Loving myself and Loving you
Working with couples counselling, I come from the position that happy relationships with others are based on the creation of a happy relationship with ourselves. Finding out about ourselves and others is often a painful but useful learning experience. Within relationships, we make some of the most difficult decisions, where we determine the boundaries for ourselves, we will not allow someone else to do damage to what we want. Our patterns are mirrored in others, victim and caretaker dance with one another and in this that we are together is the opportunity to re-gain our emotional health.
Relationships are a significant part of the way we determine our own happiness. Our early relationships as children do provide the patterning for many of our later responses and if we can sort out that part of the picture we have a much better chance of enjoying couple relationships in the later part of life.
In the early twenties, many of us are exploring ourselves in different relationships and the choices and disappointments that we meet as couples can be difficult to cope with, as they seem to determine how we feel about ourselves.
Children: It is hard where they are and where they aren't!
It is a characteristic of this generation that we have many women who in their later 20's and 30's find that their desire to start a family leads them to re-evaluate what they want from relationships.
Affairs are nearly always extremely hurtful, but it is possible in some relationships to heal the wound and address the underlying issues that set the scene for this to happen, but this does take a firm intention from both the individuals involved.
It is very unfortunately true that there are domestic abusive relationships, configured by men and women on each other, and it is a blessing to me to see a person recover from that kind of risky life-style.
Living comfortably with yourself
In couple counselling, I am concerned to support the individuals concerned, to give them the opportunity to grow in themselves as they tackle the changes involved in the relationship. Learning to be comfortable in one's own skin is a process and relationships are easier for people who have gained a confidence in themselves.
Caretaker, persecutor and victim
It is of benefit to consider the well known dramatic dance between the process of caretaking, persecuting and becoming the victim. When someone becomes entrenched in any one of these roles, it is not possible to have a healthy relationship, but with work we can come free and set ourselves and our partner free to find a better way of relating and living.
Much of what is called co-dependency can be seen in these terms.
The inner voices
Our relationship with ourselves is largely coloured by the kind of judgements we make and how much space in our lives those inner voices take up. Our inner judges, not only threaten us with retribution for our failures, they also drive us forwards with their equivalent of whips in order that we may become the achiever of perfection which those voices would like to see. The counselling process is much involved with dealing with these voices.
Addictions of all kinds can be the third party in many relationships, and it is often necessary to deal with many complex issues in order to see a relationship work towards health or otherwise, depending on the choices made by the people who matter most.
Loneliness is endemic in our society and people of all ages are wondering how they can prepare themselves to find a deeper and more satisfying relationship. So often life is so busy, we wonder whether we have time to give to the satisfaction of this need for ourselves.
Relationships and Emotional Health
In couples counselling we have to address the various emotional issues which may be making it difficult to have satisfying relationship. People who are under the thrall of anger, depression, anxiety, recovering from bereavement or loss of employment, will find it easier to handle relationships when these issues have been addressed.
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