Stop Tolerating Bad Behavior

Stop Tolerating Bad Behavior. As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I hear many stories about tolerating bad behavior within a primary relationship. It begs the question….”why don’t you just leave?” If you can’t or won’t tell your partner their behavior is unacceptable you are complicit in allowing them to carry on as they have which is abusing you. You must be assertive in order to effect change, otherwise, you will remain stuck in an unhappy and unfulfilling relationship. Hoping “things” will improve on their own is not a strategy; it only means you’re in denial. Poor self-esteem and codependency on your part may be the problem and can fuel your partner’s desire to “act-out unacceptably.”

Stop Tolerating Bad Behavior

I worked with a couple where the husband left his wife and 7-year-old daughter for his mistress. His reasons for leaving his marriage are symptoms of underlying issues that we continue to explore.  After “sacrificing so much” to be with his mistress, he now confesses there are similar problems with his new relationship, which, of course, has a lot of obvious stressors because of the way it evolved. He struggles to manage his emotional reactions to his new reality and often “acts out.” Rather than develop the self-focus and insight needed to develop better coping skills and move forward, he defaults to his normal bad behavior. In doing so he is now sabotaging a new relationship, one that he acquired at great personal cost, and he does not hesitate to remind his mistress of that fact whenever he doesn’t get what he wants. This habitually manipulative strategy is threatening his new relationship.

For a relationship to work, the people involved need to learn to self-soothe in stressful situations. This removes detrimental “acting out” behavior from the equation so the couple can reap the benefits of mature, respectful behavior. Healthy relationships do not tolerate abuse of any kind; instead, they encourage open communication where the partners can freely express their thoughts and feelings and ask for what they need and want without being shamed or punished for it.

What to do if you’ve been tolerating bad behavior:

  1. Give your partner the opportunity to make the necessary adjustments.
  2. Give them time to demonstrate either their ability or incapability to make those adjustments.
  3. If change isn’t happening determine whether there is a “can’t” or “won’t” factor.
  4. Then call me at (858) 7351139.

If the acting out partner cannot or will not make the necessary adjustments for learning to behave appropriately, there is poor prognosis for moving forward.

As a Marriage and Family Therapist, I believe we need to give our partners a reasonable amount of time to adjust their behavior before deciding whether to stay or go. There may even be neurological circumstances that preclude behavioral adjustments. All avenues should be investigated before accusing your partner of simply not wanting to change.

If your partner is acting out, ask yourself why you’re in that relationship. Remember, you can’t control or change anyone but yourself; if you think otherwise, you may be “codependent” and will need help managing that. Codependent people tolerate bad behavior for a variety of reasons; fear of abandonment, fear of the grief and loss process, low self-esteem and self-worth, etc.

For more about making the choice not to tolerate bad behavior and making better choices for yourself call me at (858) 735-1139

Start Concentrating On Yourself

Start Concentrating On Yourself. As a Marriage and Family Therapist I see individuals with many different types of problems. I recently saw a young woman who came in because she had a panic attack last week and has been experiencing anxiety for the past few months. As she was sharing the events that lead to the panic attack I assessed the problem stemming from her family of origin.  Her parents want $3,000 from her so they can pay their property taxes. They want to purchase a brand new luxury car and thought she should supplement their expenses.  She’s 27 years old and is employed in a job she enjoys. Does that mean she should give them the money? It’s a different situation if her parents needed the money due to an emergency.

Start Concentrating On Yourself

Then there’s “Tom” a high functioning 32 year-old attorney who has been married for 1 year and still has not informed his parents.  He is hesitant to share his good news because his mother has already disapproved of his wife during an introduction visit. Despite his wife’s understanding she feels hurt and not important.

Then there’s “Me” up until a few years ago continuing to enable inappropriate behavior from some of my own extended family members.  Saying “yes” when I want to say “no.” Created a lot of frustration and resentment. In taking better care of myself I started listening to my intuition, mustered up the courage to follow it by feeling emotions that included the uncomfortable ones.Which gave me the insight I needed to backup my want. Putting in some boundaries to get the groundedness I needed to actually make an informed decision of whether it was a yes or a no.

Start Concentrating On Yourself

We all exercise behavior where we’d rather not spare the feelings of those who really need to face reality and feel the discomfort that comes from that reality.  Often times we are so concerned about “caretaking” their feelings, we neglect taking care of our own (codependent).  This can create anxiety, depression, resentment, frustration, anger, etc., affecting our own mental health

Well, I say, “do you want to continue to do that?”  If the answer is “No,” or “I don’t know how to stop” then perhaps it’s time to acquire the skills and “come back” lines needed to protect yourself from not being able to take care of “You.”  In Marriage/Couples Counseling I help my clients understand that they need to teach people how to behave around them.  If they learn “green light” behavior then they can have access to you.  If they continue to exercise  “red light” or bad/inappropriate behavior they have limited access to you.  It’s your choice not theirs.

For more information please contact me at (858) 735-1139 and go to my website at for more information about my services.