Balancing out relationships


Sheila hadn’t expected the day to start quite that way. But Herb had fallen coming in the house late the night before. She felt a lot of demands on her and little appreciation. From anyone. So, when he tried to blame her for his fall, she exploded. And when he tried to make her feel guilty for his fall, she gave him to know that he was mistaken, and why.

            A wise woman once told me, “In a good relationship both persons give 100 percent and take only what they need.” To which I said, “That works well if both persons in the relationship do this.” Some people are good at giving, and others are good at taking. In the world of polar opposites, maybe we need to find balance. Nope, life isn’t easy. Nobody ever told you it is.

            Added to the normal stress and strain of American life, the pandemic hasn’t made things any easier. In fact, it has changed a lot of things about living in modern times. So, while we all are trying to find some sense of normal, it’s good to find tools to work with that will help us create our own normal.

            Take a look at the “emotional bank account” concept shared by Between Sessions: Therapeutic Tools for Growth and Change.

We make emotional deposits and withdrawals in our relationships much like making money deposits and withdrawals to a bank account. When we do something positive with good results, we are making a deposit. When we take away the positive, we get negative results. With too many withdrawals we end up emotionally bankrupt.

            You may never have thought about your relationships in this way. I didn’t. And this also made me think about polar opposites … good – bad, hot – cold, love – hate … he – she. You get the idea. So, there are some questions to look at to find balance in your emotional bank account.

Which do you do more, deposit or withdraw from your accounts? Do you make the choices that are best for you and your partner/spouse/family? Or are you controlled by your ego?

            When you make a promise, do you keep it? Yes – deposit. No – withdrawal.

            When you are faced with a moment of truth, do you tell the truth or do you lie? Yes – deposit. No – withdrawal.

            When someone is talking do you listen? Do you hear what they are really saying? Yes –deposit. Or do you interrupt or ignore that person? No – Withdrawal.

            How do you feel about someone else’s good fortune? Are you happy for them? Deposit. Or are you jealous of them? Withdrawal.

            Do you use what you know to help others? Deposit. Or do you follow the crowd and ignore the need? (Remember the story about the Good Samaritan?) How does it make you feel when you ignore a need? Withdrawal.

            Can you see the value of thinking positively, acting thoughtfully, and its polar opposite, negativity? Your actions speak loudly, more than your words, and affect your feelings of self. Maybe you will find a minute or two to look up the characteristics of healthy and unhealthy relationships. And maybe that will lead you to take a moment to reassess yourself and what stands between you and happiness, or contentedness.

            The Golden Rule will never go out of style: Treat others the way you want to be treated. If everyone followed this rule, the world might be an easier place to negotiate, in my humble opinion.

Family Recovery Center offers mental health services as well as addiction services. The goal is for the health and well-being of all. For more information about the education, prevention and treatment programs for substance abuse and related behavioral issues, contact the agency at 964 N. Market St., Lisbon; phone, 330-424-1468; or email, Visit the website at FRC is funded in part by the Columbiana County Mental Health and Recovery Services Board.