Living with an emotionally absent partner can be overwhelming. Constantly overcoming the silent distance can leave you with the sense that the give and take in your relationship has disappeared. But even the most broken relationship can be reinvigorated.
In helping real-world couples achieve fulfilling futures, Harvard University clinical psychologist Dr. Holly Parker has developed a program filled with practical exercises and powerful advice for individuals on both sides of an emotionally damaged relationship. With patience, empathy, and willpower, Dr. Parker's program can help you restore balance and peace of mind and turn your damaged partnership back into a rewarding and joyful bond.
Cosa pensano gli ascoltatori di If We're Together, Why Do I Feel So Alone?
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Read if prepared to do the emotional labour
I found this book very useful in lots of places and the real-life examples and anecdotes helped me realise all relationships have their troubles and my partner and I are no different. In fact, some of the examples of behaviours were atrocious and it made me feel better about my treatment. I think the book is based on the idea that one partner is emotionally healthy (the assumption being the female in the relationship will be?!) and this is where the book falls down in my opinion. Mentally healthy people attract mentally healthy people and the opposite is true for those of us with considerable trauma or mental health conditions/symptoms. I feel this book shoulders more than a considerable amount of the "maturity" and action to preserve and improve the relationship on the female in the relationship. Therefore, there is a danger that the methods and devices described in the book become yet another responsibility of the woman. In some places it is even suggested how and with what tones you might phrase things to your partner to get a favourable outcome, which feels pretty manipulative to me and when you are trying to be honest with your partner, having to remember to "sugarcoat" your delivery etc. seems counter-intuitive somehow.
There are lots of good examples of how you can identify the issues your partner may be having and ways in which you can help them or encourage them out of their anxiety to better improve your relationship, however, the book is very hetero-normative and as a female reading, disgruntled at already doing way more than her fair share of emotional labour and domestic tasks etc. in her relationship, I really felt like this book was asking even more from me than I felt able to give, especially when there were rockier patches in my relationship and I was feeling less than my best emotionally. I just didn't have the energy to lead by example and actually found myself resenting the implications all the way through that it was my responsibility to take control and nurture changes in my partner.
Ultimately, the suggestion came through to me that it is the woman's job to nurture and oversee the progress made by her (male) partner. I understand not all of us have the inclination to say: "This relationship is too imbalanced for me, so I'm leaving it", because actually, I would go as far as saying the disproportionate division of labour, in heterosexual relationships especially, is very common and actually expected by (and has been accommodated by) society. That is changing because women are working full time too and saying no and not picking up the slack just because they think they aught to. I always remember the story that did the rounds on the internet ages ago about the folks having a dinner party and the husband being complimented by the guests for "helping" his wife and him explaining it is his equal and shared responsibility as equal partner in the relationshp and ahhhhh, that man! - it hit me and made me realise I had been living all wrong so far haha!
Don't get me wrong, those of us with mental health symptoms or who are prone to people-pleasing are probably no stranger to self-help and I think this would be my take-away from the book if this is you: do the work on YOURSELF first (read some Florence Given, Mark Manson or Sarah Knight for instance) and then decide if you are able and willing to do the work to help your partner.