Under the Surface

One of the most fascinating things about humans and human behavior, is that we consciously or unconsciously cover things up or make things appear different then what they really are. We do this for several reasons, but often it is to protect ourselfs from some conceived threat (psychoanalyst would say to protect ourselves from something that threatens the ego)… this is often better called fear, anxiety, anger or depression. Often it is easier to deal with what’s on the surface, than what’s underneath the surface in an effort to avoid those feelings, but what is underneath the surface is the real issue and what really needs to be discussed. I’ll give you a quick example.

Suppose that you and your mate are constantly arguing over how he/she manages the household bills. You don’t like the way they decides how income brought into the house is and isn’t spent. You guys are constantly arguing over the bills, getting upset with each other and nothing ever changes. Maybe your mate doesn’t even understand why you are getting so upset and perhaps, you don’t either. Well perhaps it is because the household bills is the surface problem, the safe problem to argue about, but what’s underneath that, if you look deeper, is the real problem, what really needs to be addressed and changed in order for things to change and get better in the realtionship. Perhaps the real problem is that your spouse paying the bills, controlling the way income that comes in and out of the house is spent is making you feel controlled, unappreciated, like a child… the list of possiblities are endless, but the truth and the root of the problem is there if you look under the surface and I promise you, that if you do this, you will stop arguing or worrying about petty things and tackle the tough truth and meat of the problem which, although may be harder to look at and deal with, will make you a much healthier and happier person once it is dealt with.

So stop arguing over the way your spouse is driving if the truth really is you just don’t want to go their family reunion, your sisters wedding across country or to the football game when you’d rather stay home. Stop arguing over the way your wife doesn’t cook if the real issue is you wish she were more attentive to your needs. Examples are endless, but give looking under the surface a try and see if it won’t help you to become less angry, depressed and anxious and at the same time give you greater insight into yourself and your relationships.