Relationship Difficulties Ottawa

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.

For example, someone who has suffered abuse as a youth may unintentionally reflect the same form of behaviour towards another person, which can then spiral out of control due to fear, stress, frustration., and inability of both partners to understand this kind of behaviour. Other instances of relationship difficulties may stem from a reluctance to open up and communicate. There can be a myriad of causes for this, often primarily a lack of a support system prior to the relationship, problematic belief system, anxiety, and/or social pressures.

Regardless of whether the difficulties the individuals face are expressed externally or internally, there remains a critical need to work towards an amicable and healthy solution. Otherwise, those involved could effectively hurt one another from an emotional, mental, and physical standpoint.

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. These services are offered to individual clients only and not within the framework of couple’s therapy, or fill out the form below.

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