Why Relationship Counseling?
Every day we are involved in a variety of relationships, each differing in the intensity and degree of closeness they provide us. We may have professional or business relationships with coworkers, the gardener, or our pharmacist at the local drugstore. We can also have more informal relationships with people like neighbors or fellow churchgoers. Personal relationships however are those that involve some degree of intimacy, sharing, and emotional attachment, like family members, friends, and romantic partners.
If someone in your life is over complicating things, perhaps a friend, co-worker, spouse, child...whoever it is, when it starts to affect your own energy, happiness, or other relationships, it may be time to get help. We invitie you to contact one of our many therapists on this site who are licensed and trained in dealing with complex and negative relationships.
Whether we know it or not, each person involved in a personal relationship has something at stake. If we didn’t, the relationship wouldn’t be important to us and we wouldn’t react to or become upset with each other. When there is something at stake, ultimately, there is something to lose, whether it’s our pride, the feeling of being loved or any other number of unconscious agendas we bring to the table. Even if you feel you are an unconditional friend or mate, if there are problems in your relationship, guaranteed, there are expectations not being met. For the most part, the majority of problems we encounter in personal relationships revolve around two specific areas — our expectations of the relationship and the people involved and/or a lack of personal boundaries.
What Is Making This Relationship So Difficult?
No matter what our expectations, they may at times become unrealistic as we can never 100% guarantee or control a given situation or what another person might or might not do. Admittedly, some expectations are more realistic than others, but at the end of the day, if we have expectations, we risk the chance of being hurt or disappointed. As such, expectations result in undue stress and put pressure on everyone involved. Many times we may not even be aware that we have a particular expectation until it’s not met, at which time we become offended, hurt, or angry. When we bring expectations to the relationship we set ourselves, and everyone involved, up to meet a standard that they may not even realize is in place. The problem then becomes how do we enter a relationship with realistic expectations and how do we communicate and ensure these expectations are agreeable to the other person. On the flip side of this situation, is the expectations our friends and family place on us that we may either not be aware of or that we may be unable to fulfill.
Boundaries are another source of conflict in relationships. Boundaries are the innate dividing lines we draw between ourselves and those around us. If crossed, we can feel angry, hurt, humiliated, or even violated. In personal relationships however, our boundaries are often more tightly linked to our expectations. When we begin a new relationship, we tend to loosen our expectations and the comfortable limits of our boundaries. We are often consciously or unconsciously taught as children that setting boundaries is rude, disrespectful, and wrong and as such, when we become adults we may not even know how to set healthy limits. In reality, boundaries provide us with emotional safety in a relationship. They allow others to know how to act around you and what they can expect, providing them with a level of security as well. Generally, if you have low self-esteem you will have problems setting appropriate boundaries, simply because you may not feel you deserve the respect boundaries provide.
How Do I Know If I Need Help?
If you repeatedly find yourself in the same type of negative relationship, counseling can offer insight and support. If your relationships are causing you stress or affecting your daily life, it’s a definite sign you may need some outside help. Even though relationships involve more than one person, ultimately, the only person you can change is you. With the tools and support counseling provides, you can lean to set strong boundaries and release unrealistic expectations. Often times, simply gaining a new perspective on our behavior can open the door to healthier and more satisfying relationships.
Counseling for Relationships in Trouble
Addressing relationship issues can be a tiring and difficult feat to undertake. In many situations, we are unable to change or fix how the other person may treat us. We may experience frustration at having friends or family take advantage of our kindness, or we may be hurt when we are not considered during a big decision. Dealing with how we are affected by the relationships in our lives often requires us to look inward rather than at those around us.
Have you ever asked yourself, “If my friend never changed / continued to treat me this way, how would I feel?” The people we share our lives with provide unique qualities to our lives, and while we may not have to like everything about them, we have to find a way to accept the good and the bad. We may have a friend who we love to do outdoor recreational activities with; however, she may be a gossiper who is unable to keep a secret. Does this mean we can no longer keep her as a friend? Of course not! Values-Based Counseling for relationships and relational issues teaches you how to develop realistic expectations of your friends and how to set boundaries to maintain your unique identity, keep yourself emotionally safe, and remain true to the qualities of who you are. By learning these skills, you are able to better enjoy the characteristics of your friend that you love and to be less affected but their quirks.
How we define our friendships, originates from our earliest relationships, our family. Counseling also works to identify and resolve any of these beliefs that are contrary to how you view friends and relationships today. The task of making changes to these habits may carry some history, but the future outlook of healthy, respected friendships is a goal worth striving towards.
If you need a therapist to help you, we have a large selection of online therapists who are professional and licensed counselors, able to help you right where you are over the phone, via email, or webcam/messenger. If you prefer face to face counseling, please use our therapist directory and find a city close to you with a therapist who can meet your needs.
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