Mari Craig, LCSW-C, CCDC, CPC

Archive for September, 2011|Monthly archive page

Exploring Your Inner Self

In Living on September 13, 2011 at 1:28 am

Are you afraid to unmask your authentic self and communicate your needs with openness and honesty? When you feed into the expectations of others do you find it creates cycles of dysfunction?  When this happens, do you feel stuck and unable to change these destructive patterns of behavior and communication?

When I counsel people, I find that there is frequently an illusive disconnection in their ability to live an authentic and healthy life. For example, I counseled a frustrated middle-aged man who had been mandated for counseling by his employer for not showing up on time.  He divulged that his wife’s depression and isolation had been the cause of his daily drinking and resulting tardiness.  If he were able to unmask his true feelings with his wife he might not need to resort to daily drinking. If only she could understand that she doesn’t need to be the victim of depression she might not feel the need to isolate. Therapy helps people to look at themselves and their relationships and understand these psychodynamics and deal with them in a constructive rather than a destructive way.

A young college age woman had given into her boyfriend’s egocentric demands including having her baby aborted.  In counseling she exclaimed, “I love him even though I am the one who always makes a move to keep our relationship together.”  She terminated therapy and continued to pursue that destructive relationship. Similarly, are you sacrificing your values in hopes of salvaging a relationship?  Therapy can be helpful in these situations with self-esteem building and assertiveness training.

A forty year-old woman had come to me for couple’s therapy along with her alcoholic husband. Although separated, she was prepared to return to the marriage after a year of therapy.  This, despite his continued verbal abuse, stopping AA meetings, and two broken contracts to stop drinking.  When confronted with this evidence, she responded, “I just believe that marriage is meant to be forever…no matter what.”  It seemed that the demon of denial was working overtime. Counseling helps to break through denial and patterns of codependency, but a willingness to be open and honest is essential.

Finally, a fifty-five year old male came in for counseling with his volatile wife.  After 30 plus years of marriage, she complained of feeling trapped and not being valued by him.  It became clear that she was willing to leave her husband for a man 30 years her junior.  He insisted, “I love her and want her back even though she screams at me for nothing every day without fail.” If they had returned to counseling they would have learned how to develop positive self-esteem and healthy communication skills to build a loving couple’s relationship.

People can learn to unmask their authentic selves and develop the lives and relationships that they’ve always wanted. When there is a connection between your authentic self and the way you live a huge burden is lifted from your life.  A willingness and commitment to doing the work of counseling can go a long way towards helping you find inner peace and contentment in your life.