner is always rude towards you or critical of your opinions, learn how to deal with that. Get the respect you deserve from your partner, your siblings, friends, and everyone you are involved with.
That will let them understand that the relationships they have with you are important and worth nurturing.
That should easily take care of the dysfunction you might have previously suffered through when you were nothing more than a helpless victim in the relationship.
That is the main reason it’s important to fix important relationships when they start failing. And above are some great tips on how to fix a dysfunctional relationship.