Tripping Yourself Up

Do you find yourself getting in your own way of finding ‘the one’? Read on to find out more and gain some insight on how to curb this.

For some people, being in a relationship can be a little difficult. This is especially if they are prone to relationship anxiety or are chronic worriers.

1Twenty80 spoke to Faith Foo, registered and licensed counsellor at Faith Foo Counseling, a centre for Individual, Couple & Marriage Counseling, to find out more about people who are prone to sabotaging their romantic relationships.


What are the signs that a person is getting in the way of their own romantic relationships without knowing?

Faith Foo: The signs include:

  • When the person panics and doesn’t feel emotionally safe with the partner
  • Deny longing to be emotionally close to their partner and focus instead on actions that give only some degree of expression
  • Experiences some degree of fear when there is a degree of disagreement with their partner
  • They wind up demanding rather than requesting
  • They do not feel confident in their relationships


Why would a person unconsciously sabotage their own romantic relationships?

Faith Foo: In a relationship, when we suddenly perceive a negative shift in our sense of connection to a loved one or when we sense threat or danger to the relationship, we experience what neuroscientist Jaak Panksepp of Washington State University calls “primal panic”.

When a person is under panic mode, they unconsciously either become demanding and clingy in an effort to draw comfort and reassurance from the partner or they withdraw and detach in an attempt to soothe and protect themselves.


What is the first step to take to address the relationship issue?

Faith Foo: In my own experience as a counsellor, I have noticed that Asian clients tend to seek help only at the eleventh hour. I can understand the difficulty they have had to overcome in order to take this step. Many clients come in because they have exhausted all their personal means of help.

Nevertheless, every couple is different and so when they choose to seek help it will depend on the nature of the issue they are facing. If they are worried about their relationship for whatever reason and feel they both are unable to reach a conclusion alone, it is likely that they will benefit from couples counselling.

My advice for couples is, do not wait until things get bad before trying couples counselling. Many couples use counselling sessions as a way to keep their relationship healthy and to address underlying concerns that may become conflict in the future. Similarly, receiving help early brings early relief.


What is a healthy romantic relationship?

Faith Foo: To me, a healthy relationship is when the couple feels safe to relate deeply to one another. They feel generally secure, which means, they are comfortable with closeness and confidently depending on one another. They are good at seeking support and better at giving it. They feel safe connecting to their partner, easily get over the hurt their partner unavoidably cause, and they are less likely to get angry or hostile when they get mad at them.


How can a person maintain a healthy relationship?

Faith Foo: First, increase positive connections and intimacy in the relationship and along with increasing one’s own self-awareness and understanding of the partner. Understand that intimacy in means closeness and connectedness and sharing each other’s vulnerabilities, not just sex.

Second, Do your part! Don’t just focus that your spouse is the source of the problems. Even if he/she plays a part to it, you have lot of control over what you can do to help in the relationship.

Third, a healthy relationship is teamwork. Keep the fun and friendship, make the relationship a safe haven. A healthy relationship is when each member does their part.

Fourth, be realistic about each other’s expectations.

Lastly, “make love and not war”. Seek ways to understand and accommodate each other.


What is your advice for a person who might be doubting their ability to maintain a healthy romantic relationship?

Faith Foo: I will tell the person there is no perfect ideal man or woman. There is no marriage made in heaven. Each one must invest love, respect and trust, in making the relationship work. Without this ‘investment’ there will be no harmonious relationship.

“We waste time looking for the perfect lover, instead of creating the perfect love.”-Tom Robbins

For couple counseling contact.

Published on February 24, 2017. Link 1Twenty80 Health Magazine

© Faith Foo,  [2017]. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Faith Foo and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.