After a heated argument about being late for dinner, thirty-four year Gemma threw insults at her forty year old husband Jordan who told her that she was overreacting. She stormed out of the house when she heard that he had been finishing an online checkers game with a manufacturing client in Russia. Inflamed at being so disrespected and getting no apology to boot, Gemma drove to her mother’s home with a rush of indignant adrenalin propelling her tired body. Her outrage spilled out before her mother Gloria could make sense of the latest problem that Gemma and Jordan cycled though in their stormy three year childless marriage.
Are you wanting comfort and security with your loved ones but not able to get it by being good, quiet, patient and hopeful? Do you get mad and envious when you see other fully grown adults get pampered and taken care of when they whine and complain? Do you wish you could get away with that? Perhaps you have been harboring a secret wish that your loved ones would just do their job and love you the way they should, so that you didn't have to work so hard at getting them to even notice you.
Do you want to break up with your partner but just can't bring yourself to do it? Are you wracked with guilt every time you think of telling your partner that you want to end the relationship? Do you feel ungrateful and selfish because your partner is an angel and hasn't done anything to deserve being rejected? What you want most of all is for your partner to be the one to walk away so you don't have to be the bad guy. But that doesn't happen, so you start being a little bad here and there hoping your partner will stop loving you and break up the relationship. This cycle of silent and undercover attempts at breaking up can go on for ever and take up a lot of energy. You can get depressed and turn into the exact evil monster that you were trying to avoid, just to set yourself free. Mandy and Chris were both trapped in the same spot.
Thirty-two year upwardly mobile grocery store manager Danny approached life with eager optimism. His colleagues and workers revered him for acknowledging their good points, but his thirty year old wife Rayna, a successful beautician threw his compliments in the trash as if they were dirty wasted hair clippings from her customers. Danny’s patience was tested to its limits one evening when he came home and found Rayna tearing her hair out with problems printing out flyers for a special offer at her salon.
It's infuriating when your best laid plans fall apart at the last minute. You had it all going smoothly. You took care of all the snags, got everything prepared in the right order and had all the necessary funds for your plan to succeed. But then out of the blue it crumbles. You are angry, bitterly disappointed, and want to give up. The stress wears you out. This pattern happens over and over again, that just when you are on the point of success and growth you find yourself back at the start line! Why does this happen to you on a regular basis?
Gina a twenty-seven year old recent law school graduate was bubbling about her acceptance as an intern at a prestigious law firm. She jumped into the car when her thirty-two year old boyfriend Jake, vice-principle at an elementary school came to pick her up. She started talking excitedly before she strapped her seat belt on, but was gutted when she was abruptly cut off in mid- sentence. Three sentences in Jake sighed, avoided eye contact and told her he had to concentrate on the traffic.
Have you tried reading self-help books on making your relationship work and found the advice sensible but impractical? Perhaps you have been on couples retreats, gone to couples workshops and taken courses on communicating with your partner, gaining intimacy with your spouse and managing conflict with your loved one - but still not succeeded with any degree of consistency. There is a good reason why self-help materials and experiential workshops fail - and that is because you are being taught the skills that work for couples who can do relationships well naturally. They don't have to work through the same tensions, challenges and fears that you do. So when you come to putting those skills into practice the fears that you carry about losing your loved one, driving them away, being cheated on, not being good enough and so on get in the way of the success. It's not that you lack skills or need to learn new ones. It's the fears and insecurities producing relationship stress that get in your way.
Two years into their engagement, twenty-nine year old medical billings specialist Rachel vowed to leave her thirty-two year old fiancé Brian, a banker and property developer – for the millionth time. She was full of anger and bitterness about Brian’s willingness to help his sister manage her financial problems while making excuses about planning their long awaited vacation to Italy. Brian felt torn between Rachel and members of his family. He wanted to share himself with them all, but it was becoming increasingly difficult to do so without alienating one or other of his loved ones. He liked the fact that he was wanted and needed but he hated being put on the spot over and over again to choose between them and live with the discomfort of divided loyalties.
If you are considering couples counseling then you must have tried hard to solve your relationship problems by yourself and not got the results you hoped for. Perhaps you have threatened your partner with couples counseling when it seemed that there was no other option but separation or divorce. Many couples come into therapy to get validated and feel that their partner is the one that needs the counseling. Couples therapy rarely works when there is an agenda of blame. However there is an even more important reason why couples therapy may not work. It is when the discussion pieces in the counseling session isn't maintained from one meeting to the next because the couple don't realize the importance of practicing the skills of staying connected in a positive way outside of the therapist's consulting rooms.
Thirty-five year old Insurance underwriter Taylor was badly shaken in a bad road accident on his way home from the office. His car had been pushed into the vehicle in front by a driver talking on a cell phone, causing a massive pile up. He was in shock and shaking when he got home later that night. The events played over and over again in his mind trying to make sense of the carnage, wearing him out in the process. Telling his thirty year old partner Joyce, a florist, about the incident skimmed the top off the overwhelming feeling, but he still felt alone and anxious.