Paul Cockayne – 07791 970406– firstname.lastname@example.org
Welcome to my counselling blog. You can find more information about me by clicking one of the links at the top of this page
A lot of the counselling I do is with couples, and of course when there are two people in a relationship, inevitably there are differences between them – everyone is different. Sometimes those differences can seem very difficult, impossible to reconcile and can become a source of conflict in a relationship.
We are shaped by our upbringing – by what our parents told us, and even more so by what they showed us. Our parents are likely to be the first two people we ever see disagreeing with each other. Did they argue tooth and nail? Did they sit down and discuss things? Did they brush things under the carpet? The way you saw them deal with difference is going to have a big impact on how you do it, which is not to say that you can’t do it differently, but that it will probably need some hard work on your part to avoid repeating the patterns you saw as a child.
Our values too, are first shaped in childhood – not just by our parents but also by the culture we are brought up in. The importance (or not) of family and extended family, gender roles, how we treat others and expect to be treated ourselves – these and many other values are shaped by our childhood experiences.
So the roots of our behaviours go way back. Our ideas about right and wrong, good and bad, start to form when we are young and can be difficult to change. They are like deep-rooted trees – it’s difficult to dig them up and plant a new tree.
Sometimes situations arise for couples where there are clashes of values and each of the couple can feel that they are right, and therefore that their partner is wrong. Each can try to convince their partner to change their way of thinking, to win them over, and this can lead to protracted arguments with no resolution.
In seeking to resolve such disagreements, it is important to let go of the idea that you are right, and your partner is wrong. It is more useful to acknowledge that you are different, and to respect each other’s opinions. Understanding the roots of these opinions can be very helpful – it can move you to a place where you can say “Yes, I can see why you hold that view – if I’d been brought up as you were, I’d probably think that too.”
In doing that you can move your relationship from war to peace, from a battleground to a negotiating table, from silence or anger to constructive conversation, from distance to closeness.
There will always be things you disagree on; that is natural and can be a source of strength for your relationship, not a threat to it.