Relationship difficulties

In my view, one of the few psychological instincts that we come into this world with is to form relationships from a very early age, principally to ensure survival, but also to provide guidance, comfort and security. None is more important than the relationships we form with early caregivers, whether they are our parents, foster parents or other guardians. Thereafter, we form other significant relationships that provide partnerships, wisdom and succour in different measures, but always in the hope that they will somehow enhance our lives. Some relationships, particularly our early ones, are inevitable and when these are dysfunctional or distressing, we learn to exist in them in whatever way we can. Defences that we learn in dysfunctional or distressing relationships, usually subconsciously embedded in our minds, often resurface in new, later relationships, sometimes acting as wrecking balls. These defences can come to light when, for example, we find it impossible to trust others or when we have repeated relationship breakdowns. In turn, this can lead to other problems, such as intense feelings of loss, loneliness, anxiety, anger, very low mood and substance abuse. Therapy can help the person to whom this has happened to examine the course of their life and to support them in making more life-enhancing decisions and changes for the future.