Remote Control, Relationships, and the Power of Love
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: John Bampfield MBACP (accred.)
31st August, 2012
Achieving good relationships is difficult. Why shouldn't it be? Most everything else worthwhile achieving in life is.
Remember when you started out learning to walk? No? Well, you probably fell over quite a lot - until you got the hang of it. Now, if you're one of the fortunate, it's as easy as putting one foot in front of the other; you don't even have to think about it. But it wasn't always that way.
What else did you have to learn to do that was difficult at first, and then got easier when you decided to stick at it? So many things; too many to count, and counting being one of them. Now look at you. There are literally thousands of things that you have succeeded in learning to do, so why shouldn't you succeed at having a satisfying, fulfilling, loving and caring relationship - providing, of course, you and the other person in it, want one. It takes two.
You can't do all the work, and you can't make the other person do anything they don't want to. You cannot change that person either - you can only change yourself.
This is what you've been doing every time that you've learnt something new. You were a baby who couldn't walk, and you worked at it until you became a toddler who could; a child who couldn't count etc. etc. etc. You've already achieved a huge amount so why give up now?
Relationships break down for all sorts of reasons; some we're conscious of, some we aren't. Our earliest relationships often shape our adult relationships, sometimes for the worse; but those early relationships of childhood were not of our choosing. Adult ones usually are. You also get to choose whether or not you want to continue with them when they get difficult. That's your choice. You do not have to stay in a relationship that is hurtful, not satisfying, or abusive, unless you want to. And you don't have to get out of a relationship that is that way unless you decide to. Each individual has a responsibility within the relationship to care about the other and to do what is good for both. Ideally, it is an equal partnership, each partner valuing the other's right to contribute in every aspect of the relationship.
This includes finance, which is often a source of trouble. Another is the remote control. Do you ever get that feeling that the partner who has it most would like it to control more than just the TV? Remember, he or she, who dares, wins. Why not grab it! Better still, switch the TV off and talk. It won't be easy, but it will be a start. And a job started is a job half done.
But back to that walking thing. If you break a leg, even a big toe, or have a stroke, you have to start learning to walk all over again, for a while. That's when you realise how difficult learning to walk is. That's because, once we've learnt to do something that's become automatic for us, we don't ever expect to have to learn to do it again. And we resent it when we do because it's hard work. However, human beings are constantly changing whether we know it or not, or acknowledge it - and our relationships have to change with us. So, perhaps we have to constantly monitor our lives - and our relationships - as we, and our circumstances change, so that we can adjust by altering our attitudes and approaches, and possibly, our behaviour, which is our responsibility.
Change is a natural and constant phenomenon, and to resist it is asking for trouble. It can be exciting, but it can be scary.
But, if one partner's rate of change is greater than the other's, life can become difficult for both. If this can be acknowledged, and both are prepared to accept each other's different needs, and make the changes necessary to accommodate them, then the relationship has a chance.
If one partner is determined to resist life's changes at all costs, then it might not be possible for the relationship to continue without resentments, anger and tension building up which take the fun out of any relationship. And without the fun in it, the relationship will become sterile and cold, and eventually, so will the people in it.
If there is true love lurking somewhere in there, all things are possible; for this is the great healer of all relationship problems. It's not just a sticking plaster on a deep wound; it's a powerful healing force inside the wound itself. It heals from the inside. If it is not present then no amount of sticking plasters will make the slightest difference. They will all dry out, curl up at the edges, and fall off to reveal the wound, as raw as it ever was.
If you're unsure whether the love is there, then it might be an idea to talk with a non-involved, impartial, but caring person, in confidence. Someone who will treat you as an adult and help you to come to your own decisions at your own pace. Just as you had someone to help you when you started out learning to walk that first time, you might need someone now, just to lovingly and gently hold your hand for a while, till you get the hang of it again - metaphorically speaking.
This is what most counsellors do. We don't have all the answers for you, and no one as yet has written the text book that covers every individual and every situation. Everyone is different. We do have experience in life, and training, quite unlike any other, that enables us to listen with our hearts as well as our ears, and concentrate with you on your problems. We do not preach, we do not judge, we do care. Otherwise, we wouldn't have chosen this line of work. Which is difficult at times. But then, why should it not be? It is, after all, worthwhile.
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