Exhausting. Depressed. Anxious. Hopeless. These feelings are the result of constantly being reactive to the things that our partner says or does. Do you really “need to talk about it” again? (hint: “no”)
Check to see which is these you have ever used to avoid conflict or attempt to get a need met:
Withdrawing (are you good at brick and mortar construction?)
Collapsing (i.e., disintegrate: to break up into small parts, as the result of impact or decay.)
Thinking you have to do everything on your own (resentment anyone?)
Making demands and taking over
Making passive-aggressive comments (who, me?!)
Working hard to be loved
or getting dramatic “Henny Penny the sky is falling the sky is falling”!
Use the awareness of these old habit to signal that something isn’t right in the moment. Be kind to yourself as you begin to see the ways these habits were once formed. They worked at some point in your life to keep you safe and from falling apart. They are keeping you distant from your partner now. They are used to disconnect from the person you love. You may be comforted by feeling alone and angry or hurt and blaming your partner.
May you have many opportunities to experience healing through supportive experiences with loving teachers, family, friends and guides, where your old reactivity will have a chance to show up, be acknowledged, loved, thanked and let go.
Kristy Hellum is a Marriage and Family therapist Santa Rosa, California. She provides individual therapy, couples therapy, and therapy for teens. Her office is near downtown Santa Rosa.