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When the Request is Fix My Partner

June 4, 2022

I receive so many emails that read similarly.

They provide a lengthy litany of examples of the untoward behavior of their partner.

They are seeking counseling as a last ditch effort hoping their partner will see the light and change. They want to know if I can be helpful.

I will say rarely, but the truth is never do these emails have the person asking why they remain in so awful a situation. Never do they ask why they remain with a person whose behavior is clearly extreme.

My reply is similar to all these emails.

I advise that due to the number of lengthy emails I receive, I cannot read them all through.

I ask that if they are seeking counseling for themselves they read the counseling page of my website and if acceptable, call to set an appointment.

I advise I never know who will change or not on the basis of an email and that both persons will likely have to self-reflect on their choices.

If a person follows through and in truth few do, but if a person does, quite infrequently do either change.

In these situations it is common that there is a relationship where the trauma background of one is entwined with the trauma background of the other.

Where change does occur, at least one finally recognizes their own past trauma and thus begins a process of insight and healing.

If only one of the couple does so, the likelihood of the relationship remaining is low. If both, then the outcome as a couple improves.

A big challenge in all of this is a capacity to suspend arguing over the recent issues and who did what to whom in favor of looking far back to the impact of one’s childhood, setting in motion a trajectory to present life.

It is in that understanding that people come to appreciate the influence of one’s past and may then be willing to learn new ways to alter the trajectory on a go-forward basis.

When this does happen, beautiful things occur.

The percentages of these outcomes are small.

Those percentages improve when at least one is willing to self-reflect as opposed to simply be focused on the behavior of the other.

Love is not the answer.

It’s self-reflection.


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I am Gary Direnfeld and I am a social worker. Check out all my services and then call me if you need help with a personal issue, mental health concern, child behavior or relationship, divorce or separation issue or even help growing your practice. I am available in person and by video conferencing.

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Gary Direnfeld, MSW, RSW

gary@yoursocialworker.com
www.yoursocialworker.com for counseling and support

www.garydirenfeld.com – to build your successful practice

Gary Direnfeld is a social worker. Courts in Ontario, Canada, consider him an expert in social work, marital and family therapy, child development, parent-child relations and custody and access matters. Gary is the host of the TV reality show, Newlywed, Nearly Dead, former parenting columnist for the Hamilton Spectator and author of Marriage Rescue: Overcoming the ten deadly sins in failing relationships. Gary maintains a private practice in Georgina Ontario, providing a range of services for people in distress. He speaks at conferences and workshops throughout North America. He consults to mental health professionals as well as to mediators and collaborative law professionals about good practice as well as building their practice.

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