Many clients come to me feeling they have two options: stay together and be miserable or divorce. Many of them feel too overwhelmed with the thought of staying together and trying to work it out. Unfortunately, they feel it would be “easier” to get a divorce. There is an alternative or in-between: Controlled Separation.
A Controlled Separation is basically a separation of space with the goal of reconciliation. The hope is to get enough space between the two partners so that they can sort thru their feelings and begin dating again with a “fresh” perspective. As therapists, we coach the couple to learn to communicate effectively. This is much easier when there is some space between sessions and not as much friction. We also teach them how to date and court each other again. We slowly move back into the process of being a couple again. Then we tackle the huge issues that brought them to counseling in the first place.
We have seen this do AMAZING things for couples who do it right and stick with it. They actually feel they can talk and love each other again. I will continue this further in my next blog that gives more details to a Controlled Separation.
Those of you that live in Indianapolis know that last week a major part of our interstate system on I465 was closed due to a tanker blowing up. Amazingly no one was killed and we are so grateful for that. For me, I was amazed what that little tiny area of the interstate meant to me once it was gone! I use that literally everyday either for work, activities at church, and my son’s school. Like everyone else, I had to find alternate ways to get home and hopefully find one no one else was thinking as well (yeah, right!).
I got to thinking on Friday about how important that small part of the road is for me. How much time, energy, and thought it saves me everyday. I never even thought of that road before. I got to thinking about how we take so much for granted in our lives. We often don’t know how much something means to us until it’s gone.
I talk to countless individuals who are grieving relationships that if they just would have listened, just would have made the changes, just would have went to relationship or marriage counseling, just would have……… It’s endless. Most of the time, when something is gone, it’s gone. People live their lives with major regrets once people are gone.
Fortunately, there are many things in our lives that we do get a second chance on. Like 465! I’m so glad it’s open again! I think every time I drive along that part of the interstate I will say a prayer of gratitude that it is running. Imagine how we would feel if we did that in our everyday lives for all the people we love dearly. We would feel grateful rather than hateful and perhaps more appreciative day in and day out of the presence they give us everyday. So think of who you are grateful for, what your life would be like without them, and tell them today! Say a prayer of gratitude for them daily and appreciate everyday. You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
So we started Tweeting last week and we all love it! It is so fun being connected to people all over the world that you would never know without Twitter. We have even met some people in our own backyard.
But I have to say, it can be addictive! I have found myself looking forward to having “twitter time” in the evenings. I have even told myself if I get my work done quickly I can have a few minutes to tweet. This would motivate me to work harder and faster! I did quickly realize what was going on and actually started having my husband cut me off after a certain amount of minutes pass. So I have stopped myself from needing TA (Twitter Anonymous!)
However, I have already “unfollowed” some people who clearly need inpatient treatment! Seriously, 25 tweets in 1 hour qualifies you for a 30 day Intensive Outpatient Program! I just can’t follow someone who has that much to say. Hmmm.. I might be onto something here. We could do Twitter Group therapy, Freudian Twitter Therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Twitter Therapy, Couples therapy specifically designed for those with a twitter addict! Any other ideas??
Sometimes it can be painful watching clients make the changes they need to make to feel more healthy. It is always difficult to watch someone who struggles with people pleasing (and codependency) to start setting boundaries with people and get negative results. I know personally what that is like and it can feel defeating. Unfortunately, many times you will get negative results because people are not used to you saying no or disagreeing with them.
One thing I teach my clients is when you are struggling whether to say no or do something you really don’t want to do, picture how you will feel if you don’t do it. For example, if someone from your child’s school asks you to bake 10 dozen cookies and have them to the school by tomorrow morning, picture how your night will be if you do it and if you don’t do it. Then weigh in your mind which will be more painful; having that person be disappointed that you didn’t help or having the chaos and stress of making all the cookies? Usually when you think about it, not doing it is more rewarding than them not being disappointed in you. But we often immediately think that we can’t let that person be disappointed.
So next time you feel that pit in your stomach, you know, the one where you really don’t think it is best for you to do something, weigh your decision based on how you will feel later. You will grow and enjoy a more peaceful life by doing what is healthy for you.
For more information about codependency check out our group blogs this week.