Many couples who come to see me for marital counseling say “we can’t communicate”, or “we argue about everything.” In fact, it’s not unusual for them to say both! Whether it’s what to do on the weekend, who does what chores, or how one partner looks at someone of the opposite sex, conflicts seem to spring up all over the place, never resolved. While conflict is normal in marriages, it can also lead to much pain if not handled in a healthy way.
Affairs are certainly hazardous to your relationship health.
The deception of the unfaithful partner drives a wedge into the relationship. The resulting effects of infidelity do such damage that the faithful partner is left confused, reeling, uncertain of the future and questioning every detail of the relationship’s past.
The pain is a crater between them. The fallout stretches far and wide.
Any couple who has had an infidelity grenade drop into their relationship knows the kind of destruction, loss, and grief that can overwhelm the connection they once had.
Are you and your partner suffering these common effects of infidelity?
Searching for good relationship therapy is, in one way, a little like looking for a good, honest auto mechanic. When your car starts making some weird new sound, you want expert help. You want a good, honest mechanic, someone who knows how to fix your car and will not rip you off. He might be a little rough around the edges, but if he’s a good, honest mechanic, that’s what’s most important.
If you need major heart surgery, you probably won’t care if the surgeon is undeniably arrogant, as long as she is at the top of her game. You want to live.
I’d like to tell you about an early therapy experience that shaped my entire approach to individual therapy.
One of my earliest individual therapy clients was a distraught young woman who came into the Stress Management Clinic experiencing a very painful headache. She was a college senior, nearing the graduation mark, when just at the last few weeks of school, her headache appeared.
She had been an A-student all through school. But at the moment, she couldn’t study, couldn’t write her last papers, couldn’t prepare for final exams. The clock was ticking, and she was scared.
There always seems to be at least one person in our lives with whom we don’t feel we can share our true thoughts and feelings about. There can be several reasons for this. Maybe we want to be liked. Maybe we’re embarrassed, or we’re simply afraid of what might happen if we tell them. If you were to confront the person or people with whom you have an issue, just imagine how this would free up space in your brain to think about other things.
There are three ways in which people often communicate that are NOT effective. One is not saying anything and letting resentments build. This is called being passive. Another is aggressive communication. This might seem obvious, but aggression doesn’t really do anything for us either, except maybe land us in jail. Aggression can take the form of verbal or physical violence. Trying to control someone else is never the answer, nor should this be an option.
You may have heard the word, “Codependent,” but do you really know what it means? Definitions and descriptions of a codependent person can be expansive. Occasionally, I hear people mistakingly believe this term applies to only those who are within some type of addicted or chemically dependent relationship. They aren’t completely wrong. In fact, the original term for this concept was “co-alcoholic,” as researchers initially examined settings where addiction was present and they found a variety of behavior patterns in the family members of these chemically dependent people. In looking closer, they noticed a range of emotional, mental, relational, and spiritual issues in these family members and loved ones. As the concept continued to expand, it was not long before we realized that these patterns continued even after a relationship with an addicted person ended. What’s more, these things were also being exhibited in non-addicted relationships and families.