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my husband told me to go to therapy


Like most women in their early 20s, I had my fair share of awkward dates, being ghosted, unhealthy relationships, and a very confused nervous system. Unfortunately, I had the mindset that all men think with their penis, that if they are nice to you it means they are doing something they shouldn't, and that they all have a wandering eye. I also thought yelling, slamming doors, and feeling like you're always walking on eggshells was normal. It isn't, as I've come to learn.


When I started dating my now-husband, I acted the same way with him that I did in all my other relationships. I was anxious, jealous, dramatic—you name it. I acted like I didn't care even when I did. It was hard to let him in and trust him. I was open about my life and previous experiences but in a way where I was testing him to see when he would leave or tell me I was too much. I constantly questioned why he was being nice to me or what the catch was because I didn't believe he cared about me. Of course, this caused conflict in the early stages of our relationship, and I can admit that it was usually because of how I managed my emotions when I was triggered.


In the early months of our relationship, I was struggling a lot with my mental health and had very limited coping strategies (if any). This contributed to how I showed up in the relationship, and I often made assumptions about his intentions, feelings, and perceptions of me. I was always battling him because I didn't know how to be a good partner. I didn't understand the concept of intention and would often say things like "you're trying to upset me" or "you are doing this to make my life harder." I didn't understand or realize that sometimes people make mistakes or do something upsetting without it being purposeful. I felt like I always had to be right and that if there was an issue, I wasn't the problem—he was. All of my behaviours, beliefs, and views were coming from a place of not only a long line of unhealthy relationships but also my view of myself as an individual and within the relationship.


There came a moment within the first year of our relationship when my husband said to me, "If you don't talk to someone and begin to work through your past, I don't know if I can see a future for us." While this probably sounds mean to some, it was the best thing that happened to me. It was the first time I had to take a step back and look in the mirror. It was also true. He was at a place in his life where he didn't want to play games; he was looking to find someone to settle down with. He also spoke about concerns surrounding children and worrying about what that would look like with a wife/mother who is depressed and angry. All of which are valid and understandable.


I took some time to reflect on the relationship and whether I wanted it enough to go to therapy and work on my stuff. It didn't take long for me to see and know that not only were he and the relationship worth fighting for, but I was also worth fighting for. I deserved to be happier. I deserved to be in a healthy relationship. I deserved to live a more fulfilling life.


After starting my journey in therapy, I discovered Tapping, also known as Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT). This practice, which involves tapping on specific meridian points on the body while focusing on a troubling issue, helped me move through difficult experiences with a newfound sense of calm and clarity. The physical act of tapping combined with a mindful acknowledgment of my emotions allowed me to release negative energy and reframe my thoughts. After seeing significant progress with EFT, I transitioned to working with a more person-centered therapist, who I've been with for over three years now. This long-term relationship has provided me with consistent support and has been instrumental in my ongoing journey towards emotional well-being and self-acceptance.


Therapy provided me with the space to understand myself with compassion instead of anger and shame. I healed and connected to parts of myself that developed to keep me safe. I developed a better relationship with myself, which in turn supported my ability to effectively show up in my relationship. I will forever thank my husband for telling me what I needed to hear when I needed to hear it, while also acknowledging how strong I was to hear this and not run away but to take that first step to build a better version of myself.




How To Tell Someone You Care About They Should Go To Therapy

Approaching the topic of therapy with someone can be delicate. Here are some steps to help you suggest it in a supportive and non-judgmental way:

  1. Choose the Right Time and Place: Ensure you have a private, calm environment for the conversation.

  2. Express Concern, Not Criticism: Start by expressing your care and concern for their well-being. Use "I" statements to focus on your feelings and observations rather than "you" statements which can sound accusatory.

  • Example: "I've noticed that you've seemed really stressed out lately, and I'm worried about you."

  1. Be Supportive and Non-Judgmental: Let them know that seeking therapy is a positive and brave step.

  • Example: "I think talking to a therapist could be really helpful for you. Therapy has helped a lot of people, and it's okay to seek support."

  1. Normalize Therapy: Mention that many people, including yourself if applicable, have found therapy beneficial.

  • Example: "A lot of people go to therapy, and it can really help in managing stress and emotions. I've even thought about it myself/I've had a positive experience with it."

  1. Offer Support: Let them know you’re there for them no matter what they decide.

  • Example: "I'm here for you, and I'll support whatever decision you make. If you want, I can help you find a therapist or just be here to listen."

  1. Respect Their Autonomy: Understand that the decision is ultimately theirs to make.

  • Example: "I just wanted to share my thoughts because I care about you. Whatever you decide, I'm here for you."

By approaching the conversation with empathy and support, you can help minimize the risk of hurting their feelings.


Thanks for reading!


Ali




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