How to change the road to rocky relationships
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Jennifer Hope-Spencer UKCP Reg., Reg.BACP, PGC Supervision, BUPA, AXA-PPP reg.
17th November, 20150 Comments
If you feel confused, resentful, anxious and powerless then read on…
If you feel your intimate relationships, or members in your family are on the rocky road to unresolved conflicts, then counselling can help you accept the past and change your relationships by offering a better understanding of others’ perceptions of life events.
Creating power in your relationships happens as a result of understanding three relationship dimensions. Regaining power and understanding individual needs can be difficult until the three dimensions are acknowledged. These three dimensions include:
The importance of maintaining individuality
As a couple, two people decide to share their lives. That sounds simple, until each person begins to lose sight of who they are as an individual. The result can be frustration, confusion and loss of individuality, all of which can lead to resentment that needs are not being met. Perhaps you are overly dependent on your partner. Think of bookends: take one away and the books collapse, which can leave you feeling unsupported, powerless, anxious and depressed. Overcoming co-dependency and reclaiming individuality in all your relationships is the road to healthy, balanced relationships
Unconcious family ‘messages’, patterns and expectations
Understanding that in any relationship, unconscious family patterns and internalised messages continue to be replayed that have no relevance to the here-and-now. There are never just two people in a relationship but the family system – it gets crowded with ‘shoulds,’ oughts’ and ‘musts’ handed out generously by your family. If your partner or loved one doesn’t comply with your ‘shoulds’, ‘oughts’ and ‘musts’ you may be left feeling confused, frustrated and angry that your expectations are not being met. Sifting through what messages and values belong to you and to a generalised family system, through counselling, offers clearer boundaries by learning how to be assertive in asking for what you want and deleting these three famous words from your mind, emotions and behaviour.
Consciously, unmet needs are a result of expectations according to the family ‘rule book’, as included in the three famous words described above and other ‘rules’ you learnt about relationships from your family. Expecting your partner to conform to your family rule book won’t help you come together as the two unique individuals you are.
The problems begin when your partner’s/relative's ‘rule book’ has different rules to yours. Learning how to separate out and deciding which conscious expectations you still value and those you don’t is one of the main objectives in relationship counselling. Through counselling, unconscious and conscious patterns of expectations begin to emerge offering an ‘a-ha’ experience through enlightened understanding.
Your relationship is an organic third 'life’ between you and your loved ones
Relationships are an organic third entity between you and your partner. Imagine a third living being between you and your loved one. You can each decide what you want in the relationship and what you don’t. Many problems exist in relationships because of an inability to communicate and negotiate – key components in all balanced relationships. Deciding and asking for what you both want, expect, can offer and want to receive is the way to happier, trusting relationships.
Breaking down brick walls
If you can identify with any of the following then counselling for yourself, or with your loved one can help you understand why you feel you repeatedly come up against a brick wall.
Do you find it hard to tell your partner, wife or husband how you feel?
Do you find it easy to communicate?
Can you negotiate with your partner?
What do you want and expect in your relationship?
Do you share goals and ambitions?
Do you enjoy a good sexual relationship?
Do you have a good social life as a couple and individually?
Do you argue all of the time?
Do you find it hard to say ‘no’?
Do you have ‘me’ time every day?
Do you share responsibilities?
How much romance is there in your relationship?
Do you feel lonely and alone in your relationship?
Does stress affect your relationships?
Is your husband/wife/partner a work-a-holic?
Is commitment difficult for you?
When you change your perception of who you think you are you begin to create new ways of relating to yourself and others.
Relationship counselling and psychotherapy can help you to:
Communicate and negotiate more effectively.
Reflect on expectations of yourself and others.
Learn how to reduce stress, depression and anxiety.
Adapt to change and loss.
Bereavement counselling can help you come to terms with loss, whether death of a loved one, divorce and separation and any other type of loss.
About the author
I have practised as a counsellor and psychotherapist for over twenty years and worked with clients in the NHS, privately and with EAP schemes. Clients bring similar basic issues: anxiety, depression (anger and sadness), frustration, guilt, poor self-esteem, self-image, identity and worth, all of which results in loss of confidence and self-belief.
Related articles from our experts
- 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
- Unlocking anxieties through relationship therapy
Couples counselling specialist Christopher MacGovern12th 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.