This week we have been talking about mixed messages, also known as "double binds". If you haven't read so far, it's important that you do in order to understand exactly what they are. Today we are going to talk about how mixed messages effect relationships.
When a relationship has mixed messages, it doesn't feel emotionally and sometimes physically safe. Trust is difficult to foster because the person never knows what will actually happen. Anytime trust is challenging in a relationship, emotional intimacy is difficult. It's hard to connect and get close to someone you can't trust.
Additionally, because the relationship doesn't feel safe, the fear of abandonment is present. If someone says one thing and does another, how can you trust they will be there for you consistently? You can't! It can be confusing if they say they'll always be there for you but then turn around and say, "If you don't do this, I will leave!" No matter what they say, you fear they are only one step away from leaving you.
All of the lack of trust and fear of abandonment creates loneliness, shame, and eventually bitterness in the relationship. This creates challenges with communication and multiple other issues.
If you experience mixed messages in your relationship, it's important to first try to talk to the person. If this leads to more mixed messages or even more difficulty because they don't want to work on it, we hope you will get help from a trusted counselor who can work you navigate how to respond.
Thank you for reading this week. Joleen will give us some great resources tomorrow.
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC LCAC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling. We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville.