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Relationship Counseling

Often once my services are needed,

anxiety and anger have become

the norm in the relationship.

The meaningful connection they

had enjoyed has become difficult

to rediscover amidst fear and

hopelessness. The tense and

sometimes volatile energy is preventing

anyone’s needs from getting met.

Here is where I help alleviate that anxiety

and anger by helping each of the individuals

find their voice. What’s the unspoken feeling

behind the feeling being presented? Once

these intense feelings have been eased we

can refocus on the underlying problem.

 

What is the truer meaning of the problem?

 

I believe there are 3 levels of truth within each

of us, true – truer - truest. Each level getting us

closer to our authentic self. In this certainty, we find

our heart and soul. Once we are here we can finally

let go of what is holding us back and step into our

truest place as a person.

This heightened level of anxiety and/or anger among

the partners can create walls or barriers. These walls,

over time, result in pushing the root of the problem

deeper and deeper until eventually, no one is sure how it all started. Once couples have gotten to this point, no

one’s needs are being met and the unhealthy cycle continues.

If you think about it, how can we get to our

needs if there is a wall blocking us. This is where patterns become obvious, like one individual over-functions and chases the other, as the other person responds by withdrawing.

To find the truer meaning of the problem the walls must be removed. I use a brief solution-focused (SFT) approach to quickly calm the “big” emotions in the room so we can learn what is at the root of the issue(s). This process happens at a different pace from relationship to relationship. However, it is not rare to feel immediate relief after the first session.

 

An example of “removing the walls” is slowing down what is happening between you and your partner so you can empathize with what your partner is going through. When individuals become combative with each other they tend to block out their empathy towards their partner in order to “survive” or “win” the arguments. Nothing melts a stubborn heart like kindness and love.

 

Once the anxiety has been lessened, we can focus on creating space for learning and practicing healthy effective communication skills. With time and practice, each partner can learn the tools to be heard, seen, and loved by each other. Through the course of these efforts, trust can be rebuilt slowly and purposefully.

The things we say or complain about are commonly not the actual problem. Here is where we start to explore patterns of behavior and their origins.

             

Complaint: All they do is hang out with their friends and read Facebook. They’re selfish.

 

Interpretation: I feel sad and lonely because I miss them and want to spend more time with them.

 

Patterns in a relationship are not unique to our current one. They are learned behavior that originates back to our foundational developmental years. By recognizing these origins, we identify roles and patterns that we re-create from our childhood to play out in the present. We can date, befriend or marry people who are familiar to us. This familiarity can subconsciously put us in old roles. These old roles can be the core of the problems in partnerships.

 

Examples:

Growing up my father taught me that women catered to her husband’s needs. It was familiar for me to date men who were controlling and expected me to put their needs before my own. So, I felt powerless and frustrated until I gave myself permission to make my needs just as important as theirs. Now I feel satisfied in my relationships.

 

As a child, it was my responsibility to care for my parents’ well-being. I wasn’t allowed to go play because I had to be responsible. Today I feel dismissed by my partner because they won’t let me take the time I need for myself. I just want a small break. It wasn’t until I gave myself permission to take a break that my partner and I stopped fighting over it.

 

How do these roles & patterns impact our partners and how do they interpret them?

 

More in-depth, honest connections start to be made at this point. The relationship can either rewrite these old patterns and roles or accept that things are not

personal and do not need to be internalized.

Healing relationships is not always about changing

yourself or the other. It is about seeing the other person

for who they truly are and not for who you want

them to be. It is about accepting them and

learning how not to take everything personal.

Finding your own path as an individual first

then in a relationship with other. In accepting this

we can unload the pressure we sometimes feel

in a relationship and get back to our

truest selves.

 

When our truest self is

happy the relationship

can thrive.

Lets Connect

Jenifer Piegaro 
Psychotherapist & Coach

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