The Tangled Ball of Yarn

Back in 2008 I was dealing with a very challenging relational issue.  A relationship in my life was causing me a lot of distress.  Every time I tried to interact with this person for any length of time I would feel intense discomfort and often end up blowing up at them or being in a shut down state.  This was not at all how I wanted to behave, and the relationship was not how I wanted it to be.  I loved this person very much and yet we were really struggling to relate to one another.

The situation felt impossible to figure out.  It was like trying to untangle a ball of yarn.  Every time I pulled on one part of the tangle and loosened a knot, another part of the yarn would tighten.  All the effort I put in just did not seem to make any difference. It was frustrating and discouraging. I realized that trying to figure it out on my own was futile.

It was then that I decided to go therapy.

I love this image because this was my experience.  I came in with this mess of a situation that felt totally insurmountable. I had no clue how to untangle it, and week by week, as I talked to my therapist about the problem, it was slowly, and gently unravelled. 

I began to see why the relationship had become this way.  I began to see that I had more power to effect change than I had originally realized.  I began to make changes to the way I was thinking about the problem.  I started to do things differently.  Small actions at first led to significant shifts over time.  I gradually grew in understanding and compassion for myself and the person I was struggling to relate to.

The discomfort shifted and lessened.  I can now be in the relationship and be the person I aspire to be.  I don’t shut down or blow up.  I can now calmly talk about more difficult issues without it leading to a fight between us or to distancing.

I am so thankful to my past self for recognizing that I needed help and for reaching out and connecting to a therapist. It was not easy to do but it was worth the time, the cost, and the stretching involved to learn the things I learned that meant I changed the dynamic in this key relationship.

I simply did not have the understanding about myself to be able to change my ingrained automatic reactions by myself. It did not matter how many books I read! But over time, I learned, and I grew, and I changed, and my life is so much better for it.

Our struggles can become very difficult to manage when we don’t have the tools and practices we need to know how to deal with them.  Therapy can help you to untangle the tangled ball of yarn AND teach you tools and practices to cope with life’s challenges so you are better equipped going forward.

Similar Posts