Struggling to Find Connection

Making connections through family therapy

We can’t find the ultimate causes for the ‘wrong’ things we do or say. We can try to understand the many experiences that lead us to do those things that we avoid doing when we are operating more closely to our true self. Often we focus on the stresses of the here and now. These are the obvious factors/people and we don’t consider enough, the less conscious, internalized motivations from our developmental years.

In my therapeutic experience I encounter clients who have learned, from their childhood, to get on with it; take care of the other person all the time; not show any weak/vulnerable feelings; always work hard and not play; that not winning is not acceptable; that you only get attention if you are emotionally loud; that you are more acceptable when you smile/laugh; etc. These people end up struggling for connection with that person they did once connect with, in courtship. The initial attraction for a long term committed relationship, felt like total acceptance and connection. When we have that experience our defenses are lowered and we open and connect. The world seems different. However, as the relationship matures we realize difference and experience some conflicts that can lead to the resurrection of the defenses and the reduction of connection.

The lack of this connection, which most humans desperately seek and desire, leads to behaviors that further hurt their relationship. If we are not mindful of the damages to our ‘selves’ from the past and it’s motivations to our habitual actions of the present, then we act unconsciously. We ask ourselves, ‘How could I do/say that?’. With these unconscious/habitual actions we feel more misunderstood, alone and disconnected.

Good therapy helps to develop more congruence between who we are and what we do and so we are more able to connect. This is especially true in Couples and Family Therapy where the dynamic can be observed and assisted in live time. Changes are observable/measureable.

Tony Fryer