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Monday, November 26, 2012

Relationships and Communication: Do You Expect Your Spouse to be a "Mind Reader"?

As a psychotherapist in NYC, I see many individuals and couples who come to therapy because of problems in their relationships.  One of the most common relationship issues is that one or both spouses or partners expects the other to be a "mind reader," knowing and anticipating emotional reactions, wishes and fears.  This is often one of the major problems in the relationship because there is a lack of communication as well as anger, resentment and frustration.

Do You Expect Your Spouse to be a "Mind Reader"?

Of course, no one ever comes in saying, "I expect my husband to be a mind reader."  Instead, someone might say, "I didn't tell him because he should have known that I felt that way."  Often, this includes subjects that the couple have never discussed before and the other spouse would have no way of knowing without being told.

I can certainly understand a fantasy to have a loved one anticipate your every wish.  But as delightful a fantasy as that it, it's just that--a fantasy.  It's much more useful to learn to communicate your thoughts and feelings to your spouse rather than expecting him or her to "just know," somehow, magically.

Do You Expect Your Spouse to be a "Mind Reader"?

Often, when this is the problem in a relationship, one or both people have problems asking for what they want.  Sometimes, this happens because they were shamed as children for having wants or needs.  As adults, they feel ashamed to ask for what they need so, instead, they blame their spouse or partner for not knowing, when, in fact, it's their problem because they don't feel entitled to have what they need or want.  But pointing the finger at a spouse isn't going to change this problem.  Owning it and working it out in therapy is much more useful than continuing to hope that a spouse or partner will intuit what you want.

Getting Help in Couples Counseling
If you and your spouse are having this problem, you're not alone.  Many couples have successfully worked out this issue in couples counseling and enhanced their relationship.

About Me
I am a licensed NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist, EMDR and Somatic Experiencing therapist.  I work with individual adults and couples, and I have helped many people to communicate in their relationships.

To find out more about me, visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set up a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me.

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