“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
― Carl Jung
Relationships of any form including partnerships, spouse, family members, friends or colleagues, may suffer for any number of reasons. People change, people outgrow one another, have different expectations, beliefs or values or are heavily influenced by others including families and friends. People stop liking each other for a whole variety of reasons. When relationships suffer they can become painful and often people are unable to communicate effectively without anger or bitterness. When you cannot communicate effectively you cannot relate to each other. Relating well requires an understanding of not only the other person but also of ourselves. People come to me because their relationship is uncomfortable or is breaking down and they want to make change things but they don’t know how. They may have been screaming at each other for years, or maybe they’ve had so many difficulties they’re not sure whether to stay together or not. Often people struggle with relatively minor issues which may threaten relationships at any stage from just getting to know each other, upcoming weddings right, long term marriages and discontent with a family member. Whichever stage you are at, once you’ve identified a problem, it is important to try to resolve it as soon as possible.
Often when couples come to me for help, at least one person in the relationship believes that other person is at fault and they expect me to ‘fix’ the other person. Although it can be the case where one person may need more support than the other, each party needs to be willing to look inward, to acknowledge their own part in the situation and to work towards common goals. Each person must be open to making changes and accept that things may not always work out as hoped or expected. Relationship coaching helps each person to consider the current uncomfortable situation from different perspectives, try out alternative ways of behaving, communicating and thinking. It helps each person to improve and grow allowing the relationship to become more comfortable and resilient.
“From the first session with Jo I instinctively knew that she had understood her audience. She used language that worked for my partner and I, to allow us to feel comfortable, she is a master at work. Sometimes I would feel that she had achieved more in a session than I had been able to reveal in years. She allowed us to understand ourselves and by encouraging us to “respond” not “react” changed our approach to each other.” – Maria Rocker, Essex
People often look for a partner to fulfil something that’s missing within themselves and they project our own shortcomings or our own beliefs onto that person and expect them to conform. When the other person does not conform, they feel as if they have been let down. They can become resentful of the other person for not meeting their expectations. By recognising how our own behaviours and beliefs can affect the relationship is really important. When we are able to accept some of the responsibility we have a better chance of making things work.
They say you can choose your friends but not your family. No family is perfect. That said, families can be happily imperfect. Important relationships are often damaged or torn apart by unresolved issues, different beliefs or unmet expectations. Conflict in families is common place, and when emotions are high, things often go unsettled for some or all parties. Sadly even close relatives will distance themselves from family members rather than clearly voice, let alone try seriously, to settle grievances and problems. Often facing up to those difficult conversations seems too daunting or impossible. Relationship coaching can help families to work together to facilitate positive and lasting changes.
To be clear, I am not a counsellor, I am a coach. I am not going to sit through session after session just listening to bickering and arguments. Although we may need to examine, and hopefully settle, unresolved issues, this is not a blame game. This is about making changes and finding a better way forward. I expect each party to be willing to examine his or her own part in the situation and to do things differently.