COUNSELLING BLOG

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7 Childhood Issues that Affect our Later Relationships

1. Threats and fear of abandonment. These can lead to jealousy and feelings of insecurity.

2. Lack of emotional nurturing. This can lead to feelings of emotional deprivation – which can feel like a bottomless pit to fill.

3. Growing up with feelings of entitlement. This can lead to feeling as if you don’t have to live by the same rules as others – as you are special, and a bit superior.

4. Being told that you’re inferior or inadequate. This causes you feel like you’re never good enough.

5. The demand to be perfect, and to always get things right. This can leading to being driven – and incredibly high standards.

6. Being betrayed by those you trusted – so you won’t trust now, and you can’t get close to others, or let them get close to you.

7. Being raised is a way that your needs were denied, not allowed, disregarded, trivialised or ignored. This can lead to a doormat type of personality where other people matter – and your needs never count.

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Isn’t it funny how the memories you cherish before a break up can become your worst enemies afterwards? The thoughts you loved to think about, the memories you wanted to hold up to the light and view from every angle - it suddenly seems a lot safer to lock them in a box, far from the light of day, and throw away the key.
Ally Condie

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How to Trust Again

1. Recognize the benefits of trusting others, and building some meaningful relationships. If you never let others get close to you, then you’re likely to feel lonely and empty inside.

2. Remember that one person doesn’t have to meet your needs. We can trust different people with aspects of ourselves. Doing that can feel less risky, and a lot less scary.

3. Look at the actions of other people before you decide if you can trust them or not. If they are kind to others and they seem reliable, then it’s likely they will treat you in that same way, too. However, be wary of people who are mean or critical, or who talk about others, or are unpredictable.

4. Give trust slowly – let others prove themselves – and if they seem trustworthy then start to trust them more. Share a few small things before you share some bigger things.

5. Trust yourself to cope if someone lets you down. We’ve all been disappointed and betrayed by other people. Have the confidence to know that you will manage, and survive!!

6. Don’t pressurise yourself to give more than you are able. It is hard to trust others if you’re feeling insecure, or if you’ve been hurt by others, or if trust is threatening. Decide to take it slowly and be patient with yourself.

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Overdependency in Relationships

Overdependency is:

  • Desperately holding on to other people, places or things in an attempt to find meaning and purpose in your life.
  • Letting others do so much for you that it prevents you from developing your own sense of personal autonomy, independence, responsibility and accountability.
  • Being unwilling to let go of others so that you can find your own direction in life.
  • Refusing to formulate your own goals and dreams in case they don’t match those of the people you are dependent on.
  • Having a feeling of emptiness and worthlessness; feeling you “need to be needed” in order to be loved; or having your whole identity wrapped up in someone else.
  • Thinking sympathy and pity are the same thing as love.
  • Having a desperate need for approval; desperately fearing rejection and abandonment by the person you are dependent on; being clingy, possessive and jealous.
  • Lacking a belief in your own competency and ability to cope on your own.
  • Feeling stuck and immobilised because of a fear of failure, or the fear of making the wrong decision.
  • Having a fear of loneliness – which causes you to cling desperately to someone – even when you should let them go.

Overdependency is a control issue because:

  • You are handing control of your life and happiness over to someone else.
  • When you become too dependent on someone, you give them the power to control you.
  • People who are overdependent frequently use manipulation and other subversive control techniques to “hook” others into taking care of them – so that they can rescue, fix or save you. Alternatively, they may use intimidation, threats and coercion.
  • · They use the same hooks to prevent the person from detaching and walking away (For example, by threatening suicide)
  • · They may use the mask of “helplessness” to get others to take care of them, and do things for them.
  • · When forming close relationships, they deliberately look “fixers,” “caretakers” and “rescuers” – that is, they seek out people who are likely to assume responsibility for their wellbeing.

Freedom from overdependency:

  • First, recognise what is going on and be honest with yourself about your patterns and tendencies.
  • Second, recognise that you are a separate person from your partner (or family member). Thus, it’s up to you to assume responsibility for your own choices, decisions and actions (or lack of choosing, deciding and acting). In the same way, stop assume responsibility for, or try to control, the choices and behaviors of others. Don’t speak and act for them, don’t tell them what to do (or how to do it) or redo what they’ve done (as it isn’t the way you would have done it.)
  • · Notice your negative feelings – anxiety, fear, and even terror – and learn to face and manage these. This is one of the most powerful things you can do!
  • · Next, notice how critical you become when others don’t do things your way, or meet the standards that you set for them. Also, notice how you act in response to these feelings. Do you jump in, try to fix, get angry, pout, withdraw sexually and emotionally? It’s time to get rid of those unhealthy behaviours as they’re part of the pattern of dependency.
  • · Consciously work on your self-esteem.  Don’t look to others to make you happy, or to feel you have worth and significance. Healthy self-esteem comes from the inside out.
  • · Recognise the value of boundaries – and know where you end and another begins. Learn to establish and enforce your boundaries, and accept that others can choose for themselves – so don’t manipulate to try and get your way.
  • Stop blaming others for making you upset. We have control of how we think and feel. You’re not a helpless victim – you can choose how you will live, and what you will accept in your relationships.
  • · Don’t take the flack for, or defend others’ behaviour. Allow them let them to feel the consequences of their actions. Stop defending and enabling them.
  • · Get professional help.  Being dependent in relationships often has its roots in our early childhood experiences. You may some need help to unravel that, and better understand why you act the way you do.

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Some Keys to Successful Relationships

We all want our close relationships to work – and it’s not just a matter of chance or luck. The 6 steps below are designed to assist you in creating successful relationships:

1. Make quality time a priority. You need to carve out some time just for you – without other friends or people around. It’s a time to exclusively focus on each other, and remember the things you both love and enjoy.

2. You both need to feel secure and comfortable. You need to be able to be open and real about the things you enjoy - and the things that bother you. You also need to be able to compromise at times, and to give for the sake of the relationship.

3. Learn how to balance independence and dependence. Remember to share how much you need each other and the ways the other person enriches your life. At the same, don’t be clingy or expect your partner to meet all your needs, or simply be a clone of you. That is, we all need to be free to be our unique selves, and to have other interests and friends as well.

4. Be attentive, listen well, and show an interest in your partner – and the kinds of things that interest him or her. Also, respect their need for silence and some time on their own. This demonstrates respect and true concern for them.  

5. Be affirming and warm. Make a conscious effort to make your partner smile, and to send the message that you think that they are great. For at times we all feel bad about some aspect of ourselves - and it can really make a difference if our partner’s on our side.

6. Learn to love (or tolerate!) their little quirks. Those cute little quirks that seemed appealing at first can annoy your later on, and be a source of contention. But all of us have irritating traits and habits, so learn to ignore them as they’re really not important! 

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How to Recover from a Broken Heart

There are few things worse than a broken heart. You desperately want to be free of the pain, and to pick up the pieces and get on with life again. The following suggestions can help you with this.

1) Remember that healing is a long slow process - Breaking up is painful and unleashes strong emotions - anger, hurt, confusion, sadness, loss and emptiness … You may also find you suffer from insomnia, have dreams about your ex and lose all interest in life.  If you can hang on in this tough time, and accept the pain it brings, you will find that it will speed up your recovery. So allow yourself to grieve – and don’t expect too much at first – but know that these emotions will pass in time.

2) Accept some relationships are not meant to last – It’s a fact of life that we all want different things, and we’re not always suited to the person we’re dating. It’s not that you’re a failure or an awful person. It’s actually quite normal – even though it feels so sad.

3) Reflect on what you’ve learnt from the relationship – We learn about ourselves and our personality … what we like and don’t like … what we won’t tolerate … and what really matters in relationships. Take the time to process this important information so you grow through your experience … and become more self-aware.

4. Rediscover who you are as a person in your own right – Too often we lose sight of who we are deep down insight - when we’re part of a couple, or a close relationship. But once we’re on our own again, we rediscover who we are – and remember all the dreams and the wishes we once had.  

5. Use this time to invest in your interests and passions - Once you start to remember all the things you once enjoyed, and what makes you happy and makes you feel fulfilled, you can start to formulate and work towards new goals. For though it’s good to be in relationships, there’s so much more to us, and so much more to life, than being with one person, and doing things with them

After walking through these steps you will find that you are stronger, and you’ll start to rediscover your true value and worth … and you’ll know that you’ll survive this … and you’ll enjoy life again.

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How to Create a Winning Relationship

1. Don’t rush things. Take the time to really get to know each other.

2. Focus on positivity rather than negativity. Getting angry quickly or being harsh and critical will undermine and ruin even strong relationships. In contrast, being kind and gentle will help develop love.

3. Appreciate the little things the other person does. Don’t overlook their efforts; don’t just expect their help.

4. Enjoy the ways you’re different – and not clones of one another. It makes things interesting (and creates healthy space).

5. Don’t get into a rut so that you’re bored when you’re together. Keeping doing something different, or keep trying something new.

6. Learn how to be listener, someone who’s understanding, and helps their partner open up and share what’s bothering them.            

7. Be loyal and committed, so trust can be established - that helps you both feel safe, and it will grow a strong, deep love.

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