Be willing to see things from a different perspective
One of the difficulties that people often encounter in relationships is an inability to see things from each other's perspective.
Differences of opinion or polarised views accompanied by an unwillingness to listen may result in conflict and over time a distance can develop.
"We are so different now", "I just don't know them anymore" or "they have changed so much" are the type of things clients will say when they are presented with misunderstandings, hurt and conflict. It can feel for one or the other like the relationship is coming to an end.
Exploration in the counselling room can reveal what is really going on. When clients speak of their frustrations and experiences, the other partner often hears it in a different way. Some of the emotion may be lessened in the telling to the counsellor and the feelings which may have affected the delivery initially may have reduced. Being a witness rather than the receiver of the information allows it to be heard in a different way by the partner. Clients have often said "I didn't know she/he felt that way".
If the counsellor is able to facilitate understanding of feelings, which can be similar at times, like feeling unloved or unappreciated, then clients can more easily identify positive change.
If both can feel heard and understood, they are more likely to be willing to offer some small change, to make a small step forward.
Considering a situation from a few perspectives, both partners and also perhaps children or extended family can provide an opportunity to work out a solution that works to some degree for the benefit of all. If all concerned parties feel they have got some of their needs met, it is a win-win outcome. When one person has to be right, to win, then naturally the other(s) must take the position of feeling wrong or having lost. Resentment would be a natural result. Resentment eats away at relationships, and although one person may win, long term the relationship may be lost.
Be willing to see things from a different perspective. See how that shifts things forward in a positive way.
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About Susan Lovell
Sue is a counsellor and trainer with over 20 years experience, who works in private practice in the Midlands mainly from Tamworth, Staffordshire. Her specialism is relationships, for individuals or couples, and also covers separation, conflict, DVA, and grief.
Her training work includes helping people reduce conflict who are in the court process.