Interpersonal difficulties refer to repetitive struggles that people have in relationships due to specific problematic (unhealthy) responses and coping behaviours that result in a dysfunctional interactive style. These responses and behaviours are usually learned in childhood by watching our parents and other family members deal with pain and may include withdrawing, blaming, clinging, attacking, or surrendering.
As psychologist dr. Rovers explains in his book Healing the Wounds in Couple Relationships, people who repeatedly fall into unhealthy patterns in their relationships with friends, family members, coworkers, and romantic partners may need to explore and heal the family-of-origin wounds. He describes a wound as “the button that gets pushed, the trigger, the reaction, the gut feeling that catapults us back into an old feeling or pattern of action” (p.43). We all have them as we are living the legacy of our family of origin. They may have served an adaptive function at some point in life, but in adult relationships they tend to be problematic and it is our responsibility to do something about them.
By healing the wounds and learning to act on their values instead of tripping over wound-influenced emotional reactions and behaviours, clients can eventually overcome the relationship difficulties that hold them back.
Contact Elizabeth for more information on her counselling services for overcoming interpersonal difficulties.