You can't seem to figure it out. You always thought you were a happy person. Your childhood was fine. You don't remember anything traumatic happening to you. So why do you feel so stuck right now? It feels like you have nothing to look forward to. You may be hesitant to go out and meet new people or even spend time with your friends. When you look in the mirror you quickly look away because you don't like what - or who - you see. All you want is to wake up each day and look forward to what lies ahead. Is this even possible anymore?
You may be suffering from a number of different mental health issues. Your current feeling could be related to your stage of life; this is typical and you are not alone! You could be struggling with your identity and your self-esteem. You may be unhappy in your work or relationship, which is leading to this feeling of stuckness.
Individual therapy can help! Talking to a therapist gives you the opportunity to share some of your deepest thoughts and feelings in a safe and supportive space. Seeking help requires courage, but the payoff is well worth it!
This week, we continue exploring how to fight fair by avoiding the Four Horsemen of the Relationship Apocalypse as described by famed couples therapist and researcher John Gottman.
The second Horseman to erase from your argument repertoire: Contempt!
Contempt can be expressed verbally or nonverbally. Name-calling is one form of contempt, for example calling someone a jerk, selfish, or an idiot. Sarcasm, mockery and stonewalling are also forms of contempt (we’ll get to to Stonewalling later). Contempt can be conveyed through body language- rolling your eyes, sneering, grinding your jaw or leering all convey contempt.
So how does one combat their contemptuous urges? By using the Gentle Start Up described last week. “I feel _____ (name the emotions) when you ______(describe the situation without blaming judging or name calling) Then tell your partner what you need to feel better, not what they are doing wrong, or what they could do differently. More like “I need support, I need validation, I need to be heard.” Not, "I need you to choose me over your mother, you momma’s boy.” Name calling, threats, insults and ultimatums are OFF LIMITS.
Communication/ Respect/ Trust/ Attachment/
Family/ Partnership/ Alliance/ Parenting/
Commitment/ Dedication/ Love/ Friendship
You and your partner seem to be going through a rough patch in your relationship. But you can handle it. You'll just wait it out, you always do. Wait, can you handle it? Isn't that what you said last time? And yet, here you are again feeling lonely in the same room as your partner and feeling like you two no longer share that special connection. Sometimes, admitting you need help - especially in your relationship - is one of the hardest things to do. It is also an important first step to healing. A healthy relationship doesn't have to mean nonstop passion and sex, sometimes connection and friendship are the best determinants of a healthy, long lasting relationship.
When couples get together, they often do not realize the extent of which they are combining their diverse histories into one relationship. Each individual's history brings a unique perspective to the relationship. Sometimes couples need help negotiating their differences, while simultaneously celebrating their similarities. Couples counseling helps couples learn and grow together while also cherishing their time apart. The end result is less relationship stress and more overall enjoyment. Your relationship will never be perfect and completely drama-free, but that would be boring anyway, right?
Couples often struggle with:
Maintaining respect & trust
Maintining identity within the relationship