In order for a relationship to be successful it must be balanced - an even and equal distribution of rewards creating a stable and healthy environment in which each individual can function at their best (Walster Walster and Berscheid’s, 1978). A balanced relationship has the potential to enrich our lives, enhance our feelings of self-worth, support us in our pursuit of personal goals, provide us with feelings of comfort and enable us to freely express love. They are “nurturing, stimulating and restorative” (Erskine, RG, Moursand, JP and Trautmann, RL; Beyond Empathy, p6)
Unbalanced relationships on the other hand are according to Homan’s Disruptive Justice Theory, one’s in which the costs and received rewards are disproportionate making one feel cheated. Unbalanced relationships may also become ineffectual, no longer fulfilling a need or they may be unhealthy in which one individual exerts power over another depleting that person of his or her energy and joy. Unbalanced relationships as a result can cause great personal distress.
The balance in relationships changes as we change and grow according to personal and external circumstances. Some of these changes are temporary and others permanent. Some long-term relationships such as marriage or the relationship between a mother and her child are flexible, adapting and growing with us. Others are only seasonal and eventually fall away. Trying to hold onto unbalanced relationships can be the cause of anxiety, fear, insecurity and conflict as one tries desperately to restore the balance. Resentment, anger, guilt, jealousy and even a critical attitude may result if one does not understand and accept the nature of these changing relationships.
A therapist’s role is to help their client accept the things they cannot change and to have the confidence and wisdom to change the relationships, including the one with themselves, that are unbalanced, unhealthy or harmful. There is always a price to pay for unbalanced relationships. They deplete us of our energy and our enjoyment of life, they erode away at our confidence and prevent us from pursuing our dreams and fulfilling our potential. Ultimately they prevent us from functioning as a human, and of being in the world as a whole, fulfilled person.
If you are struggling in a relationship, be it with your partner, boss, work colleague, friend or even yourself, counselling can encourage you to explore areas in your life that are harmful, help you discover healthier ways of interacting with others and support you as you begin to make positive changes in your life.
I offer both couples and individual counselling.
If you would like to book your free 30 minute consultation, call me on 0783 4226 025 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org