Nicola Perry Counselling & Supervision for Weston Super Mare and North Somerset

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Frustrated & Stressed Couples Coping with Anger & Resentments.

Stress, Pressure & Roles

Where did it go wrong? We live in a fast changing world with changing pressures which can test even the most resilient of relationships. These ever changing circumstances and pressures can lead to stress in the relationship. Changes can come from both within the relationship and outside the relationship such as new a job, children, illness, differing expectations, moving house, fertility problems, jealously, infidelity, money worries and so many more. Not only can the changes be difficult to navigate, but you may begin to find things which didn’t seem to matter before now matters. Arguments can blow up out of nowhere, pressure and prolonged stress can make details matter. Too much pressure can lead to prolonged stress change how we view the world and effect how we behave in relationships. Stress is a biological and psychological response experienced and can occur when we feel we do not have the resources to deal with the situation or environment we find ourselves in.


Stress can change the roles we take up within the relationship and put us into playing the victim, villain or rescuer and sometimes a good measure of all. These roles can be damaging to a relationship and difficult to get out of, when we take a broad overview of these roles you get a further understanding of why they are damaging and toxic to a relationship. Victims can’t give attention to the relationship as feel to helpless to solve problems and find it difficult to take responsibility for any negative consequences. Villains can’t focus on the relationship as they are trying to exert power whilst being too busy blaming. Rescuers can’t focus on the relationship as they are too busy strategizing with short term repairs whilst underneath fostering resentment. If you can identify the roles you find yourself in the relationship you can take action to change these roles to a more constructive role which will enable you to work through the challenges within your relationship. If you identify with the victim acknowledge your strengths and allow yourself to try and not to beat yourself up if it goes wrong . If you have a sense of being in the role as the villain change accusatory, sweeping statements to expressing your own feelings without highlighting the others faults. Rescuing behaviour can be lessened by not taking responsibility to solve all problems and learning to say no, try and rein in the sense of needing to fix.

When the heat is turned up for our stress we can find we are arguing more and we have sense of being back on in the groove of anger and resentment, it has a real feel of ground hog day about it. Once resentment and anger builds, relationships can suffer from diminished closeness & intimacy, lack of confidence for the future togetherness, experience explosive hot anger or have an atmosphere of icy restrained anger. Often a person will questions whether they can stay in the relationship and feel like the relationship is doomed. One partner may have a need to confronting and tackling the arguments headlong and will want or insist the partner to do the same, even if there is no benefit in doing so. The other may wish to withdraw both physically and emotionally to escape the situation, so the problems never get addressed. Both partners will need to learn to do things differently if they are to make more positive changes in the relationship. If you are the partner that wants to confront and have it out, consider whether tackling and confronting is really going to helpful to the problem at this time. Would it be better to discuss the problem when the feelings have dissipated, when things are calmer. Do you find yourself withdrawing from conflict and ignoring the problems raised? It can be very useful if you can acknowledge the feelings you are experiencing and experimenting with yourself the challenging of staying with your own uncomfortable feelings without fleeing from them.

Nicola Perry 07/08/2018


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