How Do We Deal With the Stress That Comes With Changing Relationships?

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By Jennifer Browne, Co-Founder of

Changing relationships can bring about a lot of chaos and stress. How well do you know yourself in stress and how well do you understand the stress of the one you are in relationship with? Changing relationships can be difficult to manage and quite often we find ourselves in conflict because we are unaware of our needs and the needs of those we are walking with in change. 

How often are you able to identify when you are stressed? What does stress look like for you? Let’s take a look at the six most common stress patterns. How often do you find yourself saying or doing these things while stressed? Here are some of the things that we say in stress and what our mindsets need in stress. 

  • I expect myself to be perfect to be valuable. I tend to overthink for others and often find myself taking on the responsibility and tasks for other people. This leads me to be critical of others around how fair they are or aren’t, money or responsibilities. 

If you find yourself doing these things, you may be in need of being recognized for the work that you are doing. In relationships, we can be doing good work together and someone forgets to recognize the good work that is being done and the timeliness of the work. This mindset needs to be reminded that they are doing good work and that they are responsible with their time and resources. 

  • I have to be strong to be valuable. You tend to spread yourself too thin and avoid taking initiative. You tend to withdraw and have a hard time finishing things that you start. You often end up feeling left out and left with the thought that you weren’t given enough direction. 

If you begin to notice these behaviors in stress, you are probably in need of some time to gather your thoughts in solitude and to reflect on what is happening. Use your reflection time to regroup and take action. Too much solitude and you might not return. Be sure you have a buddy that can direct you on things to think about and will come find you when you don’t return. 

  • My value is found in making others happy. I often find myself adapting to the needs and wants of others over myself. I become wishy-washy and lack assertiveness. I display self-doubt and invite others to see my faults. I can end up feeling rejected or not wanted. 

When you find yourself in stress, having others to be compassionate and warm about what you are feeling is important. Be sure that you have someone in your life that knows you and values you for who you are. They take time to comfort you and are eager to understand you in difficult moments.

  • I expect others to be perfect. I might find myself being critical of others by pointing out what isn’t perfect. I often find myself preaching when I get upset. I become opinionated and might attack others when I believe they aren’t aligned to the same belief. I might leave a relationship believing that others are not as committed as I am. 

You view the world by evaluating it according to your beliefs. When you recognize that you are in stress, it would be important to surround yourself with people that can see your dedication and commitment and value hearing your opinions and the convictions that go with them. You must surround yourself with people who are willing to hear your beliefs and convictions. 

  • Being strong is a value I see in others. I expect others to do their part and when they don’t, I find myself ignoring their way of doing it and begin finding a new way. It can feel like drama but I just can’t take it anymore. Something needs to be done! 

You value moving into action by making a decision. If you recognize yourself exhibiting the stress above, it is usually associated with your lack of being able to move. Action is important to your ability to manage stress. Your relationships will be most fulfilling when you can see short wins and clear goals. 

  • I am a person who tries hard. I will try hard until I can’t and then often, I find myself letting others figure it out instead by delegating without direction. I find myself blaming others and often leave relationships emoting and thinking, “I will show them!” 

This mindset loves to be part of the party or using their creativity and spontaneity. Stress will become present when those things are hindered. Finding relationships that allow you to express your desires or worries freely without judgement are important. Humor often gives you freedom to release any stress you might have. Find relationships that can encourage your free expression and make contact with you and your free spirit. 

Understanding your mindset and the stress associated with your mindset is an important first step in reducing stress in changing relationships. The second step, and equally important, is to identify the stress of the relationships you are managing inside the stress. Knowing your stress and what needs you have will keep you healthy enough to pursue the stress patterns of those relationships and attempt to provide for their needs. Relationships are only as healthy as the time we spend growing and developing them. Change gives us the perfect opportunity to bring purpose to our change by powering our relationships to be on purpose for a purpose!


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