Ericksonian Relationship & Couple Counselling
( These pages reflect the views and practice of Keith Bibby
and are not intended to describe the work of other practitioners )
THE RELATIONSHIP PARADOX
Our individual patterns of development generate fundamental characteristics that attract us strongly to individuals with similar patterns of vulnerability. Some of these are more obvious. We both
may have experienced family violence, significant early bereavement,
a deserting parent or life-threatening illness.
Many patterns are a lot more subtle and difficult to detect. Some exist as repressed or forgotten memories. Defensive reactions can be strongly evoked by situations which, even whilst seeming to be nothing like the original stressor, contain some significant elements of it which provoke the response.
We try to avoid these situations and their seemingly irrational discomforts - nor do we wish to consider what might be causing them.
There seems to be something in us which ‘just doesn’t like it’. We therefore tend to feel at ease with people who, for their own unconscious reasons, act in ways which seem either to balance and complement or to resemble and reflect these important aspects of our
own unconscious processes.
Keith Bibby - Bsc(Hons) Dip EHL/NLP FCRAH
Outcome - Oriented ( Ericksonian ) Psychotherapy & Hypnotherapy
Individual Couple & Relationship Counselling
25 yrs Behavioural science Experience
Without realising it - we are naturally sympathetic toward and careful of the same bunch of unconscious sensitivities in the other. So, whether as a pair we seem very alike or refreshingly different, we manage not to venture into our hidden psychological ‘no-go’ areas
and thus to ‘ protect ’ ourselves and each other from them.
The power of this unconscious attraction is evident in the frequency with which people report that - from the very first - their partner seemed
to be one with whom there was a strange familiarity and unspoken understanding. Unfortunately, such a report is not at all a reliable predictor of a relationship’s success or longevity.
This initial ‘understanding’ can indeed evolve into its genuine counterpart as the realities of the relationship unfold - but usually not without considerable work on both parts. Sadly, instead, it can prove to be complete illusion and fail - because the couple has not been helped or helped each other to acquire the skills to deal with their ‘difficult’ stuff.
Over time - safe and comfortable can become boring and dispiriting - unpredictable and amusing may become thoughtless and irritating - we begin to discover how adept we can be at pushing each others buttons and provoking sudden difficulties.
Where this happens, very powerful reactions defend our unconscious vulnerabilities. Primitive feelings are evoked and powerful retaliatory assaults are mounted against the partner’s ego, often accompanied by wounding characterisations and cutting personal insults.
A particular tendency may frequently be referenced to illustrate how obnoxiously you are ' just like your mother... or father ' - not exactly guaranteed to elicit a gentle response - and indeed - the gloves are off - and the ‘ adult children ’ are fighting !
Although adult conflict - with the feelings engaged - is healthy, many people have not learned to access this more mature way of expressing and resolving their differences. Instead they find themselves bitching and sniping, hitting on raw nerves and becoming increasingly cold and remote. Otherwise they engage in increasingly heated encounters and destructive spirals.
Many, for the sake of some ‘peace and quiet’, settle into a relatively joyless neutrality - and just jog along with little in the way of expressed aggravation or experienced reward.
Whether its empty or unpleasant, active or unspoken, and irrespective of what we may do to keep it away from them, children can have very sensitive antennae and absorb both good and unhealthy atmospheres and behaviour patterns in an almost uncanny way.
Still holding resentments for what their parents have done to them - and despite their very best efforts to avoid being like them, the children, in turn as grown adults, are destined to reproduce many of these unconsciously learned performances with their own partners and offspring one or two decades down the road.
AND SO WILL YOURS - UNLESS YOU DO SOMETHING TO CHANGE THINGS.
Using therapy to prevent these hurts and handicaps from cascading down the generations is one of the more beneficial outcomes to be gained - and one which spares much unhappiness and repays many times as children themselves become adults and parents.
So why not DO something about it - NOW !
Even if you think it’s a bit late, your example in making an effort now can help them later on to be wiser and to go earlier for help when their own difficulties arise.
Copyright Keith Bibby © December 2009 >> Return