We often hear how important family is to our health and well-being, especially when we are ill or depressed. However, what do you do when you find that a family member only brings heartache and stress into your life?
Posts Tagged ‘dialogue’
Empathy is the glue that bonds people in an intimate relationship. When there is an empathic connection, people feel understood, they feel seen. Empathy is not the only way for people to bond, but it is necessary for an intimate connection. Bonding over a common activity or common experience may foster a connection just as doing something for someone else might engender gratitude or appreciation. But in order for there to be intimacy, empathy is required.
A couple came to see me recently precipitated by the wife discovering that her husband had visited a massage parlor where, in an addition to a regular massage, he received what is known in the massage business as a “happy ending”, i.e., the masseuse masturbated him to orgasm.
Several times a week I hear from people, especially men, wondering about how to engage in more intimate personal relationships. One young man told me that he has a few people with whom he has been friends since kindergarten. Another man told me that he has four buddies whom he talks with several times a week. Both of these men indicated that while they love their friends and feel very close to them, the conversations have become repetitive and predictable. They spend their time together watching sports, shooting pool, and drinking beer or Scotch. They talk about women, work, sports, and memories from their youth. But nothing deep, nothing personal.
I recently asked a couple who came to see me because their marriage of less than a year was already in trouble, if they had planted a vegetable garden and invested as much time and energy into it as they have in their relationship, what would their garden look like. She said, “it would mostly be a jungle of weeds” and he said, ” we would be lucky if had one small tomato.”
I was talking with a patient recently who said that her mother was the person who kept her posted on family happenings. Since her mother died, she no longer feels connected with the rest of the family because her father does not share information. She realized how dependent she was on her mother for keeping her informed as to family happenings. Her father, on the other hand, is a not forthcoming about family matters. He claims that he does not like to gossip. He takes the position that if people want to know about him or others in the family, they should communicate directly with them.