Do you ever wonder whether your partner has the capacity to love you , just for being you, rather than what you do for them? Are you often disheartened that your partner seems to focus on what you have done or not done, rather than care about your experiences? Maybe you had a similar experience of 'love' from a parent, who never seemed interested or joyful in your company, let alone genuinely into whatever was exciting for you. You know that feeling, when you long to share your joy or sadness, but instead of tuning into you and being happy with you and for you, the interaction switches to being about what they are needing from you. And, its not until you fulfill that need that you are 'loved.'
Do you automatically brush away your partner’s promises to do chores or specific tasks with suspicion, thinking that it will never happen? Do you doubt your partner’s sincerity when they apologize, suspecting that they are just saying the right words, but don’t really mean it? Maybe you anticipate that you will have to do all the jobs your partner does over again because they won’t do it right or in a timely fashion. You are suspicious of their intentions and capabilities and that makes it hard for you to trust. It puts you on guard, watching for the next mistake or broken promise that will become your problem to handle. It’s not easy to have a loving and open connection when you are in this state, is it?
Then I encouraged Rachel to explain how she felt in that situation, and why she went to a cold, mean place later on. She told Byron how she wanted to show their closeness, that speaking about his view was a way of expressing togetherness. When she was controlled and humiliated, it made her want to hurt him by withdrawing and shooting verbal barbs that stung – in other words, taking back control. Making room for both of their wounds and pain showed them that each was trying to control the other to protect their sore spots. Now that they understood the nature and origin of the hurt, they no longer had to use control to manage their couples communication issues, but could instead remind each other of their sensitivities and have other more comforting responses from one and other. Then I encouraged Rachel to explain how she felt in that situation, and why she went to a cold, mean place later on. She told Byron how she wanted to show their closeness, that speaking about his view was a way of expressing togetherness. When she was controlled and humiliated, it made her want to hurt him by withdrawing and shooting verbal barbs that stung – in other words, taking back control. Making room for both of their wounds and pain showed them that each was trying to control the other to protect their sore spots. Now that they understood the nature and origin of the hurt, they no longer had to use control to manage their couples communication issues, but could instead remind each other of their sensitivities and have other more comforting responses from one and other. Do you feel like your partner cuts you off mid-sentence, or gags you just when you are about to say something that bothers you? Maybe you find that the subject has been artfully changed so that you can’t talk about what’s really important to you. Perhaps you feel that you don’t want to hear what your partner has to say because it is nonsense or just irrelevant. One of the major couples communication issues that brings them into couples counseling is where one or both attempt to control the other by the way they react to each other’s efforts to get something across.
You've had a fight with your partner. You are sure you are in the right, and you stand your ground. There is no compromise and you are willing to wait until your partner acknowledges it. You want to be vindicated and you want your partner to acknowledge that you are right and they are wrong. How sweet the thought of that is! So you go off to your private corner with your head held high, and wait. Meantime your partner also feels in the right. Your partner too is willing to wait until you see the error of your judgment, admit it and give them a victory. Your partner is caught in the same couples communication issue as you : a standoff!
Are you enraged because your partner seems to hear what you said but doesn't respond? Do you want to engage your partner in a serious conversation but find that your words go in one ear and out the other? Then you are obviously not having an impact. Maybe there is a reason why matters that are important to you, doesn't hit your partner in the same spot.
west los angeles couples counseling Do you walk away from your partner when they start talking to you in ways that seem critical and condemnatory? Maybe your partner does little things to deliberately annoy you while pretending to be angelic on the surface? This style of communicating has a huge impact and cause big feelings, often leading to erruptions. Actions set out to send a big message of protest or of having power and control over your partner can be very useful when you don't want to argue, or when it isn't comfortable to let two different points of view coexist in the same space. But there are some drawbacks - it avoids talking, discussing, exploring and understanding. Without words, there is no appreciation of each others intent, motive, hurt, anxiety, fear, expectation or desire. There is only protest, punishment, revenge, an attempt to be control, and one up-manship.
Couples communication issues is by far the biggest impetus that draws partners into couples therapy. One person describes the frustrating experience of not being able to get through their partner’s wall, no matter how hard they try. Then the other one says there is no point listening because they know exactly what’s going to be said, and it’s all a load of nonsense! Perhaps you too have felt excluded from your partner’s life, which not only angers you but leads to misunderstandings that have long term implications for how much you trust one and other. Often one member of a couple comes into therapy already having ‘given up!’ They start off with, “what’s the point?” and nine times out of ten it’s the opening salvo in ensuring that no one is going to get past each other’s defensive moats. But what may surprise you is that despite the fact that you feel like there isn’t any communication going on, THERE IS, and plenty of it.
Have you met the love of your life, but feel uneasy because your partner is divorced? Do you wonder whether their history intruding on your new and exciting relationship? Are you wondering if your lover will leave you and go back to their ex, because their family before you is first and will always be more magnetic than you? Dating a person who is divorced when you yourself have never been married is a challenge and can stir up a lot of discomfort, leeriness and loss of self-confidence.
Are you frustrated and angry that you never know what's going on with your spouse and resent having to ask? Maybe you feel that your partner is not matching your expectations but have given up on trying to get through. If you are the husband you probably keep it in, make jokes about marriage with your friends, and try to keep the peace at home. But you are not likely to go to your family and talk about it - not to them, and especially not to or with your wife! But, if you are the wife, you may drop little hints here and there to your husband that he is disappointing or annoying you, maybe even hurting you by not being as involved as you would like.
Have you ever been accused of having “abandonment issues”? Maybe you feel abandoned when that phrase is used as a reason to walk away from you instead of working through the problems at hand. Perhaps you believe you have abandonment issues because past relationships have ended making you feel abandoned, unloved and unimportant. To some extent everyone feels abandoned from time to time, but most get over it, experiencing it as a passing blip on the radar, that soon disappears in the richness of a relationship that offers other fulfilling moments. These blips don’t destroy an otherwise firm and secure connection to your significant other. It’s when those blips feel like huge meteors reigning down on you and destroying your footing, taking away your confidence and purpose, that experiences of abandonment can negatively influence your romantic relationships.