I’ve worked with many couples over the years to help them identify and resolve their relationship issues. I sometimes think that a relationship built on trust and respect can offer a tremendous opportunity for couples to heal many of the traumas they may have experienced in childhood. Often it is these unresolved ‘psychological circuitry’ issues that act as trigger points: many battles can start with a silly off-hand comment that can snowball into something much larger…and last for days! Recently I had a couple comment that their initial argument morphed into a ‘cold war’ that lasted for well over a week – each giving the other the silent treatment and holding back the love they both need and deserve. I take a non-judgemental approach, but it is hard not to see that these battles can take a lot of energy to maintain – each assured that they are in the right.
My work often takes me into the eye of these stormy arguments, each person offering their perspective. What is true, a lot of the time, is the source of these flare-ups is the negative ‘self-talk’ built up over the years: ‘I am no good at…’; ‘I am not worthy of…’. These can get magnified in a relationship and easily triggered. The work with these couples is sometimes to explore where these issues still sit and how they present themselves.
My job is not to ‘fix’ my client couple, they need to come and commit to the work and engage in it wherever it leads – this is not always for the faint-hearted. However, I’m continually reminded that many, if they’ve bravely reached out to a professional like me, often have deep reserves of patience and a real desire to forge a healthy relationship. On the argument front, I’ve sometimes suggested a ’15 minute’ window, that you get to argue within but a resolution must be found at the end, lest things drag on for days. I’ve simplified this last idea but what I try to do is offer tools or suggestions that can be used after the session has ended.
Take good care…