A month into a pact that 37 year old cosmetologist Katrina made with 39 year old Roger to quit drinking and attend AA meetings, she found an empty liquor bottle in the outside trash can while she was clearing stuff out. Breathless with fury about his lies and his lack of trustworthiness she waited for him to come home from his job at the property management company. She was ready to confront him with the bottle and make him admit and atone for his transgression towards her and their relationship. “You’ve been drinking again, haven’t you?” Katrina scolded. “No, I haven’t!” “Don’t lie. I found this bottle in the trash. It’s the brand you drink, so don’t lie.” Katrina challenged him with a voice oozing with disgust and contempt. “Stop accusing me of stuff. You’ve got no proof. You jump to conclusions without even asking me.” Roger yelled back in an affronted tone. “We’ve been here before. You’re always promising to stop drinking and go to AA but you never do. You’re just a junkie. If it’s not booze then it’s pot or something else. I’m sick of your lies and empty promises.”
Do you regret having lost your cool and thrown your boyfriend out? Are you feeling lost, lonely and guilty that you ended the relationship and can never have it back? Do you feel like you have done permanent damage to your relationship and that he will never come back to you? It's a common experience when you are anxious about getting an ex back.
Blake got away with everything and Aaron was sick to death of having to pick up the slack for the sake of the business. He wanted to quit so that his parents would get a real taste of what it would be like without him, but a sense of loyalty and commitment stopped him from walking out and starting his own business- something he had thought of doing several times before, especially when he felt unfairly burdened by the weight of Blake’s nonchalance. For the rest of that week Aaron kept reminding his parents about how hard he worked and how much responsibility he took on. He wanted them to make things more equal between him and Blake but they just palmed him off with a pay raise or luxury travel vouchers. He felt that they favored Blake and expected him to carry his younger brother on his back.
Do you feel that you can't speak your mind because it will end in a misunderstanding, fight and hurt feelings? Are you regretful after you speak your truth because a loved one got upset and froze you out? Family relationship problems usually revolve around the way you make up after a relationship issue has caused tension, hurt, pain and anger. Maybe you feel guilty when you do speak your mind and then rush to compensate by being extra attentive to the family member who felt hurt by your remarks. You give your power to the one who feels wronged and then resent it later when you feel diminished by your enslavement towards atoning for your daring move to speak out. The relationship feels burdensome and heavy making you want to exit. You may cut it off so give yourself some relief. But it's harder to make up later. The effort and work that is needed to bring the relationship back to life is enormous. So why not learn how to repair family problems by taking care of the hurt before it turns into a gaping and lethal wound.
At 8:00 pm one Wednesday night forty-three year dance teacher Erica was paying bills online when her forty-five year old partner Damien, a podiatrist, rushed into the room with a stack of papers that he wanted her to see. He was going on about being sued for malpractice, cussing out the patient and the lawyers. She waited till he finished and then told him it was a legal issue and went back to her bill paying. The tsunami of vitriol that Damien threw at her for not listening or caring made her speechless with rage.
Do you panic when you can't control your anger despite going to anger management classes? Do you hate yourself when you fly off the handle and act like someone from your past that you have tried so hard to avoid? Is your explosive anger destroying your important relationships and items of expensive equipment that you value? Is the anxiety about failing now bigger than the anger itself? Are you ready to really deal with the anger rather than just bury it, whip it into shape or squish it?
After chiding her live- in boyfriend of five years, thirty-three year old boutique owner Nicole was full of self-loathing. She was angry that she had lost her temper with thirty-five year old car service manager Craig who was constantly letting her down. Nicole watched herself berate him for his sloppiness and half-finished chores. She saw Craig cringe and it reminded her of the times when her father laid into her for not doing as he expected. She didn’t want to be anything like her father. She was alarmed and ashamed that she behaved exactly like her dad, and wasn’t able to do anything to stop it.
Do you have a fantasy about what you want from your valentine? Would you like action in the form of receiving gifts and treats at a fancy restaurant? Or would you prefer a few genuine and sincere words that touch your heart and make you feel special, loved and treasured? Do you care more about spending time with your valentine or is it more important that your loved one spends a lot of money and spoils you rotten?
As the six week new beauty product launch project wound down thirty-six year old Gina felt sad that the closeness and unity of the team was about to shatter as they all went their separate ways. She would miss the happy family they had created in order to get the job done, but understood that good things came to an end. What she couldn’t let go of was the fluttering of excitement and hope she felt when she thought about getting to know Brett on a more personal level.
When you have tried as hard as you can to get through to your partner without success you may feel unheard, unseen and misunderstood. You try even harder to make your point, to show where you are coming from and what upsets you so much in the relationship. Your partner may be feeling equally frustrated and exasperated with failed attempts to get through to you about what's going on for them. So you both escalate, get even more angry and disappointed and worst of all you both end up terrified that you are never going to be able to communicate in a way that allows you to feel understood and attended to. Your arguments and fights get increasingly bitter with accusations and blame used as cannons in an attempt to break down the barricades of your partner's apparent refusal to see it your way. At that point you may think that the only way you can salvage the relationship is to go to couples therapy. Maybe an outside person can be more objective and act as a referee or mediator. Before you go to couples therapy, there are some crucial things you should be aware of: