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Depression As A Result Of Conflicts In Relationships

Relationships… they can look very different depending on which one you’re in and what type of person the other person is. The relationship you have with your father won’t look the same as the one you have with your co-worker and vice-versa. This is in most part due to the type of role each individual has in the relationship and the transaction between the individuals. This is where most of animosity and conflict arises within a relationship and is the reason why relationships can cause depression and anxiety to arise in the individuals in them.

The following is a basic explanation of Transaction Analysis, a theoretical framework used within therapy and counselling. TA suggests that we shift between three distinct ego states; parent, adult and child. The parent state is a state in which your actions resemble those of your parents or other authority figures and disciplinarians in your past. As a child, we learn to discipline and raise others by seeing how our parents and teachers raise us. In the adult state our thoughts are based on what is happening in the current moment. They are also more realistic and objective than our thoughts in the other two states. The child state is a state in which you think and feel as you did when you were a child. An example of an emotion closely associated to the child state would be jealousy.

Before I go on to discuss how these different states relate to each other and how they can cause depression and anxiety in people in certain relationships, I want to let you know that I will be writing an article about how the way our parents raised us can affect who we are as adults in the coming week. So if you’re interested and want to stay updated, subscribe to our newsletter.

Transaction Analysis suggests that we move between these ego states all the time and that they change according to who we are with. If we go out with our friends without letting our partner know that we’ll be home late, we will most likely be scolded for it. In this scenario, our partner will have moved into the parent state in order to discipline us and we would have, most likely, moved in to the child state where we feel shame for what we did and apologize for it. Another scenario would be if your partner has been badly treated by a friend of his or hers. In this case, you will have moved into the parent state to console your partner and your partner would have moved into the child state in order to receive your sympathy. 

conflict depression

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Cross Culture Therapy offers 1-on-1 online therapy sessions to people suffering from depression, phobia, anxiety as well as to people who suffer from displacement issues associated with a globally nomadic lifestyle (i.e.Third Culture Kids – people who have grown up in a culture different to their parent’s passport culture – and Cross Culture Kids) Our sessions are conducted via Skype for a duration of 50-minutes and can be purchased in packs of 1-session, 3-sessions or 5-sessions. If you are interested in purchasing a session, click on the Book A Session tab on our menu or click here.

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By having one person in the parent state and one in the child state, the relationship correlates and can work indefinitely. This does however depend on whether or not the people involved want to be in their respective states. An example of this would be the relationship between adult siblings. One may want to be in the parent state and may try to assert his or her authority over the other person. But the person who is being disciplined may dislike being pushed into the child state and intentionally move into the parent state, leaving us with a relationship where both parties are trying to discipline and be authoritative towards each other. These relationships typically do not work and end by one person giving in and subverting to the child state, or in the relationship dissolving all together.

The key to a successful relationship is being able to stay in the adult state. Transaction Analysis Therapy aims to teach the patient how to stay in the adult state by looking at how he or she acted in events in their past and by role-playing future events. If you are suffering from depression as a result of a bad relationship and want help, feel free to book one of our life-coaching sessions. We offer one on one video phone coaching sessions that you can take from the comfort of your own home at a time of your choosing.

A lot of what causes people to suffer from depression as a result of their marriage or their relationships at work or with their family, is being in an uneven dynamic for a prolonged period of time. In couples, one person might grow resentful because they are forced into the parent state too often, as much as another person might become depressed from being forced into the child state too often. It is being in these states for a prolonged period of time and not being able to successfully move into the adult state, which causes a lot of people in marriages and friendships to suffer from depression.

Philip Andersson

Life Coach

Cross Culture Therapy


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Philip Andersson – Life Coach

Philip Andersson is a life-coach who is currently studying to become a psychotherapist. He treats people suffering from depression, phobias and anxiety. Having been raised in Hong Kong and having lived in England and Japan as an adult, Philip also treats people who are overcome with feelings of displacement and rudderlessness associated with a global-nomad lifestyle such as Third Culture Kids, Cross Culture Kids, Migrants and Asylum Seekers.

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