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
Do you ever feel as if you’re banging your head against a brick wall? I think we all get that feeling sometimes. There’s something we want, perhaps something we feel we deserve, that we just can’t make happen.
Why is this? I suppose there might be many reasons.
You might have run into one of those bureaucratic nightmares, when you keep getting passed from one department to the next, with nobody able to solve your problem, nobody willing to take responsibility, seemingly nobody who cares about you.
You might be dealing with someone who is very stubborn or selfish. They won’t see sense, they won’t see the bigger picture, or they are maybe just scared of change. But for whatever reason, they won’t do what you ask, even though it’s clear to you that it’s the right thing to do. Teenagers can often be like this, selfish, stubborn, fiercely independent. I know I was that sort of teenager!
Our partners, too, can be obstinate and difficult, and ex partners even more so. It can be impossible to communicate with them, they can refuse to negotiate or compromise and that can be an incredibly frustrating place to be in. It can feel as if you’re continually offering olive branches, trying to find new ways to make things work, as if you’re bending over backwards to accommodate them – but it’s like banging your head against a brick wall. You just can’t win.
There are two sides to every story and the “brick wall” will have their own reasons for being difficult, stubborn and unreasonable – and it’s very unlikely that they would use those adjectives to describe themselves. The difficult teenager may be striving for independence – searching for their own identity – and the last thing they want is to be told what to do, however much sense it makes, however obvious it is that it is the right thing to do. That stubborn ex partner may be very angry with you, or frightened or their own feelings – or of yours – and keeping the barriers up may be the only thing they can do – at least for the time being – to keep themselves safe. They may just need more time.
The thing about brick walls is that they are solid and strong. That’s their whole reason for being, really. So they don’t tend to respond much if you hit your head against them – and hitting them harder, or more often, doesn’t make any difference either. It just hurts more. So you need to find another approach. Rather than get angry with the bureaucrats who won’t help you, it may be better to take a more gentle approach. Or perhaps you need to accept that they are not going to help you and talk to their supervisors, or write a complaint letter – or maybe just accept that you are not going to get what you want and drop the matter.
I have never seen anyone break down a brick wall by smashing it with their head. So if you feel as if you’re banging your head against a brick wall, ask yourself why you’re doing it. Although it can feel as if you have no choice, there is always a choice – you can always choose to stop – at least for a while – or to take a completely different approach. Banging your head against a brick wall hurts and gets you nowhere. But it is not the brick wall that is hitting you, it is you that is hitting the brick wall. It is you that is choosing to do this, and you that can choose to stop. There has got to be a less painful way of achieving nothing….