Couples unconsciously bring their past issues to couples counseling, whether it’s childhood issues or issues with past spouses, but couples don’t often talk explicitly about their histories. However, Alex and Rachel found talking about their pasts helpful.
This was a second marriage for both and their love and respect for each other was strong. However, on occasion they would get into vicious fights with each other, making regrettable comments. They wanted to put an end to this negativity.
Rachel shared about her past. She was the eldest from a large dysfunctional family. The siblings would assault each other verbally and physically, e.g., attacking with wired hangers, and the next day the family would act as if nothing happened. The parents sometimes provoked the conflict, encouraging the siblings to stand up for themselves.
Alex had an older brother with whom he competed, and Alex had to win at all costs. So when conflict occurred with Rachel, he also had this mind set. Rachel was accustomed to fighting with vengeance, and Alex wasn’t to be out done.
Their histories had a pervasive impact on their current relationship. Their willingness to explore their pasts had the potential to mitigate these past patterns that were no longer functional.