Every relationship is different. You have relationships with your families, friends, people you work with. Relationships aren’t always full of fun times and can often be difficult.
Hear my story - Taylor
Taylor accessed OTR’s counselling service as she had been going through some relationship difficulties which she felt had set her back in terms of happiness and self-esteem.
She felt trapped and unfulfilled within an emotionally manipulative relationship where her feelings went unacknowledged and ignored, whilst she was expected to accommodate her partner’s every need without complaint. Consequently, Taylor began to believe the concept that this was all that she was worth, which led to a strong feeling of dislike towards herself, and the abandoning of previously long-held goals and ideas of who she wanted to be in life.
Through counselling, Taylor was initially able to articulate these worries to a neutral party, who would provide a non-judgmental and empathic space for her to explore her authentic feelings. This was, to begin with, difficult – Taylor had been in the situation so long, her natural way of being had become one of ‘just getting on with it’, pushing her feelings deep below the surface and putting others first, blaming herself when things went wrong.
However, as the weeks progressed Taylor felt more comfortable discussing her deep sadness and frustration at where she found herself, and with the help of the counsellor, the conversation moved towards finding what her authentic self could be described as. This involved looking at different ‘parts’ of Taylor’s personality, which included different versions of her ‘self’ – her teenage self, her child self, the self which represents her as a girlfriend, amongst others.
Eventually, Taylor began to hear all of these ‘parts’ whenever a difficult situation arose; Taylor would almost ‘consult’ with all of the parts to determine a way to move forward which was more representative of her, as opposed to what other people would see as the best thing for her. Taylor was starting to trust her own judgements and not worry so much about what external influences around her were saying or doing.
Taylor also explained that she felt she could internalise the voice of the counsellor, less so in a ‘seeking advice’ way, but more in the style of reflecting back her feelings, encouraging reframing of situations, and obtaining a sense of warmth and compassion towards herself.
By the end of the counselling, Taylor felt strong enough to make plans to move away from her toxic relationship, explaining that she could build her ‘own castle’, only allowing those whom she wanted to enter her life. Taylor felt that her self-esteem has shown major improvement throughout the process at OTR.