Individual & Relationship Counselling. Wimbledon - Kingston Upon Thames - Putney - Surbiton


anxiety

What’s Your Relationship Dance?

The couple sit down and as she starts to talk, her husband looks away. He seems more interested in the books on my shelf. The more emotional and pleading she gets, the more withdrawn and shut down he gets. He says he wants the relationship to improve but he can’t handle her critical complaining. Why is it that this young man, who professes love, seems to withdraw emotional just at the moment his partner so deeply needs his love and reassurance? She looks back at me hurt and angry whilst he remains unmoved, withdrawn and determinedly casting his eye away from his distressed partner. What’s happening?

What we know, through years of research, is that we develop an internal model of operating within our relationships. This develops from the moment we are born. The amazing thing is that this template can be found across all cultures and nationalities. This template is your attachment style and there are three styles of operating. The ratio between these styles is also universal. Our attachment style is our relationship operating system. Depending on our template we all will operate in a similar style. When there is emotional anxiety we either withdraw, step forward or keep our emotional equilibrium. Once we understand this we start to make sense of how we operate within our relationships.

Attachment is my first love. Once we get a grasp of how this operates suddenly we are no longer polarised we are able to reduce the tension and start to feel connected. We suddenly are able to shape our relationships and are no longer captive to our internal emotional drive. Having a good relationship is the difference between thriving and just surviving! If your relationship sometimes feels like my couple’s then perhaps it would be a good time to think about your operating system. Discovering our unique attachment style can be a game changer.

Pam Custers is an experienced relationship therapist in Private practice in Wimbledon.
Working with individuals, couples and families
Specialising in Relationships and marriage counselling.

Are you lonely in your relationship?

Connection is the corner stone of all good relationships.I have worked with so many people who often sit in my room and talk about the fact that they are not particularly unhappy but they feel like they are living parallel lives. There is nothing as painful as feeling alone within a relationship.

Loneliness and isolation has the same impact on our lives and our longevity as being a heavy smoker according to research. Isolation fundamentally impacts our well-being. Feeling connected is the corner stone of being human. The moment we take our very first breath we are in a relationship with our mother or primary caretaker. We take our first breath and we are not looking for food but looking for connection. The way our needs are responded to develops our internal working model of the world. Those early years form a template by which we engage with our world and all our relationships through out our lives. That template is seen most keenly in our love relationships.

There are three main types of connecting (they are neither good nor bad simply different like the colour of our eyes) and whilst our partners or loved ones may temper our attachment style, in times of stress we revert back to type. Understanding our attachment style and how we make connections can be the mysterious key that unlocks our ability to connect. When we embrace the style that we have developed over time we are able to connect in a way that provides us with the nurturance our soul desires. Love becomes something that we experience because we feel heard and accepted the way we experience each other is open accessible and engaged.

Research has shown that our physiology changes when we have meaningful dialogue that allows us to feel connected. I am always blown away by how our sense of connection and love is transforming at such deep physiological level never mind psychological level.

This year lets open up ways to have meaningful connection. This can be with all our loved ones. Those connections can be cultivated in non romantic relationships too. So in essence I wish us all a truly connected year,

If you are curious about what attachment style you are stay connected. If you know someone who would like to know more about how relationships work. Please pass this on.
Pam

Burn Out!

To be a good mother, partner, friend, work mate we must give, right?  We don’t just give a little we just keep giving and for many it is a mark of a good person. “It’s better to give than receive” as the adage goes. As women, we can be particularly bad at receiving.

There is no surprise that the emotional bank that gives but takes no deposits simply runs dry. I come across this on a daily basis where we over-give, and become emotionally and physically drained. We honestly find it hard to give ourselves permission to receive. The “have it all” mantra and being an overachieving superwoman is addictive. Over-working ourselves into a state of emotional and physical exhaustion is simply not smart. Giving to others is a good and loving act but giving of ourselves to the point of sacrificing our own happiness, health and wealth is not loving or healthy. It sets up a catalogue of self-destructive fall out.

So how can we shift our internal mindset to enable us to take care of our loved ones, the work we love and take care of ourselves too. One simple way is to embrace a slightly new take on life “It’s better to give and receive” If we give ourselves the time and energy that feeds our soul we can get off the track of self-sabotage and burn out. Perhaps you are ready to start putting back into your emotional bank and rediscover who you are in this world.

Pam Custers is an experienced therapist working with individuals, couples and families. Her clients are successful individuals who value her unique approach. She is accredited MBACP. MA. BA (Psych) Hons and is a RELATE trained and registered counsellor.

Contact 07572 841 388  www.pamcusters.co.uk

 

Family Loyalty

Family loyalty is such a complex thing. Blood is thicker than water. Our family of origin is where we learn the many unwritten rules of how we relate. We can often hit a snag when we form our own families and new rules and loyalties need to be forged. Many years ago I met a women who felt her marriage was in tatters. It became clear that she had never been accepted by her mother in law and to compound matters her husband, in her eyes, never supported her. She was distraught. She had been married close on thirty years and this feeling of not having her husband’s loyalty had coloured her marriage.

Making the emotional transition from family of origin to our partners is a difficult step. When we are able to shift our primary relationship to our partner our ability to make joint decisions that are in the best interest of the new family become less fraught. It is heartening to see how a gentle shift and a release from the guilt of divided loyalties can reduce conflict so rapidly.

I still think of those thirty years that that woman lived in what felt like emotional purgatory and how sad that she left it so long. The emotional transition may not be easy as loyalties run deep. Our respective families of origin are the foundations on top of which we build our own family with its own rules and dynamics. The interesting thing is that in getting our priorities right we do not take anything away from any of the important relationships. They all just seem to fall into place.

Pam Custers

Relationship Therapist

www.pamcusters.co.uk

Taking charge of your Life just when you think your body is winning!

The menopause, the change, the pause, what ever you call it, it is a time to re-evaluate our lives. Hormones collide at a time of great change in our lives. Our children are starting to leave the nest, partners will now have a clear idea of their career trajectory and in turn what this means for your family and indeed for your life. The menopause can be the perfect storm! When life just seems to be at odds.

Some women experience this time as stressful. You may have a sense that you no longer know yourself like you did prior to the menopause. How you react will depend on a number of things including your health, your age, your identity, mental health and if you have achieved the things that you want to in your life.

Hormone changes may contribute to a depressed mood. We can swing from Joy to frustration and irritation in a blink of an eye. The debate continues if the menopause does causes depression but professionals agree that it effects mood. Understanding if depression or anxiety is due to menopause is a rather complex process.

If you are worrying about your mood, stress, anxiety or you wish to enjoy your life it may be useful to talk to a professional who can help you through this challenging process. You can reclaim your innate ability to re-calibrate your life and take charge of your happiness.

Pam Custers

Relationship Therapist
www.pamcusters.co.uk