The three main approaches people take to resolving relationship problems:
Avoidance, Counseling and Legal Action.
I put seminars in the counseling category. And, that’s not rocket science.
But, there are three secondary ways that are worth noting:
Medication, Meditation and Mediation help.
Have you ever thought about that?
My training as both a psychologist and a professional mediator has lead so many folks to me, and that is the sampling that lead me to think about things in these new ways.
This is most folks top default setting when relationship problems arise, and even when they become patterns. We’d love to mimic the ostrich and put our heads in the sand. Problem is that that leaves you with an undefended position from the rear which will soon backfire, pun intended!
We avoid because we think our self-esteem, self-confidence and/or skills are not up to par. We hope that the problem will simply go away, or get no worse. That seldom happens. Problems remain problems, with a tendency to escalate or, at a minimum, pile up while we’re refusing to look.
It works. Pro-active people who care about themselves and their relationships actively seek solutions, even if it means a bit of painful self-examination. They want to know what they can do. Of course, I’d be a very rich woman if I had $1K for each couple I’ve worked with who came in, each with a balloon over his or her head that read:
“Everything would be much better if you could just fix him…or fix her!
Counseling works when people work with it. And, it takes a while. If you are bold enough to step up and go for counseling, you need to know it is a process, not a product. You have to stick with it. And, great joy, it can be done on the telephone from wherever you happen to be!
Really this requires no explanation.
If you need a restraining order, a legal separation, or a divorce, you know what to do.
So much for the first tier of options. Now for today’s insights on the second tier:
This walks hand in hand with AVOIDANCE as a relationship resolution strategy. No, I’m not talking about people with verifiable mental or physical conditions in this post. They may well need medication to address life in productive, effective ways sometimes.
For today, I am talking about people with depression or anxiety conditions, who prefer those diagnoses and a prescription over addressing the relationship issues that are underlying them. It’s hard to imagine when you think of it this way, but some people would rather tamper with their personal chemistry, than uncover what they are sure is a mountain of cans of worms masquerading as their relationship. Hard to imagine, but it happens way too often, IMHO.
Taking time a few times a day to sit quietly, center yourself, breathe consciously and reflect, is am amazingly effective strategy. It allows you to consider your choices, your behavior and your desired outcomes in the context of your relationship. It gives you perspective.
Whether you engage in a formal meditation process, or you simply sit, fall silent and listen as we talk about in our book, Soul Solitude: Taking Time for Our Souls to Catch Up, you’ll find great value in this practice.
A very effective way to talk about difficult things.
As a professional mediator, I work with couples in my office and on the telephone, helping them to air their differences and work toward mutually acceptable agreements. These agreements allow for each person to have grown and changed within the relationship and to bring that to the surface, recognize and acknowledge it. In many relationships, this simply does not seem to happen.
Mediation can help it happen, as can private sessions for you and your spouse. Sometimes differences are so great that mediation leads to legal separation or divorce papers being negotiated and completed. It, by its very name, is helpful: there is someone willing to walk in the middle, see both sides and lead the couple to a settlement, an agreement, that will help them move forward in life.
How are you resolving relationship problems?
If you are ready for help, apply here for a free half hour consultation with Dr. Shaler.