My blog has often focused on character types and I am sure many of you have recognized aspects of these types in yourself and others you know. Those of you residing in couple hood may recognize characteristics in your mate as well. Or, maybe you don’t recognize your own character flaws, but recognize your mate’s problems with greater ease. That happens too; it is easier to see and be critical of our mate than look at our own contribution to the problems. It is quite challenging to live with another person day in and day out, as we are confronted with our own discomfort, disappointment, and even despair, and become chronically annoyed, irritable and resentful. We grapple with wanting things to be other than they are and that is the human condition. “If only he (or she) was like this or like that I would feel better.” And sometimes that is true too. Yet the comforts of companionship, familiarity, and shared experiences over time are intrinsically so valuable that it helps us get through obstacles that at times seem insurmountable. The longing to be bonded with another is a primitive need as we are basically social animals. That said, couples do struggle and reach boiling points when they can’t get back or forward to a stable place of harmony and safety with each other. It is at those times that a therapist can help illuminate, clarify, clear the logjam and help create permanent ways out.
There are various approaches to couple’s therapy. This post will discuss character analytic couple therapy, which clarifies how life-long character patterns create difficulty in relationship. As each character type engages from its chronic defensive positions, a couple’s dynamic is created. So understanding each character’s propensities helps a couple to understand their dynamics – as a couple’s ’system‘ has a life of its own.