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5 Myths That Are Hindering Your Relationships

Have you ever wondered why your relationships are unsatisfying or unsuccessful? Today, Dr. Monica Johnson, the Savvy Psychologist, talks about the myths that stop us from getting the most out of our relationships.

By
Dr. Monica Johnson
5-minute read
Episode #380

Valentine’s Day is approaching and we all have relationships on our mind, specifically how great it feels to be in a romantic relationship or how desperately we may or may not want one.

Today, we're talking about myths that hinder our relationships. In speaking of these myths, I’m highlighting ones that affect all types of relationships. I want to help you out no matter your relationship style and state.

Before we start, I want to quickly define what I mean by "myth." In this context, a myth is anything that we believe that isn’t true. We all have myths we believe, and it’s important to be aware of them so that our actions aren’t unduly influenced by faulty beliefs.

Myth 1: I don’t deserve to get what I want or need.

Do you have this underlying belief? Stop it. Because unless you’re Jeffrey Dahmer, you do deserve to have needs and desires considered.

When you walk into situations with this belief, it makes it incredibly easy to give up before you even get started. There are two approaches to this myth that I will recommend. The first is focused on the past. Explore for yourself where this belief may have come from. Did you have early caregiver relationships, unappreciative friends, or tumultuous romantic relationships that put this idea in your mind? This might be a good time to do a deep dive on your own or with a therapist.

The second is more present-focused. Ask yourself, "Do I think it’s important for others to get their needs met?" Most will answer yes to this question and if you’re one of those people, why are you treating yourself differently? You’re not special: if I deserve to get my needs met, so do you.

18 Beliefs That Are Ruining Your Life

Myth 2: If I ask for help, it’ll show that I’m a weak person.

Is it hard for you to be vulnerable in relationships? Have others ever described you as prideful or guarded? Are you the type of friend who is always there for others, but never lets them into your struggles?

If this describes you, your underlying belief is getting in the way of you building closeness and intimacy with others that you care about. I tell my patients all the time that if you care about a person, you have to allow them the opportunity to show that they love you. Needing or desiring help is not a weakness, particularly for us as humans. We tend to be social by nature and do better in groups than solo. One Power Ranger is badass, but together they form the Megazord and are pretty unstoppable.

Most of us are pretty adept at facing day-to-day issues, but things pile up and pile on. You might also experience an unexpected loss like getting fired from a job or losing a loved one. By denying yourself the aid of others, you limit not only the depth of the relationship but what you can accomplish in your own life.

Myth 3: I can’t handle a “no.”

This myth will stop you from even having relationships with others. I’ve seen people so afraid of rejection that they don’t even show up to the party and simultaneously complain about being lonely.

I will 100% validate that rejection sucks and the blow of it can range from a papercut to a bat to the head. What you also need to realize is that you’re not the boy in the plastic bubble. You’re actually quite capable of taking some damage and walking away. Not '90s action movie level of taking damage and walking away, but far more than you think!

It’s important to assess your relationship goals and operate based on your goal and not on your fear. Think through the worst-case scenario that can occur if rejection happens. Then explore what interpersonal skills you could use with the person and ways that you can self-soothe yourself after the incident. If you do this process enough you’ll realize that you can in fact handle a no and that rejection occurs less often than you think.

Myth 4: I should be willing to sacrifice my own needs for others.

You might be thinking, "But isn’t that being a good person?" In moderation, yes. However, individuals who hold this belief do it too much.

Are you the person who is always inconveniencing yourself for others? When was the last time you had a moment for yourself? If you’re wondering where those new gray hairs came from, it’s probably because you’re not taking care of yourself.

You also leave yourself vulnerable to being taken advantage of when you adopt the habits related to this myth. It’s super fun to demonize folks for taking advantage of people, but it’s human nature to go for the easy yes. Don’t be easy. Have boundaries and require others to respect them. Depending on the state of your relationships, you may lose some of them. There may be people in your life who don’t want to deal with this “new you.” If they aren’t willing to work on your relationship, it's okay to let them go and focus on the ones that can be repaired and improved.

Myth 5: I shouldn’t have to ask or say no to things. People should know what I want and do it.

This is a classic mind-reading belief. I see people get into fights all the time over it.

This is all I will concede: yes, if a person has known you for a long time and you have been forthcoming in deepening your relationship with that person, it is possible for them to make educated guesses about your responses, behaviors, or viewpoints. None of that means that a person is psychic and can read your mind and be aware of every need that you have. It also doesn’t take into account that this person has their own experiences that may make it difficult for them to make accurate educated guesses about your desires.

Think about how frustrated you would be if you ordered IKEA furniture and it came without instructions. Then when you called IKEA, they told you that you should already know how to put a dresser together. Give the people that you trust or that you’re trying to develop trust with the instruction manual. The people who want to have a relationship with you will try their best to follow the steps. 

Let me know which of these myths are limiting your relationships! Follow and comment on Instagram @kindmindpsych,  you can also reach out to me via my email at psychologist@quickanddirtytips.com, or leave a voicemail at (929) 256-2191‬.

All content here is for informational purposes only. This content does not replace the professional judgment of your own mental health provider. Please consult a licensed mental health professional for all individual questions and issues.

About the Author

Dr. Monica Johnson

Dr. Monica Johnson is a clinical psychologist and owner of Kind Mind Psychology, a private practice in NYC that specializes in evidenced based approaches to treating a wide range of mental health issues (e.g. depression, anxiety, trauma, and personality disorders). Additionally, she has a focus on working with marginalized groups of people including BIPOC, LGBTQ+, and alternative lifestyles to manage minority stress. She is also dedicated to contributing to her field professionally through speaking, training, supervision, and writing. She routinely speaks at conferences, provides training and workshops at organizations, supervises mental health trainees, and co-authored a book for professionals on addressing race-based stress in therapy.

Dr. Johnson earned her bachelor's degree from the University of South Carolina, completed her Psy.D. at the Arizona School of Professional Psychology, and completed her postdoctoral training year at Cherokee Health Systems in Knoxville, TN. She currently lives in Manhattan where she indulges in horror movies, sarcasm, and intentional introversion. You can find her on Instagram and online at kindmindpsych.com

Got a question that you'd like Dr. Johnson to answer on Savvy Psychologist? You can send her an email at psychologist@quickanddirtytips.com or leave a voicemail for the Savvy Psychologist listener line by calling (929) 256-2191‬.