Holiday conflicts? 3 ways to work through them
Couples coming in to my office are struggling with the holidays. Here’s 3 ways they learn to understand the pain.
- It’s not just a holiday problem. Holiday conflict is often the culmination of the struggles that couples have had throughout the year – or for years before that. Intense emotional reactions are often protests over the pain of emotional distance and desperation. Realizing the pain they are both in can help close the distance as couples reach for each other for help and comfort.
- It’s not nagging or complaining- it’s a cry for help. Research by Sue Johnson written about in her book “Hold Me Tight” teaches that often couples are stuck in the “Protest Polka” trying desperately to connect with their partner. Angry, demanding words sound nothing at all like the real need trying to be expressed – are you there for me? – can you help me? Seeing unmet need as an opportunity to be your partner’s hero and come through in ways no one else has ever done is often the start to changing a relationship for a lifetime.
- Compassion is the key. It’s hard to forgive past pain. When couples cannot access forgiveness or love toward their partner, I tell them to start with seeing themselves and their partner through the lense of compassion. As couples listen to their partner’s reality without judgment and through the eyes of empathy, listening as a good friend would listen, hearts can soften to allow for new possibilities that lead to healing.
Seem impossible to respond to each other in loving ways? I get it. A great read is Sue Johnson’s book “Hold Me Tight”. It helps to udnertand the patterns you may be stuck in, and helps start conversations that could bring healing.
Need a little help getting started? Give us a call at 850.450.7223 or find more on our blog page at https://believehopeinspire.com/blog/.
P. Dianne Presley, LCSW
Believe, Hope, Inspire Wellness Services LLC