The Bad Relationship Series: Accept your own power

Posted on June 5, 2013



The cheating guy you were completely addicted to. The lying swindler who “borrowed” money and then disappeared from your life. The backstabbing friend, the undermining colleague, the in-law who dismisses and insults you at every opportunity she gets.

Each one of us, no matter how street smart, insightful or intuitive, has at some point in our lives been in a bad relationship. But the real question here is, how do these bad relationships begin and why are they allowed to continue? 

It would be naive to think that bad people don’t exist, that everyone has your best interests at heart and that just because someone claims they’re a good person means that they are. Most of us get this. But we also believe that bad relationships happen and we’d rather point the finger at the other person’s inadequacies rather than accepting our part in the matter.

The truth is that every relationship we enter into is a choice. Bad relationships don’t just happen; they are allowed to happen. This means two things:

1. That you have to accept responsibility for each and every bad relationship you’ve chosen to be a part of. 


2. That you recognize that you have power to choose differently.  

You are not some helpless victim who has to tolerate the self-absorbed, thoughtless, meanness of others. Despite what you may have previously believed, you don’t have to put up with the crazy boss who flies off the handle, the narcissistic brother-in-law who insists all family events are done his way or your friend from elementary school who issues backhanded compliments like they’re going out of style.

Regardless of how the bad relationships in your life began, regardless of the connection or the years you’ve spent enabling the dysfunction, you always have personal power to change the status quo that’s been set.

In every relationship you have options. You have choices.

You can leave the relationship entirely or minimize the interactions you have with the person. You can choose to set boundaries and issue consequences for when those boundaries are crossed. You can choose to think differently about the person or the situation.

The truth is that you have power. That’s the first thing you must realize before you even begin to rework every relationship in your life that’s not serving you. 

This summer, I’d like to examine, in depth, how you can rework and renegotiate your role in any and all bad relationships you may be a part of. I’d also like to walk you through some coaching tools that can help you prevent future bad relationships from occurring. 

But before we do this, you first must realize that you are not powerless nor blameless when it comes to the bad relationships in your life. No matter how awful the other person is, no matter how insane or ridiculous, if the relationship is bad, it’s because you’ve allowed it to happen on some level. 

Which should actually come as a relief. Because if you have the power to allow something, that means that you also have the power to stop it.