Better Together

Communicating vulnerably can be difficult, particularly when trust has been broken. In this post, Roslynn Nyanhongo, MA, LPC- Associate, supervised by Kerry Williamson, MA, LPC-S, LMFT-S, CST shares tips for breaking the cycle of destructive communication, and insight into how a therapist can help.
Her: I want to feel chosen and loved by my husband, but after the affair, I just don't know
how to go there with him anymore.
Him: I chose her, and I am doing everything I can to help her feel better. I am at a loss
because I also want to feel connected.
Her: Even though it has been a while and I feel like I have forgiven him, I still feel this sense of disconnect and do not know how to get through to him with my needs.

Humans were created for relationship, and it is challenging when we have broken
relationships with those we cherish. All relationships have an important role in the human
experience; romantic, friendship, and familial. At their core, they all have the same essential
value, which is trust. But what do you do when that trust has been broken? It can be very
devastating when trust has been broken by someone whom we trusted to care for us. That
trauma can also be taken into other relationships that bring on a destructive cycle of distrust, blame, and poor communication.

As a therapist, I find that it is essential to get to the heart of what is being said and the
meaning that is being made
. Working from an Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) lens, I often notice that for clients, it can be easy to get caught up in emotions and miss what the other person is saying. EFT can help us learn to notice when we are getting into a dysfunctional communication style so we can stop the behavior and modify the response. Using “I feel” statements is a great way to get our experience across to another person. Validating the other person’s experience is another way to create a deeper sense of understanding and an opportunity for a deeper connection. When couples can express their feelings to each other, they realize their partner is not the enemy but just someone who also has needs that they need to meet. When partners can express their own emotions, it makes handling conflict easier.

There must be safety within a relationship for a couple to have a healthy and productive
bond. If a couple has difficulty expressing emotions or validating each other’s
experiences, then a therapist can help figure out why that is and help the couple develop ways to communicate more effectively. If there is a lack of emotional safety, it could be helpful to establish boundaries around how to have difficult conversations. Couples may need to learn to take a time out when things are getting too heated and come back together once there has been time to cool off. The important thing is to guard the relationship by not doing more damage. It’s okay to take a time out and come back together. As a matter of fact, it is healthy!

I am a therapist who believes in the power of having healthy relationships and I can help you identify patterns of miscommunication to improve the overall health and stability of your relationship. If you are struggling with betrayal in your relationship or have other
issues you and your partner are struggling with, I would love to help you navigate through that. There are tools to help no matter the situation, and there is always hope. We are better together.
Roslynn has been with ALCS since 2023 and counsels clients from our North Austin and Georgetown locations. She works with individuals and couples to help them understand the roots of behaviors and facilitate change in relationships. For more information about Roslynn's practice, click here. To set up an appointment with Roslynn or another therapist in our office, call us today!
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