I am currently counseling several couples that find themselves at a point in their relationship. They are stuck in their past hurts and frustrations with their partner and schedule a session with me in the hope of finding an extra strength, fast acting remedy to their relationship malaise. Their pain is palpable during their session and it typically manifests in intense anger, sometimes bordering on pure rage. Their understanding of how they got to this point is distorted by unresolved issues stemming from their childhood and oftentimes tainted by the opinions of others whom they invited into their relationship drama. A common emotional response is to shame, blame, and criticize their partner to the degree that their partner will never come close to behaving in the manner that has caused them such pain and duress. Truth-be-told, matters of the heart are seldom addressed claiming equal measures of responsibility, but rather with a vengeance that seeks to destroy and obliterate the personage of the other.
In the midst of hurling new epithets of shame, blame, and criticism towards one’s partner, couples typically benefit from slowing down and asking the Dr. Phil question – “… and how’s that working for you?” More often than not, the response is, “… not very well.” Inflicting more pain on your partner will only extend an invitation for more pain to be inflicted upon you.
So, while your pain is real, intensely real, I invite you to consider expending your energy in an area that is more healthy for you and for your relationship – give yourself affirmations. In the midst of intense pain, remind yourself that you deserve to be in a healthy space of being. Remind yourself that this is not the first time that you have experienced intense pain and somehow you made it through to today. Remind yourself that while you are currently feeling broken, you have the capacity to drum up the strength to access the courage that you need to move forward. Be kind to yourself and give yourself credit for any and all incremental moves towards a more healthy space, no matter how small the move might be. It’s not easy and it will take time. But also remember that it took a lot of time to get to where you are today and it’s worth taking the time to move forward to a new space for tomorrow.