We cannot come face to face with our shadow by looking directly at it.
So we dance, we sing, we paint, we play.
Until we have distracted ourselves enough that it can meet us halfway.
And the most beautiful part is that we know we are doing it all along.
Have you ever wanted your partner to GET something so badly?
Often, that desire for them to GET something can put so much pressure on them, that it makes it even HARDER for them to see what you are pointing at.
Sometimes it becomes too DIRECT to hear things from our own partners.
It feels like too harsh of a reality, to hear about the things we do to hurt our partner, DIRECTLY from our partner.
They want to see it.
But, they often cant.
That’s what therapy or coaching can provide - an outside perspective that meets a couple right smack where they are in their struggle.
Someone who has no emotional investment to the relationship, not to say that they don’t care, they do, but they are objective.
They can distract the couple from themselves long enough for a breakthrough moment to be possible.
And by distraction, I mean offer perspectives that are different than the ones they have previously believed.
But ones that they are willing to try on.
In the therapy room.
One partner accesses their own vulnerability when they witness their partner stepping into theirs.
So one partner at a time a therapist points at each partner's strengths as individuals.
And then the therapist points at behaviors that hurt the RELATIONSHIP.
...and then the therapist gets underneath the details of the behaviors that couples fight about it and gets to the ROOT.
...and helps each partner express their pain from that vulnerable, soft, magical place that we would wait forever to witness in our partner.
The goal of a therapist is to create more SPACE inside of each partner.
Space that allows them to find a way to create a new reality - TOGETHER.
This can be done with humor or storytelling of other clients successes.
This can be done by helping one or both partners release an experience that is blocking connection.
This can be done modeling vulnerable communication.
This can be done by teaching about the nervous system, and how eye contact and body language can override many negative feelings.
When that moment is successful, more space becomes available.
Space for each partner to see themselves and each other more objectively, too.
Couples learn to not take each other's stuff as seriously when they learn about where the patterns first started.
When they learn the WHY of each other's behaviors.
When MATT allowed himself to really listen as Bella shared her story - something clicked inside of him.
She shared the pain of how critical her mother was when she was a child and how shutting down during conflict was her only available option back then.
He was able to fully FEEL how much those experiences had impacted her.
That new space allowed Matt to be more willing to help Bella through those moments instead of closing off himself too.
A therapist’s role is to regulate both partners triggers so the raw vulnerable stories can finally be shared - without interruption.
Sometimes our WHY stems from our childhood.
Sometimes our WHY stems from our cultural expectations.
Neither partner is doing anything out of bad intentions.
...at least, for the most part, the majority of my clients have the absolute BEST of intentions.
And when a tiny space of that awareness opens up, a couple frees up space to be better problems solvers together.
The therapist goal is simply to help free that space.
But the couple is the ones doing the actual work.
..and it's such beautiful work.