Couple, COVID-19, Trauma

COVID- 19 Week 8 (5/4 to 5/8) Journal

week 8

Week 8, (5/4 to 5/8), is it week 8 into the COVID-19 State of the Emergency in the State of Massachusetts?

It seems that everyone is adjusting to the new normal. All the training scheduled are all online. I jsut signed up another 5-day training online in the end of June. Most of my clients are getting into the routines of the Telehealth.

Positives, a few clients who have been working with me for over a year, actually started to feel much better than they can decrease the frequency of therapy to every other week. I was really happy for them because they have gradually moved out of their childhood trauma as the pandemic is slowly getting under control. When this pandemic is over, they will be ready to face the new world with their new self as they have worked through their childhood trauma with a new sense of identity.

The interesting observation is the number of calls I received for the couple’s therapy. I think, this week along, I have received at least five inquiries for the couple’s therapy. Many people, over the phone, told me that the conflicts have been increasing. Similar to my observations on some of the clients from the early weeks, it seems that one of the conflicts among all the regular topics is “safety vs. risk,” meaning, the partners have different ideas considering what’s safe and what’s a risk.

I found this interesting and sad. The conflicts between the couples about “what’s safe” made me feel interesting because the friction of safety wasn’t the focus in the past. Or, let me rephrase it, security is often not the focus of the conflict but hidden with some other topics. For example, some couples’ might fight about the savings for future retirement. The sense of security is hidden in the financial dispute. The other example is parents often fight about what’s the safety of their children. In this case, safety is hidden in the parenting issues. I live alone, and I have been single for many years.

I often envy people who have family members living with them during this period. I have not seen my mother and brother for three years. I just saw my sister right before the pandemic breaks out in early January in Taiwan. So, it’s been five months since I saw my sister. I feel sad when I heard people saying: “I can’t wait to go back to work so that I don’t have to see my partner 24-7.” It made me sad when I heard statements like this because I can’t help but wonder: “what happened? This was not how you feel when you walked down the aisle.”

In the past few years, I have found a group of close friends who live very close to me. We checked on each other during this period. One of them always asked if I needed anything when she went to the grocery store. She worked from home and didn’t have to check Clorox or Lysol, but she checked them for me whenever she went to the grocery store. When she dropped those supplies to me, if she was lucky enough to find a bottle, I savored the moment when we can be each other’s presence with the masks on and standing 6 feet apart.

I can’t imagine living with a significant other but wanting to get out of there. Maybe I am wrong, but it made me sad and wondered how did a happy couple walking down the aisle become a couple who just wanted to get away from each other.

So, notes to myself is to figure out how to help those couples communicate their sense of security of unsafely during this period and to build a new meaning of safety within the couple’s relationship.

Couple

[Couple Relationship] How much do I give to my relationship?

50%How many percentages do you think your responsibilities are in the marriage?

I have heard many people said that marriage is 50-50. That is, I put in the 50%, and you put in 50%, and they combined to be 100%.

Do you agree? Why? Continue reading “[Couple Relationship] How much do I give to my relationship?”

Couple

How Do You Give Love?

heart shaped pink and purple flower garden
Photo by shahbaz Akram on Pexels.com

According to Dr. Gary Chapman, there are five different love languages, words of affirmation, quality time, receiving gifts, acts of services, and physical touch.

The person whose love language is “words of affirmation” knows how to compliment others with words. He/she uses words to show the love to his/her partner.

When your love language is “quality time,” you enjoy sharing common interests and doing things that connected the two of you.

When your love language is “receiving gifts,” the token that symbolizes the love and special occasion are essential.

The person whose love language is “acts of services” shows love by acting on it. They do everything for their partner, and they do it for the love of their partner.

When your love language is “physical touch,” you use a hug, a kiss, and touch to feel and to show your partner your presence, care, and love.

One of the languages might be the strongest, and there might be a couple of them are equally strong. You can take the test to determine your love language.

So, what happens when the partners have a different love language?

Continue reading “How Do You Give Love?”

Couple

How Do You Ask for Support

two person holding hands while sitting on grey cushion
Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

The idea of this post started with an innocent conversation with a friend on Facebook. My friend lives in a tiny apartment in a big city. He posted something on Facebook like this: “Why would anyone fry fish at midnight?”

I responded with: “maybe your neighbor is hungry?” 

The messages exchange on his facebook wall went on for 5-6 times when I realized that his original post was not a question but a complaint. 

I burst into a big laugh as I experience this scene in my couples’ counseling session. Continue reading “How Do You Ask for Support”

Couple

Change is Harder for the Couples — How Do We Change it?

couple-change-2.png

If we enter the intimate relationships to be accepted as who we are as a person, to feel loved, worthy, and valued, and to see our partners as a whole, and the majority of the mistakes in the relationship are made unintentionally, what do we do when we stuck in the relationship?

The answer is: holding space for each other. The fact is that we are all different. No matter how similar you are as a couple, you still have your differences. No matter which family life cycle stages they are in, communication is the key to resolve the disputes.

Knowing that we all walk into the marriage hoping to be accepted and loved the way we are,  knowing that how we respond to our partners is how they assess their value and self-worth in the relationship, and knowing that I don’t do anything intentionally to hurt my partner and my partner is hurt because of the way I think, I experiences, and my values, now what?

How? Here are some takeaway points: Continue reading “Change is Harder for the Couples — How Do We Change it?”

Couple, Depression/Anxiety, Training Notes

Divorce, Co-Parenting, and Mental Health

divorce and mental health

I am currently at the National Council on Family Relationship 2017 conference (11/16). Today, I attended a session about changes in the family system.

The changes in the family system are either adding the members or losing the members. The focus of the session I attended was divorce. For any children who are minor, it means that you either lose a father or mother in your residence. After the divorce, if the parents are remarried, a child gains a stepparent in the family system.

There were four papers presented, discussing the factors influencing co-parenting decisions, the impact on the children’s development, and the mental health issues due to the divorce.

The ideas of “gatekeeping,” “gender role,” “divorce” and “mental health” comes to my mind. Here are some takeaway points. For your information, you might want to read the entry about “Divorce & Co-Parenting” before continue to read this entry,

Continue reading “Divorce, Co-Parenting, and Mental Health”

Cedar Cove, Couple

Family Life Cycle and Couple Relationship: What Does Cedar Cove Teach Us (Part 4)

family with adolescent
Just a friendly reminder that you might want to read these articles before you started reading this entry.

Family Life Cycle Theory (Reuben Hill, 1949): Stage 4: Families with adolescents
Once the children enter the adolescence stage, the family begins into another phase in the family life cycle. During this stage, depending on the age differences between the children, some of the children might still be at the young child stage while some children enter the adolescent phase. The parents need to adjust to the needs for freedom and independence of the teenagers while having a tighter leash on the younger children.
Also, this is the stage when the majority of the “parents” enters the midlife, which means, the “grandparents” in the family are very likely entering the stage in their lives which require the support from the “parents” in the family. This is where the so-called “sandwich” generation is coming from, the parents in the household are responsible for the younger generation and the older generation. Continue reading “Family Life Cycle and Couple Relationship: What Does Cedar Cove Teach Us (Part 4)”

Couple

[Couple Communication] “We Don’t Have Time to Talk.”

Problems are not the problem. Coping is the problem. ~ Virginia Satir

It was the spring semester 1996. I took my first class about family therapy theories. Virginia Satir’s theory is one of them. I remembered so impressed with this quote that I wrote it in my diary to remind myself: “Problems are not the problems. How I solve the problem is the problem.

Recently, I have a lot of couples told me the same thing: “We are too busy to talk.” It got me to think about Satir’s words again.

So, what are the reasons that most of the couples don’t have the time to talk?

couple time management

Continue reading “[Couple Communication] “We Don’t Have Time to Talk.””

Couple

Words of Wisdom from my Successful Couple: “Can Our Relationship Make it?” (III)

journey

 

As a therapist, I don’t often know the “outcome” of the clients after the termination of the therapy. I only have the information as to how the clients were doing when the session ended but how my clients afterward, I don’t often know.

This past weekend, I have a privilege to spend the weekend with a couple whom I worked with a few years ago. This meeting was the third time we spent the weekend together. It was such a humbling experience to me that I have to write this down to share with you. I see this as my “lesson learned from my successful couple.” Click to read this Journey # 1 and Journey # 2.

Continue reading “Words of Wisdom from my Successful Couple: “Can Our Relationship Make it?” (III)”

Couple

Words of Wisdom from my Successful Couple: “Can Our Relationship Make it?” (II)

journeyAs a therapist, I don’t often know the “outcome” of the clients after the termination of the therapy. I only have the information as to how the clients were doing when the session ended but how my clients afterward, I don’t often know.

This past weekend, I have a privilege to spend the weekend with a couple whom I worked with a few years ago. This meeting was the third time we spent the weekend together. It was such a humbling experience to me that I have to write this down to share with you. I see this as my “lesson learned from my successful couple.” This is the 2nd lesson I learned from them. (Click to read Journey 1.)

Continue reading “Words of Wisdom from my Successful Couple: “Can Our Relationship Make it?” (II)”