Please note, for relationship counselling, marriage counselling, marriage guidance, relationship advice & marriage advice I only see individuals who want to work through their own marriage or relationship problems.
I don't see couples for relationship counselling or marriage counselling.
Relationship Counselling, Marriage Counselling, Emotional Abuse in Relationships, Central London, Camden
Emotional Abuse, Possessiveness, Overdemanding, Undermining
Undermining In The Relationship Or Marriage
Being Undermining When small things matter in our relationship or marriage it can help to speak about them, so they don't build up. Minor problems can become major ones if unchecked for too long, they could fester and grow out of proportion. It can be important to identify issues, communicate well and try to resolve problems early. Yet we may frequently quibble and argue over small things, or nitpick about unnecessary details. Fault finding, we may have begun to hound them, over and over again, because we are irritated often about our partner's quirky habits or annoying behaviour. Accommodating these may be challenging. If we get into a relentless habit of quibbling and nitpicking for the sake of it, then it can become alienating (and often our partner switches off anyway, especially when it becomes emotionally draining). We may have been on the receiving end of being undermined when younger, yet find ourselves dong it now. We may also subtly undermine our partner in covert, gentle or not so gentle ways - overtly. Our undermining as a form of control, blame, criticism, can be difficult to pin on us, because we may present it as innocuous, or with "I didn't really mean it - I was only joking" response. We may end up undermining our partner and may have overlooked being respectful, engaging in conversation and discussion. Having gentle digs at our partner, or using put downs, not only undermines them, but erodes the foundation of the relationship or marriage, and our partner's self-esteem, which may need examining. We may end up distracting from the bigger picture - what's important and what really matters for us a couple. A different way of communicating may be called for. Underneath any undermining, manipulative behaviour may be our need to discuss other struggles which may be difficult to articulate. When younger we may have vowed never to be like our parents, yet we find ourselves responding in similar ways. These can be explored in marriage counselling or relationship counselling.
Possessiveness In The Relationship Or Marriage
Wanting Our Partner For Us, Only Us Some of us may want the full attention of our partner without respecting their own autonomy, difference and separateness, wanting to control them, own them, as if they have to be ours. We may hold beliefs that our partner belongs to us in certain ways, and that they have no right to have other passions, interests or to share themselves with others, that they should only be giving to us, that if they loved us, they would choose to spend all their time with us. What all this means for us, trying out alternative ways of responding, can be discussed in the marriage therapy and relationship counselling. Our own envy or jealousy may well be in play.
Being Overdemanding Of Our Partner
Overdemanding Sometimes our relationship may become high maintenance. When we become overdemanding of our partner, we are usually overdemanding of ourselves, struggle to take responsibility for our feelings. We may also be demanding of our partner to give us all the things we would have liked from our parents. And these can be explored in the relationship therapy or marriage counselling.
In A High Maintenance Relationship
Being in a high maintenance relationship can be when we struggle to take care of our emotional, sexual, financial, wellbeing (often through creating dramas, as a result of our self-abandonment feeling empty, lonely inside) is making our partner responsible for different areas of our life that we are responsible for in order to take our pain away, to feel worthy. One or both of us may be walking on eggshells. And our partner may feel uncomfortable about our intention to take responsibility for ourself in these areas.
Emotional High Maintenance A person can be high maintenance when, they take no responsibility for their own emotions feelings of worth, lovability, wellbeing, happiness, safety, security. Pulling on us, they may be seeking validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, to be valued, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration, adulation, acceptance.
Financial High Maintenance If we are a person who doesn't financially contribute, are financially high maintenance by taking little responsibility for our own income or expenditure and have tied up our identity with money, material possessions, wanting better, bigger or more, believing that nothing's enough, this may impact upon our partner. (See also Money Matters In The relationship Or Marriage)
On The Receiving End Of A Partner Who Is High Maintenance It may be important for us to take responsibility of our own feelings, not get caught in codependent ways, so we don't take responsibility for our partner but do so for ourself.
Emotionally Abusive Relationships
Abuse Problems - Emotional Abuse In Relationships Relationship counselling or marriage therapy can be a space to talk about abuse problems and the very powerful feelings that come up for us. Emotional abuse can be difficult to spot, we may not always know when it's happening. Unintentionally, or indeed intentionally, one or both of us may be carelessly undermining, slowly diminishing or injuring the self-esteem of our partner in incremental ways, either way the impact can be devastating. Most relationships don't start off being emotionally abusive. It can also be hard to admit we have allowed this to happen. Sometimes the abuse problem can be obvious, overt, other times subtle, covert (e.g. instantly checking up on someone, being controlled as to who we talk to, including health professionals, withholding medication, disrespecting, degrading, making fun of someone or their beliefs, humiliating them, making unreasonable demands for attention, using harsh words, making foul or degrading criticisms, being coercive, making offensive or hurtful remarks even in front of others, withholding, withdrawing, giving our partner silent treatment, verbal put-downs, insults, denying abuse is happening). Things may have got subtly and progressively worse, or have become extreme, and you may be in an abusive relationship now, where what was once a strength in us has become domination. We may be an emotionally abusive partner, or be living with one. Both of us may be emotionally abusive. Sometimes it can be hard to believe that we are experiencing abuse or are being abusive. Some emotionally abusive men, emotionally abusive women may be seeking abuse help through abuse therapy, abuse counselling. Whether we are an emotionally abusive man or woman, anger is usually not the cause of abuse, more of the form of abuse, intending to control, gain power, frighten our partner. Often anger management alone is insufficient if we just believe that anger is something we need to control, but is nevertheless justified, without taking responsibility for our anger. We may try to abuse our partner because we can't get our own way and they don't submit. Our abusive behaviour may also try to ensure that our partner can't make any demands on us. Inside we may have very powerful unwanted feelings or wounds going back a long while (see also Our Painbody). Repeated patterns of emotional abuse may unknowingly have their roots from childhood.
Trying To Justify Our Abuse Things may have escalated. There is no justification for abuse - instilling fear into our partner: stress, our bad temper, loss of control, blaming it on provocation, our childhood, insecurity, esteem, alcohol, etc. are all irrelevant. The counselling and psychotherapy can offer a space to talk about this, our underlying feelings further and to stop abusing.
Abuse Help - Effects Of Abuse On Us We can feel emotionally abused when our opinions, feelings and thoughts are disregarded, or when we don't have the right to speak up or be heard, when we feel controlled, blamed, criticised, dominated, or we can't make decisions - even small ones, on our own.
Abuse Help - On The Receiving End Of Abuse The person on the receiving end may feel less worthy, unappreciated, rejected, neglected and unloved, affecting whole aspects of their life. Some may be in a double bind - being emotionally dependent yet no longer want to put up with what is happening. We may want to talk about what it's like to be on the receiving end of abuse and what we intend to do about this. In order to have power over us, our partner may try to control us - what we do, say, how we look, who we see or cut us off from friends or family, seeking to drive a wedge between us and people close to us. They may force us to make a choice between them and others we care about. If we are not careful, we may end up becoming isolated. The abuse problems may have escalated. Not valuing who we are we may end up being intimidated or bullied by others. We may have unsuccessfully tried to change our partner, decided we have stayed in an unhealthy or abusive relationship too long, consider leaving, yet struggle to let go or feel guilty, fearing being alone and are now seeking abuse help, abuse therapy, abuse counselling. We may have unknowingly taught our partner how to treat us by tolerating their disrespect - giving them a message that it is OK for them to treat us this way.
Abuse Help - Empowering Ourself We may be or have an emotionally abusive husband or partner, an emotionally abusive wife or partner. Turning to abuse counselling, abuse therapy, some of us may also wonder how come we are in an abusive situation. Sometimes it can be that our overwhelming desire for love can open us up to exploitation, abuse. We may have become codependent or have what could be described as love addiction and we may be coming from a place that any contact is better than none. Echoes of abuse may have happened previously in our past (see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns), which have influenced us and our reactions now. The effects of abuse, bullying when younger may also impact upon us now. Some of our own responses and the way the dynamics of our relationship have been set up may be unsupportive to us. The relationship therapy and marriage counselling can support us in becoming self-empowered and responsible, with our sense of esteem, and willingness to change things. Setting some ground rules, protecting ourself may be our priority and the bottom line for some may mean ending the relationship.
Abuse Help - Domestic Abuse, Mental Abuse, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Financial Abuse, Sexual Abuse Any violence, abuse is wrong, unacceptable. Feeling disrespected, undermined, coerced, controlled, a prisoner inside, there may be abuse problems permeating our relationship or marriage, which we now what to tackle. The abuse may be subtle or blunt and may have echoes of abuse in our earlier life. It can take many forms, verbal abuse (verbal violence), physical abuse (being held down, hit, bitten, weapons used against us), sexual abuse (forcing us to have sex, unwanted sexual actions, groping, touching, etc., being made to watch porn), psychological abuse, emotional abuse, financial abuse (restricting access to our money or being controlled when we can, cannot work) or a combination. How to take care of ourselves, respect and stay safe in our relationship or family now may be our priority and this may include no longer sacrificing ourself and disengaging from abusive relationships, including particular members of our family.
Drama Triangle of Victim, Rescuer, Persecutor
Drama Triangle (developed by Stephen Karpman) Often determined by influences of our past, the familiar roles we have in our relationship or marriage may often be different to the ones we have at work or socially. When one or both of us are in these roles (or fixed relating states) they can cause pain, loss of personal power, a distorted sense of love, a sense of shame or unworthiness and dysfunctional behaviour (see also Repetition Compulsion). We may try to avoid any conflict, have fears around confrontation. A relationship or marriage with our partner (and any other relationships) can often get set up when one or both people get into fixed or rotating positions of superiority (rescuer, persecutor) or become put upon as a victim (yet we may use this victim position as an omnipotent attempt to control, change others, our partner). We can become triggered and switch back and forth from these three positions. For example, if we are trying to please others, and they don't show us appreciation, or respond how we would like them to, we can switch from being upset to attacking. As if playing a role, acting from a script with various scenarios (the dramas can be little ones, or huge - see also In A High Maintenance Relationship), we may not always be aware we (or our partner) are doing this, and the roots of these roles may stem from our childhood, even passed down through generations. Letting go of these roles, disidentifying from them when we need to, disidentifying from them when we need to, no longer abandoning ourself and embracing the positive qualities of these three aspects, may be challenging. Viewing the drama triangle as a game (where the rule is not to be in the same position as others, yet oscillating between roles, positions), we may try to score points of each other. How this drama triangle gets re-enacted externally (and how within us we feel like a victim, rescuer, self-persecutor internally), our disempowering role in this, our own conflict responses and other ways of responding can be included in the marriage counselling or relationship counselling, so we take charge and no longer sabotage things. Therefore the relationship counselling may also explore our own internalised drama triangle.
Victim Or Martyr The victim or martyr in us may have a positive role in that it enables us to own our vulnerability, enabling us to feel more human as we genuinely acknowledge our suffering, express our feelings or even temporarily feel sorry for ourselves and associated feelings of self-pity, so we can lick our wounds, harness what we've learnt and move on from the experience, do things differently and prevent future regrets. Being sorry for ourselves may also give us the opportunity in noticing any story we have been telling ourselves and to reshape this in a meaningful way. Just because we feel sad, doesn't mean we have to feel like a victim. At certain times all of us have felt like a victim and can be a doorway to our healing as we own our vulnerability, become resilient. When we are thinking or acting like a victim or martyr, this can make us feel safe, or even give us a distorted sense of power, yet if stuck in this victim/martyr place, we may also feel in a one-down position, helpless, become submissive, depressed, overly sensitive or take things so very personally, look to others to solve our problems (see also The rescuer or saviour). Some of us may feel victimised. Most of us have erroneously believed and said something like "Look what you've made me do". Like any experience, people's actions trigger reactions, yet they are not the cause of our actions, e.g. choosing to feel like a victim, frequently complaining. When we feel like a victim, it is only what we have internally chosen to tell ourselves ("It must be my fault", "I am to blame", etc). In the past we may have felt like a victim (and got attention) and continue to make associations with this now - victimising ourself (victimology, learnt helplessness), maybe reverting to a regressed state (where often only others at times can help us see this). And any sense of learned helplessness may affect our life script, unhelpful habitual thinking patterns, negative attitude, impending doom, pessimism, repetition compulsion, sense of shame. Children initially have little choice, awareness, consciousness and limited abilities to reflect upon their feelings, reactions. There may have been very good reasons to be like a victim, where we may have learnt to play the victim when younger to stop us being victimised, receive attention, positive feedback, pulling on others for what we need. We can utilise this information at the time to heal and find alternative ways of getting our needs met (see also Being In Touch With & Asking For What We Need - Speaking Up For Ourselves & Letting Others, Our Partner Know What Works Best For Us). Notwithstanding the impact or any disadvantages of our culture, as adults, we are now more aware and conscious, less helpless, able to take care of our own needs. The therapy may also explore whether we still need to be tied to our old "victim", "martyr" story, who in us is doing the victimising and our range of choices - even difficult ones, what we value, the nature of our free will, being empowered and the healthy side of being self(ish).
Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good personDennis Wholey
is a little like expecting a bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.
The Victim - What May Be Happening Inside We may have felt a victim to our environment, where our needs weren't met when younger and stuck in unhelpful victimhood now (or a state of learnt helplessness - a term coined by Martin Seligman), this can be explore in the counselling and psychotherapy. If we are not careful we can become like a doormat and whatever we do for others is never enough. We may find it hard to stand upright, be in our own ground, no longer be small and assert who we are, believing our needs don't count. Putting our own things off, struggling to be in touch with and do what is important for us may also be a familiar pattern. Unable to make and stick to decisions, we may have a sense of helplessness. When threatened we may give in to avoid confrontation. We may also have allowed ourselves to be controlled by others, become overly sensitive or wishy-washy. Reacting, we may allow others to determine what we believe. The victim in us tends to have a false sense of unworthiness, feel sorry for ourselves, "poor me" we may say, wallowing in self pity at times (maybe even enjoying this at some level) and being passive-aggressive, acting like we can't help ourselves. We may end up apologising, yet not really mean it. And when we tell ourselves life is a struggle, our actual struggle may be to release our resistance, let go, feel at ease. It can be a challenge not to expect others to rescue us, taking responsibility for our own thoughts (including unhelpful concrete thinking) and actions, to state clearly and firmly our needs, without going to our defeatist position or familiar helpless state. We may complain we are being controlled, that we are powerless in what the world is doing to us. Stopping blaming others, no longer feeling abandoned, trapped in our unhealed wounds and asserting who we are may be one challenge as may no longer being dependent on others for validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, to be valued, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration, adulation, acceptance. How we judge us and others may also affect how we remain in this role of victim or martyr, both of which can be experienced as manipulative behaviour. The therapy can help us to find ways to handle conflict and confrontation, alongside how we can take care of us, be in touch with our own free will. How we move out of this role, our behaviour patterns, beliefs about suffering and love, wondering what lessons can be learnt taking responsibility for our self and emotions, being compassionate, content and carefree, lightening up, rediscovering our laughter, sense of humour, can also be explored in the relationship counselling. We may want to deconstruct our old pattern of victimhood, towards freedom where we feel empowered. Differentiating between being vulnerable, sharing our pain and taking responsibility for our own emotions, healing the victim part of us without critical judgement, accessing our own grace, forgiveness, self-compassion may support us. We may also want to consider:
- The Martyr In Us So convinced that we are "right", we can feel comfortable in our martyrdom with a sense of purpose, pride and defend that what we are doing is what any decent caring person would do. We may justify our very existence though effort, perseverance, struggle and underneath this, we may believe we are unworthy of love, don't find it easy to receive love. Martyring ourself can be a very difficult (almost addictive) place to come out of, especially if we are in a self-righteous place, feel virtuous about our martyrdom - wallowing in it, when deep inside we believe we have to suffer, as if a moral duty and for whatever reasons for some of us it can be comfortable to be miserable, that if we are not suffering, something worse will happen, that we'll end up where we always "deserve" to be that life is only about suffering, self-sacrifice and we can also hold in our anger, be overdemanding, striving for perfection, end up trying to control others, yet they never seem to conform. We may behave as if we are being considerate (see also Codependency (Co-Dependency) - Caretaking), doing things not asked for, yet confuse being helpful with our need to be seen as significant to others (telling others we don't mind when we really do), putting pressure on them to return the favours. We may be seeking yet find it hard to receive others' validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration, acceptance. As a form of self-sabotage, missing out on pleasure (because we have to or don't deserve it), we may martyr ourself to our work, relationship or marriage, yet feel unhappy, resentful inside - holding everything (including our own vulnerability) in (see also Our Painbody), being so good, believing we have to do this role as if we have no choice, putting pressure on ourself as well as others, struggling to ask for help, delegate, worrying, ruminating. In our martyrdom mood we take on the role of being the only one who can do things (see also So Much To Do & Having To Do It All Ourselves), yet feel sorry in a masochistic way for ourself at the same time. Even though we may feel defeated, the martyr in us may always have to do more, keep trying, where everything becomes long, hard and difficult, a burden, as if only surviving is a success, affecting our relationship to life which may be a part of our repetition compulsion. Our creativity may diminish and heart become more closed. Placing a lower priority on our own needs or struggling to ask for them to be met, it may be as if we have become self(less) - struggling to take care of ourselves, compassionately heal what we need to heal, set our own parameters, boundaries (see also Healthy Side Of Being Self(ish)).
- Seeking Pity, Being Pitied We all have knockbacks in life and it can be important to spend time taking care of our wounds to heal. Some of our knockbacks may be hard to overcome, calling upon our compassionate resilience or positive help from supportive others. Some of us may live on self-pity, which stops us thriving or our relationship to thrive. Others may use self pity to make others to feel sorry for us or as a way to get what we want. Trying to get the other person to give us the attention we need, e.g. "I'm unhappy, unwell, unloved, useless, my life is so much harder than your own" may be something we do, which can be experienced as manipulative. Yet most of us feel uncomfortable when pitied, even if this is well intentioned, and it may come across as demeaning, condescending. And if we do feel pity for someone, a challenge may be to consider not expressing this (if we are concerned about colluding with them), but allow compassion, respect and dignity to filter through our attitude, to support and be there for someone else.
- How We Respond To Adversity We can easily get caught in trying to control circumstances, outcomes outside of our control. "If only... , if not for... things would be different" we might say. Understanding our intentions, need to control others, situations, being open to learning, resilient, may support us. Responding differently, taking personal responsibility for our hurt, pain, suffering (and how we may contribute to our pain), our victim-free choices (and the support we need to make different choices), may be a positive way of helping ourselves, especially when we take into consideration what is for the highest good for us and others.
The rescuer or saviour in us can at times be entirely appropriate, when we choose to step in and help when we are concerned and genuinely care about someone vulnerable or about what's happening in the world (some of us can take on a role of world saviour). And when we care (without rescuing or wanting anything back in return, doing it for them) we can check if our help is wanted. We may take on a role of saving others - the saviour as a one-up position trying to look after others, solve their problems. The rescuer or saviour role can also be addictive, because we can feel good in trying to help or rescue others - see also Codependency (Co-Dependency) - Caretaking. Rescuing others may also be connected to fear of disappointing, hurting, upsetting or annoying others, our partner. We can take the moral high ground - "We are the good guy, we know best". We can be like a magnet, attracting others who we decide need rescuing. Sensitive, we can try so hard, giving so much to make things better for others, our partner, but never quite succeed. We may try to take personal responsibility for their moods, feelings (see also Enmeshment). In relationships we may do anything, so as not to upset our partner. Our role of rescuer boosts our esteem - we are important, yet inside we may feel empty, using others we rescue to fill us. We can switch from rescuer to perpetrator or victim, when others do not respond positively to our rescuing role. We can end up resenting and blaming our partner for not appreciating all what we are doing for them, becoming a persecutor. And our actions (of rescuing and attacking) stop them taking care of themselves. We may struggle to acknowledge others are responsible for their life, as we are for ours. Counselling and psychotherapy can explore with you how the hooks of manipulation and guilt may play a role. The marriage counselling or relationship counselling supports us in stepping out of these controlling roles and provides the space for us to address our own problems, emotions and need to be liked, instead of focusing on others, so the care we give is also for ourself. The rescuer may:
- Struggle to know when it's best to step in, support - let others rely on us others & when to step back, allow others space to do things for themselves - be self reliant
- Try to solve or fix things, please or charm others
- Automatically try to work out what others want, need at the cost to our self
- Become martyr-like or depressed, with a lost sense of who we are
- Have a strong sense of entitlement towards the victim - "after all I've done for you" (we may in turn become a victim, believing we have been taken advantage of)
- Fear conflict, confrontation
- Help others in order to reduce their own anxieties or personal fears of abandonment, rejection - it keeps the rescuer nice & safe, avoiding their own problems & uncomfortable emotions ("They have all the problems, I don't. They are anxious, I am not"). Yet in wanting others to feel safe it may indicate that we feel unsafe inside, believing that if others feel safe, then we can.
- Be stuck with a false sense of superiority, by being so unselfish for the good of someone else (see also Healthy Side Of Being Self(ish))
- Become guilty & lost (role-deprived) when unable to be involved or solve other people's problems (our guilt may be a strong driver to rescue others even further)
- Blame others (sometimes becoming the perpetrator) for their problems, refusing to address their own
The persecutor or perpetrator in us may serve a positive function by propelling us to assert and protect ourselves, lay out our case, have boundaries, saying things as they are. Yet the persecutor or perpetrator in us takes a one-up position, blames others for the situation by putting them down or hurting them. Attacking others may become our defence. Yet inside we may also be hiding inner fears, seeking safety. It may be hard for us to acknowledge our emotional bullying. The more desperate we are, the more tyrant-like we become (see also Controlling Behaviour, Blaming & Criticism). Angry or rageful we can sense a rush of adrenaline. At times we may not even realise that we have become emotionally bullying. It can be very tough for us to acknowledge we get into this "dictator" role, have damaged others, that we don't always need to be right (see Competitiveness In The Relationship Or Marriage), that it's OK to be vulnerable and that we might need help through relationship counselling and marriage therapy. Our compassion may be in short supply. (See also Bullying Help)
Possessiveness & Abuse Problem Questions We may hold certain questions about types of abuse, verbal and emotional abuse, abusive relationships, abuse therapy or abuse counselling, e.g.:
- Emotional abuse - what does it mean to be emotionally abusive?
- How can I get abuse help?
- What is verbal abuse?
- How can abuse therapy, abuse counselling help?
- What are signs of emotional abuse?
- What are the signs of psychological emotional abuse?
- Is there a difference between emotional and mental abuse?
- Abusive relationships - why do I seem to attract abusive men, abusive women?
- Abusive relationship - what is an emotionally abusive relationship? What are the signs of emotionally abusive relationship?
- I am an emotional abuser - what can I do?
- What are the effects of emotional abuse?
- Psychological abuse - what is psychological abuse?
- Abusive men, abusive women - what are the differences between abusive men and abusive women?
- Possessive men, possessive women - what are the differences between possessive men and possessive women?