Many of us, even within the most devoted of families or communities, have experienced at least one moment of serious disruption with someone we love or someone we needed. We may have experienced neglect when we needed undivided attention, or we may not have received protection when we needed safety. We may have felt a lack of love, or may have been given incessant disapproval for simply being our imperfect selves. Our hurts from our past will reappear again in our present relationships without invitation. You might have a boss that sparks a deep rage, triggering your issues with authority. You might have a friend that acts more like an “energy vampire” than a vital part of your support system. You might get into an argument with your partner and all of a sudden you’ve spiraled into uncontrollable episodes of weeping. It makes sense that we might re-enact some of our most painful memories in order to one-day move beyond it, stumbling upon an important lesson that unlocks us from reliving continued pain. But what happens when we are stuck in the pattern on repeat, unsure of what is needed to get us out?
An arena where one feels secure in practicing boundaries and receiving feedback, like the therapeutic relationship, can help us identify stuck points and take measured risks to transform our feelings of connectedness within our relationships.