Well it is that time of the year again, Valentines Day. But am I not going
to get into the debate right now, of whether it is commercial hype or a romantic opportunity. Instead, I just want to think a little about relationships, and where does Valentines Day fit into all of this?
It is common for most of us at one point or another to have experienced
difficulties or challenges in our personal relationships whether it is with
your spouse, or partner. However when such problems become entrenched or
habitual then people begin to feel stuck and experience anxiety,
irrationality, anger, and hurt, depression and unhealthy jealousy.
Some of the more common problems experienced in relationships could be:
. Feeling anxious about a partner leaving for another, ending the
relationship or thinking about infidelity or in an infidelity already.
. You may also experience anxiety about communicating your feelings
in the right way and worry that you must always say things in the right way
or with the right tone.
. There could be anxiety about a partner’s anger, anxiety about
confrontation or irrational jealousy, where you track your partners every
move, check text messages which may result in confrontation leading to
aggressive behaviour, anger and hostility.
. It is also common to experience hurt where you think that your
partner’s insensitive behaviour towards you implies lack of care and love.
. You also may experience feelings of guilt about past behaviours or
. You may know that your partner’s behaviour towards you may be
inappropriate. That you are being put down in public, in front of your
friends but you do not know how to resolve it because you have low self-esteem about yourself.
All of these problems are often dealt with in cognitive behavioural therapy and hypnotherapy. At the heart of CBT is that our thoughts and beliefs are the key drivers of our emotional states and cause our behaviours. If your thoughts and beliefs about yourself or your partner are unhealthy then your
feelings and behaviours within the relationship will also be unhealthy.
Essentially the message is that we are responsible for our own thoughts, feelings, our behaviours and the types of relationships that we tolerate. When you don’t take this responsibility then it is likely that it will be
projected on to your partner and you will believe that your partner is thecause of your feelings and for the way that you act. Common beliefs like ‘he ade me feel this way,’ or ‘she makes me feel small,’ ‘he makes me shout,’are rife, but this is not true. It is you that makes you feel how you do and
makes you do, what you do.
So here are some basic techniques from CBT which you may find helpful as a
1) Accept that you are responsible for your own emotions and actions.
2) Communicate without pointing a finger, use expressions like, ‘I feel
angry about…’ and not ‘You made me angry about…’
3) Accept yourself as a valuable but imperfect human being, judge your
behaviour rather than your worth, for example, accept that you are a
fallible human being but you can learn from mistakes and change for the
4) Be assertive and not aggressive. Communicate your thoughts and
feelings appropriately and not defensively. Being assertive means that you
have the courage of your own convictions but that you are also prepared to
compromise if you see another person’s point of view.
5) Do think of the bigger picture and to remember to focus on your
partners good qualities and demonstrate that.
So Valentine’s Day comes round once a year, but it is not really about the
flowers and the chocolates. It is about a healthy relationship, and
addressing any problems in your relationship as soon as you can. So maybe
something a bit different to think about this Valentines Day….