Peter’s couple therapy blog

Relationship repair part 3 of 10

3. As couple therapists we invite the adults in the room to bring with them the child states that reside in their body and mind. These are always present in any deep emotional attachment. Below is another way of thinking about the second post in this series.

In any relationship there is my business, your business and Life’s business. Sometimes yours and mine overlap. Being adult here is the ability to differentiate my stuff from your stuff, without a complicated game or racket that co-mingles the two. It means being responsible for your business, with your emotions – using them as information, rather than spraying them around the room.

It is about being responsible in action – not harming others or behaving below your own standards of dignity and self-respect.

Ultimately you are the only person who can deal with and fix your own problems. Out-sourcing to loved ones and expecting them to do it for you is a bit child-like. Realizing that it isn’t always about you; not taking everything personally; understanding that the other person may be struggling inside in their own way. This is about being reasonable, compassionate and fair, whilst being alive, true to your self, and being your own best friend.

Most of us are able to be adult at work and with our friends, or when we’re in a good mood at home. Trouble happens when our feelings take us off our centre. It’s then that we can slip into feeling like a 10 year-old, sulk or be angry and feel powerless.

As soon you realize you’re slipping into a child state of mind (sometimes younger than 10), it’s time to remind yourself that you, regardless of how you feel right now, are a grown up, and map out in your mind what a response-able adult may do. There’s an element of “faking it till you make it,” but by doing your best to adhere to an adult state of mind you can gradually train your brain and its nervous system to feel empowered rather than frightened or small. It’s a matter of catching and changing it; with practice the catch and change will become easier, more automatic.

This article was inspired by a longer article, which can be found here

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