The Nature of Relationships
Relationships enhance our lives but can sometimes be difficult to navigate, whether with friends, partners, family members, or simple acquaintances. When you are in conflict with those who are important to you, you may feel anxious, sad, worried, and unsettled. You may also find yourself repeating patterns or choices in relationships that you do not wish to repeat. For example, you may find yourself choosing the same type of romantic partner over and over again, even though you wish for a different relationship.
Examples of Relationship Difficulties and Struggles
If you find yourself saying any of the following, you may be stuck in a relationship pattern you would like to change.
- “I am so tired of dating the same person over and over. I mean, how do they find me?
- “I wish my mom (dad, etc) and I fought less. I just don’t understand why she can’t see me.”
- “It seems like any new potential friend I meet stops calling after hanging out a couple of times. I wonder if I am doing something I don’t know about.”
- “I really love my partner, but we don’t communicate well.”
- “I find myself constantly doing everything for everybody all of the time even though it never seems to be reciprocated.”
- “I have a hard time opening up to anyone. I always worry about getting hurt.”
- “I want to be a supportive friend, but I always feel jealous and competitive with my friends.”
These are just a handful of thoughts and feelings that may point to a relationship pattern you might like to change. If you find yourself often feeling upset about the quality of your relationships, teletherapy can help.
How Can Teletherapy Help Me With My Relationships?
Therapists have different ways of working, so depending on your therapist’s individual orientation, they may offer any or a mixture of the following:
Exploring Childhood and Early Patterns
We often repeat early lessons learned from our caregivers in our adult relationships. These patterns are often so ingrained, we are unaware of them and thus have little ability to change them. A psychodynamic / psychoanalytic approach emphasizes how our early childhood impacts us later in life.
Oftentimes, when we suffer from low self-value, we may say things to ourselves such as, “I’m too needy. No one actually likes me.” Thoughts like these need to be explored, as they very often turn into actions that may become self-fulfilling prophecies! Cognitive Behavioral (CBT) therapists look at how thoughts impact feelings and actions. Working to identify patterns in your thinking can often help illuminate relationship patterns you wish to leave behind.
Those who have suffered traumatic events (such as domestic, childhood, and/or sexual abuse) may find themselves withdrawing from relationships or entering into abusive relationships. The reasons for this are complex and sensitive. A trauma-focused psychotherapist can help you navigate your life with respect to the trauma that is defining it.
Systemic Oppression and Discrimination
It is very often the case that societal based oppression and discrimination form the types of relationships we make as well as our patterns of relating. For example, women often report an aversion to speaking up for themselves because of societal “rules” that say “Women should be nice.” This can lead to many types of relationship conflicts. Another example is that Black Americans report they often are unable to trust those in authoritative positions (such as doctors, therapists, etc) because historically, they have experienced discrimination when doing so. These types of systemic bias influence us at the most profound levels, often leading to relationship difficulties. Psychotherapists who focus on systemic oppression, social disadvantage, and cultural factors are particularly attuned to these struggles.
It is most often the case that our relationship patterns are a result of all of the above. Eclectic and Integrative psychotherapists utilize multiple approaches to holistically explore your life with you. It is never cut and dry, and taking a global approach to your suffering can help you gain some freedom from the repetition you may be feeling in your life and relationships.
CHE employs mental health professionals of a variety of orientations to help you when you need it. Scroll through our provider directory to read through our clinicians’ bios to find a therapist right for you.