Relationship counselling with happiness as a goal
I work with many couples to help them unravel the intricacies of their relationship and allow them to become more authentic and emotionally aware of their own needs and any unconsciously sabotaging behaviours. Sometimes I just work with one person and sometimes with both, however, NEVER at the same time, because this is YOUR journey and it is private and unique to you.
My marriage guidance and relationship counselling service isn’t about compromise, nor is it about you talking and talking about your problems, I will teach you new ways to explore your emotions, what you want from the relationship, from life, from work and help you to see a whole new way of being in the relationship (or exiting the relationship). From this new point of view the decisions you need to make become clearer and more based upon things you ‘want’ to do rather than things you think you ‘ought’ to do.
My goal is not necessarily to save the marriage, it is to help you to find more happiness and meaning in your life and in your relationships. Many people find that as they grow emotionally their partners respond well to the changes – and as we all know, it’s easier to change yourself than to try and change somebody else!
You are only responsible for your half of the relationship…
As blunt as it sounds, you are only responsible for your half of the relationship, you are a couple, a pair, and the partnership has two halves to it. No matter how strong that relationship you can never (really) know what that person feels or what they are thinking – we assume we do and then we try to please them or control them based on our assumptions of what we think they want. You are not responsible for what goes on in your partner’s mind and you are (usually) not party to their deepest fears, worries and anxieties – all you know is what goes on in your mind, your half of the relationship.
They make me feel this way…
So often I hear people say “I wish they would stop doing that, it drives me mad” which is making the statement that the other person is controlling their emotions – “when he does that, I get upset” – personally, I feel that we are responsible for our own emotions, it’s not them that is upsetting us, it is our own personal response to what they did, somebody else might not be bothered at all. Our self-beliefs, our personal fears and all the things we learned whilst growing up, going to school, through religion and the events of our life have programmed us to react in certain ways and often we don’t have a lot of flexibility.
One obvious example of this is where one party is feeling jealous – Jealousy can quite easily be defined as a lack of self-esteem that is projected onto the other person. “When they do that thing… it makes me feel bad, therefore, if I control them so they don’t do that thing, then I will feel less bad about myself” – this is a great example of how people let others control their emotions – When all the time we truly have the ability to manage our own emotions and feelings independently from what anyone else says or does (if we are prepared to learn how!)
Is staying less fearful than leaving?
Let’s be honest, some couples just shouldn’t be together (if happiness and quality of life are the measures) – victims attract abusers, people who (think) they need security will stay with a partner who can provide regardless of love and sometimes people just fear to be alone more than staying in an unhappy relationship.
We explore what you truly want from a relationship and any barriers that prevent these needs from being met. These may be from your partner, however, often they are just self-limiting beliefs or feelings of not being good enough or even worthy enough of love. Of course, these are only beliefs, they feel real but they are only your beliefs, you learned them and you can unlearn them too (if you want happiness enough!)
What is love?
We never know if we are really loved, sure, we can say “I feel loved by that person” however, as I said before we never know what is in our partner’s mind. Love has two aspects to it, firstly, what your partner thinks about you – and that is intensely private and personal and you don’t have access to their thoughts. And secondly, what they say and do which are things that you can see and hear that show evidence of their love for you. You may wish to read that sentence again because it is really important.
How many times have we asked them “what are you thinking?” and they say “oh, nothing.” So, mostly in a relationship, we are looking for evidence (by their actions and words) that they love us – and if we feel we are not getting enough attention we tend to jump to conclusions about how they feel, when all the time, we will never know how they really feel. You can only truly know if YOU love THEM. There is no way of truly knowing if they love you (think about it). To me, love is more about respecting and accepting your partner the way they are otherwise you are going to have to change them to make you feel better and that sounds like hard work, nobody likes being told what to do or how to behave.
Men and women are different!
Of course, we are different, however, more fundamentally different than you might imagine, during the relationship counselling sessions I teach people the common traps men and women fall into when they assume that they both want the same thing. Understanding the nature of emotions, tonality, hand gestures and generally what makes each sex tick. Once you understand this it is so much easier to not get hooked by the comments or behaviour of your spouse as you’ll realise that those things were not meant personally, although that is how it usually feels.
Who is talking to who?
In any conversation, there are lots of players, for example; if you are laying in bed talking to yourself, who is talking to who? Is me talking to myself? Is my mind talking to my body? Either way, if you ask the voice to stop it doesn’t! So who is in control? It is important to unravel this conundrum because as you go into conversations with your partner you’ll find that a whole cast of characters are getting involved.
There is the voice of who you think THEY should be and what THEY should do (according to your beliefs about them). Then there is the voice of who YOU think YOU should be and how YOU would like to be seen by others, and if that’s not enough there are the little characters in our mind the judge, the victim, the hero fixer, the pleaser all trying to talk at the same time. And your partner has the same bunch of voices in their head. Who is talking to who? Is your pleaser talking to their victim? Are they let down because you didn’t live up their expectation of who you SHOULD be (in their mind)? I teach you how to break this down and end unnecessary emotional drama and conflict. Learning new forms of listening and communicating is a key aspect of this form of relationship counselling.
Loving yourself too…
How can you expect someone to love you if you don’t love yourself? Why would you believe them if you don’t feel worthy of love? It really is that simple. I do a lot of work regarding self-esteem, self-respect and acceptance, all of which are important in a calm and happy relationship.
What happens next?
I would suggest that you have a chat with your partner, perhaps share this page with them to see how they feel about my direct approach, then give me a call and we can go through things in more detail. In my experience, one partner usually wants help more than the other and I am happy to work with both or just one – remember you are responsible for your happiness, not them.
Call me on 01280 731155