May was a sad month. Some couples came to see me in the hopes of repairing their relationship, but they have left things to go to the point that extensive damage has occurred in their relationship. You cannot leave arguments, resentment and bitterness to build in a relationship without it poisoning that relationship.
A word readily used to describe this is a toxic relationship. No matter what they attempt, there is this perception that each of them is trying to hurt the other and so there is a tendency to hurt the other one back.
This level of damage will require a change in the perception of what their partner is trying to do before repair is possible.
Leaving it too long before seeing a professional counsellor could mean the relationship cannot be repaired. There is just too much pain, and the perception of each other is so negative that the drive and commitment to rebuild the relationship is not there for one partner.
In every conflict, three levels of ourselves are impacted. 1st level to be impacted is the emotional level. At this level, we measure hurt and experience emotions such as rejection and betrayal.
As the damage at the emotional level rises our perception level (2nd level) changes, and we see the person causing this pain as the aggressor whose intention is simply to make our lives hell. Finally, the behaviour level (3rd level) is impacted, and we behave as a result of our emotional pain and perception.
As a result of our changed perception, we look at everything that is happening in the relationship through the distortion of “you are trying to hurt me.”
On top of this, the emotional pain that we are feeling leaves us with the choice of either fight or flight. If it’s fight, then the issue escalates into conflict. If it’s flight, then the issue results in one person withdrawing while the other pressures them to respond. Either way, perception plays a big part.
The more we hurt, the more everything becomes about us. We become closed down to the possibility that anyone else could have anything significant to offer us. We just want to be soothed. We want the pain to go away. We want someone to recognise how much we are hurting, but the closest one to us is perceived as the originator of the pain.
To rebuild the relationship, it is necessary to understand that our partner is not the same as us and understand where they are coming from. It requires focusing on the other person. If you are both doing this then perception and emotional pain can be understood and addressed. This sounds like a tall order, and it is because your relationship has been, so self-focused that the idea of moving outside of that is seen as impossible.
As a relationship specialist, I can help couples address the perception and pain issues and understand where each person in the relationship is coming from. You can try to repair your relationship yourself, but it will be difficult as you are both hurt and perceiving each other as the problem. Book an initial session with me, and you will quickly discover what I can do for you.
Don’t leave it too late. Act while your relationship can still be repaired.