A negative spouse can be a real drain on your energy. It’s exhausting to feel like your mood is being jerked around by an angry spouse’s low attitude or negative thoughts. If your spouse’s emotions seem to take priority, you can feel emotionally drained. This blog is going to look at how you can find peace if you have a difficult spouse.
A negative spouse can be characterized by:
- Finding something wrong with everything
- Always complaining about small things
- Acting or feeling miserable
- Making fun of your positive attitude
- Holding an overly intense attitude
- Demanding perfectionism
- Having a bad mood regularly
- Struggling with low mental health issues
The problem in these relationships is that the positive-energy person typically thinks it’s the negative-energy person who needs to change their ways. However, you can’t control someone else’s energy. To truly shift the situation, you need to change your own energy to create a supportive and enjoyable experience while protecting your positivity.
Here is how you can shift that energy and create your own relationship reality.
Not All Relationships Can (Or Should) Be Saved
First, I want to point out that not ALL relationships are healthy. There is such a thing as a toxic relationship. Specific forms of toxicity can’t be fixed by you.
If you are facing physical, mental or emotional abuse, then you need to leave the relationship. It isn’t worth staying in a dangerous or harmful environment as you try to change your spouse.
Abuse isn’t always as clear-cut as hitting you around. Often, abuse takes on the form of:
- Outrage episodes where the other person seems to have no control
- Calling you names or putting you down for things they don’t like
- Regular manipulation to try to get their way
- Making life miserable if they don’t get their way
- Smashing the wall or other items in their rage
- Controlling your schedule, money or relationships
- Driving away people who are close to you with toxic behavior
- Talking about hurting you or themselves if you do the wrong thing
- Withholding love or giving the silent treatment until you behave a certain way
These are just a few examples of what domestic abuse can look like. The longer you allow a toxic relationship to continue, the higher the chance the other person will act in violence. Emotional and psychological abuse can also leave lasting scars. If you are afraid of your spouse or need support for an abusive relationship, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-SAFE (7233).
The Magic Ratio
Most spouses go through difficult periods where they just don’t see eye-to-eye. However, scientists have found that there is a precise ratio that creates a lasting and happy relationship.
Dr. Gottman and Robert Levenson found that just watching couples attempt to solve a difficult problem for 15 minutes gave them enough insight to predict their future divorce rate with over 90% accuracy. They found that there was a “magic ratio” that could be found in all stable and happy relationships:
During conflict, for every one negative interaction, five (or more) positive interactions should occur.
Unhappy couples tend to have far fewer positive interactions that might result in a 1-1 ratio (or less) rather than the 5-1 magic ratio. Negative interactions included acting dismissive, critical or defensive. Positive interactions included showing interest, affection, attention, agreement, empathy, validation and humor.
This magic ratio is not a static number in a relationship, but many couples don’t realize their approach is clearly an issue.
5 Steps to Dealing with a Negative Spouse
You might feel stuck in a rut or unsure of why things go badly so often. But, all of this can change when you realize what truly causes a negative relationship.
Dr. Gottman found that the more positive actions and feelings you can create in your marriage, the healthier that relationship will be. If you believe your relationship is worth saving, you can follow this guide on how to deal with a negative spouse.
1. Stop Trying to Make them Positive
One of the biggest and most common mistakes when working to shift the energy of a relationship is how we demand change. We don’t just look for peace; we want the other person to flip the script and display positivity. Rather than achieve the desired result, this will typically cause the negative partner to dig in their heels further.
People don’t want to change-especially when they are feeling forced to change by another person. They will have to see things themselves before they will ever genuinely act with a different perspective. They may feel like you don’t appreciate them for who they are if you try to tell them who they need to be.
- See yourself as the more powerful energy in the relationship (positivity)
- Join your partner where they are instead of expecting them to rise to your level.
- Help them join you at a much lower vibration of neutrality.
- Show empathy for how they are feeling and perceiving the situation.
2. Recognize and Trust Your Positivity
Your positive energy should never be dependent on someone else validating or sharing in it. If you are pleasant to be around, other people (even the negative ones) will notice. By not leading with expectations or ultimatums, you allow your energy to do the persuading for you.
“My positivity-even if it’s just within my personal energy system-is actually going to cancel out their negativity.”
Your partner will notice you are more pleasant to be around. Your focus on positive energy allows them to make a positive shift in the right direction out of their own freewill-and self-discovery is the best way to create lasting change!
3. Give Them a Spontaneous Spinal Flush
A spinal flush helps remove negative energy and blocks, opening back up your energy system. You will help someone relax and feel relieved of internal pressure when you practice a spinal flush. This is a technique I learned from Donna Eden, and it works wonders. For the typical spinal flush:
- Take your fingers and swipe down the spine.
- Go all the way from the base of the neck to the end of the tailbone (pelvis).
- Move quickly down the spin, repeating the motion 6-7 times.
This line is your governing meridian, and flushing it will reset the old energy held there. You can even do it to yourself by getting your arms really close to your head and using one hand to push down before following through with my left hand.
But, here’s the trick: you can do this within your mind! You don’t have to physically touch the other person to do a flush of their energy. Even without touch, the mental flush stemming from your vibes will still calm them down, and they will feel the shift without knowing why.
I’ve used it so many times without people knowing it. I use it on airplanes, I use it on customer service people that might be in a defensive position; anytime anyone is in a defensive position with negative energy, I use a spinal flush. It’s completely non-invasive. When you do the flush, they have the choice to take advantage of the reset or go right back to the low mood.
To do a spontaneous spinal flush:
- In your mind, picture the person standing in front of you.
- Imagine yourself swiping your fingertips from their neck down to their tailbone.
- Just keep doing it in your mind six or seven times.
You can use this technique to form a bond of empathy before trying to confront your spouse. If you try to confront in the heat of the moment, you will most likely be met with a high degree of defensiveness and hostility.
4. Stay Free of Their Energy
If the first few steps aren’t working, your spouse may not be ready to change. Sometimes this process simply takes time-but you can’t force someone to want peace. Rather than sink to their low energy or try to fight through, you should simply be an observer.
If you aren’t seeing results, steer clear of their negativity by:
- Listening to their frustrations without matching their energy
- Not taking any negativity personally or letting it reside with you
- Patiently waiting to help without frustration if they aren’t ready
- Spending time with positive people who match your energy
- Using your pent-up energy towards another project
- Watch for signs of anxiety or depression
- Inviting your spouse to do something fun once a week
- Acknowledging your partner’s successes and qualities
5. Send Positive Vibes
You can literally send positive vibrations into your spouse’s path with positive energy bombs. There are all kinds of thoughts, memories, colors and symbols that can create a kind of force in their life. Just like doing a spinal flush with your mind, you can use your mind to send these positive energy bombs.
- Visualize symbols of happiness (smiley emojis, hearts, flowers, etc.)
- Imagine dropping those symbols into their inner thought field
- Try peaceful imagery or memories as well.
Remember, we are not trying to flip them to positivity but to peace!
Find Strong Support
You need a community surrounding you throughout your life. Even if your spouse is not a negative person, they cannot fulfill all of your needs. Supportive circles allow you to lean on other perspectives, experiences and gifts that will help you maintain your positivity.
I’ve created the Carol Tuttle Healing Center for precisely this. In my Center, people like you gather around to lift one another up while learning how to remove the blocks in their lives. You can find a supportive community to help you work through issues seeing the difference between negative energy and a toxic spouse.
There is no perfect marriage, but a strong marriage will have at least four good interactions for every one negative interaction. It will be a challenge, but responding with compassion will be the first step in bridging this gap without compromising your own energy.