There seems to be quite a few people asking how to break the cycle of dysfunctional relationships. The good news is that there is only one person who you can change, and the bad news is that you can only change yourself.

Let’s not kid ourselves, relationship dysfunction is terribly painful. Just look at my friend Carence in Part One of The ANTICS. You may see things that are familiar to you, even if you are in a healthy relationship.

All relationships experience problems. Problems may become dysfunctional when they cannot be resolved. If we are unable or unwilling to actually resolve problems, they do come back to create pain and suffering. It happens over and over, just like being on a merry-go-round.

These unresolved problems can create feelings of anger, frustration, depression, disengagement and detachment within ourselves and towards others. If you are experiencing these problems more often than not, and the feelings are impacting important parts of your life—like sleep, work, and your important relationships—it is time to do something.

When this was happening to me, I spent my time and energy trying to change someone else, or to accept things that went against my core being. Frustration and resentment would build and I would use work and exercise to cope, escape, and numb. Eventually, I would exhaust my ability to contain this negative energy and the same old arguments and fighting would flood right back in, just where we left them the last time.

Rinse, repeat, hello dysfunction.

It does not have to be this way. You don’t have to be on the merry-go-round of relationship dysfunction. My therapist helped me to realize that I was on the merry-go-round and she helped me to get off, and stay off that crazy-making thing.

This can be pretty scary stuff because we feel like we might be the only person who has ever gone through it. We might tell ourselves that “Nobody’s pain and crazy could be as bad as mine”.

This is the very reason I wrote The ANTICS. Once you meet Carence and Narcy you will understand that you are not alone in your relationship pain. Knowing that, and deciding to do something about it, is the first step in the process of change.

If you are in a dysfunctional relationship, if you know someone in a dysfunctional relationship, or if you want to avoid being in a dysfunctional relationship, then reading The ANTICS might be helpful to you.

You can break the cycle of relationship dysfunction by increasing your understanding, learning you are not alone, and taking that first step on your healing journey.