Is one of your reasons for starting therapy because every approach you’ve tried in a particular relationship increases your frustration, hurt, and sadness?
And after explaining your outlook and reasoning to this person many times, the relationship patterns are still the same?
Therapy will give your sincere and heartfelt effort and concern, a new direction.
Step One is accepting the profound realization that you are only able to change yourself.
Despite your many good ideas and earnest care, the other person in the relationship, whether partner, sibling, adult child, any meaningful family member, may not want to understand your point, or want to agree with it.
The deeper problem is not necessarily that you have bad ideas or that the other person is intentionally being difficult.
The discontent you are facing in the stressed relationship, is a pathway to knowing more about your own standards and satisfactions in relating.
If you are upset because the other person does not accept your suggestions, instead of inwardly disapproving, utilize this feeling of rejection as a sign of how highly you value that your advice is followed.
If the other person criticizes what you consider key points in your value system, then allow yourself to appreciate that you have a clear value system.
If the other person dismisses your feelings, then this is your moment to be even more aware that your emotions are a way to express yourself.
All of these interactions are painful and tiring to some degree.
Your reason for talking with a therapist is to stabilize and ground your perspective, believe in your right to be who you are, and strengthen your confidence in handling your part in a relationship that is currently stressed, and any relationship that develops in your world.
Sherry Katz, LCSW is clinically trained in systems relational therapy, and practices marriage and family therapy in her solo practice located in Ridgewood, NJ. Comments and questions are welcome. www.newviewsfamilytherapy.com