One Key to Healthy Relationships and a Good Life

One Key to Healthy Relationships and a Good Life

When I got into therapy at twenty-eight, I was depressed, anxious, addicted and broken-hearted. I didn’t understand myself at all. I was a creature of appetite and my emotions were overwhelming and I lacked insight into their etiology. There was a veil before my eyes.

I was immensely lucky to have a gifted therapist working with me. Our initial steps enabled me to gain insight into how complex trauma destructed my self-esteem and created a weighty life-long depression and anxiety. During childhood, verbal, physical and sexual abuse created an emotional environment that predisposed me to self-medication. She said, “You were a loaded gun with a hair trigger” for becoming addicted.

As the work continued, I learned the importance of emotional self-reflection. Why was I feeling a particular emotion? Was my emotional reaction commensurate to the situation? Was my response fair and accurate to the person I was interacting with? These questions were essential to my relationships. Prior to therapy, my over-reactions detonated my relationships. Anger, self-pity and long sulking depressions overwhelmed the better aspects of my personality and ultimately destroyed the good will of the people I loved and who loved me.

Nowadays, I’m able to think about what I’m feeling and why. This helps me to contain and regulate my feelings better. If I do over-react, I can quickly take responsibility for it and have the emotional vocabulary to communicate effectively with the people that matter.

I’m also very careful to only include people in my life who are able to do the same. It is esteem- destructive to be in a relationship with someone who can’t take responsibility for himself. You know the type, the one who is never wrong and who can’t self-reflect and never apologizes. Steer clear of them!