As with most couples, Jacob and Jen wanted a quick fix! They both wanted the pain of the relationship to stop! Most therapists and couples would love a easy resolution, but that is not usually what happens. After suggesting to Jacob and Jen that it took a while for them to reach this level of discomfort, I gently shared that it was also going to take time and commitment on both their parts to cultivate a deeper awareness and understanding of each other and their respective needs. With their consent, we moved forward. Jacob and Jen really began to learn about themselves as we explored their backgrounds. And, as they tenderly discovered and revealed their unspoken expectations of one another, they began to understand the root of their trouble - their individual life messages. What does this mean? This is important.
Jacob had a difficult childhood. His father was an abusive alcoholic, frequently taking his anger out on Jacob and his siblings. His mom was victimized as well. When Jacob became interested in music (as a refuge from his chaotic home and because he was extremely talented), Jacob's dad made fun of him - referring to Jacob as a sissy. Jacob left home after graduating high school, determined to make it on his own and make a career in music. When I asked Jacob what his life messages were growing up - the beliefs that he internalized about himself - Jacob responded,