Are You Struggling With Relationship Anxiety?

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Are you tired of relationships dissolving into intense, ongoing conflict? Do you worry that you’ve been pushing people away in relationships, withdrawing at the first sign of serious connection or disagreement? Or, perhaps you often find yourself pursuing connection and affection, even if that means putting yourself last. Either way, you may feel lonely, frustrated, disillusioned and stuck. Do you wish you knew how to break out of old patterns so you could feel connected to another person without sacrificing your sense of self?

Many People Feel Trapped In Unhealthy Relationship Patterns

“If love does not make the world go around, then surely relationships do.” [1] And yet, relationship issues are inevitable. As social creatures, humans are almost always trying to balance those two essential forces: closeness and independence. You likely want to feel understood and appreciated by others, as well as free to honor and express your true self. In other words, you want to be loved for who you really are. But, that’s often easier said than done.

Whenever you enter a relationship, you carry a unique set of communication tools, along with a unique understanding of what makes a relationship work. Just like your current or past partners, you likely learned how to relate to others by observing the dynamics within your family. But, you and your partner may have internalized vastly different lessons. For example, perhaps your family members had frequent emotional outbursts that were quickly forgiven and forgotten. Your partner’s family members, on the other hand, only expressed emotions when something was very wrong. Today, you might wonder why yelling makes your partner so upset, while your partner might wonder why you get upset enough to yell. Based on different central ideas of what conflict is and how it should it be handled, you misunderstand one another.

Conflict can be deeply distressing, and it’s common to react before you fully know what you’re doing or why. It may be that you leave the relationship as soon as arguments and difficult conversations begin. Or, perhaps you do everything you can to make the partnership work, including hiding your true opinions and feelings. With each attempt to assert your independence or create intimacy, you might feel increasingly lonely, unfulfilled and doubtful that things could be different.

Thankfully, it is possible to break out of old relationship patterns and start learning new ways of relating to yourself and others. With the help of a relationship therapist who specializes in individual and couple counseling, you can feel empowered to create the healthy, balanced relationship you want.

Relationship Counseling Can Help You Create Sustainable Change

I offer one-on-one therapy sessions for anyone who is struggling with relationship issues, whether you are looking to find, heal or end a relationship. Although I am here to help you enact positive change in your life, I know how scary anticipating that change can be. I will work with you gently and compassionately, helping you identify proactive ways to express and pursue your deepest wants and needs.

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Throughout our work together, I will maintain a calming, nonjudgmental presence. Although all that you are feeling is valid, I will not focus on the “right” and “wrong” of any particular situation. Instead, I focus on the process of addressing and resolving issues at the root.

From our very first session, I will help you explore your relationship history and family of origin, recognize the signs of an unhealthy relationship pattern and pinpoint the specific cycles you feel stuck in. Together, we can investigate your thoughts and actions within those cycles to discover what you want from specific interactions, as well as relationships in general. Then, you can decide whether or not your actions are serving your wants. If you decide that you are not getting what you need from relationships, I can help you manage any anxiety you feel around change and understand how you can break free from harmful patterns with small, deliberate shifts.

Depending on your particular situation, we might focus on shifting your self-perception. By realizing that you don’t have control over anyone but yourself, you can let go of blame and embrace accountability, thereby empowering yourself to own your choices. You can also develop the insight and tools needed to shift your responses to challenging situations. For example, through building communication skills, you can feel better equipped to express yourself to your partner without falling back into old patterns, even in times of conflict.

I have been on both sides of relationship counseling. After going through my own relationship challenges, I learned that it’s possible to find balance between intimacy and independence. With the right guidance, you can create a relationship built on care, connection and acceptance.

You may have questions or concerns…

What if I mess up my relationships by changing?

When you start to make changes, it’s inevitable that those around you will respond. And it’s true that some of those responses may feel negative. As your relationship therapist, I can help you understand that you are not responsible for the feelings and actions of others. Even if they direct irritation at you, their reactions might not really be about you at all. Instead, they might be realizing that they now have to change as well. Although others may be frustrated and uncomfortable initially, once they see the positive impacts of the shifts you’re making, they might make some healthy shifts of their own.

My partner won’t come to relationship counseling.

When your partner does something that hurts you, it makes sense to blame them for the strain in your relationship. Your pain is valid and deserves room and recognition. However, it’s also important to recognize that you and your partner are both locked in an emotional system, and you both influence the way that system operates. You can’t change your partner, but you can transform your shared dynamic. Therapy can help you recognize just how powerful your choices can be.

Will you push me to be vulnerable?

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I won’t force you to do anything you don’t want to do. But, even if you are accustomed to withdrawing or pushing people away in relationships, I doubt you’ve found and read this page because you want things to stay the same. In sessions, I can help you understand why honesty and intimacy might feel dangerous right now. Whether you’re carrying lessons from the past or struggling with an unsafe relationship in the present, you don’t have to keep feeling stuck. It is possible to find a relationship that welcomes and honors your true self.

Feel Empowered In Your Relationship

I invite you to call 858-480-1499 to schedule an assessment session. I look forward to learning more about you and answering any questions you may have about relationship counseling in Del Mar, CA.

1.  Gilbert, Roberta M. (1992) Extraordinary Relationships: A New Way of Thinking about Human Interactions. John Wiley & Sons: New York. Pg 3