Being human is not easily definable, even though on a basic level we are all obviously the same, sharing basic human traits like speech, motor skills and powers of reasoning. What I’m alluding to here, is human behaviour. The uniqueness of human behaviour: the natural consequence of individual thoughts, beliefs and feelings, those that occur within the mind and body of each and everyone of us but never in common awareness.
When we enter into relationships with each other, we take on this secret and unknown nature of another, every time we form an alliance whether it’s an acquaintance, a friendship or a deep and loving romance. And sometimes we live in ‘Happy Ever After,’ it’s a good match. But sadly many relationships fall apart, not just the romantic ones, and someone who initially seemed so wonderfully ‘right’ as either a friend or a lover, can appear to have evolved into someone we no longer want to know, with whom attraction is lost, passion deceased. Its likely that feelings will also have been hurt, words aimed in attack and trust perhaps betrayed.
The question I’m posing is, whatever happens in-between these 2 extremes…………….?
Let me take you for a paragraph into the world of Sigmund Freud, a master of the human mind, much berated in his time for his slant on sexuality, but nevertheless a genius in his own right and now held in great esteem within the therapeutic world. Author Michael Kahn, in his book Between Therapist and Client, suggests that Freud is to the mind what Darwin is to evolution. So lets consider what Freud had to say about human relationships and let me introduce you to his…. ‘Repetition Compulsion.’ Freud thought that difficult early relationships with a mother or father could be very influential later on in a person’s life. He suggested that we could be drawn to similar relationships in our adult life, possibly experiencing break-up after break-up, not really understanding why, just drawn to familiarity, stuck in a ‘rut’ of relating to people with whom we would most likely, fall out.
So have you ever wondered why a relationship went wrong for you? Whether indeed it was a non-starter from the beginning? Whether for you, there is any connection to someone from your childhood days or earlier on in your life?
Counselling, as well as providing a safe space to work through problems with a professional listener, is also an opportunity to experience a new way of relating. Through the careful challenges a therapist may bring into the work, you may find yourself revisiting old relationship difficulties along with old hurts and old feelings. Yet, it is this very shared aspect, this pain of remembering and maybe the tears, that may allow you to move into a new and better way of relating to others. Though the therapeutic path may at times appear stony, the personal work that you undertake will never be undone and may lead you through increased awareness to greater happiness. In the words of eastern philosopher, Kahil Gibran:
Joy is your sorrow unmasked and Pain, the breaking of the shell that encompasses your understanding.
Tread firmly with care and courage as you walk your path…..
Related articles from our experts
Cate Campbell MA, MBACP (Accred), MCOSRT (Accred), MAFT23rd March, 2017
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Graeme Armstrong MBACP21st March, 2017
- How psychodynamic therapy helps to break the cycle of unhealthy relationships
Margery Parsons, d.c.t.p., UKCP reg.20th March, 2017
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