An Emotional Logic
This is a particular way of relating to a situation, like at work, or to another person such as a partner, which doesn’t make sense from a more considered or rational perspective, and yet has an emotional logic which makes a lot of sense.
Someone may stay in a relationship when it would be best for them to leave, and they may even know this, and yet they stay. Why would you do this, and the answer is because the reason for staying has a compelling ‘emotional logic’? Jess, because of her particular personality and the important relationships she has gone through in her life, sometimes strove unnecessarily to 'please people’. This could work very well for her, like in her job where she could channel this energy, but under the pressure of a dysfunctional relationship it became over emphasised, and hence trapped her into trying to achieving something that was unachievable. The answer was to leave her partner, but the ‘subjective logic’ was saying, 'Stay, you must make it work', and underlying this was the even more negative and subjective thought, 'If I don't, I'm a failure'.
The point is to make friends with who we already are'
Therapy isn't just about getting rid of a problem, much as we might want to do that, but rather about finding a way to make ‘friends with who we already are’. As was mentioned, you can’t simply get rid of a part of yourself, but that ‘part’ can work for you. Jess was able to channel this energy in her work with all the positive advantages that go with a successful career. But in her relationship it had gone in a negative direction.
Getting things right, but not perfect
How then do you move from this negative way of relating to a situation? The first step in counselling is to become aware of this 'emotional logic' and then it becomes possible ‘to make friends' with who you already are, to see how you are misusing your energy, and that it is this same energy which can actually work for you. But Jess had to go through what can be quite a painful process to acknowledge how her particular ‘logic’ had trapped her. But this then allowed her to see that wanting to please people, when channelled in the right way can give a sense of purpose and meaning to her life, rather than keeping her stuck in a destructive relationship.
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