Showing a relationship

Some Types of Difficulties:

  • Communicating honestly
  • Solving Problems
  • Negotiating Decisions
  • Distribution of Responsibilities
  • Feeling seen, heard or understood
  • Love and Affection

Identify the Difficulty

To be an alive human being means experiencing both the pleasures and the sorrows of relationships. The question of what goes on in our relationships is something we tend to be working on all the time in some way, shape of form.  We live with them and we learn from them, though not always at the same time. There are many reasons that we can suddenly find ourselves at a loss for answers or relief about our relationships. This is a time when talking to someone about it can help.

How To Improve Relationships

Talking with another person about a problem is one aspect of our relationships that can cause stress, tension and difficulty. However, these feelings can be eased when we get the attention and care we need for our own inner difficulties.  Attending to ourselves, like getting our house in order, is one way that can make solving conflict with others easier.

Work Out Difficulties

Therapy is a professional yet personal relationship that provides the opportunity to work out those difficulties that create unhappiness in our relationships.  In an ongoing conversation, where we can  talk freely in ways that perhaps aren’t possible anywhere else, we can explore and discover ways to rework difficulties in ways we may not have previously imagined.

Example of relationship therapy: The man who got out of his own way.

Please Note: The following is a fictitious creation to show how underlying ideas contribute to current problems that can be re-worked.

A well liked and hard working man found himself experiencing increased anxiety and days of depression. He didn’t know what was going on.  He was aware of worries that would wake him in the night but felt they made sense to him. He worried his work performance was subpar even though he received praise and advancement in a recent review. The feelings he was having were having an impact on his personal life.  He said that if he pursued an interest he would become overrun by anxious ideas and feelings. He described several physical symptoms of which one was an unexplained twitch in his leg.  His medical check up revealed nothing of organic origin. In his romantic life he felt similarly hindered by feelings of discomfort when things went well.  If he felt a relationship was going well he would, unintentionally, do things that created more distance instead of less.

One of the prominent life events that emerged for him had to do with an early relationship to an older brother. His older brother, whom he loved and admired, had been quite cruel and belittling to him. Although he didn’t appreciate the abuse he received from this brother, he weathered it, appearing as unfazed as possible yet underneath he had fleeting wishes of ill towards his brother. Then, when he was an adolescent, his brother was involved in bad car accident which left him partially paralyzed in one leg.

Although this bright young man rationally knew his brother’s accident wasn’t his fault, he couldn’t help feeling that it was.  This feeling of responsibility for his brother’s injury contributed to his anxiety in different ways. On a deep level, he felt tremendous guilt for his brother’s misfortune and it haunted him.  His guilt became a burden on his inner resources, acting like a weight he had to carry, threatening to defeat him. His anxiety and depression were part of a cycle that allowed him to find a kind of inner atonement for his guilt. In therapy he was able to re-work his feelings about his brother which was one obstacle blocking his engagement in life.