If you are presently engaged to be married, we send you our warmest congratulations! The time of dating and engagement is exciting and promising-- a time where couples dream of a future together and feel the promise of a great future with their soon-to-be spouse. Unfortunately, many of us don't learn the "in's and out's" of what it takes to make a marriage work, which can end up in feelings of great disappointment once the "I do's" have taken place.
If you are reading this, there is probably a Congratulations in order?? Well congrats! Or you may be a parent or friend, reading this to pass along the information. Your child or friend will thank you later ;) So far we have learned of the importance of talking about expectations, roles and rules, and styles of love. Today we will talk about communication.
This week, we are discussing abandonment issues, and the struggle that individuals with abandonment issues go through. Part 1 and part 2 describe abandonment issues, and part 3 begins to describe the stages that abandonment issues can take.
I want to reiterate what Tamara said, this is different than the normal stages of grief and loss. Everyone experiences these stages.
The abandonment we are discussing goes far beyond that. It pushes something in us that causes us to react to things differently than "normal" grief and loss would.
I am going to discuss 2 more stages today:
This stage is much like withdrawal symptoms when someone stops using drugs or alcohol, or any addiction for that matter. It is the aching, longing, the craving to have that person back. They yearn for the person to come back. The needs they were filling are more readily noticed and the void feels huge! The same as an addict, you feel the loss of appetite, not being able to sleep, staying awake trying to figure out how to get them back. You feel the true loss and separation in this stage.
This is the most critical of the stages for 2 reasons:
1. You are very vulnerable. You are walking around with an open, gaping wound! You are susceptible to being hurt even worse because of your wound. If you latch on to someone at this stage, you could easily be taken advantage of and hurt even more deeply.
2. You beat yourself up during this stage, making you even more vulnerable. You bargain with yourself. "What if I would of? I should have, could have...". Because you are doubting yourself, your self-esteem is taking a beating. This makes you a target for someone to treat you bad and to get into a bad relationship- which could start the cycle over again.
It is important during the stages of withdrawl and internalizing that you understand what is going on. Get support from family and friends who will help you and support you. This is a great time to seek counseling as well.
Tomorrow Joleen will discuss our last 2 stages. Thank you for reading.
Adapted from "The Journey from Abandonment to Healing" by Susan Anderson http://www.abandonment.net/
*Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC 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
With both, you experience a loss. However with grief, the more time that elapses, the intensity of the loss decreases. With abandonment, the difference is that the loss feels personal. The intensity of the loss does not decrease because it feels personal.
This week, we are discussing the ever sought after goal of many of our clients— peace. Peace of heart, peace of mind, a peaceful home, peaceful relationships, or a peaceful work environment. The issues we see in our office that bring couples, families and individuals to therapy may vary, but underneath the presenting problem is usually the same core struggle: Whatever is going on in their life feels chaotic, unsettling, insecure, or just simply without peace.
Are things going smooth in your relationship? Do you feel connected and close? Congrats! We are so excited for you! Getting to a good place in your marriage can be a long hard road. Many couples we work with are able to achieve connection, but they fear that things will go down hill over time.
This week we are going over 5 ways to maintain your relationship connection in order to not go backwards. After all the hard work of getting connected, make sure you don't get too comfortable and forget to nurture the relationship to keep it alive.
#1 Open Up
Being vulnerable and open with your partner is one of the main ways to keep the connection going. I know for many this can be a scary place, but when you create safety in your communication it is much easier.
The benefits of being open are incredible. You feel known, loved, cared about, and understood when your partner listens. Oftentimes once one partner opens up, the other person does too. Being open invites your partner to meet you in that vulnerable place and share as well. As both of you open up and share, the connection deepens.
Opening up is a great way to keep your connection strong. Without it, your are likely to drift apart quickly.
Keep reading tomorrow for more maintenance tips!
Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri does virtual therapy for residents of Indiana and Florida using videoconferencing technology. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling and adolescent counseling.
Do you find yourself saying the following statements: I hate it when my partner brings up a problem!
Conflict, although difficult, gives us an opportunity to grow and learn about each other. If you view everything your partners bring up as a "problem" then you will handle it as such. You may try to "fix" it, which is often not what your partner wants. Or you may try to defend it, which doesn't go over very well either.
Try to view your partner bringing things up as an assurance that they still care about the relationship, want to attempt to work through things, and are still engaged. Then just try to listen. Often people just want to be heard!
I think it's important to lay out to my partner all of the complaints I have about him or her. Really? If you think you should tell your partner every complaint about them, you and your partner will be very miserable. We are all human and have flaws. If we are in a relationship, particularly living under one roof, we are inevitably going to get on each other's nerves. The sooner you accept that and pick battles, the happier you will be in your relationship.
I state my complaints in a heated manner.
If you bring up your complaints in an angry or shaming manner, your partner will most definitely not hear you. They will be focused on your tone and they will be more concerned with how upset you are rather than focusing on what you are saying. If you are very upset about something, take some time to cool down and take some deep breaths before you talk about it. This will increase your odds of your partner being able to focus on what you are saying and completely hearing you.
I tend to say "You always" or "You never" when discussing my complaints.
I see this all the time with couples. Think of how you feel when you finally remembered to take out the trash only to have your partner say, "You never take out the trash!" It feels defeating and makes you not want to try again. These words are very black and white and shouldn't be used during arguments. People rarely "always" or "never" do something and it leads to defensiveness.
I rarely state my complaints to keep from hurting my spouse.
As much as you don't want to mention every complaint, you also don't want to not talk about things that are bothering you. You just need to pick your battles. If you do have a complaint, talk to your partner about it and let them know how you are feeling. Focus on your feelings about what they are doing and this will help them hear you better. It's important to find a balance in bringing things up. To bring them up all the time or to complain about everything is not a good balance.
Thank you for reading! Tomorrow Joleen will share our last statements that are damaging in communication.
Adapted from Dr. Phil's "Relationship Rescue" seminar 2000
Written by Natalie Chandler
Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC 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
The Stuffer Who Collects Retaliation Rocks What do you do with your feelings about small (and not-so-small) situations that happen in your marriage? Do you share them with your spouse and get clarification with them? Do you let them see who you really are? Or do you keep them stuffed away (as Natalie wrote about in yesterday's post)?
When feeling "unglued", sometimes we will collect what is termed "Retaliation Rocks". These are things we use as a weapon for future disagreements. For example: Your spouse doesn't help with housework, but you don't say anything to he/she about how this feels. You stuff the feelings away in a corner of your heart. Later on (sometimes years later), your spouse doesn't initiate a date night and "A-HA!"... You just KNEW it! They don't love you and don't feel you are important (not true), so you explode on them, using one incident (or many) about just how "unimportant" you must really be to them! The problem with this is.... it's not true! You never shared with them how you felt in the first place, but instead kept this information and all of these feelings from your spouse's knowledge, only to bombard them with feelings later on in a deadly fashion.
Retaliation rocks are things that we keep tucked away and don't let our spouse see about us and our feelings. These cause bitterness that we keep inside over time, where we might feel annoyed at our spouse and then later on we allow these small things to erupt each time we feel upset about something completely unrelated.
Don't allow these rocks to sit on your soul. And don't pull out these "rocks" in moments of retaliation towards your spouse. They will only feel confused and unsafe with you.
Do you collect "retaliation rocks", only to use them as ammunition towards your spouse later on?
*Source: Unglued: Making Wise Choices In The Midst Of Raw Emotions by Lysa TerKeurst
Joleen Watson, MS, NCC, is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. She enjoys doing marriage counseling, relationship counseling, couples counseling, and individual counseling. Imagine Hope also specializes in family, child and adolescent counseling and serves Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Noblesville, Zionsville, Westfield, and Fishers.
People love love. Romance can be like a drug to many. But the danger of this is that people don't truly understand what love is. They bring misconceptions about love into their relationship and end up with hurt feelings, confusion, and sometimes the ending of the relationship. Because society has such an impact on how we view love (and we know how twisted our society's lens of the world can be!), we want to help our readers understand the myths about love that could be doing damage in their relationships.
We are sharing from Gerald Corey's book, "I never knew I had a choice", and how the thoughts we have about love might keep us from feeling loved. When we have false beliefs about love, they might block the ability for love to sink in.
Myth #1- Love is Eternal
The intense feelings of love at the beginning of a relationship can be awesome, but sometimes people believe that stage of love should happen all through the relationship.
When you believe that the love shown on chick-flicks and heard on the radio must be sustained, you set yourself up for disappointment. It is unrealistic to keep up the love struck feeling long term.
As a person grows and matures, we expect them to change, right? The same is true for a relationship. As a couple grows and matures in their relationship, their love will change.
The love can deepen through good times and through conflict. You can experience a richness that is much more intense than the beginning phases of a relationship.
Some couples struggle with the changes. They fight for the love struck feeling and end up growing apart in different directions. They miss out on the chance to experience the depth that love can change into by believing that love is eternal.
Make sure you adjust the expectation of love as you grow as a couple. It will be much more fulfilling in the long run!
We hope you are able to see how your ideas of love are impacting your relationship. When you view love in a realistic way, you are much more likely to get the love you need in your relationship. Check in tomorrow for more!
Source: "I Never Knew I Had A Choice" by Gerald Corey
Written by Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC
Teri Claassen MSW, LCSW, LCAC is a licensed therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Teri enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, couples and relationship counseling. Teri also does family counseling, child counseling, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area, including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Zionsville, and Westfield.