By: Kris Reece, Author of Build a Beautiful Life Out of Broken Pieces
Unless you are glutton for punishment, you desire to have happy, healthy relationships. But often times after we have become comfortable in a relationship, we forget that everyone longs to be loved and appreciated—including the people we are in relationship with.
The following six traits are the most common symptoms of disconnection. How many do you either display or receive in your relationships?
1) Lack of empathy. There are few things more alarming than a person who has no remorse–no feeling, concern or empathy for others. It’s almost unfathomable, isn’t it? Well, chances are you have encountered a person who lacks empathy. In fact, up to 4% of the population falls into this category. These folks couldn’t muster up empathy if they tried. And believe me, they do try—typically by watching others and then trying to copy the behavior. But they’re efforts aren’t genuine, and thus misses the mark. When you are met with a lack of empathy, you get the message that what you think and feel doesn’t matter.
2) Angry outbursts. Angry outbursts say more than just whatever is being yelled about at the moment–they demonstrate a lack of self-control. Yes, we all have our breaking points. But for angry people, their breaking point is much sooner than most. The Bible doesn’t say that our anger is wrong, it says not to sin in our anger (Eph 4:26). I would say that using someone else as a verbal whipping post for your lack of control is a sin. I know I feel sinned against when someone has an angry outburst with me.
3) Disrespect. To disrespect someone is to treat them with contempt or rudeness. This behavior typically stems from pride. It screams, “I am more important than you.” The Bible says in Romans 12:3: “Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.”
4) Judgmental. Here’s another relationship wrecker that stems from pride. There are few things that will drive a wedge between two people as quickly as one casting judgement on another. We are called to speak the truth in love (Eph 4:15). This means that sometimes you will have to share thoughts that may hurt another’s feelings, but it is not a ticket to cast judgement on another.
5) Dishonesty. Have you ever been lied to? It’s a terrible feeling, isn’t it? The person you thought you could trust has proven themselves to be anything but trustworthy. You may believe that little white lies don’t matter much, but I say a lie is a lie. Being in relationship with a dishonest person is like being in a relationship with two different people—you just don’t know who you are going to get that day. Honesty is the foundation of any relationship; without it, there is no relationship.
6) Unforgiveness. Unforgiveness is like a cancer that eats away at you until every ounce of goodness is consumed. We all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), so there is not one person out there who you will not have to forgive at some point in your life. Remember, forgiveness and reconciliation are different. You can have forgiveness without reconciliation but you can’t have reconciliation without forgiveness. Relationships cannot survive unforgiveness.
If you or someone you know is displaying any of the relationship-wrecking conditions above, it’s time to get help. We were made for relationship and deep down inside our soul longs to connect. True healing and connection can be yours if you are willing to admit the problem and seek a solution.
If you would like personalized help with your relationship, email me firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a complementary strategy session.