The Dynamics of Couples Counseling
My grandmother used to say the real relationship begins when warts show up. Then what? Do we run and hide, or do we use the situation as an opportunity to grow as a person?
There are many dynamics taking place simultaneously in relationships. The foremost is basically one family system is bucking up against another. Both partners bring with them the rule system of their family of origin. When we believe the other person must fall in line with how “everybody” does things – problems exist. Who said your family system was better or worse? In breaking free of the family origin dictates and learning to set your own rules in which to live by, more stability in relationships can be found.
How are you with handling money? How are you with handling emotions? Do you keep secrets or are you brutally honest? There are so many factors that we learn from our family of origin which makes us us, however, are you willing to be flexible and maybe change your rules.
Our past exerts a tremendous influence on us. If you had a good childhood the world would be a trusting and wonderful place. You would be able to speak your mind and feel good about yourself. If you had a problematic childhood, most often it can be difficult to trust, feel inferior, and go through the motions of life just to survive. How do you feel by the end of the day? Are you exhausted and in need of a drink to settle your nerves? Or on the other hand, are you full of energy and want to get out and do something fun. To these people, life is an adventure to be experienced.
Owning the Projections
These are just a few of the dynamics that makes relationships such a challenge. To remain in a relationship where the warts are showing it important to train your focus on your own warts. An easy way to do this is simply “Owning the Projections” – as Sigmund Freud would say. He believed that we are like a camera that is projecting our wounds onto others. We do this to keep our Ego feeling safe and superior. When we realize that people are like screens to us in which we see our own faults, then changing this in ourselves paves the way for us to grow as a person and in love.
Love Yourself, Not Just Your Partner
Relationships reflect back to us the relationship we have with ourselves. If we are frustrated with our partner, the real person we are frustrated with is ourselves. However, if we are loving towards them, it follows that we love ourselves. If you can’t love you, how can you love them? A great undertaking in couples therapy is helping each person learn how to love themselves.
Why does your partner love you? For jealous types, it is difficult for them to find any value in themselves. They believe it is important to gain love through another person. This dynamic spells doom in a relationship. Relationships are for mutual love and mutual respect. If you want more love, be loving. If you wait for them to only be loving, you may be waiting for a long time.
Communication vs Mind Reading
One of the biggest causes of relationship failure is lack of communication. Everybody is talking and nobody is listening. Learning to switch this around and listen twice as much as you speak will put many relationships back on track. Learning how to speak and how to listen can be mastered if you are willing to aim for loving instead of being right. If you consistently make yourself right, it means you are making the other person wrong and often resentments are created.
Lastly, direction. Without a mutual vision of how you both want your relationship to be, leads to a lot of fantasy and so-called mind reading. Though, I don’t know many couples that can do the later very well. How do you want your relationship to be? Physical affection, shared interests, food, religion, child raising, outings, ways to celebrate holidays all have a major impact if not handled properly. Learning the fine art of meditation can help you communicate, compromise, and be on the same page.
Is it an easy fix if trust has been betrayed? Well, no. There aren’t any easy fixes in relationships. Each person needs to go through a process of letting go of their desire to be right and punish the other person for upsetting them. However, if the intention is to keep loving one another and working through the difficulties that can occur in relationships, then you’ve both got a shot of making your relationship a success. Innately do you care about the other person? If so, remain and work things out. Get help by attending counseling. There is a solution if you are willing to endure warts that show.
My Grandmother said that after warts show and you still care about the person, it’s a good match :-).
May your relationships thrive!