Cynicism and how it can destroy love and relationships is complicated. Love can conquer, but fear erodes. A cynical partner or spouse can be quite skeptical about everything as they have very little faith in their partner. They are inclined to believe that the word is motivated by self-interest. And it can destroy love and relationships. But like everything in life, when you have love, you have hope for change and growth and learning.
We can fulfill what we were meant to do in the natural scientific process and be in an amazing romantic relationship. But in some deadly twist of progress, the natural is conquered by sometimes ignoring things that scare us like a partner who negatively sees the world.
When you fall in love, it’s easy to continue excuses. “He just cares and is concerned for my welfare.” “She’s distrusting, and doesn’t she have a right to be? This world is full of liars.” “He doubts my love for him because he was cheated on once.”
All of these have a bit of truth but usually are excuses for abuse that destroy love and relationships.
On the cynic’s side, they also create every reason to ignore natural instincts, natural desires. They replace the natural flow in life and love it with dishonesty and fear from what the sickness of cynicism can cause. Unfortunately, distorted thinking leads cynical people to believe they have the right to protect themselves over everyone else. Their abuse towards their partners is continual and defeating.
An example would be: when a person feels the world is out to cheat them, they begin protecting themselves by any means: lies, emotional armor, and so on without guilt as it’s deemed a defense. I have a client who’s husband purchased property in only his name without telling his wife, he justified his deception based on his fear she didn’t really love him and eventually would leave him and try to take half of what he owned.
CYNICISM AND FEAR ARE AN INEVITABLE DOWNFALL TO MOST RELATIONSHIPS
So, you might be wondering why anyone would fall for a cynic? Isn’t it an obvious sign to avoid? Not always. A cynic can be quite loving with their family, friends, and at the workplace. Cynicism at work can be valuable.
I know a woman who fell in love with a man who was very close to two of his sisters. The love and continuity of these relationships made her feel comfortable and safe with him. She wanted to marry a man who loved and was loved by his family thinking it was the optimal sign of a positive future. She discovered that cynics can be quite loving and trusting with those who do not threaten their vulnerability. In other words, the man had little fear of his two sisters ever turning against him. So, with them, he was open, loving, kind, and would never question their integrity, honesty, or intent. But with his girlfriend and then-wife, he questioned every single thing she did as a selfish or deceptive act. He went so far as to tell her she married him out of desperation that she couldn’t possibly have really loved him.
LOOK AT YOUR PARTNERS BAD RELATIONSHIPS NOT THE GOOD ONES
It is actually wiser to take a close look at who a partner has poor relationships with and why, rather than the good ones. It tells more truths. The man had no relationship with his mother and was distant from most of his family, regardless that he loved all of them. And after she married him, his distrust and worry that she was less than loyal to him grew into a divorce.
The ironic part of their story is that the couple was well suited for each other. The families liked both their choices.
Cynicism sneaks in to destroy love and relationships
Given that many good marriages end in divorce, and great relationships are destroyed, understanding what factors might affect relationships with cynical partners is important. If these difficulties were understood early enough in the relationship – so that the knowledge needed to resolve the issues could be mastered in time – this could help avoid some divorces all together.
Problems between couples don’t end when marriage begins. Research reveals that trust and honesty actually rise once a couple joins in marriage. Still, if either couple feels inadequacies or a negative outlook in their marriage of any kind, every problem under the sun has a way in. Inadequacies breed fear that crushes the natural calm and desire to love and care.
Cynicism is a poor outlook on life and has very little faith in others. It becomes a defensive posture to protect ourselves while it destroys love and relationships. And usually starts when we feel hurt by or angry at something. Rather than directly dealing with those emotions, we allow them to distort our view of our partner, which can easily begin the “turning on” that person we fell in love with.
Here are a few signs of a cynicism:
- Pessimistic thoughts outweigh optimism.
- Doubt or disbelief in the motives, sincerity, and goodness of others.
- Prepare for the worst.
- Discourage everyone else.
- You’re always prepared for the worst.
- Mistrust, scorn, and pessimism about others.
- Blame is placed on someone else.
- Suspicious about everyone in one way or another.
- Celebrations can be negative and fake.
- Even the obvious is not for sure without proof.
- Sarcasm is a regular part of your dialog.
- You come with a warning.
LOVERS WHO DON’T HAVE FAITH IN THEIR PARTNERS, EASILY BECOME JEALOUS
Those who don’t believe in others easily develop jealousy, worry, and doubt, leading to imagining their partner’s lack of love for them. Relationships don’t last when one partner has to continually convince the other of their love.
So, again you see how the cynical partner develops emotional armoring to protect themself from future losses.
One client, we’ll call him, Miles, was convinced his wife had deceived him by loving another, and there is nothing more fierce than the pain of feeling betrayed by the love of your life. He divorced her, but years later, he began questioning his own belief. Not because he was less cynical, but because of his connection with her due to their children. It left him continually evaluating her. The man was cynical in everything. But when he spent even the shortest duration with her at family gatherings, she became that amazing woman in his eyes once again. Unfortunately, his sadness to have lost her knowing he had been abusively incorrect, still didn’t give him the courage to accept the evidence in front of him. Why? Because fear, depression, and negativity can be as fierce as cocaine addiction.
Mile’s ex-wife was not without fault. No one is. Eventually, they both found ways to destroy love and their relationship. But he began to realize his abusive negativity and distrust had driven her to poor choices. Choices like arguing with him violently, allowing anger and hurt to become the focus. She began lying to him about ridiculous things like not telling him, she stopped at the fruit market for apples. She’d lie saying she’d purchased everything at the grocery store because if she explained her detour to the market, he’d have some comment about how she couldn’t keep her plans straight. Perhaps she was actually meeting someone behind his back because no way could she just love him… and so she became the liar he claimed her to be. But as the years passed and he watched her life, one of honor, dedication, and loyalty, she reminded him of that person he married that everyone loved and trusted, including him. In fact, she grew into an even better person because she was emotionally healthy of the two in reality.
Recognizing the signs and getting help early is optimal.
PEOPLE ACTUALLY CAN BECOME BETTER PEOPLE AFTER A SEPERATION/DIVORCE
Love doesn’t just shut off; you close it off. You destroy love and relationships on your own. If you truly loved that person you were with, and I’m not talking about the deceiver or that wrong choice. I mean that person that was good for you, a partner that your family and friends knew to be a wise choice, and yet an ugly situation tore you apart, then it can be common to realize mistakes after the fact.
Many times, couples who are equally responsible for ending their relationship will become the partners they always wanted after the divorce or breakup. It can actually make you that much angrier. The person you fell in love with is there and always was. But, after a crisis like a divorce, they grow and advance that much more. Why do people reform into better people after it’s too late? Because what a person is naturally, they reform to when given the freedom to grow.
Without games, relationship wars, and pain restricting your natural self, humans, like plants, reach for the sun to expand. After divorce, there are stages. Usually, the first is to acknowledge the loss, accept the pain, and begin to heal. Healing brings grief and forgiveness. Suddenly, in your ex-partner’s humbled pain, if they were a good person, they naturally become better after. They are that person that you married but now better.
When couples fight, they don’t see the good in a partner. You could say those who grow bitter, judgemental or are the blamers after a divorce, were probably always that way.
One of the secrets to success is learning to love failure. Failure is normal when you begin dating. How many of us find the right partner the first try? Few. And how many get married to discover it’s a lot of work? Most of us.
Communication is also a key factor in a good relationship, but it’s not the full solution to preserve love. I’ve seen couples communicate beautifully and yet never solve their problems. It’s possible to communicate as a way of not solving problems. As was done with Mile’s and his wife. They spoke of his problem and her pain over and over, but never moved forward to healthy ground.
SELF-FULFILLING PROPHECIES THAT DESTROY LOVE AND RELATIONSHIPS
When our beliefs and expectations guide our behavior at the subconscious level, we enable what is known as a self-fulfilling prophecy. Cynical people are prone to them as their unreal belief or expectation becomes so real that they manifest their fears in their future. An example is a spouse who believes their partner will cheat on them, can eventually either cause it, or create circumstances that lead to signs of it.
I’ve had a personal experience with someone who was about as cynical as it gets. He was sure his wife would cheat, we’ll call her April, and for years had tormented her with his pessimistic predictions of her disloyalty and overall all inability to be truthful. Finally, one day April, exhausted from it, created a fake love interest in an old boyfriend hoping he’d divorce her, and she’d be free from the pain.
But, she felt guilty. Her irrational idea to fake a relationship felt wrong. She didn’t want to destroy her relationship; she wanted to know if she still loved him and what could be done. So, she spoke out in group therapy, and it was suggested because of her fear of speaking to him directly, that she write a letter to him and imagine a wonderful relationship as she dreamed it to be. After which, she was to talk to her husband about her desires, hopes, and dreams for a different life.
She did it, but there were no loving words to write inside of her. She felt sadness, pain, anger, and fear that she’d married a bad person. She had grown afraid of him. A few months later, after another person in her therapy group mentioned trying the letter therapy again but this time, addressing letters to a fictitious name that would allower her mind to imagine love, she secretly addressed them to the old boyfriend, who was nothing but a memory of innocent love. She again hoped to leave her husband and thought that writing imaginary letters to her old boyfriend would free her from the fears that had eaten her marriage alive. Distrust.
Writing things down makes them feel real as if you experience them. But when April wrote the letters, she would walk for an hour or two each day, typing away on her phone and sending them to herself to read later, she began to relax. Walking became her happy time. Initially, she felt free and open, almost like she was in love again, she looked forward to writing the letters each day, and it felt real, but as she continued the therapy and read them back to herself, she discovered how much she loved her husband through the exercise. She was repulsed to think of anyone else in her life and cried for hours many nights for months on end. But still she was unable to speak to the husband who had distrusted her for too long. It was like being frozen in time.
It takes great love to withstand these kinds of treatment from your partner. It’s not fair or right. And if you feel anything like this, help is around the corner. Talk to others and face these truths with your partner while you still can communicate, lest it’s too late and you destroy love and relationships that matter.
April divorced her husband and regretted her failure to help him before it was too late. But she learned later that it was herself she failed to help. And like Miles, she realized she was also to blame. She never prioritized herself. She spoiled him, loved him, and never focused on herself. Ignoring the warnings in him had a lot to do with her lack of self-esteem. If she’d have prioritized herself, she’d have learned how valuable she was, and facing him would have been a remedy of love and wisdom.
When we don’t value ourselves we tend to focus on those we love. Subconsciously deeming them worthy while we are not when then compensate by over-giving to those around us which leads to excessive self-sacrifices. And it’s usually based on the misconception that love will miraculously solve problems, that love is enough. But it wasn’t for April. Love doesn’t prevent cynicism, fear, or lack of self-esteem as April had, love, is just the bonus for those who manage their relationships better. These types of endings are more common than most realize.
The biggest problem women face today is feeling they don’t need self-care, they can wait, they will make it up later, they are strong and can take more than men, and so on…
Prioritizing yourself puts you on a path of growth. It’s not just about taking time off, a bubble bath, or a vacation. That nagging feeling you get sometimes is the deepest part of you screaming that there is more to life than work and family. That there is something wrong!!
Every time you skip yourself, you become less productive in giving to those you care about most. Eventually, it becomes clear as it did for April.
So, how much do you believe in your abilities? People who believe in themselves always prioritize, lest they crash and burn, lest they are not the superstars they were born to be. It’s the value you put on you compared to everything around you. It’s your journey. And without it, you get lost in the troubles of those you care for! You eventually can’t see or feel your own needs, instincts, and wisdom and life can crash around you.
Here’s a course on Prioritizing Yourself, it’s the beginning of amazing self-esteem.
Notes on emotions and how we feel them in others:
- PSYCHALIVE, By Lisa Firestone, PhD., Is Cynicism Ruining Your Life?
- Psychology Today, Randi Gunther Ph.D., How Fear of Loss Can Sabotage Love
“Cynicism is counter-productive to love and happiness
and contrary to literay productiveness
+ prevents those in all profession from attaining their goals>
Efrona Mor says
Very true, it’s a sickness and takes a great deal of work and determination to change..
“Change is manifested with being confident with determination!”_-Van Prince
The words ring true in today’s times. Most relationships have distrust and cynicism which in turn leads to hostility and ruins what could have been a solid relationship. It’s good to be aware to avoid such mistakes.
Efrona Mor says
Thanks for the comment. I wonder how much awareness will decrease the rate of suffering relationships? Not sure. But I do see hope when couples become aware before it’s too late.
Aman K Phoenix says
I agree. Yet cynicism is a sign of accumulated weakness.
I would say I suffer from cynicism, I am extremely mistrustful of the word Love when it is used and I have a problem with the word relationship. Commitment phobia has kept me emotionally crippled for the better part of the last 11 years. I know the causes, I understand the need to work on self healing, which I do when I am able to see the problems clearly enough. Honesty and trust are the things I put my faith into, I have that with my partner, we never mention the word love and we don’t see ourselves as in a ‘relationship’ as such. We are lovers and we are friends. It’s stood us in good stead for the past 8 years.
Not everyone who is cynical got there by just being mistrustful of the agendas of other people. In my case a lifetime of one kind of abuse or another has made me close down and harden my defences to the point of exclusion of everything and everyone except my son and my Mum. Until my partner came into my life. He works tirelessly to break into my ‘steel trap’ as he calls it to let some bad stuff out, so that good stuff can get in. It’s a work in progress. Actions speak louder to me than words. Feelings are great and I’m sure most people want to be told they are loved but to me it’s like a death knell. It fills me with abject fear that the abuse will start again, my feelings will be used against me to weaken me and force me to live up to another’s idea of who I should be.
This was a very interesting post, it made me think about a few things. Thank you.
Efrona Mor says
Thank you for the wonderful comment. Sounds to me like you’re a remarkable person. If I can give you a little advice, in your case it appears as if you face the past and problems that have contributed to your fears, and you’ve worked diligently for 8 years with your partner in one way or another.
Focusing on the present now might be key, finding out more about yourself and focusing on completing projects of any kind will help build the things inside of you that will eventually dissolve other fears.
Prioritize yourself and goals: things that you love to do, that you dream about, and it doesn’t matter what it is, organizing your mind and life and producing, completing, and accomplishing these things is the root of who you are. It might mean starting with that art class you always wanted to take, writing a book, learning to cook, volunteering, I’m not talking about therapy sessions or more studies on how to solve this problem,(not that it hurts or you shouldn’t) I’m speaking of activities that bring out the real you.
I have a client who roasts coffee and he’s become an expert, it opened so many doors for him. (And I got lots of coffee! <3
With enormous love, Efrona
Jorge Medico says
Cynicism is a corrosive poison that destroys many lives. Thanks for your thoughtful article. Perhaps you can do a follow up on all the available antidotes to this all too prevalent problem. Be well.
Efrona Mor says
Thank you, tha’ts great advice. I’d planned on a follow up with a three part series that offers solutions and help to get past it. I wish I was three people to get it done faster.. (: Be safe out there.. (:
One man and his Mustang says
Great read. 👍
Very true for me as well. Great post describing the various ways cynicism breaks down relationships. So contrary to love and trust, and yet so easy to fall into.
All so true!
Cheryl, Gulf Coast Poet says
In relationships you have two choices: be trusting and vulnerable and risk getting hurt or be distrustful and suspicious, destroying the relationship. I think happiness is worth taking a risk. <3 Well-written, informative, and thought-provoking post, Efrona! have a great day!
Geeta Gupta says
All so true.
SIMRAN TOTLANI says
Karima Hoisan says
Very good post..and happy to say, `I am on the opposite spectrum of cynicism..Yes, I have had my heart broken, but I also have loved deeply and successfully with no fear.
Amanda Bunch says
Thank you so much for sharing. I can identify with April in a way. Especially the part about her not deeming herself worthy while focusing on her spouse more than her own self-care. I tend to fall into that trap sometimes.
Efrona Mor says
Hi, Amanda, thanks for commenting. I hear you. At one time in my life I focused on my spouse over myself and it took getting a degree and feeling great about myself before I even realized what I had done to myself. So cheers, my friend to equality, and learning how caring about ourselves is also caring more efficietnly for others. Ironic! <3
Efrona Mor says
Hi Amanda, thanks for the comment. I hear you, I was similar to April at one time. It’s a great love to give in this way, but without self-care it that love is stomped on in the end. So, remember, there is hand up when ever you need one, and it’s inside of you. I found mine and wow did it change my life. (: Happy New Year! <3
Lazy Developer says