Maria is 42 years old.
She has the feeling that her responsibilities and role in her family doesn’t permit her to take care of herself.
She prioritises the others and that can lead to her feeling burdened and overwhelmed.
Her first reaction to this issue is: “It’s the others fault.
If my husband didn’t travel so much for work, if my family wasn’t be so dependent on me, or basically if the people in my environment behaved differently - I would be able to make different kinds of decisions and take care of my own needs and desires.”
A very common reaction: Maria believes that the others around her have to alter their behaviour so that she’ll feel better. Who doesn’t know this situation?
This leads us to the first reason for frustration in relationships:
What happens when we uphold this belief?
We react with blame, retreat, stubbornness or resistance towards our environment - which leads to arguments/disagreements and the continuity of the problem/issue. Our communication depicts the other as the cause for our situation. Then again he/she will react defensively and an opportunity to properly communicate our underlying need or desire fades away with the argument.
This behavioural pattern leads us to the second reason for frustration in relationships:
When I asked Maria if the feeling of “not being allowed to have any of her own needs to tend to and having to be there for others” reminded her of something, we quickly came to an important issue in her past, when her father died. Her mother reacted by giving her 13 year old daughter the sole responsibility for the household and used her for emotional support. Therefore young Maria didn’t have time for friends or other things a normal 13 year old would have wanted.
Whatever relationship problems my clients may be going through, it seems there is always a pattern that leads back to an early childhood experience - that wasn’t properly digested emotionally or lead to trauma. Our environment often mirrors something we’ve already experienced in our past with key figures such as parents, grandparents or other important people.
So often relationship issues do not represent the visible, or what is made visible by the partner, but the underlying invisible. If we react to the superficial level of the issue we cannot resolve it.
My general advice is not to blame the other people under any circumstances.
How? By using the Emotional Freedom Techniques (EFT) or tapping. How often have I heard: "I didn't think about tapping"
This leads us to the third reason for frustration in relationships:
EFT helps us to regain responsibility and control over our relationship issues. We can only resolve our issues if we treat the actual cause of them.
After two or three rounds of tapping the fight or flight reflex in our brain disappears, our negative emotions fade and our general perception of the situation changes and our long forgotten unconscious memories become accessible.
During our EFT sessions, Maria and I worked on her emerging feelings revolving around her situation. This resulted in her feeling less lonely and therefore more prepared to handle the different aspects that caused her to feel that way. Today she happily follows her needs and can communicate them to her family.
Once you resolve the issues of “back then” and the negative emotions associated with it, you can change the “today”.
EFT has to be trained though. The more you practise the more you get to the core of your issues and the less you’ll be inclined to forget to use this technique in moments of stress. It is not so difficult to learn and understand EFT or tapping. But when it comes to dealing with core issues that is a whole new ball game.