Dysfunctional Relationships

Are You Wasting Too Much Of Your Life In Bad Relationships?

Jay P. Granat, Ph.D.


After practicing psychotherapy for almost twenty-five years, I am more

convinced than ever that people are very complicated. Consequently,

interpersonal relationships, which are comprised of the complicated beings,

are also hard to make sense of and to manage effectively from time to time.

People seek out therapy all the time because they are struggling with

relationships. Parents come for help because they can’t get along with

their kids. Children and teenagers come for help to improve their relationships

with their moms and dads.

Bosses come for counseling because they can’t manage their

employees.  Husbands and wives get marital counseling in an effort

to better understand one another, get along better and save their marriages.

Sometimes, whole families come for therapy to see if siblings, in-laws,

parents and children can learn to function like a loving family unit.

Once, I had fourteen members of a family in my office.

Similarly, many people seek the advice of a therapist because they

are in conflict with friends or colleagues from their jobs or from their


Recently, I counseled a patient who was involved in a significant struggle

with the other parents of her son’s baseball team. Apparently, the atmosphere in the stands

had gotten quite unpleasant, since the friction, jealousy and competitiveness among

the mothers and fathers had all gotten quite high during the baseball season.

Dysfunctional relationships can be quite draining. They consume

an abundance of energy and they can produce a lot of physical and emotional

stress. People are frequently sad, anxious, depressed or furious because of the way

someone has been treating them.

Sometimes, solutions to interpersonal problems are quite complicated, since

they require people to change their attitudes and behaviors quite significantly.

These kinds of changes are usually not easy for us humans to implement into our lives.

In some instances, I like to remind people of what a good friendship and

a close and loving relationship feels like. Positive relationships are really quite

rewarding and very easy to maintain.

Spending time with people who treat you with kindness, dignity and respect

and who are fun to be with is one of life’s real pleasures.

I encourage people to discover people who will nurture them and who they

enjoy spending time with. These relationships are effortless and we don’t have to

waste much time or energy to keep these friendships alive. They are simple,

pure and very rewarding. People in these kinds of friendships enjoy taking care of

one another and helping each other out when someone needs some support.

Most of us know which relationships are positive and which are poisonous

for us.   Now, of course I realize that there are some relationships which we

don’t choose or select. We can’t flee every difficult boss or avoid every

challenging in-law completely.

However, I would encourage you to try to minimize the amount of time and energy

you put into relationships that are generating a lot of stress for you. You will feel better

and have better life if you focus on people who treat you the way you would

like to be treated. These friendships produce great interpersonal synergy and

they tend to be quite enjoyable.

So, maximize the time you invest in positive connections and minimize your

attachements to dysfunctional interpersonal connections.

Want to learn more about managing stress?  You may enjoy this program.



Jay P. Granat, Ph.D., LMFT is psychotherapist, author and licensed marriage and family therapist.

He is the founder of www.101DivorceTips.com and www.StayInTheZone.com. Dr. Granat has appeared in many major media outlets.



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