281-812-7529
A group of independent counselors serving Kingwood and Houston
Specializing in Gottman MethodTM Couples and Marriage Counseling

Archive for 2017

Hurricane Harvey . . . . and stress in your love relationship

Wednesday, September 20th, 2017

Yesterday I read about a journalist interested in interviewing couples who had to postpone their wedding due to Harvey. I found this interesting because my counseling specialty is relationships and I know that this natural disaster has the power to impact couples in either a positive or negative way. John Gottman, renowned relationship researcher, says that how couples look back on earlier difficulties in their relationship is predictive of how it will turn out. Some couples “glorify the struggle”, meaning that they drew strength from the adversity they weathered together. They made it a “we” problem and worked through obstacles together. Other couples get dragged down by the difficult times and fall into disillusionment. They look at it as a “me” problem and build resentment and walls in their relationship. Ten years ago, my husband and I experienced our own storm when I had a health crisis. My health was initially very compromised and then it turned into a chronic problem that I have to manage daily. While not every day has been unicorns and rainbows in our marriage, we did get stronger over time because of the difficulty we faced together. Through that experience I knew that I could trust my husband to be there for me in big and little ways, and we deepened our commitment to one another. People notice and ask what the secret to our marriage is and I jokingly say it was my near-death experience. It’s not that the trauma we experienced gave us the tools to improve our marriage, but rather it gave us the desire to work on it. Commitment is a verb and it means working on your relationship daily, and like all couples, we still had to work on how we dealt with emotion and conflict. If your home flooded, you and your partner are likely to have some emotion and conflict to manage. If you are having trouble leaning into one another so that one day you will be able to “glorify the struggle”, I encourage you to get help sooner rather than later. Sadly, most couples wait an average of six years from the onset of trouble before they seek counseling, and by then some serious damage could occur. We know that emotions related to the flood are high now due to Acute Stress. Sometimes couples struggle with emotions because one is needing a lot of emotional expression and support and the other doesn’t have a comfort level in dealing with emotion. We call this a meta-emotion mismatch and it is one of the most common problems we see in couples. Some people may be having trouble coping with the stress of losing everything and they may be turning towards addictive substances or behaviors to numb their feelings, and that surely can negatively impact their relationship. Couples could also be arguing a lot about flood related things, like money or “what do we do now?”. How people argue matters. Some may not like or understand the way their partner deals with conflict, or they may be letting harsh criticism and defensiveness hijack any meaningful problem-solving discussions. Again, not every day will be unicorns and rainbows for even the best of marriages, but if the bad days are starting to outnumber the good days, please don’t wait to address it. Please visit our website for our ever-expanding list of resources for people impacted by the flood.

Hurricane Harvey . . . My Emotional Meltdown

Wednesday, September 6th, 2017

Anyone affected directly or indirectly by Hurricane Harvey is going to experience many shifting emotions, and each day will be a little different. Yesterday was the first day I had a meltdown.

The first several days after our town was flooded, I was filled with an adrenaline rush.  Our mission was to get people to safety, get them fed and in dry clothes. There was no time for tears. Every time I felt tears forming or a lump in my throat, I would quickly turn it off and get back to work.

Once safety needs were met, we moved into cleanup mode, diving into shit, literally. People in the community came together to rip out waterlogged sheetrock and house contents that have been bathing in contaminated flood water for days.  It’s a smell I will never forget.  Again, we had to push emotions aside to get the job done.

But yesterday was different.  It was time to go back to my real job. I stepped away from the energy of dealing with the flood and was forced to put my mind elsewhere. When I got home I checked Facebook, which by the way, has been my lifeline for getting information.  It was there I  saw the news that Kingwood High School (KHS), which was destroyed by flood waters, was moving its operation to Summer Creek High School so students could get back to school.  

People’s comments reflected a shift in where they were in the grief process. The adrenaline is subsiding, as is the disbelief in what we are dealing with. People were trying to “bargain” and throw out ideas of how to keep kids in KHS, as if school administrators had not considered every viable option. There was anger. Anger at how their kids would be displaced, how their education might be compromised, and how life would be hard, very very hard.

And then I watched the video about how the flood destroyed the high school.  It was that frigging video that sent me over the edge.

My son is a senior and goes to Kingwood Park High School, but he was slated to go to KHS and we transferred before freshman year. We know the kids and families at KHS and my heart just broke as I watched in horror at the devastation. I sobbed and sobbed. All of the tears I held back all week came flowing out.

There’s no more denying that what is happening is real, and it ain’t pretty. The reality we are facing is worthy of a big, fat meltdown. I think it is perfectly normal to let yourself fall apart a little right now. Let it out. Feel it to the depth of your core. Denying your grief only delays it. There is no getting around it, no matter how strong you think you are. We are moving through grief for our losses, and each day, possibly each hour will be a different emotion.


Couples Counseling and Psychotherapy Associates provides service to Kingwood, Humble, Atascocita, Porter, Fall Creek, Summerwood, North Houston and surrounding areas.

Couples Counseling & Psychotherapy Associates

2330 Timber Shadows Drive
Suite 106
Kingwood, Texas 77339
Ph: 281-812-7529

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