Relationship Difficulties: Are you a minimizer or maximizer?

Everyone knows someone who always blows things out of proportion, but some people are just the opposite. They usually share little with others, and diminish the affect of things in general.

If you live with someone who is the opposite of you- you may have some problems in your relationship.

Here are a few examples by Harville Hendrix in his book Keeping the Love you Find:

Which one describes you?


I hold feelings inside

I generally deny that I have needs

I withhold how I really feel, my

thoughts, feelings and behaviors


Everyone knows everything about me

I tell it all

I exaggerate my needs

I tell my spouse everything, whether he/she likes it or not


The point here is that in a relationship there needs to be open and honest communication, and if you minimize all your problems, your partner may begin to believe that you just don’t care about continuing in the relationship.

On the other hand, if you tend toward being a maximizer, everything becomes catastrophic in the relationship- and you may not only exaggerate things, but you may say “how you feel” to the point of continuing arguments and resentment from your partner.

Whether you minimize or maximize, it is all trauma in a relationship. If couples do not communicate effectively, they begin to give up trying.

In your quest toward building a better relationship for you and your spouse, that a look at where you both are on this continuum. Ask yourself some questions about how you can change behaviors once you acknowledge them.

Identifying that you have a problem with your relationship, and then finding effective ways to communicate more effectively can be the first step toward healing your relationship.

Taken in part from: Hendrix, H. (1992) Keeping the Love you Find. New York, NY. Pocket Books.