Over the next few weeks, we will be reading the book Hold Me Tight: Seven Conversations for a Lifetime of Love by Dr. Sue Johnson, the developer of Emotionally Focused Couple Therapy. Want to go back to the beginning of the series? Just click here.
The fifth conversation in Hold Me Tight that Dr. Sue Johnson discusses focuses on Forgiving Injuries. The chapter begins by going into detail about relationship traumas – moments in a relationship where a lot of damage happened. They may not be big moments, but they do have a big fallout.
The chapter spends some time explaining what kind of damage may have occurred – sometimes, it’s a scenario where a partner feels betrayed – for instance, the revealing of a lie their partner told. However, oftentimes, the injured partner feels something closer to abandonment – for instance, perhaps they got some bad news and their partner told them to get over it or simply ignored their distress.
These conversations can have long-lasting effects, and be the catalyst for the demon dialogues the couple is experiencing. If a moment like this has occurred in a relationship, it can be a roadblock for making progress in the overall health of the partnership – the injured partner will revisit the problem, consciously or subconsciously, and re-trigger the emotions they felt at the time.
Dr. Sue Johnson outlines 6 steps for identifying and overcoming these issues. They can be very painful, and she mentions that couples struggling with the first three conversation will likely not be able to tackle this one. The steps include the injured partner speaking to their pain, the injuring partner staying emotionally present and acknowledging the pain and the couples developing a new story together on how to deal with similar scenarios in the future, Overall, a very comprehensive, yet emotionally challenging, guide.
The chapter also takes some time to go into things like defining forgiveness, as well as a few different kinds of unproductive apologies – both are definitely worth taking a look at!
Next week, we’ll be digging into the sixth conversation Dr. Sue Johnson discusses: Hold Me Tight – Bonding Through Sex and Touch.