Get Thee to Therapy!
By: Javan
August 3, 2011

“Why doesn’t he want to talk to me!?!” This is a common complaint of clients and tends to come from female partners generally. Do men talk? Do men share? Do men care? Yes, yes, and yes! If you don’t see your partner’s desire to talk, share, and care then you are misunderstanding them.

This is the story of Dave and Irene. Irene has painful feelings of being unloved, unheard, and not understood. All the while her partner is sitting next to her on the therapy couch, in a painful pool of shame, looking lost and bewildered as to what he should do or say.

Dave is a typical guy, works hard, tries to do things “the right way” according to what he has learned in life from his family and his peers, but somehow he’s missing the mark when it comes to his most intimate partner. He thinks he knows how to help her feel satisfied because when they met, she was happy with who he was, but now she doesn’t trust him, doesn’t like him, and their relationship is all up in the air.

Irene says, “How did we go from there to here, where we are today? How do we get back?”  The truth is they have been moving forward along the intimacy path the entire time. This is the normal path all relationships take…there is no going back. Who they were showing to one another and the rest of the world when they first met, was only a fraction of who they are on the inside. Who they are on the inside are children with painful experiences who desire to be loved, accepted, and understood. All adults have childhoods, no one passes through life without being imprinted by their past. “So what, it’s over, why look back?”

When we grow up, we grow up against our will. Time passes, as we progress through life, without being able to complete each cycle with resolution. Growing up is not like graduating from kindergarten or high school. There are no exams or preparatory classes. Most of us don’t have the opportunity to ask questions or understand clearly what happened to us or to our family members. We define experiences through a child’s heart. Our definition of the world is complete before we leave the nest. We simply move on, and the next thing you know, it’s twenty, thirty, or forty years later and you are arguing with the person you desperately want to be happy with….what happened?!?

Dave and Irene are a couple of people who met, fell in love, and are now in therapy. Irene wants Dave to talk to her when SHE needs to talk. They’re confused, “Why doesn’t the other person do what I want?” It just is not that simple. But it can become clear once you sit on the therapy couch and can realize that there is a larger system at play in your relationship. Dave and Irene are insightful and committed. They know the grass is not greener on the other side and are willing to see more than they ever did before by coming to therapy. The work they are doing to have a truly intimate relationship is possible with therapy. Though they think they aren’t getting what they want, soon she and he will see that what they need is sitting right next to them.

If your partner hears you say, “we need to talk” in an  angry and desperate tone, you may not be able to hear their needs for fear of being shamed, bossed around, humiliated, or just put down. I can’t tell you how many times a client will say, “Well, we’re not talking about all the stuff YOU did! You should talk about that!” Or, “You never cared about me or do anything for me!”

If this pattern is happening to you on a weekly or daily basis, get thee to therapy! There is a lot going on other than just simple misunderstandings and communication issues! There are deeply hurt feelings and emptiness behind the eye rolling, cold shoulder treatment and other disconnectedness.  Family Tree Counseling offers a way for you to see why this deeply seated pain is rooted in your relationship. The pain and fear of letting others down and feeling unloved was there before you met one another. The pain and frustration has had an opportunity to grow over time and you are now the target of unresolved issues due to current and past disappointments and hurts.