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Friday, February 15, 2013

Stop "Keeping Score" in Your Relationship

Over time, keeping score in your relationship can have disastrous consequences.  A "tit for tat" mentality or, worse still, "upping of the ante" can lead to anger, resentment and the end of the relationship.  And, yet, so many couples do it.  They find it hard to resist blaming, finger pointing and saying, "I told you so!"

Keeping Score as a Habitual Way of Relating to Each Other
Often, when keeping score is an ongoing pattern in a relationship, each person waits for the other person to make a mistake so s/he can point it out.  There is a fair amount of contempt involved with doing this.  And if this is the couple's predominant way relating, the relationship can devolve quickly.

Keeping score can become a habit and, like any habit, it can be hard to break.  Before you say something that both you and your partner are going to regret, it's important to be able to stop, step back and ask yourself, "What am I trying to accomplish?  Is this going to make the situation better?"

Stop Keeping Score in Your Relationship
Of course, this requires a cool head and a mature personality.  If you're able to stop yourself and reflect on what you're about to do, you'll soon realize that, by keeping score, not only are you showing contempt for your partner, whether you realize it or not, you're also trying to shame him or her.  Then, at some point, if this is the dynamic in your relationship, your partner will look for a way to shame you as well.  When you engage in this behavior, it's never ending.

Unfortunately, there are lots of couples who, rather than being bound together with love, are bound together by hate and anger.  You might ask yourself why two people would stay together if this is their bond.  But, when people are bound together by hate and anger, they often don't realize it.  They're too busy looking for the next opportunity to blame their partner than to stop and think about what's going on in their relationship.

Keeping Score and Your Family of Origin
Like many relationship dynamics, both positive and negative, many people internalize the keeping score mentality from what they observed at home when they were growing up.  If this is the case, on the face of it, it might not seem so bad to you because it's familiar.  But, as I mentioned earlier, it can ruin a relationship.

Getting Help
If you recognize that you and your partner have a dynamic where you're keeping score and you're unable to change this dynamic on your own, you could benefit from couples counseling with a skilled  clinician who can help you develop better relationship and communication skills.

Getting help can make the difference between saving or losing your relationship.  Many couples, have successfully changed this dynamic, and you and your partner can too.

I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.









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