Within the increasingly belligerent debates raging around our current political dilemma, we as couple counsellors might take a moment to reflect on the many similarities that regularly occur between ranting politicians and the conflictual couples in our therapy rooms.
Raised voices: check
Aggrieved body language: check
A tendency to interrupt: check
Facts carefully selected to bolster a point: check
A sense of moral outrage: check
The list could go on for pages, but one thing we all know in the work we do with couples is that there is almost always one truth with two (or more) perspectives.
The same incident, or belief, will sound dramatically different when told from the opposing views of a confrontational couple, and we are also now seeing this in the furious political debates we witness around the EU referendum.
Each partner (or politician) can explain their truth – and it usually IS their truth, but highly coloured by their own background, influences, experiences and hopes.
Listening to the political rhetoric pouring out of every part of the media, it sometimes feels tricky to find a quiet moment of reflection that could be really informative.
Anger, a search for justice and an overall fear of the unknown can cause couples to overlook the need for the one thing that really helps, which is a quiet space to examine their deeper fears and help them to look at any loss that will inevitably be a consequence of the changes they seek.
This is where the therapy room can provide a chance to slow things down and for each voice to really feel heard.
Nobody really knows what will really happen in our political future. In spite of all the dire protestations, it’s all really a step into the unknown.
However much pro and anti EU posturing gets thrown at us, we the poor beleaguered public, can only weigh up our own thoughts and needs, and hope that we make our choice based on the facts we feel important for the future.
In the end the bluff and bluster of the political spin and counterspin becomes white noise.
Nobody is truly listening. Moral outrage rules.
Couples can also shut down when they feel they have heard the same arguments a hundred times before. Good relationship therapy can really help listening skills that will encourage compassion and a better understanding for each other’s point of view.
Sadly, I fear that the aftermath of June 23rd will have a far more painful ending.
Hopefully for the couples we see, there can be a chance for change and through therapy they can find different ways to manage their power struggles.
Now, all we need is a call from Donald and Hillary.