I want to tell you a story about frogs. I know this doesn’t sound like it pertains to relationships but I promise you, if you hang in there long enough, you’ll get the analogy.
Here’s how the story goes.
If you place a living frog in a pot of boiled water, the frog will jump out of the pot and save himself. He knows that danger lurks and his life depends on getting the heck out of there. However, if you place a frog in a pot with tepid water and slowly raise the temperature until it hits the boiling point, the frog will remain in the pot and die.
Because the temperature rises at such a slow rate, the frog doesn’t notice that anything is wrong until it is too late. When the crisis hits, he is unable to escape from the boiling water. His inability to discern danger when it accumulates slowly over time is the cause his demise. His ability to adapt, tolerate and accommodate to his slowly changing and seemingly benign environment may serve the frog in the short run—but in the end, does him in.
Now, turn your attention to your most significant relationship. What dynamics are continuing to build—dynamics that if go unnoticed and unaddressed will be the cause of your relationship’s demise? What is your version of the parable of the boiled frog?
Most relationships have at least one dynamic that will chip away at its foundation slowly over time if left unnoticed. For some, it is the addiction of one person and the collusion to that addiction from the other. For others, it’s one person’s inability to deal with their fears and anxieties and the other person’s persistence in taking care of those feelings for them, often at the expense of their own needs and feelings. And for others, it’s one person’s resistance to growing up, taking risks and being responsible and the other person’s controlling behaviors that enable their mate to stay stuck and small. Whichever dynamic speaks to you, at the end of the day, you, your mate, and your relationship are at risk. Overtime, the temperature rises and health becomes impossible. Without a healthy environment, living beings begin to wither. Relationships, spirit, love, and emotional health are at stake.
While the dynamics may differ slightly from relationship to relationship, the results are the same. When two people accommodate each other’s desire to avoid, deny, and sustain unhealthy ways of being, they keep each other safe and small. What they don’t realize is that they are just like the frogs living in tepid water, water that is slowly rising in temperature until that one fateful day when they will unknowingly perish within the boiling waters.
So how can YOU avoid this from happening in your own relationship? Here are a few things you can do to wake up and feel the temperature.
Step Back! Take a step back and see if you can identify your version of a relationship dynamic gone bad. How do you and your significant other keep each other from growing? You can’t do anything about it until you know it exists.
Wake up! Wake up and take a temperature check. How much has the temperature risen in your relationship pot? How much have you tolerated at the expense of your own well-being? How much have you held back because of fear, comfort or familiarity?
Get out of the pot! Make a decision to take action and break the cycle. Change the way you approach your relationship and your significant other. Express yourself. Say no. Say yes. Do something different, better.
Get help! It is really hard to recognize what is going on when you are the fish in the fishbowl (or in our case, the frog in the pot). It is even harder to change the relationship dynamics themselves. But… it can be done. I strongly suggest you enlist the help of a qualified professional who understands relationship constructs and how to help couples change them. Do your homework and find a qualified licensed therapist who has a lot of experience and a solid track record doing this kind of work.
If you or someone you know is struggling in their relationship please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m here to help. I provide personalized counseling and coaching. And if you want to start right now, go and purchase The Pathway to Love at-home program. You don’t need to wait. You can begin the process today. Take advantage of the opportunity receive the support and guidance you deserve.
As always, I’m here to support you in creating strong and intimate relationships.
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