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LGBTQIA+ Affirmative Therapy for Tension in Relationships in Agoura Hills, Los Angeles

Discover what lies beneath the conflict.

Life can feel so much harder when there’s tension between us and the most impactful people in our life. Every relationship is going to superficially have different issues, but no matter what the superficial complaints are...

during this tension you are noticing things like:

Our family, romantic, friend, or professional relationships can have such a huge impact on our mental health, for better or worse.

  • Your experience is being minimized or invalidated

  • You have a sense your emotions aren’t welcome and you try to feel them alone

  • You are holding your authentic reactions back because the other person isn’t helping to create a safe space to address the issue maturely

  • Loneliness, frustration, and a sense you aren’t being seen is a common experience for you

If it does, struggling to be authentic to yourself while the other person is struggling to accept you for who you are very understandably creates this tension. Trying to figure out how to exist in this connection can be exhausting and confusing, and you are looking for some relief. 

If your queerness doesn’t directly play a role in this tension, living as a member of a marginalized community already can create a mental health baseline of stress and alienation from being misunderstood. You’ve already been through a lot in terms of your identity, and it’s just easy to pick up the sense of being misunderstood when it comes to conflicts that don’t seem identity related on the surface.

Either way, this tension is creating a sense of disconnection, and is making it harder to show up to the relationship it is happening in. You wish that you could show up to this connection as your best self, but it seems like there is so much getting in the way. You know that some tension or disagreements are just part of being in connection with other people, but you just don’t want to continue with this level of tension for much longer. 

Maybe your queerness plays a role in this tension, or maybe it doesn’t.

How Therapy Can Help
Reduce Tension in Relationships

Imagine being able to…

  • Show up in your relationships authentically without worry

  • Be able to navigate conflict more assertively and confidently

  • Figure out more quickly what’s at the root of the tension

  • Step into your empowerment in deciding which relationships are meant for you, and which you want to step away from

Together in session we can explore the tense situation at hand, and also zoom out to see a broader picture of what might be causing the tension.

Common areas to explore to figure out what might be causing tension are exploring unhealed trauma, attachment styles, and what needs are being met and unmet for you and the other person involved. Whatever route(s) we take in this exploration, we acknowledge that neither you or the other person are an island or behaving this way in a vacuum- both of you are layered human beings with so many experiences that have shaped each of you, and now some of those aspects of each of you are clashing.

After painting this well rounded picture of what’s causing the tension, we can explore together whether or not this relationship is salvageable, or if it’s time to walk away. In either case, we can come up with the action steps you need to address this situation.

Therapy to address tension in relationships can help you…

  • Gain a deeper and more well rounded perspective as to why the tension exists

  • Understand your (and potentially the other person’s) unmet needs that are fueling the tension

  • Navigate this tension in a more empowered way

  • Create an action plan for repairing (or leaving) the relationship in question

You don’t have to figure out how to navigate this situation alone. Let’s figure out how to help you move forward.

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Frequently asked questions

What are attachment styles and why do they matter in resolving tension?

The lens of attachment styles is one way to explore the root of tension.

Some of you reading this may already be familiar with attachment styles, which are relational patterns that we learn from how our early caregivers interacted with us. The two broad categories of attachment styles are secure and insecure attachment, with secure attachment signifying that our caregivers met our physical and emotional needs which instilled a trust and gravitation towards healthy relationships within us. 
Insecure attachment on the other hand refers to a lack of trust in current relationships due to learning early on that the person (/people) that were supposed to meet our physical emotional needs didn’t come through. Another way to describe attachment styles is early programming that has taught us what to expect out of people in the future. Are people generally good and helpful? Are they generally scary and hard to relate to? Are people generally safe but just not that easy to connect to? Our attachment style holds our specific beliefs around these types of questions.
These attachment styles set a template for how we relate to people, and tension may come from insecurely attached people re-enacting their attachment styles in future relationships. An example of this is someone had an emotionally unavailable parent who was not a good communicator, they may be subconsciously attracted to that in their later romantic relationships since it’s familiar. But that lack of communication at the end of the day can lead to tension, as the insecurely attached person is still not getting their needs met. 

What’s a simple way to figure out what’s causing tension in my relationship?

One of the simplest ways is exploring our unmet needs.

When our needs aren’t met, our nervous systems can get pretty activated. I mean, we’ve all heard the term “hangry” right- anger or irritability that comes from being super hungry. That general idea can be applied to our mental health in a broad way. When our basic needs, safety needs, emotional needs, relational needs, professional needs and more are not being met, it can invite challenging emotions to come up. Together we can explore what needs are not being met in whatever relational dynamic is tense for you, and figure out if the relationship can be improved or if it’s time to walk away. 

Why does estrangement happen?

Estrangement is another common relational experience that can stem from attachment wounding that has not been able to resolve.

Particularly in parent/child dynamics, children are programmed to put their parents on a pedestal. From an attachment perspective, there is an expectation that parents will be able to meet the child’s needs and when parents can’t or don’t come through with meeting a need, it creates a wound. Many times, a child will grow to blame themselves for not getting the need met, believing subconsciously that they aren’t good enough. Estrangement can occur when the child (typically as a teen or adult), realizes that it wasn’t their fault that the need was not met, puts the responsibility back on the parents, and the parents still don’t come through.

While estrangement can seem on a surface level to have occurred because of a surface level issue (such as different religious views or political beliefs), it’s usually due to a deeper attachment wound that has been festering for a long time. Estrangement dynamics can show up in other types of relationships as well expectations of needs being met are not easily resolvable.