Lisa Schlesinger has been a Psychotherapist for 20 years. Her extensive training in psychoanalysis and psychoanalytic treatments help all kinds of couples and parents gain satisfaction in their relationships through understanding one another.
I help families who experience mood disorders, depression and anxiety during pregnancy and afterwards.
Relationship between the Couple
Relationships are fraught with decades of history. Imagine that some of your relational dissatisfaction has to do with the expectations that you and your spouse or partner both bring to the relationship. As an example, we all come from families in which things were done in a particular way. You will instinctively want your family traditions repeated, while your spouse or partner want their family traditions repeated. This is just an example of the nature of the struggle that is inherent in coupling with another person. These conflicts get more and more complicated and confusing when what we are seeking to repeat involve our unconscious thoughts and feelings.
At one time you found your spouse or partner charming and now those same qualities can bring up hateful feelings. Where there was once passion, idealization, and sense of connectedness it is replaced with anger, resentment, and frustration. In my experience partners/spouses can often times feel competitive about money, success, health, or parenting leading to contemptuous feelings. Struggles in relationships can result in couples communicating with disdain and anger in a way that only serves to exacerbate feeling of isolation and being disconnected.
Those original loving feelings and thoughts about your partner haven’t really gone anywhere, they are lying dormant. They are like the perennial flowers that are hiding for the season. Psychotherapy and relationship therapy help you both understand how your history, beliefs, unresolved issues and feelings create a road closure to having a more satisfying relationship with each other and with other members of your family.
Relationships are hard enough. When you add in children and the inherent conflict in how each partner believes child rearing should be handled very often the parental and family relationships suffer. Psychotherapy and relationship therapy can help you and your co-parent create a safe environment to decipher the nature of the conflicts between you and also gain more knowledge and understanding of what your child needs from you as co parents. Sometimes it is enough for just one member of the family to attend therapy and sometimes both parents need to find a common ground and understanding when it comes to making parenting decisions.
Each new generation of parents bring to parenting the remnants of previous generations. In some ways, the history or legacy of those before us leaves us marked or scarred. Can we break free and become better parents? Are we fated to repeat history?
I have heard new parents say, “we are going to do the opposite of what our parents did to us”, only to come full circle to another problem. As much as we would like to feel that we can bypass history, our family history always has a way of catching up to us and is front in center in our parenting decisions.
- Why is being a parent so challenging? One of the main reasons has to do with what parenting stirs up in our mind. Perhaps memories of your own childhood make it difficult to have the tools to relate or understand your child’s experience. Another reason parents have trouble is because they sometimes feel symbolically like their child and they identify too much with the child which creates an inability to see the child accurately.
- Are you a parent, or a friend? Another difficulty for some parents has to do with discipline. Some parents want to be their child’s friend, which precludes the difficult task of setting limits. Do you feel so invested in being liked by your children, that your need for being liked gets in the way of providing discipline, guidelines and boundaries for your child?
- Solo parenting has unique challenges: Being a single parent provides a lot of freedom, but it can be very lonely to parent solo! If you are a single parent, you may need help managing the responsibility of parenting by yourself.
- Conflicts amongst Co-Parents: It can be difficult to co-parent with someone who has a very different viewpoint than your own. I often see people that began to fight much more once they have become parents because they cannot agree on parenting decisions. Are you and your partner having trouble agreeing on decisions for your child? Do you feel that your co parent sabotages your relationship with your child or undue the limits that you are trying to set for the child? Are you and your child’s parent fighting in front of your children?