Common Difficulties In Relationships
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Dr Jonathan Hutchins, MBACP (Accred), C.Psychol, EMDR Accred, BABCP accred.
11th August, 2010
Relationships can be difficult to navigate and to manage if we have had some difficult early life experiences in relating to others and being related to. For example if we were often rejected by others in our lives then we have developed a reciprocal role of rejecting others.
There are a few common patterns that we can get into in relationships for fear of being rejected or taken advantage of, these can include:
Fear Of Hurting Other People’s Feelings Trap
Feeling that it is wrong to be angry or aggressive we can be afraid of hurting other people’s feelings so we don’t express our feelings or needs with the result that we are ignored or abused which makes us feel angry but confirms the feeling that it is wrong to be angry.
Can’t Say “No” Trap
Feeling that it is impossible to say “No” to others leads to feeling out of control in relationships. To feel more in control we avoid others by hiding away or letting them down with the result that they get angry and can reject us. We then feel guilty which confirms that we shouldn’t say “No” to others.
Avoiding Upset Trap
Feeling anxious and believing that we mustn’t upset or displease others we avoid upset by doing what they seem to want, anxiously trying to please them. As a result others don’t get upset, we feel relieved but trapped in not upsetting others.
It can be very helpful to recognise these patterns and then to think about how they could be changed.
McCormick, E. (2008). Change for the better: self help through practical psychotherapy.
Related articles from our experts
- Where do relationships begin?
Geoff Miles, Counsellor, Supervisor, Training Courses.16th July, 2018
- Why relationships need empathy
Susan Hooper MBACP12th July, 2018
- Who do you think you are? 'Connecting the dots' through therapeutic genograms
Cinzia Altobelli (MSc RGN UKCP reg Psychotherapist/Counsellor & Supervisor)12th July, 2018
Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.