Relationships – Change Yourself?

Change yourself - change others
Do you suspect that some of the issues in your relationship are caused by you but don’t fully understand why?

Occasionally I get asked if I could help a client’s partner to lose weight.

My next question is has their partner expressed an interest in losing weight through Hypnotherapy or is it because that client would like them to lose weight? – A subtle difference between supporting and being prescriptive with their partner?   Does trying to change your partner work?  Or perhaps it’s you that needs to change first?   Would it be better to encourage your partner to lose weight or would it be better to accept them as they are and let them decide to lose weight on their own?

I’ll take another example and simple analogy.  A client asks if I can hypnotise their partner to stop snoring.   I usually point out that whilst potentially this could work(* See footnote) a better strategy would be to hypnotise the partner that doesn’t snore to adopt a relaxed attitude to the snoring and simply sleep through it no matter how loud it is.

When talking to people who are anxious there are two distinct camps – the people who are overawed but accept responsibility and will do whatever they can to overcome anxiety and people who see themselves as “Suffering” from anxiety -something that is almost external and alien to them.   Accepting full responsibility helps you take control back.   The transition to this position can take time.  They have to let go of the idea of “suffering” that they have been attached to.

When talking to divorcee’s there seem to be in varying degrees some different camps.  Those that blame their partner’s bad behaviour for the break up (Which in some cases is extreme) and still harbour a huge amount of resentment ,  those that blame themselves – sometimes in a very insecure way,  and those that are more reserved about what the causes were and have become much more self aware in the process – accepting that it takes two people for a relationship to fail.

“Holding on to anger and resentment is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”

Here I want to cue the Woman and the Tiger’s whiskers whisker story.  This is essentially the idea that in order to change others, you must first change yourself.   Changing yourself doesn’t mean always mean becoming gentler.  Sometimes it might mean becoming much stronger and fearless – or the opposite.   If your partner has a tendency to gently dominate and you do not assert yourself then you are contributing to “the situation”  (Note – I am not talking about abusive relationships – I am making an assumption that things are relatively balanced)

Clients sometimes struggle to grasp this idea.  Through replaying situations in Hypnotherapy from different perspectives they can quickly start to see how by blaming their partner (Even sometimes when the partner has behaved badly) they are absolving themselves of any responsibility.  (See the above quote about resentment)  Dealing with things calm and assertively can prevent blazing rows.   Assertiveness is misunderstood by many to be aggression.   The key is to “Assert” (make it clear to your partner what you would like) without aggression.   Clients have come back after few sessions gushing with enthusiasm for how things have changed for the better.

“Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes”

The sort of things we can examine in Hypnotherapy: –

  • Develop more empathy with your partner – walk a mile in their shoes.
  • Work on your assertiveness – improve clear communication
  • Understand transference and let go of resentment
  • De- Stress / Relax – Destructive arguments and anger can occur when stressed.
  • Your own beliefs may hold you back much more than your partner
  • Issues from previous experiences may be poisoning this relationship.
  • And many more – sometimes we have stuff lurking in  our subconscious……………….

I am not a relationship counsellor and you may well decide that course would be more suitable for you depending on the issues.   Sometimes the issues can need a tweaking of your perspective and Hypnotherapy can be a powerful tool in this respect.   The best way to examine this idea is to call me and it discuss it openly with me.

(* Re snoring – Hypnotherapy is good at reducing stress related physical effects such as teeth grinding and irritable bowel syndrome.    Snoring usually occurs when the subject is relaxed and it is my view that hypnotherapy is unlikely to be effective  or if possible – even desirable as it might interfere with sleep )

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