Episode 142 The Ecosystem Of Your Relationship (1)

How to Stop Polluting the Ecosystem of Your Relationship

Episode 142 – How to Stop Polluting the Ecosystem of Your Relationship

What we dump into our relationships will affect the health of that relationship. We will breathe in what we put in. If we are putting in resentment, anger, passive-aggressiveness, we will breathe in the effects of that. This episode addresses how to stop the dysfunctional patterns we find ourselves in and how to clean up the air in the relationship so it is healthier for everyone.

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Full Transcript

Tina Gosney  00:03

If you’re struggling in your family relationships, and nothing you do makes it any better. Maybe even gets worse. You’re in the right place. My name is Tina Gosney, your host, as well as your family relationship coach, and positive relationship strategist. When you make peace with what’s happening inside of yourself, you’ll begin to find the peace you’re looking for in your relationships. This is the coaching your family relationships, podcast, let’s get started.

Tina Gosney  00:34

Welcome to the coaching your family relationships podcast today. I am your host, Tina Gosney. I’m a relationship coach. And I specialize in marriage and family relationships.

Tina Gosney  00:48

If you are feeling stuck in repeating the same arguments over and over again, with your spouse, and you’re feeling frustrated, you’re not feeling heard or seen. Or maybe that isn’t a relationship with your spouse, maybe it’s with a parent or a sibling or a child. But you just keep repeating the same things over and over again. And again, not feeling heard or seen and feeling frustrated. If this is you, and you had a relationship that immediately came to your mind when I just described that, I want you to make sure that you listen to the end of this podcast.

Tina Gosney  01:29

This particular episode is going to highlight something that we don’t really acknowledge or see it, it always exists. And we all live this every day in all of our relationships. But it’s not something that we regularly see. Because it’s very kind of working behind the scenes, you might be in a place where what you’re experiencing this frustration that you’re experiencing, is not really bad enough to say enough is enough, and you’re ready to make a change. But you also know that what you have is not what you want.

Tina Gosney  02:08

And you feel like this relationship could be so much better if we could just change this dynamic. If we could just stop this dance this back and forth that we’re doing and where we’re both contributing unhealthily to this relationship. I want you to hear what I have to say today, if that’s you. And maybe you’ll be able to envision a future that is a little different than you’re seeing right now.

Tina Gosney  02:36

There’s this idea that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately, and that is that our relationships have ecosystems. Just like in nature, we have ecosystems, they also exist inside our relationships. So think about what that ecosystem what we usually refer to that as it’s the air that we breathe, it’s the what’s in the soil, it’s what’s in the water, it’s how do the plants and the animals and the people? And how do we all live together on this earth? And what affects us? And how what’s put into that ecosystem affects all of us?

Tina Gosney  03:15

Well, the same thing exists in a relationship. What we put into the ecosystem, affects the air it affects the water affects the soil of the relationship, and then we reap whatever we’ve put in. So does the other person. So as you listen to this podcast episode, today, I want you to ask yourself, What am I putting in to the ecosystem of this relationship?

Tina Gosney  03:45

Almost 10 years ago, now, we took our youngest two kids on a trip, we wanted to go, we let them plan the whole thing. They wanted to go derive the coast, the Pacific coast, while the whole entire coast was a little too much too. We didn’t have that much time. So we decided to drive the coast of California. And we started at the northern tip. So we started at the border of Oregon, and California, and we drove down the coast. And we let our kids who were teenagers at the time we let them plan the whole trip as far as where are we going to stop and what are we going to do? And they did a great job actually, they were amazing.

Tina Gosney  04:28

And they picked places that I wouldn’t have picked. So I am so glad that they planned this trip because for me it was so different than a trip I would have planned and I thought it was amazing. And we still talk about this trip to this day. One of the places that they planned was a place called Glass Beach. And this is a beach in Northern California. It’s covered in so much sea glass, that the beach itself can almost look like a rainbow at times. It’s really beautiful. But what glass beach actually is, is an old dumping site, garbage was dumped there for decades. In fact, there are three different dumping sites on Glass Beach, they began using that beach as a dump in the early 1900s. And it didn’t stop until the 1960s. So about six decades, and there was three different dumping sites.

Tina Gosney  05:23

When one site was full, they would just move down the coast a little bit and started another one, they started a new site.

Tina Gosney  05:31

So what does glass beach have to do with the ecosystem of a relationship? I am so glad you asked.

Tina Gosney  05:39

I’m gonna give you an example, from my own marriage, and I asked my husband when he was talking, we were talking about this podcast episode. And I asked him, Hey, is it okay if I share this example from our marriage? And he said, Yeah, sure. Go ahead. That’s fine. So this is shared with permission, of course.

Tina Gosney  05:59

When we were early on in our marriage, and I wouldn’t even say this was confined to early on because it’s lasted for a long time. I wanted him to do some things differently in our relationship, and in our family. And I had a very dysfunctional way of asking him how to do that. It came out as criticism and complaining. And not only that, I wasn’t really very good at articulating what it was that I wanted from him.

Tina Gosney  06:33

So I was criticizing and complaining things that about things that didn’t have much to do with what I was really wanting, because I didn’t know what it was it even that I wanted, I didn’t know myself enough. And I didn’t know his nature enough to to know what to ask for in a in a different way. I just knew I was unhappy. And I was criticizing and complaining a lot. I was operating in the dark about myself and about him. And it was repeating the only thing that I knew how to do which was to criticize and complain.

Tina Gosney  07:08

Well, that is not a great way to ask for what you want. It is not being loving. It’s not being kind. It’s not being relational. And when I criticize and complained, he didn’t like that. Of course, he didn’t like that, who would no one likes to be criticized. No one likes to be complained out all the time, especially when it has to do about them.

Tina Gosney  07:32

His way of managing that for himself, was to dig in his heels, get resentful of me, almost like I’m not going to do anything that you asked me to do. And I don’t think he had that specific thought in mind. But that is actually what happened. And I know that he was thinking no matter what I do, she’s not going to be happy with me. So when I criticized and complained, he pulled back and did less. And then I complained more. And then I criticized more, and he did less.

Tina Gosney  08:06

And we had this thing that was the more I criticize and complain, the more he didn’t do what I wanted him to do. And the more he didn’t do what I wanted him to do, the more I criticized and complaint. This for us this didn’t look like like angry fighting, it looks like quiet and passive resentment, and aggressive passive aggressiveness, we got really good at making our relationship look good from the outside. But we were both very unhappy. And we were both polluting the ecosystem of our relationship.

Tina Gosney  08:41

Everybody does this in their own way. We have unhealthy relationship patterns that we use. And we get into the more the more pattern with someone else. The more I do this, the more you do that. And then the more I do that, the more you do this, and we keep that going until the relationship is so polluted, that either we don’t feel like we can stay and we have to move on. Or we just say I can’t do this anymore. And then we probably get pressured into changing it in some way.

Tina Gosney  09:15

So what happens if you never stop polluting the relationship? Well, you can repeat this pattern for the rest of your life, you can keep doing the same thing. And your partner will continue to do the same thing and you’ll stay the same. gathering more and more garbage on both sides.

Tina Gosney  09:34

In fact, I just got my hair done yesterday, I was talking to my hairdresser and she was telling me that this is the kind of relationship that her nephew is in. And her nephew is has only been married a few years. But then she mentioned something that was very interesting. And she said actually, this is her brother’s son that she was telling me about and she said her this brother of hers is in this same type of relationship with his wife. And that’s been going on now for decades.

Tina Gosney  10:05

So it can go on for a really long time. Some and some people will just decide, you know, there’s too much pollution in this relationship, there’s too much garbage, and I can’t stay. And so they’re going to move on to a new relationship. When that happens, if they haven’t looked at themselves, and what their contribution to the ecosystem of that relationship was, they haven’t looked at the own their own garbage that they were throwing into the relationship and dealt with their own insufficiencies. What they’re going to do is just take their insufficiencies and their garbage, and they’re going to move it over to a new relationship.

Tina Gosney  10:52

Glass Beach is three different dumping sites, when one site filled up, they just moved down the beach, and they started a new dumping site. So this is the same thing that we do in our relationships, we just moved to a new one, because the old one is full, and I don’t know how to clean it up. So I’m just going to move out.

Tina Gosney  11:11

I’m not saying that there are not valid reasons for moving out. But I am saying that before we move out, we need to look at ourselves and how we polluted the relationship. So that we, when we do decide to leave, if we still decide to do that. We don’t take that garbage and pollute the new relationship in the same way. If we haven’t looked at ourself, we’re just going to take our garbage to a new relationship.

Tina Gosney  11:40

So how do you stop polluting your relationship? I’m so glad that you asked.

Tina Gosney  11:46

When you start looking at yourself, that’s when you stop polluting, you start looking at yourself, what is my contribution to the ecosystem? What is my contribution to the pollution in this relationship? Because remember, whatever you put out, you’re going to breathe in. When we look at ourself, and we’re willing to be honest with ourselves and the other person, and see what our contribution is to the pollution, this is what we call cleaning up our own side of the street.

Tina Gosney  12:19

When glass beach stopped being a dumping ground, they removed some of the bigger items like cars, even when they were dumping cars in the ocean. I know that they didn’t remove all the car parts because we saw some when we were there. But they left a lot of the smaller items. And a lot of the smaller things left were glass. The glass that was dumped there has been smoothed and refined by the ocean.

Tina Gosney  12:46

It’s been over 50 years now. And now it washes up on the shore as seaglass. It is beautiful. The beaches covered with so many different colors of glass. It’s gorgeous. It’s a popular tourist site, people come from all over to see this particular beach.

Tina Gosney  13:05

One common question that I’m asked is, well, what if I’m the only one trying to stop polluting and throwing garbage into the relationship?

Tina Gosney  13:16

It’s so common to ask this question, probably the number one question that we run up against in coaching is, one person is working on the relationship and the other person is not? Well, we get stuck in relationships in doing the same patterns over and over again, just like I described in my relationship with my husband. We were doing that same dance for years and years and years. And even though we don’t like the results that we’re getting, we still are comfortable. It’s like our becomes our status quo. We still get comfortable, it becomes like a comfortable dysfunction. And we don’t like change. Most people will choose the dysfunction when it’s comfortable just because it’s what they know. Because it’s more uncomfortable to change things than it is to live out the status quo.

Tina Gosney  14:15

Don’t be surprised if when you start trying to clean up your own side if the other person does not want to join you, especially at first if they don’t want to join you in stopping the pollution of their relationship. Your job is to clean up your contribution no matter what is happening on the other side.

Tina Gosney  14:40

This doesn’t mean that you will let them throw you their garbage on your side and that you’re going to clean it up for them. What happens usually is that when you keep your site clean, and you’re consistently working on cleaning up yourself cleaning up your responses cleaning up what you’re putting into their relationship. and you’re working on stopping your contribution to the pollution.

Tina Gosney  15:04

When they try to throw garbage at you, or throw old dysfunctional patterns back into the relationship, you hand it back to them and you don’t accept it. This doesn’t mean that you throw it back at them. It just means that you don’t accept it.

Tina Gosney  15:21

I saw something the other day, a real on Facebook that I thought showed this concept so well. It’s by this woman named I think her name is Elise Meyers, if I’m getting it right. She has some really great stories if you want to follow her. I love her stories and the way that she tells them.

Tina Gosney  15:40

But she was talking about a time when she was living in Australia. And she was working at the front desk of a hotel, a man showed up, he had a reservation, but his reservation wasn’t for I think she said about 12 hours. And they did not have a room ready that for him that he could check in. And he was very upset about that. And he slid his credit card across the desk, and said make it happen and called her a very disrespectful name. And she looked at him and put her finger on his credit card and slit it back to him. And then she said, I don’t accept that. And she walked away.

Tina Gosney  16:23

That was amazing. I don’t accept that I’m not taking it in. That man was a stranger to her. I’m sure it was easier to do that type of action with a stranger than it would be with a spouse or a family member.

Tina Gosney  16:39

And you might be saying, well, I can’t do that with my husband, or my wife or my father or my child. Yes, you can.

Tina Gosney  16:49

You always have a choice as to whether you’ll accept and take in what someone else is trying to give you.

Tina Gosney  16:57

What are the takeaways today – you have to stop polluting the relationship ecosystem and give it time to heal. Sometimes that healing will happen quickly. And sometimes it doesn’t happen quickly. But you can’t begin to heal until you stop throwing garbage into it. Just like glass beach. A healed relationship can produce some really beautiful results.

Tina Gosney  17:25

What is your takeaway today? That’s my takeaway. What’s yours? Send me a DM on Facebook or Instagram. And let me know what your takeaway is share that with me.

Tina Gosney  17:37

Is there some way that you can share your takeaway with someone else today and impact their life? Think about who you can share this with. I want you to remember that knowledge and just having knowledge does not produce change. If you want to make progress start by listening to more of this podcast. Start by listening for the to this podcast for ideas on how to use these relationship tools in your everyday life. Have a great rest of your day. I’ll see you next time.

Tina Gosney  18:14

Hey, if you are finding value here on this podcast, please consider hopping on to Apple podcasts or Spotify and leave a rating maybe even a review your ratings and reviews help other people to find this podcast. Thank you so much for taking the time to do this and for your support.