I DON'T see couples for relationship counselling, marriage counselling, or civil partnership therapy.
Please note, for relationship counselling, I ONLY see individuals privately (independently of their partner),
who want to work through their OWN, SPECIFIC concerns, issues in their relationship.
Overdemanding, Undermining, Emotional Abuse, Possessiveness - Counselling London
Our issues only get triggered within our relationship - not when we're alone. The closer the relationship, the deeper the wounds become activated, providing us with opportunities to heal whet we need to heal, learn, love.
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 our partner, over and over again, because we are irritated often about their 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 put-downs, 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.
Counselling for gaslighting can be offered to those of us who talk in code and gaslight. Living as if only we count, we may not even be aware we are doing this. Triggers for gaslighting others can be when we are put on the spot, feel stress, or when disagreements/rows happen (sometimes we can thing/believe we are saying something, yet the words come out differently). Our past may have a huge impact of why we gaslight, and the time may be right for us to stop this, overcome this, relate differently, and the counselling for gaslighting may support us through this. What we do can be experienced as manipulative behaviour.
On The Receiving End Of Gaslighting - How We Experience It Someone may gaslight us (see also Manipulative Behaviour) because they have stumbled upon it to limit challenge, can't bear uncertainty, have learnt to do this from their own parents or because of their narcissistic tendencies. We may have initially love bombed our partner. When someone is gaslighting us (taken from the film of that title), they can't bear another reality, where their actions mismatch their words. We may be on the receiving end of an arch manipulator (often charming on the outside as a technique so people will not believe us when we tell them that this person is abusive and out of control) who tries to gaslight us because over time they want to control, gain power over us through isolation in insidious ways (yet confusingly throw in odd positive words of reinforcement). And not realising this is happening, we may doubt our own judgement, sanity. With a straight face they may throw us off track by telling blatant lies (at the same time telling us everyone else is lying), deny they have said something even though we have proof. And again we may question our reality. They may bully, isolate us, undermine our ability to interact, obliterating our perspective that what we are experiencing is not what's happening, that we are just too sensitive. In an attempt to undermine our esteem and very existence they will say they know others (even without their permission) who stand by them no matter what. They may also pit others against each other - watching and enjoying this. When someone gaslights us they may project all their unwanted, uncomfortable feelings onto us, attack and accuse what is near and dear to us, precious, our very being as ammunition because they know how important to us certain things are. All this is highly confusing, disturbing, un-stabling for us. The gaslighting counselling can offer support around this, how we can trust our intuition around phoniness, insincere apologies, exploring our options.
Love is never about controlling who others see, what others do.
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, their time 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.
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 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). A relationship or marriage with our partner (and any other relationships) can often get set up in ways which push and pull, when one or both people get into fixed or rotating positions of superiority (rescuer, persecutor/perpetrator (or sadist)) or become put upon, as a victim/martyr (or masochist) where we may try to avoid any conflict, have fears around confrontation (yet we may use this victim position as an omnipotent attempt to control, change others, our partner). We may have a dominant personality in one of these. We can also 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, no longer abandoning ourself, being in our adult self and embracing the positive qualities of these three aspects, may be challenging. The drama triangle can be viewed 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 off each other. Drama triangles can also get re-enacted inside of us. Therefore the counselling may also explore our own internalised drama triangle. (And how within us we for example victimise ourself, become a self-persecutor internally where for example we persecute ourselves, so the counselling may include dialoguing with this part of us.) Also the therapy can explore what happens externally where our victim template can be like in the child position, our rescuer in the mother/feminine role, the persecutor with a father masculine energy, our own conflict responses and other ways of responding so we and no longer sabotage things, can observe this dynamic, take charge, feel less disempowered are now in our personal power.
Victim Or Martyr The victim or martyr in us (or masochist) may have a positive role in that it enables us to own our vulnerability, helplessness at time, enabling us to feel more human as we genuinely acknowledge our suffering, express our feelings or even temporarily feel sorry for ourselves alongside associated feelings of self-pity, so we can lick our wounds, harness what we've learnt grieve and let go what we need to let go of and move on from the experience, do things differently and prevent future regrets. Feeling like victim, martyr can give us the opportunity to notice any old story we have been telling ourselves and to reshape this in a meaningful way. 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. Some of us may feel victimised and 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, rejectable, depressed, overly sensitive or take things so very personally, look to others to solve our problems (see also The rescuer or saviour). Victimising ourself, 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, becoming easily disappointed, holding on to expectations. When we feel like a victim, it is only what we have internally chosen to tell ourselves, which may have been the messages we picked up when younger ("It must be my fault", "I am to blame", etc. - see also Unhealthy Guilt, Toxic Guilt - Feeling Guilty For The Wrong Reasons). In the past we may have felt like a victim (and got attention) and continue to make associations with this now - victimising ourself (victimology) or holding a sense of learnt helplessness - where we anticipate failure, maybe reverting to a regressed state (where often only others at times can help us see this). And any sense of learned helplessness, martyrdom, over-complying catastrophising and awfulising 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 when younger. 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 Difficulties Being In Touch With & Asking For What We Need In A Relationship, How To Know, Name & Respect Our Needs - 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, able to take care of our own needs. Just because we feel sad, doesn't mean we have to feel like a victim. And now, the therapy may also explore any rigid, fixed beliefs written in stone, unhelpful, redundant, inhibiting rules, loyalties, oaths, sacred cows, obligations, duties, taboos, 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), practising gratitude, kindness to ourself and others.
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, this can be explored in the counselling and psychotherapy. In societies, no one grows up without feeling victimised, whether through parents, teachers, siblings, peers, etc. and these beliefs live within our wounded child. Even though we may not be aware of these beliefs, we may be governed by them, hold onto defences in order to have control over not being controlled (e.g. anger, blame, denial, resistance, withdrawal, caretaking). Some of us may turn to addictions to not feel our feelings of helplessness, heartbreak and loneliness that arise from being treated unlovingly and feeling victimised. Counter-intuitively, embracing these aspects of us that feel victimised, and the painful feelings, that our controlling behaviour is trying to avoid, can support us taking full loving responsibility for our own loving feelings and behaviour. The moment we believe that some person's experiences or things outside of ourself make us feel, think in certain way, we are giving power externally to be in control with how we think, and feel (like a victim). However, if we believe the way we think, feel can change our life, then we have stepped out of victimhood and be greater than our environment, body, old emotions, habits, linear time. We may believe we need to suffer because we get stuck in the past. If we are not careful we can become like a doormat where whatever we do for others is never enough. Volunteering our own victimhood, believing our needs don't count, we may find it hard to stand upright, be in our own ground, no longer be small, assert who we are. Putting our own things off, unable to make and stick to decisions, struggling to be in touch with and do what is important for us may also be a familiar pattern. When threatened we may give in to avoid confrontation, struggle to assert who we are, what we want. Maybe we may 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. We may wallow in self-pity at times ("Pity me", maybe even enjoying this at some level) and be 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 complaining, 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. We may be fatalistic about life, hold a negative attitude, nihilistic beliefs, have self-hatred, be self-persecutory, sabotage things, struggle with our internal reactions to change, life's unfairness and end up feeling . Coming from our victim place, we may have a manipulative edge, e.g. we may bait others. Empowering ourself, having grace, forgiveness, self-compassion may support us. The therapy can explore what we might get out of all this - any benefits, help us to find ways to handle conflict and confrontation, alongside how we can take care of ourself, be in touch with our own free will, live life to our full potential. How we move out of this role, our behaviour patterns (including no longer giving off cues which attract the persecutor, rescuer modes in others), 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 also need to contact any anger, rage held in. We may want to deconstruct our old pattern of victimhood, towards freedom where we feel empowered, differentiating between being strongly vulnerable, sharing our pain and taking responsibility for our own emotions, healing the victim part of us without critical judgement. 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. Justifying our existence through hard work, being our own task master, we may equate results, success, with struggle - wearing this as a badge of honour. 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. Deep inside we believe we have to suffer (maybe from a belief inside our wounded self, who is invested in suffering, because it may have been taught that God wants us to suffer), as if a moral duty. 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 or give us the attention, praise we need. 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. Holding resentment, maybe bitterness, struggling to loosen up, be light-hearted, playful, carefree, have fun, laugh, be appreciative of life, have gratitude, as a form of self-sabotage, we may miss out on joy, pleasure (because we have to or don't deserve it - see also Self-Judgement - Our Inner Judge), we may martyr ourself to our work (and overlook delegation), 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 (somewhat enjoying situations that appear unpleasant, painful, tedious) at the same time as if we have to somehow punish ourself. This for some may be related to chasing a feeling - at least we can feel something rather than nothing, numbness. Even though we may feel defeated, the martyr in us may always have to do more (see also Keeping Busy - What May Be Happening Inside), 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 wellbeing, 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).
- Feeling, Seeking Pity, Being Pitied We all have difficult situations, knockbacks, or health issues in life. Self-pity can be part of the mourning process - sitting with our sadness, letting go of something towards healing. And it is natural to wallow a little in a bit of self-pity, yet remaining feeling sorry for ourselves can keep us stuck with a sense of helplessness, hopelessness with little positivity about our future. And it can be important to spend time taking care of our wounds, any shame to heal, so they don't spiral out of control or turn inwards - sinking into self-pity or depression. Some of our knockbacks may be hard to overcome. We may want to get past our hurt, because we no longer want to carry the burden of our past, as it's moved on and we too need to move on to a better place, because it no longer serves any purpose. However, some of us may live on self-pity, feeling a victim inside, maybe over-sentimentalising things, which stops us thriving or our relationship to thrive, especially if we hold on to regret. 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. "Pity me", "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. Practising gratitude, exploring potential solutions, calling upon our compassionate resilience or positive help from supportive others and envisioning our desired future, introducing our sense of humour, daring laughter rather than sympathy can also support us.
- How We Respond To Adversity In our relationship style, attachment style, we can easily get caught in trying to control circumstances, outcomes outside of our control. "If only... (this or that), if not for... (this or that) 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 no longer abandon ourselves, take into consideration what is for the highest good for us and others, transforming "It's happening again" and "Why me?" to "Why not me?" and discovering what I can do improve my situation, how I want to feel in each situation.
On The Receiving End Of Being With Someone Stuck In Their "Victim" We may need to check if we get caught in a drama triangle of trying to rescue the other or end up becoming persecutory. Even though we are usually a compassionate, caring, empathic person we can connect with people who genuinely want to help themselves yet may feel more distant and struggle to do so with others who pull on us for sympathy, drain our energy, have abandoned themselves are unwilling and closed to learning. Some people feel sorry for themselves, complain how bad their life is, so they can be taken care of and it can be tempting to jump in with our caretaking role or pleaser. Sometimes all we can do without getting drained is to offer a limited amount of time, be supportive, caring and then disengage as a loving act to ourself, remaining tuned in to our own feelings (maybe noticing our heartbreak in how they are treating themselves), helplessness over others who are unwilling to learn about caring for themselves.
The rescuer or saviour in us can at times be entirely appropriate, when we choose to step in and help, enable when alongside respecting people own qualities, resources, abilities, autonomy, 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). 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 need the courage to be disliked or 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:
- Disempower others, victimise them, not allow them to grow, especially when we feel uncomfortable from seeing other people lacking or in a needy situation and we aim to help them from our place of discomfort in order to feel ourself to feel better or them feel better, rather than offering help from our position of strength & alignment of others' success - not alignment with their problem
- 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
- Have a dominant personality as the peacemaker, pacifier, mediator
- 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
- Attempt to take emotional responsibility for others
- Help others hold it all together for them 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 under the illusion that it is in our power to make others happy
- 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, the dictator, tyrant takes a one-up position, blames others for the situation by putting them down or hurting them (including victim blaming). Attacking others may become our defence. Yet inside we may also be hiding inner fears, seeking safety. The more desperate we are, the more tyrant-like we become - maybe victim blaming/shaming (see also Scapegoating, Controlling Behaviour, Blaming & Criticism - Counselling London). 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", emotionally bullying 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. The tyrant, dictator (or sadist) in us may be authoritarian - often linked to achieving things (see also Being Overdemanding Of Our Partner). We may be oppressing others, very direct, become unilateral, which can alienate them (yet inside we may believe this is just being assertive, having good leadership). Our compassion may be in short supply. (Beneath our persecutory nature we too may become self-persecutory, experiencing shame, guilt. The dictator, persecutor or perpetrator in us (see also Being Overdemanding - Our Own Taskmaster) 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 self-compassion and healthy relationships with others may be missing, especially if ironically we have become our own inner tyrant inside of us.)
Drama Triangle & Relationship To Sadism, Masochism Sadism (enjoying causing suffering to others or indeed ourself) and masochism (enjoying receiving ill-treatment from others or to ourself) are strange and powerful drives and although frequently associated with sexual scenarios (examples may include feeling betrayed by others (maybe our parents) and now taking delight in choreographing scenarios witnessing our partner being sexual with another, where what was once imposed on us - loss, can now happen under our own influence - choosing the betrayer, dress-code, instruments, etc.). However, these drives operate not just in the bedroom, affecting all areas of our lives. And we may wonder why we take delight and satisfaction in our sadistic or masochistic roles. Often the roots of our sadistic or masochistic tendencies now have links to our past (maybe having a cold, sadistic or masochistic parents), or incidents when we felt a victim, defenceless, helpless, maybe constricted, belittled, bullied, shocked to our core, rendering us feeling worthless, undeserving, maybe ashamed. And one way of understanding our subsequent sadistic or masochistic behaviour is to view them as attempts to deal with, heal intolerable experiences of devastating loss, fear, unkindness, cruelty in order for our mind to find a way out of hurt, pain through rewarding or punishing ourselves (so at least we can feel something), yet in ways that aren't nourishing, life-affirming (see also Repetition Compulsion).
The masochist in us (which has parallels with the Victim, Martyr) may also have been a victim of cruelty. And stuck in this victim/martyr place we may carry a real or imagined sense of helplessness, weakness. And in order to alleviate past memories of suffering we choose this as a role, necessity, so it is not forced upon us. Where once we had no option, we now actively search others (often a partner) who denies us tenderness and care destroying our chance of happiness, and we can do this unconsciously to ourself before anyone has a chance to do it for us. Acting on our own volition (for that wasn't available for us when we were younger) we can take victory by spoiling opportunities for harmonious contentment.
The sadist in us (which has parallels with persecutor, perpetrator) may have been a former terrified child, having received cruelty, the terrified adult concludes by being cruel to someone else, this is the best way to escape, redirecting toxicity outwards, so this time we can take charge and control. The inner world of our sadistic tendencies may include believing that cruelty gives us protection, and so no longer wanting to be a victim, we therefore (often unconsciously) need to ensure we become a persecutor, perpetrator now, imposing the feelings we felt when younger, onto another. Confirmed by our life stories, we cannot believe an inner world without nastiness, so we must ensure we give it out, rather than receive it.
Liberating Ourselves From Early Pain In Life This may include questioning whether our supposed lack of choices carry echoes from the past (see also Unhelpful, Redundant, Inhibiting Rules, Loyalties, Oaths, Sacred Cows, Obligations, Duties, Taboos, Cultural Conventions), any fixed unhappiness now relating to when we were unhappy back then. Counter-intuitively, finding our way back to the hurt, pain, loss we suffered, that lies behind the behaviours, attending to something we may have avoided up until now - mourning what we have gone through, feeling sorrow for what happened supports our healing, so we no longer have to endure suffering to ourself or inflict this upon others, as we now restrict this hurt, pain to the past, rather than re-enacting it into our life now or into our future. Now our loving adult self can make what was unconscious, conscious, can help heal our wounds, so we no longer need to be afraid of failure and have conscious choice, where back then we didn't, so we don't have to associate love with pain. Setting us free may also include choosing to do things differently, be in fulfilling, kind relationships, work, making our home homely.
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
We may create high maintenance relationships (notwithstanding certain conditions like ADD/ADHD) when we disrespect ourself, others and don't take care of our emotional, sexual, financial, organisational, physical, spiritual wellbeing, our physical wellbeing (see also Valuing, Respecting & Looking After Our Body, Physical Health & Wellbeing, Our Physical Sensations) often by creating, sabotaging dramas in order to feel worthy, take our pain away as a result of our self-abandonment, feelings of emptiness, loneliness. Struggling to take responsibility in the relationship, we may become like a victim, overdemanding, blame, criticise others, try to make our partner responsible for different areas of our life that we are responsible for. The result can be that through our intentions, actions one or both of us may be walking on eggshells. A high maintenance relationship can be experienced:
- By pursuing & distancing - what may be going on inside & between us
- By what is transmitted, what we attract, repel
- With confusing longing with loving
- Through emotional dependence - dance between emotionally dismissive, avoidant & emotionally dependent partner
- As if we are in a drama
- Being in a role of victim, rescuer, persecutor
- By looking to our partner to fill our lack or live as if only we count
- Being with someone who is an energy drainer
- Through pleasing others, confusing love with approval
- Through who the codependent, caretaking part of us "attracts"
- By repetition compulsion
- Through our relationship & attachment style now
Organisational High Maintenance It may be important to manage our time (time to connect, work, learn, resolve conflict, play, time for chores, work, relaxation, being with children, making love, etc.) and space (taking care of our mutual spaces, respecting our partner's needs, striving to make the living environment pleasant for both rather than one of us, discovering ways of living together that meet both needs) in ways which work for us and our partner. We may abandon ourself organisationally, become disorganised, continuously procrastinate, be late, have a lot of clutter around us expecting our partner to take care of all this and some of this disorganisation may be connected to our earlier life.
Emotional High Maintenance In loving relationships we do not make our partner responsible for our feelings, so when we feel irritated, resentful, angry, hurt, anxious, depressed, we look within our own thoughts and behaviour that may be causing our own painful feelings - managing these without dumping these on our partner (see also Projecting Onto Others). We can say something like "You can't be responsible for my feelings, but this is how it made me feel". When we abandon a part of us in specific ways, we may not only ignore, disrespect ourself, but also ignore the effect on others, who may also feel disrespected. We may emotionally abandon ourselves, become emotionally high maintenance when we take no responsibility for our feelings of worth, lovability, wellbeing, happiness, safety, security. We may pull on others, be seeking lots of validation, approval, affirmation, reassurance, confirmation, permission, recognition, to be valued, appreciation, praise, attention, adoration, admiration, adulation, acceptance. (See also Emotional Responsibility, Emotional Energy, Emotional Health, Emotional Wellbeing, Emotional Evaluation, Emotional Strength, Emotional Resilience, Emotional Intelligence, Emotional Growth, Emotional Maturity - Being Emotionally Connected)
Sexual High Maintenance When we are sexually high maintenance there may be an imbalance of sexual generosity in giving, receiving, sharing or we may pull on others, using them to have sex with us or have abandoned ourself sexually (see also Feeling Sexually Safe). We may also use sex for validation, confuse sex with love (see also Qualities Of Touch). Jealousy may play a huge role.
Financial High Maintenance, Abandoning Ourself Financially When physically, practically able, if we aren't financially independent we become dependent on another. One of us may be financially dependent on our partner and if we are a person who doesn't financially contribute or take up any financial slack and in some circumstances our financial contribution may not be practical and we may contribute in other ways. Yet we may expect our partner to take financial responsibility for us. This may not be an issue if our partner agrees to do so and both accept this without any baggage. (Yet if we choose to be financially irresponsible, conflict can occur over abandoning ourself financially.) Some of us may take little or no responsibility for our income, expenditure and savings it can indicate we financially abandon ourself especially if we put ourself in financial jeopardy through impulse buying, over-spending (see also Compulsive Shopping, Compulsive Spending, Shopping Addiction & Shopaholism - Shopaholics, Shopping Addicts, Addicted To Buying, Online Auction Addiction, Credit Card Addiction). Looking after ourself financially, finding work we love, earning enough money, spending within our means, not being in uncontrolled debt, saving for the future, spending some money on things we enjoy is one way we feel financially safe, take care of our needs and avoid stress, as is not being tight, spending money so we can enjoy life, stay in the present rather than obsessing about the future. Some of us may be financially high maintenance in our relationship. When we financially abandon this part of us in specific ways, we may not only ignore, disrespect ourself, but also ignore the effect on others, who may also feel disrespected (see also Money Matters In The Relationship Or Marriage). We may want to make mutual decisions about financial matters which affect each other, regarding earning and spending (e.g. who decides where money is spent, saved or who works, who doesn't). One of us may become financially high maintenance by taking little or no responsibility for our own financial independence, income or expenditure. We may want to learn how to manage money in the ways that don't cause stress for us or our partner. Some of us may have tied up our identity with money, material possessions, wanting better, bigger or more, believing that nothing's enough and this, alongside impulse buying, may impact upon our partner. On other occasions, a financial power imbalance where one of us has a money making focus, where our attitude to money, not only affects us, but also impacts on our partner.
Relationally High Maintenance We can abandon ourself relationally in our relationship. It can erode the love between us if we refuse to speak up for ourselves in our relationship by giving ourself up, being compliant or resisting. This creates lack of trust, which can lead to conflict, resentment (see also Assertiveness). Examples include:
- In order to control others, rather than saying "No" when we mean "No" (see also Not Wanting To Let People Down - Fear Of Disappointing, Hurting, Upsetting Or Annoying Others, Our Partner), and "Yes" when we mean "Yes", we may disrespect our own feelings and needs, often through pleasing others or caretaking others
- In order to control others, over-explaining and defending rather than standing in our own power
On The Receiving End Of A Partner Who Is High Maintenance It may be important for us to heal our end of the high maintenance system between us, 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. Counselling for high maintenance relationships can be a space to explore these issues further.
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 (or jealousy). 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 We may confuse what's loving with control or domination and 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 needs and to stop abusing, move forward.
Emotional Abuse Help - Effects Of Abuse & Emotional Blackmail On Us When we are on the receiving end of emotional blackmail, we may experience fear, obligation or guilt (a term first used by Donna Frazier and Susan Forward, when referring to the impact of emotional blackmail). 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 various double binds - being a determined person we may want to prove how much we can take or being emotionally dependent yet no longer want to put up with what is happening even if we love this person. 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 and it can as if we have to walk on eggshells. We may have unsuccessfully tried to change our partner (maybe through omnipotently believing that through our kindness, love, compassion, pleasing, rescuing), 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. Self-sacrificing, forsaking ourselves, 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. Some of us may be attracted to others with broken wings or who have a bit of an edge to them. We may take on a rescuer role or simply be kind to them. Yet we may put ourselves in a one-down position (maybe believing we can change others through kindness, "cure them") or struggle to say "No", walk away as if proving how much we can take, maybe martyr-like. 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 a love addiction and we may be coming from a place that any contact is better than none. Echoes of abuse or our own demons may have happened previously in our past, which have influenced us and our reactions now. The effects of abuse, bullying when younger may have also impacted upon us (see also Relationship Style, Attachment Patterns). Some of our own responses and the way the dynamics of our relationship have been set up may be unsupportive to us. Yet our response can be very natural, understandable in what is an unnatural situation. The relationship therapy and marriage counselling can support our self-validation, free will in becoming self-empowered in our own ground, internally safe and responsible, with value in the world and our sense of esteem, self-trust, worth and willingness to change things. Setting some boundaries, ground rules, exploring whether it's possible to regain trust,to be truly heard, listened to without excuses, protecting ourself may be our priority and the bottom line for some may mean ending the relationship.
Abuse Help - Domestic Abuse, Partner Abuse, Mental Abuse, Physical Abuse, Psychological Abuse, Verbal Abuse, Financial Abuse, Sexual Abuse, Spiritual Abuse We can slip into believing things are normal that are definitely not. Any violence, abuse is wrong, unacceptable. Feeling disrespected, undermined, coerced, controlled, a prisoner inside, there may be abuse problems permeating our toxic 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 (e.g. body shaming). Abuse can often be experience as trauma. 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 pornography), psychological abuse and coercive control (which can happen slowly under the name of love) - behaviour affecting our liberty, freedom, sense of self and human rights, e.g. movements, communications, being tracked, emotional abuse, financial abuse (restricting access to our money or being controlled when we can, cannot work), isolation or a combination of these, which can be experienced as spiritual abuse, when this is any of these abusive treatments, which cause disconnection with spirit. How to take care of ourselves, respect and stay safe in our relationship or family may now be our priority and this may include no longer sacrificing ourselves and disengaging from abusive relationships, leaving straight away if someone is physically violent, including particular members of our family (see also Family Problems, Rifts, Estrangement, Inter-Cultural, Interracial Issues, Religious Differences, Sexuality). It may be important to remind ourself that being on the receiving end of abuse is never our fault. The counselling works at our own pace and includes not only exploring our own dynamics and any guilt and shame we carry, but also explores the effects the abuse has had on our lives, any negative thoughts that have resulted in this, challenging unhelpful thoughts as necessary. The therapy can help clarify our own motivations and needs, making our own changes, empowering ourself and having respectful boundaries. Love is not about controlling who other see, what others do. And when our safety is under threat we may also need to consider non-molestation orders, occupancy orders.
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?
FAQs about the abusive relationship Counselling London practice based in Kings Cross, Camden:
- What is the frequency of abusive relationship counselling in London, Kings Cross?
- How many abusive relationship counselling in London sessions do I need?
- How much does abusive relationship counselling London cost?
- Must I visit your London counselling practice in Camden or do you offer Skype counselling, online counselling or Telephone counselling?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of offering online counselling, Skype counselling or in-person counselling in London, Camden, Kings Cross
- Do you only offer relationship counselling in London, Camden or Kings Cross?
- What times do you offer abusive relationship counselling in London, Kings Cross or Camden?
- How do I contact a relationship counsellor in London, Camden, or near Kings Cross?
- How effective is relationship counselling in London, Kings Cross, Camden?
- What can I expect from the initial session of relationship counselling London?
- What to expect from the other abusive relationship counselling London sessions?
- What is the typical duration of the London counselling services in Camden, Kings Cross
- Is counselling for gaslighting effective?
- How long does the therapy for gaslighting take?
- How can I have a therapy for gaslighting?
- What is emotional blackmail?
- What are the effects of emotional blackmail?
- Is counselling for emotional blackmail available?
- How good is emotional blackmail counselling?