amygdalas are hijacked.
So relationships are like a spiral that goes one or two ways. Either the things that we say or do in each interchange cause the relationship to spiral down, or to spiral up. Either we get a little closer every time and the relationship is strengthened, or we grow farther and farther apart and it spirals down.
So what determines which way the spiral heads? I would offer to you the idea that it is all about forgiveness and putting grace in the middle.
My guess is that you have at least broken relationship right now. Maybe the other person doesn't even know it is broken, but you have something going on in your head or heart about them that isn't right. You have negative thoughts about them, you talk bad about them to other people, you believe the worst about them.
When that happens, the spiral goes in the wrong direction and as it does, each interaction is worse than the next. You have written an unhealthy script in your head (or as Brené Brown calls it, a S***y First Draft) of who they are and what is happening. As you write the story you are finding everything you can to prove your point -- they are a bad ________ (fill in the blank .... father, husband, sister, coworker, boss, subordinate, friend, etc.) You stop looking for the good and every conversation proves YOUR point. You are seeing it all through darkly colored glasses that are no longer accurate.
There is a a way to turn that around. It's called forgiveness. Having an honest conversation that involves confession on your part for the bad attitude is the best way to do this, but if that can't happen, then even just forgiving the other person without a conversation can make a difference.
I wrote another post about this and how it fits into a dysfunctional system this morning if you are interested. It's here.
I want to point out one more thing: if you believe in spiritual warfare and the presence of an enemy who is fighting us every day to steal our joy and destroy us, this is his all time favorite trick. If he can mess with our relationships, he will destroy our progress. It's a given.
Forgive someone today and start watching a downward spiral start to turn into an upward spiral. It's not enough to do it once.... it needs to happen over and over again.... 490 times maybe .... but each time stick grace in the middle and forgive. It works. It really does.