Trauma can profoundly influence your “Quality of Life” QOL

As a counselling therapist, I understand that trauma can profoundly influence your life. To support our clients in moving past these challenging core beliefs, we must approach this journey with compassion.

Note: It is important you find a therapist you trust and feel comfortable working with. A good fit is important.

Here are the steps we can take together:

1.     Exploring Trauma: Let’s delve into the realm of trauma and explore how it intersects with your beliefs. Your story is unique, and understanding the connections is a crucial first step.

2.     Understanding Self-Criticism: It’s essential to gain insight into why those persistent thoughts in your mind tend to magnify feelings of self-contempt. This process can be challenging, but I’m here to help you navigate it.

3.     Recognising Biological Elements: We’ll work together to comprehend the specific biological factors that contribute to feelings of inadequacy. Understanding this aspect can be a significant part of your healing journey.

4.     Acknowledging Long-lasting Impact: It’s important to recognise the enduring impact of self-criticism on your physical well-being. We will address how this self-criticism affects your breathing, posture, and physical behaviours.

5.     Confronting Underestimated Fears: Together, we will confront the often-underestimated fear that directly ties feelings of “never being good enough” to depression. You don’t have to face this fear alone.

Understanding the Psychological Factors

I want you to know that there is no judgment here. When it comes to psychological factors that contribute to mental health challenges, a wide range of experiences can lead to a phase of compromised well-being. This may include experiences like childhood abuse, trauma, or neglect, social isolation or loneliness, and encounters with discrimination and stigma, including racism. You are not alone in your journey.

Empowering Strategies for Coping with Trauma

Thankfully, there are numerous coping techniques and forms of care that can help you manage your trauma with compassion:

1.     Seek Support: Reach out to your loved ones. When you feel ready, discuss the traumatic incident with them, sharing your experiences and emotions. Your loved ones can also assist you with daily tasks to ease some of your daily stress.

2.     Confront Your Emotions: It’s completely natural to avoid painful feelings, but excessive avoidance can prolong your stress and hinder the healing process. We’ll work on gradually reintegrating into your regular routine, with the support of your loved ones or a mental health professional if needed.

 

3.     Prioritise Self-Care: Together, we will focus on maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and ensuring you get a good night’s sleep. We’ll explore additional healthy coping strategies, such as art, music, meditation, relaxation techniques, and spending time in natural surroundings.

4.     Practice Patience: Understand that it’s common to have intense reactions to distressing events. Your healing journey will proceed one step at a time, at a pace that suits you.

Recognising Trauma and Its Impact

Trauma is a natural, biological response to situations that are far from normal. It can manifest when you experience or witness deeply disturbing, distressing, or disempowering events. These experiences can include various traumatic events, such as war, sexual violence, accidents, oppression, racism, life-threatening illness, and more.

After experiencing a traumatic event, your body and mind ignite a powerful fear response. This response can persist long-term, causing feelings of terror, hypervigilance, dissociation, or depression, even in the absence of the actual threat. When this happens, you may be experiencing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

Experiences that can be traumatic include, but are not limited to:

·        War

·        Sexual violence, assault and abuse

·        Physical accidents or injuries

·        Bushfires and natural disasters

·        Frontline emergency and disaster work

·        Oppression

·        Racism and discrimination

·        Lack of empowerment and conditions of injustice

·        Life threatening illness

·        Surgical operations

·        Lack of safety; dangerous living conditions

·        Domestic and family violence

·        Physical violence and threats

·        Psychological violence and threats

·        Childhood neglect or abuse

·        Evictions or homelessness

·        Health pandemics and disease outbreaks

·        Loss of one’s job or identity

·        Difficult birth

·        Loss of a loved one

·        Bullying

Benefits of Trauma Counselling

Counsellors and psychologists who specialise in working with trauma are here to support you in gaining control over disempowering memories. Quality trauma counselling equips you with the tools to cope with distressing memories, build resilience, and function better, giving you the best chance to grow from your experiences rather than feeling held back.

Therapy is not a quick fix, but it is a key to recovery and resilience. It can help you make sense of the world in a new and constructive way. Rebuilding after trauma is undoubtedly challenging, but it is possible, and many individuals go on to build enriching futures. You are not alone in this journey, and I’m here to support you every step of the way with compassion and understanding.

Note:

If you grew up in a house where you felt physically or emotionally unsafe, you may find you are stuck in a body filled with uncertainty. Fight/Flight

You may mask in particular environments, or you may have become a highly agreeable, people pleaser.

On the flip side you may find yourself escalating very quickly when you feel unheard, perhaps even becoming overwhelmed and angry, going from 0 to 10 in seconds. Being emotionally deregulated often comes from feeling emotionally or physically threatened in some way along your life map.

Note: Your relationships may suffer if you suffer

What is stress?

Stress is a natural physiological response that equips the body to react to potential threats and challenges. Often referred to as the “fight-or-flight” mechanism, stress triggers the release of hormones, such as cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine, which prepare the body to either confront or evade danger. In the face of stressors, the body undergoes a series of physical changes, including increased blood pressure, heightened muscle readiness, sweating, and heightened alertness. These alterations collectively enhance an individual’s ability to respond to potentially hazardous or challenging situations. Stressors, or the environmental factors that trigger this response, vary and can range from loud noises and aggressive encounters to significant life events, relationship challenges or a first date.

Relationship distress, employment and financial concerns being the most common stressors.

Physiological Impact of Stress

Stress influences various bodily functions. During a stress reaction, some normal processes, such as digestion and immune activity, slow down. Instead, the body redirects its resources to support vital functions like breathing, increased blood flow, alertness, and muscle preparation for sudden use. This leads to immediate changes such as rising blood pressure, accelerated heart rate, increased respiration rate, decreased digestive activity, heightened muscle tension, and reduced drowsiness due to heightened alertness.

Individual responses to stress can vary, determining its overall impact on health. Some individuals can handle multiple stressors without experiencing severe reactions, while others might have a more pronounced response to a single stressor. When a person feels they lack the resources to cope, a stronger stress reaction can lead to health problems.

Types of Stress

There are two main types of stress: acute and chronic. Categorising stressors into routine stress, sudden disruptive changes, and traumatic stress:

1.     Acute Stress: This is a short-term, common form of stress, typically triggered by recent events or upcoming challenges. Once the stressor is resolved, acute stress diminishes. It may lead to symptoms such as tension headaches and stomach discomfort.

2.     Chronic Stress: Chronic stress develops over an extended period, often due to ongoing life circumstances, like poverty, family dysfunction, or an unhappy marriage. This type of stress is more damaging and can affect various bodily systems, potentially leading to conditions like heart disease, high blood pressure, and mental health disorders, including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Causes of Stress

The causes of stress are diverse and highly individual. While one person may find a situation stressful, another may not. A person’s mental health, prior experiences, and feelings of frustration or anxiety can influence their stress response. Common life events that trigger stress include job-related issues, bereavement, family problems, illness, and major life changes. Additionally, fear of accidents, crime, health and waiting for significant outcomes can be stress-inducing. Some individuals may experience ongoing stress after traumatic events, diagnosed as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Symptoms and Complications of Stress

The physical effects of stress encompass symptoms like sweating, pain in the back or chest, muscle cramps, fainting, headaches, and nervous twitches. Emotional reactions may involve anger, burnout, concentration problems, fatigue, insecurity, forgetfulness, irritability, nail biting, restlessness, and sadness. Stress-related behaviours include food cravings, drug and alcohol misuse, social withdrawal, and relationship problems. When stress becomes chronic, it can lead to a range of complications, including anxiety, depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, lower immunity, muscle aches, PTSD, sleep disturbances, stomach upset, and sexual problems like erectile dysfunction and loss of libido.

CBT Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a therapy I use in my practice to help people improve their QOL Quality of life. You do not need to live life stressed!

What Does It Mean to Feel Like a Burden?

What Does It Mean to Feel Like a Burden?

Experiencing the sensation of being a burden can entail a persistent fear that you are causing inconvenience, irritation, or frustration to those around you. This apprehension may lead to concerns that others are growing weary of your needs or requests, and it can hinder you from being authentic, seeking emotional support, or establishing personal boundaries. Even when reassured by those in your life that you are not a burden, the nagging doubt can persist.

What Causes This Feeling?

The feeling of burden can originate from various sources. It might have its roots in childhood or develop later in life. Let’s explore some common origins of feeling like a burden:

1.      Parental Expectations from Childhood: The upbringing a person receives can cultivate a sense of being a burden from a young age. Parents who impose high standards may convey the idea that their child is only deserving of love, affection, or even basic needs if they perform flawlessly in every aspect of life. This message can be subtle or indirect, creating an expectation of perfection. Feeling like a burden can also stem from being assigned excessive responsibilities during childhood, leading one to believe they should be entirely self-sufficient and reluctant to seek emotional support as an adult.

2.      Low Self-Esteem or Self-Worth: Low self-esteem can be a significant factor contributing to the feeling of being a burden. It may result from various sources, such as toxic relationships, bullying, strict religious upbringing, or cultural messaging. Believing that you are fundamentally unworthy can intensify this sensation. Improving self-esteem can empower you to request assistance and accept love, as high self-esteem correlates with success and well-being in various life domains.

3.      Physical or Mental Illness: Individuals with physical or mental illnesses or disabilities may require additional support, making them feel as if they are imposing on others. This feeling can lead to over-apologising, isolation, or frustration with one’s own needs. Similarly, individuals in recovery from addiction may perceive themselves as a burden, as addiction may have placed stress on their loved ones. Recognising that everyone needs help at times and acknowledging the positive impact you have on those around you can help address this feeling.

How to Overcome Feeling like a Burden:

There are several strategies to overcome the feeling of being a burden:

1.      Build Self-Esteem: Elevate your self-esteem over time by practicing positive affirmations, spending time with supportive individuals, setting and achieving goals, challenging negative thoughts, and adopting healthy habits. Joining support groups can also provide validation and encouragement.

2.      Reverse the Situation: Consider how you would feel if someone you loved needed help or support in the same way you do. This perspective can remind you that you are deserving of love and assistance, just as others are.

3.      Reframe Your Apologies: Rather than apologising for expressing your needs or accepting help, try reframing your apologies in a more positive light. Show gratitude for the support you receive to shift your perspective.

4.      Gain Compassionate Insight into Cognitive Distortions: Educate yourself about cognitive distortions that contribute to the feeling of being a burden. Recognising and challenging these distorted thoughts can help alleviate negative feelings.

5.      Talk to a Counsellor or Therapist: Seeking the guidance of a mental health professional, especially one who offers cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), can help you identify and modify flawed thought patterns. Therapy can also address past traumas, build self-esteem, and improve communication skills.

Whether you choose in-person therapy or online options, with assist you in overcoming the challenges associated with feeling like a burden.

If your relationship is being plagued by your unhealthy beliefs and behaviors from childhood, it might be time for a RESET.

NB: If you have completed the “Disclosure” step 4 it’s now time to move to the closure and bonding session Step 5.

5 Steps to a better more connected relationship over 30days program”

Where did I come from and who am I being? Time for a Reset…

Over the past 20 years I have taken a particular interest in family systems. My research is not ground-breaking. However, there is a thread, which is commonly disclosed and discussed in my office and that is:  Alcoholism and Narcissism in parenting: There is strong evidence, it can have a significant impact on both the parents themselves and their children resulting in generational trauma. Prominent psychologists and researchers have explored the consequences of these issues on family dynamics and the well-being of children. My special interest is in Childhood trauma in adults because it affects the way we function in a relationship and as a parent.  Let’s have a look at the impact on the family unit:

Impact of Alcoholism and Parents:

Emotional and Psychological Trauma: Children of alcoholic parents often experience emotional and psychological trauma due to the unpredictable and sometimes chaotic behaviour associated with alcoholism. Witnessing a parent’s addiction can lead to anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem in children.

Neglect and Unavailability: Parents struggling with alcoholism may be emotionally and physically unavailable to their children. This neglect can result in feelings of abandonment and a lack of support, which can hinder a child’s emotional development.

Inconsistent Parenting: Alcoholism can lead to inconsistent parenting, as the parent’s behaviour may change drastically based on their level of intoxication. This inconsistency can confuse children and create an unstable home environment.

Substance Abuse Risk: Children of alcoholic parents may be at an increased risk of developing substance abuse issues themselves, as they may normalise or cope with their parent’s addiction by turning to substances.

Role Reversal: In some cases, children of alcoholic parents take on parental roles, caring for their impaired parents or younger siblings. This role reversal can disrupt the typical parent-child dynamic and hinder the child’s own development.

Impact of Narcissism in Parents:

Lack of Empathy: Narcissistic parents often lack empathy and may not be attuned to their children’s emotional needs. This can leave children feeling unheard and unimportant.

Validation Seeking: Children of narcissistic parents may constantly seek validation from their parents, as their self-worth is often tied to their parent’s approval. This can result in anxiety and a constant need for external validation.

Manipulative Behaviour: Narcissistic parents may use manipulation, guilt, and emotional control to maintain their own self-esteem and prioritise their needs over their children’s. This can lead to an unhealthy power dynamic in the family.

Developmental Challenges: Children raised by narcissistic parents may face challenges in developing a healthy sense of self and autonomy. They might struggle with boundaries, assertiveness, self-management and forming healthy relationships.

If your relationship is being plagued by your unhealthy beliefs and behaviors from childhood, it might be time for a RESET.

NB: If you have completed the “Disclosure” step 4 it’s now time to move to the closure and bonding session Step 5.

5 Steps to a better more connected relationship over 30days program”

Do you feel like you are going mad in your relationship?

“Navigating Narcissistic Relationships: 12 Red Flags You Should Know”

Introduction: When it comes to relationships, recognising narcissism is essential. Partners with narcissistic traits can introduce a host of challenges, often leading to emotional strain and exhaustion. These relationships tend to follow predictable patterns and behaviours, which can hinder personal growth and leave you feeling as though you are going mad, confused and isolated. Whether you are currently involved with a narcissistic partner or have experienced this in the past, understanding these 12 tell-tale signs can help you navigate the complexities of such relationships.

1.     The Alluring Facade: Narcissists often begin relationships with an enchanting charm. They appear sociable, kind, generous, and deeply affectionate, employing a tactic commonly referred to as “love bombing.” This magnetic persona continues until trust is established, after which they transition into devaluation, setting the stage for a cycle of narcissistic abuse aimed at maintaining control.

2.     Conversations That Revolve around Them: In a relationship with a narcissist, every conversation seems to orbit around their life and experiences. If your viewpoint differs from theirs, they may dismiss your opinions, correct you, or simply disregard what you have to say.

3.     Entitlement to Special Treatment: Narcissists possess an unwavering sense of entitlement, often demanding preferential treatment. This can manifest as expecting immediate seating at a restaurant, even when others are waiting. When denied such privileges, they may respond with anger, criticism, or withdrawal.

4.     The Belief in Self-Superiority: Narcissistic partners frequently boast about their own accomplishments and skills while neglecting to acknowledge the talents or achievements of others. This behaviour is a hallmark of grandiose narcissism.

5.     Insatiable Need for Compliments: While everyone appreciates compliments, narcissists rely on external validation to bolster their already inflated sense of self-worth. Their constant quest for praise, especially in public, reveals their insatiable need for “narcissistic supply.”

6.     Apathy toward Your Feelings: Narcissists tend to be self-absorbed, often appearing emotionally distant when you require support. Offering a sincere apology or taking responsibility for any harm they cause becomes a formidable challenge for them, leaving you feeling isolated and unfulfilled. In some case the partner of a person demonstrating narcissistic traits is left to feel like they are going mad. I often hear statements like “Darleen is it me? I could be the narcissist and don’t know it” a common statement due to the constant mind games the narcissist plays.

7.     Fixation on Superficial Aspects: Narcissists prioritise their own appearance, beauty, and social status. They scrutinise perceived flaws in others, including you, and may expect you to conform to their standards of perfection, seeing you as an extension of themselves. Criticism of this nature should never be tolerated in a healthy relationship.

8.     Limited Social Circle: Maintaining friendships can be a struggle for narcissists due to the one-sided nature of their interactions. If they do have long-term friends, it’s often because those friends are empaths, highly agreeable or people-pleasers. However, remember that not all friendships involving narcissistic traits are necessarily negative; healthy friendships require mutual effort.

9.     Conditional Charm: Narcissistic partners can exude superficial charm and unwavering confidence. However, this facade can rapidly crumble when they perceive a slight or dismissal by others. Note: If the narcissist comes from an abusive childhood the traits they demonstrate may have been an “adaptation” to keep them safe as a child. Take a moment to understand children who live in an environment where there is emotional or physical abuse will adapt very quickly to their environment “fear” is a common state where a child will start to adapt to keep themselves safe. They may start to lie, manipulate, and bully others as a way to keep safe emotionally and physically. As an adult they may strive to be a cut above the rest and demonstrate grandiosity or superiority, again to keep themselves safe. Humans are adaptive creatures.

10.  Hypersensitivity to Criticism: Constructive criticism tends to trigger intense reactions or detachment in narcissists. They may resort to judgment, criticism, or gas lighting, deflecting blame for any issues they face.

11.  Manipulative Tactics: Narcissists frequently manipulate others to serve their own needs or fulfil their dreams. They may cast themselves as victims of unfair circumstances to manipulate or guilt-trip you into actions that primarily benefit them.

12.  The person with Narcissistic traits: may have been a product of a Narcissistic environment as a child and be highly unaware that their behaviours are destructive, they may see you and everyone else as the problem. If left untreated the cycle may continue over the next generation and beyond

Whether you are dating, married to someone displaying narcissistic traits or grew up in an environment marked by such behaviour, recognising these patterns is crucial. Unconsciously attracting familiar traits in a partner can often stem from what you have perceived as “normal” due to past experiences or upbringing. By being aware of these 12 red flags, you can navigate narcissistic relationships with greater insight and self-preservation.

There are Narcissistic “traits” that people can display inconsistently and there is a DSM 5 Diagnostic Mental Health condition called “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”

What Are the Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

To remember the nine signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), you can use the acronym “SPECIAL ME.”

S – Sense of self-importance P – Preoccupation with power, beauty, or success E – Entitled C – Can only be around people who are important or special I – Interpersonally exploitative for their own gain A – Arrogant L – Lack empathy M – Must be admired E – Envious of others or believe that others are envious of them

How Is NPD Diagnosed?

Trained mental health professionals conduct a structured interview to gain insight into an individual’s typical behaviour patterns. To meet the diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, someone must consistently exhibit at least five of the SPECIAL ME traits.

Is NPD Genetic?

No, there is no genetic predisposition to NPD, and individuals are not born with it. Environmental factors play a significant role in the development of NPD. Children who are encouraged to believe they are extraordinary and always deserving of the best, sometimes at the expense of others, may be at risk of developing NPD. In such cases, behaviours like confidence are rewarded while qualities like empathy may be discouraged.

Are Narcissists Bad People?

Narcissists themselves are not inherently bad people; it is their behaviour that can be problematic. They have often been conditioned to believe they are special and entitled to preferential treatment, which shapes their interactions with the world.

Can I Have a Relationship with Someone with NPD?

The possibility of having a relationship with someone diagnosed with NPD depends on various factors. If your romantic partner, family member, or boss has NPD, they may present challenges in your life. Their self-centeredness may make you feel belittled, and your mental health could suffer as a result. Coping strategies may include setting personal boundaries and, if those boundaries are crossed, considering whether it’s best to distance yourself. However, making such decisions can be difficult. Labelling your partner as a narcissist may not be productive; instead, focus on your well-being and determine what you are willing to tolerate.

Can People Recover from NPD?

Yes, recovery from Narcissistic Personality Disorder is possible, but it is a process that requires time and effort. Individuals with NPD often do not seek help on their own, and when they do, it is frequently due to co-existing issues like anxiety. Since there is no established medication or therapy specifically for NPD, treatment takes an individualised approach. Building a trusting relationship between the patient and therapist is a crucial element of the recovery journey. If a person is willing to change and their therapist can help bridge the gap between their current and desired behaviours, there is hope for recovery.

I like to use CBT “Cognitive Behavioural Therapy”, this form of therapy has been proven over the years to be effective and has shown promising results for the patient, their partners and family.

Warning: Ultimately, the decision to leave a relationship with a narcissist is a significant one that should be made with careful consideration and, ideally, with the guidance of a Relationship Counselling Practitioner or Legal professional. If you are in immediate danger or experiencing abuse, prioritise your safety and seek help from local resources or authorities. If you are in Immediate Danger call 000 or the emergency number in your country. Remember that you deserve to be in a healthy, respectful, and supportive relationship.

Defensiveness is a response to perceived criticism or attack. Being aware and taking inventory of significant concerns in a relationship is crucial

Toxic relationships negatively impact emotional health. Being aware and taking inventory of significant concerns in a relationship is crucial, Partners owe it to themselves to evaluate how a toxic relationship impacts them and to consider the options. There are way too many walking wounded people out there. I’m referring to the masses of people who feel unfulfilled — or worse, emotionally neglected or abused — in their intimate relationships. It seems that everywhere we turn, we see and hear about people who are unhappy and emotionally hurting, often severely, in their quest to feel loved.

Let’s take a check-up- please read the following and assess whether your or your relationship needs some help?

·       Toxic relationships have a detrimental impact on emotional well-being.

·       It’s crucial to be aware of significant concerns within a relationship.

·       Many people suffer in unfulfilling or emotionally abusive intimate relationships.

·       Signs of a toxic relationship include loss of intimacy, lack of enjoyment, feeling misunderstood, frequent arguments, and dread of spending time together.

·       Three key signs of toxic relationships are passive-aggressive behaviour, criticism and contempt, and being trapped in negative energy.

·       Passive-aggressive behaviour involves avoidance, silence, and gas lighting, which can worsen over time.

·       Criticism and contempt, as described by Dr John Gottman, can be highly destructive and demoralising.

·       Feeling constantly drained and emotionally bankrupt in a relationship is a sign of toxicity.

·       Seeking the help of a qualified relationship counsellor is advisable before making significant relationship decisions.

·       Learning from the toxic relationship is essential to avoid repeating the same patterns in future relationships.

What are the four horseman in a marriage?

In the context of marriage counselling and relationship therapy, the “Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse” is a term coined by Dr. John Gottman to describe four destructive communication patterns or behaviours that can be highly detrimental to a marriage or long-term relationship. These four horsemen are:

1.     Criticism: Criticism involves making negative judgments or character attacks on your partner. It goes beyond expressing a complaint about something specific and instead becomes an attack on your partner’s character or personality. For example, saying, “You never listen to me; you’re so selfish!” is a critical statement.

2.     Contempt: Contempt is a more severe form of criticism and involves expressing disdain, disrespect, or superiority toward your partner. It often includes sarcasm, mockery, and belittling. Contemptuous behaviour can be highly corrosive to a relationship, as it conveys a lack of respect and admiration.

3.     Defensiveness: Defensiveness is a response to perceived criticism or attack. Instead of listening to your partner’s concerns and taking responsibility for your part in the issue, defensive individuals often make excuses, shift blame, or counterattack. This defensive stance can escalate conflicts rather than resolving them.

4.     Stonewalling: Stonewalling occurs when one partner withdraws from the conversation or interaction as a way to avoid conflict or emotional engagement. It can involve physically leaving the room or emotionally shutting down. Stonewalling can leave the other partner feeling unheard and rejected.

These four horsemen are seen as predictors of relationship dissatisfaction and even divorce when they become chronic patterns of communication. Dr. Gottman’s research has shown that the presence of these behaviours in a relationship can be detrimental to emotional intimacy and long-term happiness. In marriage counselling or relationship therapy, the goal is to help couples recognise and address these destructive patterns and replace them with healthier, more constructive communication styles.

Some Reflective Questions:

Does your intimate relationship no longer feel intimate?

Does it seem not so enjoyable, even though you may still love your partner?

Do you feel not understood for who you are and the needs you have?

Does it seem that you often rub each other the wrong way?

Do you find that you can’t stop arguing over even minor issues?

Have you started to dread the thought of seeing them, instead of looking forward to your time together as you once did?

Is it time to seek help?

Resentment can build up over time, usually because couples have mastered the sweep it under the carpet manoeuvre!

NB: If you have completed the “Disclosure” step 4 it’s now time to move to the closure and bonding session Step 5.

5 Steps to a better more connected relationship over 30days program”

Up to step 4, we are identifying the weeds in the relationship and the weighting score each one of those weeds hold for each person. You then complete your homework.

Next is Step 5 “The RESET” where you learn who you need to be for one another and bond over new insightful information collected over the 30 days in our sessions. This session is a heartfelt connection of two souls.

Marriage problems in chapters … What do you need to work on, Where Are the Weeds?

Chapter 1: Qualities of a Good Partner in a Marriage or long-term Relationship

In the journey of building a strong and fulfilling marriage, gender takes a back seat to the shared qualities and attributes that form the foundation of a thriving partnership. Whether you identify as a man or a woman, these qualities are essential:

Chapter 2: Effective Communication Within the sacred confines of marriage or a committed relationship, communication is the bridge that spans conflicts and connects hearts. It’s about listening actively, speaking honestly, and resolving differences collaboratively. Learning to communicate effectively and efficiently takes time. Communication is not just about the words you say. For example your Tone is 55% of your communication! Your body language, your written communication and your visual communication are all very important elements. You say so much without even opening your mouth. Listening is a very important part on the communication continuum.

Chapter 3: Mutual Respect, an unshakeable pillar in the structure of any relationship, is about valuing each other’s opinions, embracing personal boundaries, and cherishing individuality. It’s a language of kindness and consideration.

Chapter 4: Trustworthiness The foundation of a robust marriage is trust, an unspoken agreement that relies on both partners demonstrating trustworthiness and having unwavering faith in each other’s reliability. Trust goes as far as following through and doing what you say you are going to do.

Chapter 5: Emotional Support In the rollercoaster of married life, emotional support is the safety harness that keeps both partners secure. It’s about being there during life’s challenges and celebrating each other’s triumphs. Empathy is a really important element to someone’s personality. However, there are circumstances where empathy has not been home grown in the inner child’s make up.

Chapter 6: Equality In the chambers of a healthy marriage, equality reigns supreme. It’s the equilibrium where both voices hold equal weight, and decision-making power is shared, leaving no room for imbalances. Where there is a power imbalance in a relationship there will be a cycle of conflict.

Chapter 7: Shared Values Partners in a marriage should walk hand in hand along the path of shared values and goals. While differences are expected, common ground in areas like religion, faith, family, and lifestyle provides strength. Shared values need to be discussed in full and agreed on prior to starting a family or there may be a need for mediation up the track.

Chapter 8: Willingness to Compromise When the storms of conflict brew, the willingness to compromise acts as the anchor. It’s the art of finding middle ground, of forging solutions that serve both partners’ needs. Understanding you are both on the same team can help you put your swords down and start to communicate effectively.

Chapter 9: Friendship At the core of a thriving marriage lies a profound friendship. It’s the joy of each other’s company, shared interests, and the ability to have fun together, nurturing an enduring connection. Over the years we can start to take each other for granted.

Chapter 10: Individual Independence In the dance of matrimony, it’s essential that both partners maintain their individuality. Each should pursue personal aspirations and interests while embracing the partnership.

Chapter 11: Adaptability Life, with its twists and turns, calls for adaptability. In marriage, both partners should be willing to face new challenges as a unified front, resilient and open to change. One of the hardest step ups is acknowledging to oneself, that we need to grow up and become the man or women we need to be for the next chapter in our life as a partner in a marriage and potentially as a parent.

Chapter 12: Emotional and Physical Intimacy The chambers of marital bliss resonate with emotional and physical intimacy. Both partners should be attuned to each other’s needs, nurturing the emotional and physical bonds. When we feel constantly disappointment or let down by our partner we may need to talk about expectations.

Chapter 13: Patience and Forgiveness Within the confines of imperfection, patience and forgiveness are the masons that repair the cracks. They are the virtues that heal wounds and carry love through adversity.

Chapter 14: Commitment At the bedrock of every flourishing marriage lies unwavering commitment. It’s the pledge to remain devoted, to stand side by side, and to overcome life’s challenges as a united force. Many couples in the 21st century struggle to believe in the concept of marriage being a bond for life. With 50% divorce rates the proof is in the data, the term commitment is used loosely in their vows at the altar. Most people cannot remember their vows another example of the commitment being over shadowed by the precession.

Defining the word commitment truly understanding and living the word has weight in long standing thriving marriages.

In the tapestry of matrimony, every marriage is unique, woven from threads of shared experiences and individual quirks. What works for one couple may not for another. The key is to nurture open communication, empathise with each other’s needs, and jointly construct a loving and supportive partnership.

In couples therapy I find most couples have not had good role modelling, they are confused as to who they need to be for their partner in a committed “serve and return” marriage. Many say to their partner “Show me what I need to do and I’ll do it” Many individuals do not understand their actions or inactions maybe being viewed as selfish.

Chapter 15: Ways Couples Can Exhibit Selfish Behaviour in a Marriage

As in any story, there are chapters that explore the darker side. Here, we delve into potential selfish behaviour’s that can cast shadows upon the canvas of marriage:

Chapter 16: Lack of Communication The silence that withholds thoughts, feelings, and concerns can create resentment in a marriage. Open communication is the light that banishes these shadows.

Chapter 17: Disregarding Boundaries Treading beyond personal boundaries without consent can erode trust and intimacy. Respect for each other’s limits is paramount. If a boundary in your relationship is being respectful of time and doing what you say you are going to do “Integrity” example: If you say you are coming home at 5pm and you come home at 9pm intoxicated, you are not respecting an agreed boundary. If you continue to fail at managing yourself …Expect conflict and over time held onto resentment.

Chapter 18: Distrust or Betrayal Dishonesty, infidelity, and actions that breach trust can cast a long shadow of doubt. Rebuilding trust requires patience and commitment. You may also lie to dig down to understand HOW this happened in the first place?

Chapter 19: Emotional Neglect Neglecting a partner’s emotional needs, especially in challenging times, can create emotional resentment. Nurturing emotional connections is vital. Dismissing your partners feelings is hurtful and it does not display empathy

Chapter 20: Power Imbalances Imbalances of power, where one partner dominates decision-making, can cast shadows of inequality. Striving for equal partnership is essential.

Chapter 21: Clashing Values Refusing to compromise on core values and goals can create rifts in a marriage. Finding common ground and respecting differences are vital.

Chapter 22: Unwillingness to Compromise Stubbornly adhering to personal preferences without finding middle ground can cast shadows of rigidity. Flexibility and compromise are keys to resolution.

Chapter 23: Neglecting Friendship Overlooking the friendship aspect of marriage can lead to emotional distance. Rekindling the friendship can dispel these shadows.

Chapter 24: Overdependence Becoming overly reliant on a partner for personal happiness can cast shadows on individual independence. Balancing personal and shared pursuits is crucial.

Chapter 25: Resistance to Change Refusing to adapt or work together when faced with new challenges can obscure the path forward. Embracing change and resilience are essential. This is very common in 2nd marriages where one partner has been hurt by a past partner. Sometimes the fear of a second failure prevents them from giving themselves to the new marriage 100% leaving the new partner to pay the price of old wounds. The divorce rates for second time round are around 75% and the above explanation is a major contributor to this high figure.

Chapter 26: Lack of Intimacy Neglecting physical or emotional intimacy can shroud the marriage in darkness. Nurturing both forms of intimacy can bring light. Withholding sex from your partner as a punishment or a bargaining ploy will eventually lead to conflict and eventually fallout. Communicating and working on the underlying issues in the marriage will help prevent this type of behaviour.

Chapter 27: Holding Grudges Refusing to forgive or move past mistakes can create lingering shadows. Forgiveness and healing are pathways to brightness. If you agree to be in the marriage moving forward after a mistake has been made, you must forgive, or you will start to punish the person ongoing, leading to emotional abuse.

Chapter 28: Commitment Issues Neglecting the commitment to invest in the relationship can cast shadows of uncertainty. Again, define what commitment is for each of you and discuss expectations.

All bookings are made on our website www.dipac.com.au

NB: If you have finished the “Disclosure” to 4th step on the “5 Steps to a better more connected relationship over 30days program”

Please make sure you book the 5th step which is your Relationship bonding session.

Up to step 4, we are identifying the weeds in the relationship and the weighting score each one of those weeds hold for each person. You then complete your homework.

Next is Step 5 “The RESET” where you learn who you need to be for one another and bond over new insightful information collected over the 30days in our sessions. This session is a heartfelt connection of two souls.

Foundationally where did Gabrielle and Ryan come from?

Gabrielle and Ryan, a typical couple who married, enjoy successful careers with a combined annual income of around $250,000. They have three children aged 8, 6, and 4. Two attend a private school while the youngest goes to childcare. Gabrielle returned to work after each maternity leave, and they manage a mortgage, and their two cars are leased.

Ryan enjoys riding his motorbike occasionally and frequents the gym five days a week after work. Gabrielle has a tight-knit group of friends from her mother’s group and enjoys reading and taking morning walks before the children wake up.

While their lives may seem ideal, there’s more to their story.

Ryan occasionally drinks excessively; he says it helps with his undiagnosed anxiety however his drunken state leaves Gabrielle feeling emotionally vulnerable and full of uncertainty. Gabrielle tends to criticise Ryan on a daily basis, leading to arguments filled with hurtful words and put downs. Their intimacy has dwindled, there is no romance and they are having sex at best once a month, communication is a real struggle.

Foundationally where did Gabrielle and Ryan come from?

The term I like to use is “what root did you grow from.”

Gabrielle’s parents split when she was four, leading to an estranged relationship with her biological father for many years. Her mother remarried when Gabrielle was seven, and she gained two stepsisters which she did not get on with. Her younger brother faced challenges with ADHD he struggled at school and with family dynamics.

Ryan’s parents divorced when he was 12, with his father’s alcoholism causing turmoil. Ryan’s mother endured domestic abuse. Ryan has a close relationship with his elder brother, but his younger brother battles alcoholism. Ryan’s mother did not re-marry she raised the three boys herself. His father now lives with a woman in an unhealthy toxic relationship.

Ryan and Gabrielle’s children recognise Ryan’s mother and Nan and Gabrielle mother as Gran they have no relationship with their grandfathers.

Ryan’s mother’s recent stage 3 breast cancer diagnosis adds to his challenges of balancing family, career, and helping his mother.

Growing up, both Gabrielle and Ryan lacked stable role models, living in an environment of uncertainty and little trust. They both were witnessing toxic, destructive fights.

 Their family is now at risk of following the same path.

While it might appear that Gabrielle and Ryan have a perfect life at the beginning of this story, we dug down just a little to find the reality is very different.

Gabrielle and Ryan as children never experienced a loving bond between their parents, they did not experience what a serve and return relationship looked like between two married people. They never observed their parents communicating without harshness. They did not see their mother and father hold hands or kiss each other affectionately. No one in the home demonstrated love, warm, laughter, love, safety the environment from which they both come from a dysfunction environment.

Gabrielle and Ryan experienced the fight-or-flight response during their upbringing. Perhaps their internal alert system that once signalled danger, during their childhoods has never been switched off!

NB: Poor role modelling can have negative outcomes for families over generations unless one generation has the courage to break the cycle.

Behind closed doors, everyone faces their own struggles. In a world of constant comparison, people often feel inadequate, whether they pursue a minimalist off-grid lifestyle or embrace the hustle culture.

Regardless of the path chosen, it’s crucial to reflect on one’s roots and behaviour’s. Growing up in unstable environments may lead to unpredictability or people-pleasing tendencies. A healthy family requires effective communication and self-management skills, especially from the family’s leaders. Ultimately, a strong family is one where children feel emotionally and physically safe. Where they see mum and dad being kind and gentle with each other.

Raising a family requires many skills however there are primary needs – physiological needs, safety needs, belongingness needs, esteem needs and self-actualisation.

Self- actualisation is a big one, it is set up from the root your “childhood” what you think of yourself? You may see yourself differently than others see you, due to the environment you come from.

You cannot change where you come from, but you can certainly change where you are going, it all starts with you!

When I work with couples / families I like to follow the 5 Steps this involves seeing each person individually to help me understand the roots of the real problem. Couples Counselling Services Australia | DIPAC

Some people require multiple individual sessions to help them work through their own internal challenges. Some people give up however most push through, learn, then they test and measure themselves on the job. We must always remember; most people are good humans, it’s usually their behaviour that bring life undone for them and their family.

Regrettably, some couples make the difficult decision to separate

Regrettably, some couples make the difficult decision to part ways, and there are various reasons for this choice.

Why do couples opt for separation even after committing to a lifelong partnership and starting a family?

Several common factors contribute to this decision, including the challenges of forgiveness, accumulated resentments, financial strains, poor communication, and intimacy issues. When these issues arise within a marriage, couples often find themselves under significant pressure to find solutions.

Those who choose Couples Counselling may acquire new skills and tools to mend their relationship. Nevertheless, for some, the decision to move forward separately becomes apparent. In such circumstances, I strongly recommend turning to Mediation to maintain an amicable relationship while addressing the intricacies of separation.

Selecting mediation over litigation in family or divorce disputes can be a pragmatic and strategic choice for several compelling reasons:

1.     Cost-Efficiency: Mediation is generally a more budget-friendly option compared to litigation. Court proceedings involve legal fees, court-related expenses, and the potential for lengthy, costly legal battles. Conversely, mediation typically requires fewer sessions, resulting in reduced overall expenses and a shorter timeframe.

2.     Timely Resolution: Mediation often leads to faster resolutions than court proceedings. Court cases can become protracted over months or even years due to court backlogs and complex legal processes. Mediation, depending on the complexity of the issues, can bring about resolutions within weeks or months.

3.     Empowerment: Mediation empowers both parties to have a more direct say in the outcome. In court, decisions are made by a judge, adhering to legal standards and guidelines, which may not align with the specific needs and preferences of the parties. Mediation allows participants to actively participate in shaping a mutually agreeable solution.

4.     Confidentiality: Mediation proceedings are typically private and confidential. In contrast, court cases become part of the public record. The confidentiality of mediation discussions creates a secure environment for open and honest communication.

5.     Preservation of Relationships: Especially when children are involved, maintaining a functional relationship can be crucial in family and divorce matters. Mediation promotes cooperation and can lead to more amicable solutions, thus helping to preserve family relationships.

6.     Tailored Solutions: Mediation permits customised solutions that consider the unique circumstances of the family. Court decisions are often more standardised and may not address specific family dynamics or individual needs.

7.     Reduced Adversarial Nature: Court proceedings can be adversarial, positioning one party against the other. In contrast, mediation encourages a collaborative approach, reducing hostility and conflict.

8.     Child-Centred Approach: Mediation places a strong emphasis on the best interests of children, striving to create parenting plans that prioritise their well-being. This child-centred focus is especially valuable in divorce cases.

9.     Less Emotional Strain: Litigation can be emotionally taxing, leading to heightened stress and anxiety for all parties involved. Mediation typically involves less confrontation and emotional strain.

10.  Higher Compliance: Parties actively participating in crafting their own agreements during mediation are often more inclined to comply with the terms compared to court-imposed orders.

11.  Flexibility: Mediation is adaptable and can accommodate changing circumstances. If family dynamics or needs evolve, mediated agreements can be revisited and modified through a collaborative process.

It is important to note that mediation may not be suitable for all family or divorce disputes, particularly those involving domestic violence, significant power imbalances, or cases where one party is uncooperative or unwilling to engage in good faith. In such instances, court intervention may be necessary to ensure safety and fairness.

Ultimately, the choice between mediation and court should be guided by the specific circumstances of the dispute and the willingness of both parties to engage in the chosen process. Many couples find that mediation offers a more efficient, less adversarial, and tailor-made approach to resolving their family and divorce matters.

Your Marriage does NOT need to be another statistic

Relationships are complicated and you will need to learn a few things as you grow up in your marriage. We can never stay the same but if we aim to get better, we can enjoy a beautiful union for many years ahead.

Marriage, a sacred union between two individuals committed to a lifelong journey together, inevitably faces challenges that can test this bond. Startling divorce statistics reveal that roughly one in four marriages concludes in separation. However, it’s essential to recognise that there’s always hope for couples navigating difficult times in their marriage. In this discussion, we’ll delve into three common reasons behind marital struggles and offer guidance on rekindling the love, joy, and connection with your spouse.

Have you both become too comfortable even complacent?

1. Rekindling Communication

In the hustle and bustle of daily life, couples can easily become absorbed in their individual routines. Balancing work, childcare, errands, and household chores can consume all available time, leaving little room for meaningful conversation and quality time together. When was the last time you and your spouse engaged in a conversation that didn’t revolve solely around children, work, or schedules? Insufficient communication can lead to disconnection and, ultimately, resentment.

Here are 5 Questions to Revive Communication:

1.     How frequently do you and your spouse set aside dedicated time for meaningful conversations?

2.     What intriguing topics or shared interests beyond daily life could deepen your connection?

3.     Have you encountered any obstacles in expressing your thoughts and emotions to each other?

4.     Are there communication barriers within your relationship that require addressing?

5.     What proactive steps can you take to ensure daily, uninterrupted communication with your spouse?

2. Igniting Passion and Interest

It’s not uncommon for marriages to encounter phases of monotony. Routines can breed boredom, potentially endangering the relationship’s vitality. However, with creativity and effort, couples can break free from this cycle. Whether it involves scheduling regular date nights, exploring new culinary experiences, or sharing exciting hobbies, actively infusing novelty into the relationship can reignite the spark and rekindle desire.

Here are 5 Questions to Reignite Passion:

1.     When was the last time you and your spouse embarked on a memorable date together?

2.     Are there new activities or hobbies both of you have been eager to try?

3.     How can you infuse spontaneity and excitement into your daily lives?

4.     What plans can you devise to keep your relationship fresh, engaging, and filled with anticipation?

5.     How can you pleasantly surprise your spouse with gestures of love and appreciation?

3. Nurturing Intimacy

Intimacy, encompassing emotional, physical, and sexual connection, serves as the cornerstone of any loving relationship. While sexual intimacy is undoubtedly significant, emotional and physical affection are equally essential. From tender caresses and affectionate conversations to waking up together after an intimate night, these elements cultivate closeness.

Here are 5 Questions to Foster Intimacy:

1.     How would you currently describe the state of emotional intimacy in your marriage?

2.     Have there been physical gestures of affection that have dwindled over time?

3.     What factors do you believe have contributed to the decline in intimacy?

4.     How can you openly express your feelings and desires to rebuild intimacy?

5.     What activities or practices can you incorporate to rekindle the passion within your relationship?

Reviving a marriage demands commitment and effort from both partners. Prioritising open communication, nurturing excitement, and tending to intimacy are crucial steps toward fortifying your union. Remember that reinvigorating your marriage may require time and patience, but the rewards of a revitalised and enduring love are immeasurable. Seek the support you need to keep the flames of love burning brightly.

There is no shame in seeking professional counselling to help you in your relationship.