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Relationships are complicated and often people don’t actually acknowledge and realise the amount of effort and nurturing that needs to go into them.

The majority of people that come into the counselling room are struggling with the relationships in their lives.  There are often issues within all types of relationships.  It doesn’t just mean with your partner.  It can mean with your siblings, your parents, your friends, work colleagues.  The list goes on and on.

People often take relationships for granted.  They can make assumptions about other people, or presume that they know what they are thinking, or for example that they will always be there for them. This results in people and relationships being taken for granted.  It is when this happens that relationships can break down.

Another big issue in relationships is expectations.  People can often expect the people around them to know what they want and know what they need.  But if this isn’t effectively communicated, then people will never know how they truly feel.  Individuals can for example often feel let down, and as though no one cares or no one is listening to them.  However, perhaps they are actually struggling to assert themselves, or to communicate what it is that they actually need.

When people take each other for granted, or they don’t talk about what they need, then relationships can break down.  Siblings can end up falling out, or feeling let down and hurt in some way.  Work colleagues can get frustrated and annoyed with one another, leaving them feeling resentful and upset.  All of this can raise stress levels.  In romantic relationships people can often feel betrayed, and let down so deeply that they may turn to another person for comfort. This is how affairs begin – physical or emotional ones.  In addition to this friendships can waver, and people can fall out with one another.

Relationships are hard to maintain and effective relationships require effort.  Open communication is key.  People need to talk to one another.  It sounds relatively simple, but talking is one of the biggest things that people often struggle with.  Often clients come into therapy saying ‘I find it so hard to say how I feel ‘ or ‘ I don’t know how to ask for what I need’.  Sometimes people don’t even know what it is that they need.  They end up getting so stressed about other things and wound up about other areas of their life, when really something else is going on in their relationships.

Respect and trust are of course vital parts of a relationship.  This doesn’t just mean trusting that your partner won’t be unfaithful, I means trusting all the people that you are in relationships with to make decisions, to act appropriately, to think about your feelings and to show that they care and listen.  This can be hard if you haven’t experienced
this kinds of relationships growing up.

Our relationships with our family are key, because they are the first relationships we have.  The one we form with our parents, step parents, siblings, or other caregivers are vital.  The modelling that we see is also important.  For example if children see adults that argue all the time and shout, then they can feel that this is a natural way to
express feelings.  Or if they grow up with a parent that never says what they feel, or encourages them too, and then they are likely to bottle up their feelings and emotions.  Whatever patterns are developed, they are likely to continue in someone’s adult relationships.

These patterns are known as destructive patterns, and often people can internalise feelings and emotions and struggle to express themselves.  Sometimes they can turn to coping mechanisms such as alcohol, drugs, or develop issues with food or exercise for example. But sometimes this doesn’t happen, but they keep repeating patterns in
relationships.  They end up feeling let down, lonely and wondering why things never work out.  Sometimes they feel that they have failed, and that relationships haven’t worked out. Often people will blame themselves for relationships breaking down, and
find it hard to understand what happened.

Counselling can help people to understand their relationship patterns, and why they are there.  It can help them to make sense of the way that they relate, to look at the things that they expect and want, and it can help them to understand more about the way they are in relationships.  After this level of understanding has developed, it can then, in turn, help people to change destructive patterns, to start challenging themselves, and the way that they have acted, and to then move forward with their relationships in a different way.

An example of this would be a ‘yes’ person.  Someone who runs around saying yes to everyone, doing everything to please others and then feels upset and let down because it seems like no one else does the same for them.  In actual fact more often or not this behaviour can be filling some kind of void. It can also be that they expect from others the high level of giving that they have developed.  Counselling can help them to look at this and in turn enable them to try and change this pattern in order to get what they need from relationships.


If you or anyone you know is struggling with any issues in relationships then please get in touch with us 07590 663938 or

One of our team would be really happy to see you and to help.