Toronto Counselling and Psychotherapy

Relationship Challenges

Who doesn't have them? But if yours are creating more pain and disconnection than necessary, I can help.

Just about everyone who comes to my Toronto counselling office with relationship challenges, tells me things were great at the beginning. You were so in love, it was so perfect. But now, things are not the same. “Now” is always after that magical “honeymoon” period. This is when things get real and we start to see each other as we really are. This is when certain feelings start to surface that don’t feel so good.

Lots of us can go merrily through life without any significant angst. But as soon as we get into a serious relationship, all hell breaks loose. Why is that? Well, this has to do with our history of intimate relationships. And what I’m referring to is not previous lovers. I am talking about the family you grew up in.

Our families are our first intimate relationships. They are intimate because these are the people we live with and see on a day-to-day basis. These are the people who love us, or are supposed to, anyway. And these are the relationships where we are first most vulnerable.

So, when we get into an intimate relationship as adults, it is the emotional intimacy that is the trigger. In other words, the closeness and vulnerability brings up the past. And if there was any difficulty or disconnection in your family, it will raise its ugly head the moment things get serious in your adult relationship.

What happens next is old patterns of behaviour get played out in an effort to restore connection and positive feelings. But this usually does not work. Instead, it makes things worse. For example, your partner seems upset or angry. You don’t want to aggravate the situation, so you keep quiet. Your partner perceives this as indifference and gets more upset. In response, you withdraw even more, waiting for the storm to pass. Your partner ends up feeling abandoned and resentful. And so it goes.

These patterns of behaviour usually come directly from childhood. They were either your old way of coping, or it was how you saw your parents behave toward one another. Family is where we learn about intimate relationships. What we grow up with is what we know to be normal. It takes nothing for us to click into those old childhood behaviour patterns.

Together, we will examine your patterns of relating to see where they are letting you down. Then, I will help you to create new effective ones. And, along the way, we will heal those old emotional injuries that you’ve brought with you into your relationship. So you will be able to experience the love and connection you deserve.