One of the most common fears people have in romantic relationships is about being needy. It arouses shame, followed by a massive attempt to compensate. Often it takes the form of becoming totally self-sufficient to the point of avoiding all social contact. The result: isolation, lack of emotional intimacy, leading to insecurity and depression – which in turn makes you more ‘needy.’
Working as a risk management specialist for a large medical group was getting 36-year-old Juliette down. She was exhausted and had no energy left for her husband, 38-year-old Elliot and their 5 and 6 year old children Aden and Mara. She hated having to work, but was the only breadwinner. The pressure on Juliette made her depressed. All she wanted to do was to sleep. She left the chores to her Elliot who attended to them with pride, seeing them as his contribution to the family. Even when she was awake, Juliette felt fatigued and disinterested in playing with her kids. She preferred to look on as Elliot engaged them in cycling, swimming and ball games. She was easily upset when things didn’t go right with the family, and felt useless as a mother, sister and wife. Depression had taken hold, and Juliette was steeped in a lack of self-worth. Her anger at having to be the breadwinner was buried in the depression, as was her disappointment and resentment towards her husband for not taking on that role.
Once you were your mother's right arm, her champion and her savior. In return she took care of you by paying for everything you needed, so you didn't have to look for work or a life partner. But now you want to think for yourself. You want your feelings to count, not just those of your mother's. But you are scared that if you show how your mind works differently, that your mother won't like it, and take away your financial cushion. Yet, you want to be free to make your own mistakes. You love your mother and want a connection, but you want to share social moments because it feels good, not because you feel it is expected or that you will be punished if you don't!
Do you hate your loved one so much that you want to hurt them and make them feel your pain? Are you so enraged when they seem to be loving and then switch off? It's natural for you to feel angry when you are given with one hand and then another and takes it away before you've even tasted it. The stress of having/not having pumps you up with adrenaline. THE THREE D'S OF ANGER, AND STRESS ENGULF YOU
Just imagine getting lots of hugs, hand holds, heads on shoulders, gentle touches of reassurance and looks of love? Wouldn't that be satisfying if you could count on that every day from your valentine? Now switch and consider how much your valentine wants the same affectionate interactions from and with you! Put that on your mental list of ways to show love and be loved. Then take a panoramic shot of how often you and your loved one reciprocate affection as a routine way of interacting!
The dream that helped Damien understand the trap he was in, fearing commitment and choices was the first of a series that helped him prepare to propose to his girlfriend and adjust his relationship with his mother. Now he was ready to propose, but how would his mother react? The eldest of three children, Damien felt responsible for his mother’s welfare. His younger siblings were in college and his father wasn’t reliable. Damien enjoyed getting advice on ‘the right thing to do,’ from his mother, who also took care of him in ways that made their bond special. He knew his mother wanted him to marry a girl that came from the same ethnic and religious background. There was nothing more important to him than his prospective wife and mother getting along. Would his mother approve of Leila? Would they find a way of relating without making him choose between them? Would Leila be okay with him visiting his mother after church every Sunday? Would Leila be okay with him continuing to take care of his mother’s car insurance payments?
Recently a woman brought her male partner into therapy to make him confess to seeing other women, because she 'knew' he was playing around. You can guess how that went down! He felt cornered as if he had been forced into a confessional in the guise of having 'therapy' which is generally considered useful and validating. She felt vindicated that I was seeing the lying side of him, while frustrated that I wasn't browbeating him into admitting what she already 'knew' about his transgressions. I felt like I was being put in the role of a principal of a school with a teacher bringing me a naughty boy to be punished - unwilling to take on that mantle. Couples therapy often fails to take off because the intentions of one or other of the partners is to make the other feel bad. They say they want to work on the relationship but when it comes down to it, the partner that instigated the therapy usually wants to shame, blame and reclaim the control.
Three months before his wedding 35 year-old Damien came home from working as a lab technician tired, grumpy and dreading the thought of having to propose to his girlfriend or else lose her. He hated the idea of making that decision only to find that there were better fish in the sea. He thought very highly of 32-year-old Physical Therapist Leila, but didn’t want to make that final commitment. It felt like he was imprisoning himself for life. The stress was unbearable.
Does it bother you when you catch your partner flirting with your best friend? Do you swing from thinking it's good that they are pals, to wondering if both of them are betraying you? It must be very uncomfortable for you to be caught in this trap. Do you confront one or other and risk being seen as overly sensitive or jealous? What if you hurt one or both when they feel that you mistrust them and that the friendship and romantic relationship are in jepoardy? Do you wait to see what develops? Do you nip things in the bud?