A prospective client once called me several times, when I returned the call, found her in a very confused state, the confusion made her sob, sulk and moan, completely losing sight of reason and rationale behind her pain and anguish.
Initially, I thought it to be another case of suicidal attempt or heartbreak, but to my surprise, the client narration gave me a completely new case with something new to learn from.
The issue the client was experiencing according to her has been since the first day of her marriage, from the start till date, 9 years down the line she has been putting up with her spouse and now could no longer take it.
I asked her a question, which annoyed her further but made her reflect.
I said if you could put up all these 9 years why and what you want to change now?
(sometimes a simple “why” can bring in a complete perspective shift )
The why worked in her case as well.
I gave her enough time to answer the Why, and after a few days when we spoke again, she explained that she found herself stuck.
Stuck in the rigmarole of hope and despair!
She was stuck because, despite 9 years of togetherness, the level of trust she expected from her spouse was missing, he was not cheating on her, but was assisting his siblings financially without her knowledge and consent.
Her idea of trust was, that he keep her posted about the minutest details of his life, even though they may sound silly, irrelevant and trivial. ( The irony was, she never expressed or ever shared this idea of trust with her spouse, nor bothered to understand from him what trust meant for her husband )
The financial assistance was taking a toll on the savings and the couple fought on several other reasons without bringing the actual reason to surface.
She learned about the financial assistance from someone else and the interesting part is that the someone else seems to know a lot about both of them, which they together didn’t knew or share with each other despite being a couple.
She assumed million more things happening behind her back, the husband argued with her for constantly nagging him on every issue under the sun, which he found irrelevant and assumed she always sought stupid reasons to pick an argument.
After several sessions, lasting more than an hour each, with a lot of deep dive questions, the common pattern that emerged was, that both parties ended up assuming things which never occurred and fought unnecessarily always avoiding the main issue at hand.
This case was a clear example of a cognitive distortion called overgeneralization and jumping to conclusions where we assume, build stories and approach things without a second thought or paying any attention to relevance.
As a result, people stay caught up in a vicious circle, fighting proxy wars within ourselves, very similar to the couple, in this case, the proxy wars were like a castle in the air built and based out of sheer imaginations, a web created, in which the person itself is both the creator and the victim of it.
How to do we deal with it?
The best way to deal with such cognitive distortions is to take a step back, pause and reflect
Life Coaching offers both framework and technique along with a set of questions, which can be applied in any given situation or circumstance, providing much-needed assistance.
The technique is simple ,but the secret lies in using it with an intent to break through the vicious circle of self pity ,assumptions and jumping to conclusions.
In this particular case, I was managing, unfortunately, I was not successful, because the client refused to accept both the intent and the method.
The case as on today stand closed because Life coaching techniques cannot be coerced or pushed down the throat, it begins and ends with commitment and the will of the client, and in absence of it, the case stands closed while the problem lingers on!
I chose to share it, because every experience and be it success or failure, always held a lot of lessons to be learned from it.
Until next time,
Certified Life Coach
If you or anyone you care for , is found to be in need to break through such vicious circles, help is just a click away
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