When Couples Engage in Self-Sabotage and How to Fix it

Uniting Couples to Strengthen Families

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One of the saddest aspects for me as a couples therapist is watching couples engage in self-sabotage, creating the very thing they don’t want in their relationships.  It’s common to see a lonely wife who really wants to be connected her husband yell and protest in desperation in a way that absolutely pushes him farther away.  I witness husbands who are anxious about approaching their wives at all for fear of rejection, so they withdraw emotionally and increase the likelihood that their spouses will become angry and protesting, generating the very behavior they are trying to avoid.  Couples do it ALL THE TIME.  It might even be the rule rather than the exception.  I have been known to point out this paradoxical behavior a time or two in a therapy session.  (i.e. “Do you see, you are wanting him with you right in this very moment, and yet you are…

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