Humans are a tough species to crack!
Relationships are a huge part of our lives. From the moment we’re born, we’re connected to others in the world. How are relationships even supposed to work? Therapy can help you understand and improve experiences with those close to you – including partners, family members, coworkers, friends, etc.
In childhood, we experience the caregivers who raise us and get to know the other kids growing up with us. As we grow through adolescence and adulthood, we form friendships, we date, we form special bonds, and even choose to cohabitate with some! And the whole time, we live in community, navigating relationships with neighbors and others who share our interests, as well as the people who hold power in those spaces.
And in each of those situations, we can experience joy, closeness, laughter, confusion, overwhelm, and pain. As we grow over our lives, personality forms, coping skills emerge, and tender spots make themselves known. We might learn to move closer and talk through things or we might choose to cool off in solitude before trying to reconnect. We may even try to be what someone else wants or expects because it feels safer. And, we have to remember that the people in our lives also have their unique relationship language and “conflict survival kit.”
Everyone is wired differently…
There’s no one way to be in relationships. Not just saying that your relationships with your boss, partner, child, parent, landlord, and clergy will all look different – but that every other human interaction has no single “right” way of being. A lot of things influence what matters to those who create relationships together: culture, trauma, genes, habits, preferences, and especially the wisdom that’s come from past experiences.
What does matter is that everyone, no matter how much you’ve been through or how different you feel, has the right and potential to work toward and experience healthy and rich relationships. And quality relationships DO take work! Even people whose families and marriages look “perfect” experience struggle and have to put in the effort for meaningful and lasting relationships. But just because it’s effort, doesn’t mean it’s a chore.
In relational therapy, there are NO stupid questions!
These examples, plus many others, are swirling around in minds everywhere. They’re sometimes hard to chew on, but we can conquer them with courage, openness, and gentleness toward ourselves…
EXPECTATIONS – How do I manage my partner’s expectations when I let them down? How do I cope with my disappointment when my partner lets me down? What expectations are normal and what aren’t fair?
COMMUNICATION – Why did my coworker react so poorly to something I said? It seemed really harmless.
VALUES – Am I imposing my values on my child – they aren’t meeting my expectations – is it me or them?
APPROACH – I try to comfort her, but she accuses me of trying to “fix” her and it just makes things worse. What am I doing wrong?
FRICTION – I’m tethered to my ex for the next eleven years as we raise our kids. How do I cope with him still being in my life? I’m still so angry, and sometimes I’m afraid.
SUSTAINABILITY – I love my job but I hate my boss. How do I manage so I can keep doing what I love and prevent them from totally destroying me?
IDENTITY – I feel like I lost myself in the last relationship. How do I reconnect with who I am, and when do I know I’m sturdy enough with myself to date again?
BALANCE – My mother’s older now and needs more and more of my care and support. How do I manage while working and caring for my own kids? I’ve barely even wrapped my head around our changing roles.
ENDINGS – Why did that friendship just explode? Was it something I did? My heart hurts over this—how do I reach out or move on?
Find the connection you deserve.
With therapy, either individually or with your partner(s) or family member(s), we’ll get to know and make sense of how YOU experience relationships. We’ll see what kinds of patterns emerge when things feel escalated or challenging and explore what the magic ingredients are when things are going well. We’ll also use the insights and experiences you bring to therapy so you feel safer, more empowered, and better able to connect in the ways that feel authentic to you.
And if trauma or abusive relationships have been a part of your experience, we’ll explore their influence on you… If you’ve learned to appease people to stay safe or avoid a negative impact, we’ll listen for your inner voice and reconnect with its wisdom, finding paths forward that don’t overrule your gut so you can begin to live more rewarding relationships.
Society says rich connections might be out of reach if we aren’t perfect – but that’s far from true! With gentleness toward yourself and those close to you, and some hard work, the relationships you want ARE possible.
Finally, unlock the mysteries of truly relating with others.
Tap into relational wisdom, tune in to yourself and those closest to you, and build secure attachment through individual, family, and couples counseling. Let’s connect!