André Anthony Moore, LMFT

Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (New York State License: 001435)

Ketamine and Psychedelic Assisted Therapist certified by The Integrative Psychiatry Institute Practitioner of Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR)

Use Nonverbal Sensorimotor Techniques to deepen Emotionally Focused Therapy

The Dangers of Negative Thinking and How to Stop Bad Thoughts

Negative thinking. Anxiety. Sadness. Paranoia. Call it what you want, but the result is the same – a stressful, strained, and unhappy relationship. This is true for men, women, and everyone beyond the binary. It’s also true for young couples and long-married spouses. The million-dollar question is how to stop this self-doubt spiral from happening. We’ll explore how to stop negative thinking in just a moment, but first, let’s look at how negativity in a relationship manifests and the dangers it brings with it. 

The Dangers of Negativity in a Relationship

There is an almost endless number of reasons negative thinking occurs. Some are major (mental illness, while some are relatively minor (a setback at work). There is an entire world of complicated life situations. Severe disease, a loved one’s death, learning your partner is having an affair, declaring bankruptcy – the list goes on.

Research by social psychologist J. M. Gottman, reported in What Predicts Divorce, has shown that it’s not angry exchanges that lead to divorce but four kinds of negativity that corrode the love you have for each other.

The following four behaviors increase the odds of getting a divorce to 85 percent:

  1. Criticism: Attacking your lover’s character.
  2. Defensiveness: Denying responsibility when you screw up.
  3. Contempt: Insulting, abusive comments to your lover.
  4. Stonewalling: Emotionally withdrawing and not listening to your lover.

Adding six more negatives increases the odds to 90 percent:

  1. Emotional distancing and isolation.
  2. Emotional flooding: Overwhelming each other with the other’s stress.
  3. Overestimating the severity of problems.
  4. Refusal to work out problems.
  5. Living parallel lives.
  6. Feeling lonely all the time.

negative thinkingThe most important thing you can ask yourself if you’re worried about your relationship with your lover is, What is it about me that would make it difficult for another person to be with me?

Whatever the cause of negativity in a relationship, the dangers are often the same. Things like unhappiness, constant fights, increased anxiety, and low self-esteem are a direct result of negative thinking. There is also the risk of how poor mental health can affect your physical health. To put it simply, the result of negativity in a relationship is likely the end of the relationship itself.

 So, how can you stop the negativity? It seems like a tall order, we know. People have been searching for the answer to this question for thousands of years. Thankfully, the solution is much simpler than many people think. 

How to Stop Negative Thinking

The first thing you need to do to stop the negativity is to take a good look at yourself. While so much of what we do as human beings is reacting to others and their often-frustrating behavior, the solution is always within ourselves. After all, where do you think inner peace gets its “inner” from?

 Sit down and ask yourself what you want out of life. Ask yourself what you want from your romantic partner. Ask yourself if you’re happy at your job. Then write down your answers. They probably aren’t going to be positive, but that’s okay. This first step is all about learning who you really are. It’s often messy and painful – it’s supposed to be!

 After you have answers to your big questions, compare them to where you currently are in life. The distance between the two is the work you’ll be doing later. For now, it’s simple enough to see where you stand in relation to where you want to be.

 The next step of how to stop negative thinking involves your partner. Ask them to write out their answers to these same questions. Give them as much time and space as they need to answer. It might be quick, or it might take a while. Both are fine. 

An Experienced Couples’ Counselor Can Help

Once they have their answers, it’s time to sit down with an experienced and compassionate couples’ counselor. You and your partner have the roadmap to a healthy, loving relationship. Think of your counselor as the guide along the way. They aren’t there to judge or say one person in the relationship is right and the other’s wrong. They aren’t there to wave a magic wand and fix everything. Your counselor is simply there to help steer an open, honest, and healing conversation between you and your partner.

Contact Marriage Couples Counseling at (646) 859-0189 to learn more about how we can help stop the negativity in your relationship today!

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  • NAP Details:

    Marriage Couples Counseling & Life Coaching
    160 Bleecker Street, 9C East, New York, NY 10012
    (212) 673 4618