COUPLEMENTARY episode two

COUPLEMENTARY episode two

Previously on couplementary: In episode one we started to follow HIM into a scene in which HE feels repeatedly falsely accused by HER within a short time span.

What now unfolds is the signature version of their infinity loop of unhelpful emotional interaction. It is really unfortunate for the two that HIS coffee arrived first – minutes before HER tea is brought – because here is where their unhelpful emotional dance begins …

Noticing the waiter bringing coffee instead of tea, she reacts in an uneasy way. In this moment she seemingly does not believe him to have ordered HER favourite tea and apparently accuses HIM of having ordered coffee instead. HER tone of voice, facial expression and posture signal that SHE is upset and angry with him. HE has it that she accuses HIM to have either screwed up or bluntly manipulated the order to HER disadvantage and to HIS advantage. It confuses him at first. Then it starts to annoy him, because HE must take this personal.

He strongly wants to talk to her about what just happened and how he feels about it. So he says to her “I feel hurt and annoyed by the way you just addressed me. You did a similar thing just yesterday asking me repeatedly if I really had ordered brown rice and I wonder why you keep doing this.”. She says: “You do the same thing to me all the time. You never listen!”

HE says “I want to talk to you about what just happened. Just stay with this situation right here.” He is aiming for an apology from her, since he finds himself to be in the right. Deep down he feels that she does not trust him to have ordered correctly and on her behalf. That hurts strongly, because it would mean that he can’t be the man for her, which he very much wants to be. The meaning thing goes deeper even: If she does not trust, that he carries out simple tasks with her best interest in mind and heart, then she might not rely on him in more important topics and tasks. Ultimately this would mean that she can’t surrender to him, with him and in him.

SHE says “That’s typical you only want to talk about this one thing. You never want to talk about all the other things that you do to me.” He is now puzzled and wants to know what other things. He says “What other things?” She says “Of course you don’t remember.” At other times she would say “You always want details, this is not about details.” Or she would say “What you do wrong does not count, you only want to bring up my faults. Everything is always my fault.”

At any of these points he realises – time and again – that he will not be able to discuss the one thing he wanted to bring up. He also realises that she will not acknowledge having hurt him with her way of questioning him repeatedly, her pitched voice and her angry face. Instead, it seems like he has now opened a can of worms and that her emotion now spirals out of control. This was not his intend. He did not want her to feel bad. What he actually wanted was any version of “You are right. Of course you acted in my best interest. I am your wife, we love each other and I can fully rely on you. You are my man. That is the reason why I am with you, because you know what makes me happy.”

He gets none of that. At all. By bringing up his dissatisfaction with her – it gets worse.

Couples Counselling – Does it help?

Most of the couples I work with do get better, because they develop a new skill set of communication. After a few sessions partners often start to find themselves to be much more attuned with each other. The reason being a deeper emotional understanding.

It often happens that one of the partners is a little bit more keen to come to counselling than the other. I am there to balance both interests and to explore both views since we have two sides in each couple. Each partner having specific and individual backgrounds and behavioural patterns.

The process of Emotion Focused Therapy for Couples (EFT) is structured in three stages. This evidence-based process of relationship and marriage counselling helps to develop step by step and is based on an easy-to-understand yet profound model of attachment theory.

Once you have established the first and second stage through the therapy process it becomes much easier and likely to solve issues that in fact all couples will be facing one way or another throughout a lifetime.

In the first stage I assess in depth where both partners get stuck, what their signature dance is when life becomes stressful or things get heated. Ultimately we need to find out together for each particular couple what hinders them from being happy and loving.

The second stage is really to apply that knowledge and heighten awareness. I will guide each partner on how to best implement what they feel and do into their day to day lives. It is important that the couple becomes able to see and understand what is going on when they “dance” in their own dynamic in order to be able to move on.

In the third stage the couple will be more and more able to fly alone and to use a true understanding for each other and a much deeper connection to address big life topics and issues. For example financial issues, a move or any other crisis. And of course having built or regained a strong positive and loving relationship for everyday life.