April 08, 2004
Although Stacy and Chris have struggled with infidelity and parenting issues, Dr. Phil is convinced that an attitude adjustment could work wonders for bringing them to a new level of trust and commitment. Below is his advice on starting that process.
Healing starts from within.
Part of the problem in many relationships is that neither partner is willing to take ownership of their mistakes. Dr. Phil tells Chris and Stacy, “If you’re going to heal a relationship in a family, it starts with you.” He advises the couple to be introspective, and face the personal barriers that have prevented them from moving their marriage forward. Ask yourself: How do you contribute to or contaminate your relationship?
Face your control issues.
Dr. Phil tells Stacy that she damages her relationship with Chris because she feels the need to maintain a “death grip” on her marriage. He observed that her control issues stem from a need to protect herself so that she doesn’t get hurt. “At times, that goes so far as, ‘Get them before they get me,'” he explains. “Trust in others has so much to do with how much confidence and trust we have in ourselves.” Often this includes letting go of the need for hypervigilance, and getting real about our fears.
Give yourself credit.
We’ve all had to deal with those negative inner voices that tell us we’re not good enough, we’ll never be loved or we’re not entitled to happiness. He advised Stacy to stop doubting herself, and stay plugged into the positive things she has achieved in her marriage. Despite everything that she’s been through in her life, Dr. Phil tells Stacy, “You need to give yourself credit for saying, ‘I’m still here.'” Silencing those inner demons requires a change in your perspective.
Understand your history.
Many relationships are sabotaged when a partner brings in emotional baggage from past disappointments. In Stacy's case, Dr. Phil discovered that some of her trust issues stemmed from not having had a good relationship with her mother. "Everybody has a way of being in the world," he tells Stacy. "Yours is that you don't trust anybody." Recognize that personal barriers from the past may keep you from plugging in to your relationship.
Behave your way to success.
"There's a thin line between 'fake it 'til you make it,' and behaving your way to success," Dr. Phil points out. If you want confidence, you have to take on a confident posture. This can be as simple as putting more confidence in your walk and in your demeanor. If your issue is trust, put yourself in situations where you have to behave in a trusting manner. Real change comes from within.
What's your approach?
Dr. Phil reminds us that attitude is all about how you approach things in life. He asks, "Are you being open-minded? Are you considering the things that you may avoid out of fear?" He urges Stacy to take a different approach to communicating with her husband. Instead of yelling at her husband or testing him, Dr. Phil advises Stacy to give herself and her husband credit for their commitment to making the relationship work.