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
I am not particularly a political animal, but the Brexit vote and its aftermath have rather revived my interest.
My interest is largely a voyeuristic one – what will happen next? We are in unknown territory, and I think, if they were honest, the government would admit that they are very much out of their comfort zone. It’s a scary place to be, and we see politicians reacting to that in various ways. Some are full of bluster and bravado (“we’ll be better off out”) while others are all doom and gloom (“it’ll be an economic disaster”). Some want to get actively involved, others want to run away and hide. Fight or flight…
We can have these same reactions when, as individuals, we find ourselves outside our comfort zone. We don’t know what to do, we have no control, we can easily resort to fighting or fleeing, whichever is our natural reaction.
This loss of control makes me think, more generally, of loss. The reactions we experience in dealing with a bereavement are varied – anger, denial, blame, bargaining, depression are all common, and we’ve seen these from various politicians in the aftermath of the Brexit vote, too.
In our personal lives, one of the most important things we can do is to ask for help, which can take various forms such as practical support, advice, training, emotional support, all of which can be more or less useful depending on the circumstances. On of the difficulties can be that we don’t always know what sort of help to ask for, and that can put strain on a relationship if a partner assumes we want advice when what we really need is a shoulder to cry on.
Asking for help can also be difficult because it is often seen as an admission of weakness. We need to make that admission first to ourselves, and then to others, in order to access the help we need. That can be quite a brave thing to do and in fact I think that asking for help is usually a sign of strength, not weakness. Already out of our comfort zone, we may want to run away, or to fight, to deny, to withdraw, to shout and scream or to blame others. To admit we are struggling is, for many of us, another step away from our comfort zone, the zone where we feel in control of our lives.
It can be difficult to do, but asking for help can be the most important step in dealing with a problem. Certainly in working with relationship difficulties I often feel that couples have already made a huge step forward, just by coming to counselling. They have admitted to themselves and each other that they are struggling and in doing so they have already started to change.
Will we see our government making such a brave admission? Will Teresa May make a statement to announce that she doesn’t know what to do? I somehow doubt it…