Family Counseling Bethesda MD
During family counseling in Bethesda, MD at Lindsey Hoskins & Associates, we may talk about how most people are pretty good at apologizing when apologies are warranted, depending on the context. For example, if you bump into someone in the supermarket—sorry! If you accidentally spill something at another person’s home—I’m so sorry!
However, in your close relationships with family, apologizing can be one of the most challenging things to do. This is entirely understandable given the emotionally-charged nature of close personal relationships. If you need help navigating apologies, forgiveness, and more with your relatives, family counseling in Bethesda, Maryland can provide a safe space and an unbiased ear to help you resolve these problems.
When are apologies necessary?
Determining when apologies are necessary can be a challenge, especially when emotional reactions are involved. These may include:
- Becoming defensive. Perhaps your family member didn’t intend to cause harm or hurt feelings.
- Confusion. A family member may not understand why this event or incident even hurt their spouse.
- Guilt. Apologizing may be difficult when a family member feels guilty about their actions or words.
All of these emotions are quite normal to feel in many circumstances. For the most part, people don’t intend to hurt a loved one’s feelings. If an apology is hard for you, you may tend to react to your family member with both defense and guilt, for example, “Well, I guess I’m just the worst sister/brother/mother/father the world, then!” In such situations, both family members may feel alienated from one another.
Emotional reactions are OK
What a therapist at Lindsey Hoskins & Associates wants families to understand is that there is room for all of the emotional reactions. It’s OK to be confused as to why your family member is upset. It’s also appropriate to want to explain your good intentions, and why you didn’t intend to be harmful. However, if defense and confusion win the day, and guilt never manifests, a family member may feel like their hurt doesn’t matter to the other.
It’s often helpful for family members to try noticing and tracking their own responses. Self-awareness is such an excellent tool to help to change patterns and conditioned reactions. When a conflict arises, try to breathe, slow down, and bring awareness to your exchange with your family member. During a session for MD family counseling in Bethesda, we may encourage you to change your responses to something more like:
- “I’m confused, can we talk about this so you can explain what hurt your feelings?” (confusion)
- “I feel bad, I didn’t intend to hurt you, but I see that I did.” (guilt)
- “I didn’t think that being late would cause that much distress, or I would have called. I will be more mindful of letting you know where I am next time.” (offer an explanation)
Although it can be difficult to react differently in the moment, knowing and owning your feelings can help you have a different dialogue with your family member. This can feel like a relief on both sides when family members are in touch with their emotions. If you’re having trouble navigating the feelings and finding the right words in any aspect of your relationship, signing up for Bethesda family counseling in Bethesda can help. Family counseling is available, as is one-on-one advice.
To find out more about how to improve your relationship with your family members or with yourself, schedule an appointment today for family counseling in Maryland from Lindsey Hoskins & Associates.