Couples Counseling Articles

Disappointment

If You Can’t Name It Or Claim It… You Can’t Change It

It doesn’t help to tell your partner how much you hurt or what a disappointment they’ve been unless you’re willing to look at the whole picture.

They’ll take it as an attack and fight back with an argument or they’ll shut down. None of that works.

You can’t have a real conversation with your partner until you can agree on what happens between you. You’ve got to be willing to look at the data.

Ah-ha moments come with new insights. By seeing patterns… and recognizing how we effect each other when we dismiss, blame, criticize and ignore.

Without exploring what’s really happening, it’s impossible to accomplish much.

After all, when we don’t like what’s happening, it’s easiest to blame somebody else. “It’s not me, it’s you…” Then you’re off the hook.

Continue Reading If You Can’t Name It Or Claim It… You Can’t Change It

Are You Stuck in a Downward Spiral?

happy-mature-coupleLook in the dictionary and the word ‘stuck’ has many meanings. Here’s one:

To be at a standstill.
To become fastened, hindered,
checked, or stationary by
some obstruction.

It’s hard to imagine, but for distressed couples, the biggest obstruction is a negative pattern they know is there but can’t change. People almost always refer to it as a loop, a cycle or a downward spiral.

The biggest indicator that you’re in a downward spiral is a recurring argument that starts slowly at first and usually gets ignored or shoved under the rug.

When that spiral gets momentum, it shreds your relationship and sooner or later you and your partner…..loving people who once felt safe and secure….suddenly feel distant and defensive.

You build walls around your heart and wonder – How did this happen to us?

Couples usually try to strike bargains; asking, negotiating, even demanding that the other person change. If you would just do this…then I’ll to do that…. for example.

Problem is, bargains don’t work and the cycle has you both locked in a pattern of negative emotions, thoughts and behaviors……

Demands and promises turn out to be a set up for disappointment and almost always make matters worse.

What drives this villainous pattern? FEAR

F-false
E-evidence
A-appearing
R-real

couple-fireIt’s a challenge to acknowledge fear at first but once you see it – you can’t NOT see it anymore. And once you see it, you can feel it, talk about it….even do something about it. That’s when everything starts to change.

There’s a shift happening and change is in the air. This might be a great time to take a look around and see how you might be stuck.

Everybody fears something.

What do you fear?