As human beings we are preordained to be social. We are born dependent on others to meet our basic needs and we yearn for a loving connection with our caregivers. We develop relationship skills through our interactions with family, peers, and society at large. We discover cooperation and compromise, we navigate conflicts, and we build connection through communication and mutual positive regard. Relationships demand vulnerability which means others have the power to hurt us. Love is one of our greatest gifts and therefore, when it is lost, it causes our greatest sorrow.
Family of origin: As we age, our roles within our family change and this can lead to conflict. Maybe you were the “peacemaker” while you were growing up, but as an adult you are tired of being put in the middle of your family conflicts. Are you finding yourself pulled into a caregiver role with your parents as they age? Do you feel resentful of your siblings as they leave it to you to take care of the family home? Do you blame an unhappy childhood for your current difficulties? Are you looking to reconnect to a family member whom you have not spoken to for a long time?
Friendships: Do you have trouble making and keeping friends? Has an old argument created longstanding resentment or hostility? Are you feeling taken for granted or having difficulty imposing boundaries with others?
Children: Are you struggling with feelings of inadequacy and guilt when it comes to parenting? I always thought that I was a perfect parent until I had children of my own! There is “no one size fits all” when it comes to parenting. Yes, children can be rewarding, but parenting is one of the most difficult and demanding roles you will ever have. Are you struggling with a colicky baby or a toddler’s tantrums? Or is teenage defiance and adult children returning home your current source of angst? Are you still waiting for what you thought would be a “perfect” stage only to be disappointed?
Romantic partner: You may be wondering what happened to the “happily ever after” you thought you signed up for. How many stressors are creating conflict within your once loving relationship, such as finances, parenting, housekeeping, sex and infidelity, pornography, in-laws, careers, and religion? Do you believe that you are doing more than your share at keeping peace within your relationship? Do you feel like your differences are insurmountable? Are you tempted to find “someone better” than the person you are currently with?
Relationships are rarely easy. They need loving attention, kindness, and encouragement in order to flourish. Before you give up on the people in your life (and before you call a lawyer), you may want to explore some helpful strategies to improve communication, promote mutual understanding, and discover love and respect within your relationships.
Counselling may help by providing the viewpoint of an unbiased observer who can help you to navigate your way within your relationships to create harmonious communication and goodwill. If you believe that Theberge Counselling can help you repair your relationships, or help you recover from one that has ended, call for a free 30-minute consultation.