Danielle's contributions to the knowledge base of psychotherapy and counseling have been published and featured in newspapers, websites, and seminars.
One of Danielle's articles is offered below. They change frequently, so check back often. Sierra Sun and Psych Central also regularly feature her mental health articles. (Search 'Danielle Klotzkin' and 'Danielle Grossman').
Relationships: It’s a Package Deal
There is a scene in the movie Father of the Bride in which Steve Martin begins tearing open a package of twelve hot dog buns in the grocery store because he ONLY NEEDS EIGHT. Why should he have to buy twelve?
Many of us can relate to that feeling – we want a part of the package, but not the whole deal.
Like in our relationships – we love the fun and spontaneity of our partner, but we feel exhausted by their constant need to be social. We depend on their consistency, but we feel upset about their need for control. We are attracted to their relaxed, easy-going style, but cannot stand their disorganization. We appreciate their caring and sensitive nature, but the fussiness and moodiness drives us bonkers. We are fascinated by their creativity, but endlessly frustrated by their inability to finish projects by a certain time. We depend on the rational clear-headedness, but crave some deeper emotionality.
It seems obvious, but it is easy to forget – we humans come as a package deal.
Usually, we don’t want to accept our partner ‘as is’. We don’t want to give up on the hope for change and improvement. And we often believe (consciously or unconsciously) that judging or threatening or ‘guilting’ our partner, or making the situation about how much they care about us, is the way to make them change…
“Why are you upset NOW? Grow up and stop acting like a baby.” “I can’t believe you would do this to me – I asked you ten times to finish fixing the sink by this weekend.” “What is wrong with you? Is it really that hard to organize your office?” “I just don’t want to be with someone who is so un-romantic.”
I suppose those tactics do work sometimes. But generally the changes that occur are very short-lived, and the behaviors simply resurface later, more intensely than ever. Because we have tried to motivate our partner to change by making them feel bad about themselves, they have probably tried to just discard or hide parts of their true package. They still have not dealt with themselves honestly and directly. Instead of real change and growth, we get stuck in a cycle of false hopes, threats, and disappointment.
When you accept that all the parts of a person are interconnected, you give up the fantasy that your partner will be able to suddenly become different. With that understanding, you might decide that this package is not for you. Your partner also might decide he or she doesn’t want your package deal.
Or, you might decide that you can accept your partner as a whole deal. And your partner might decide to accept the whole deal, too. You still communicate with each other about your needs and perspectives, but you are realistic about your expectations of change, and you stop trying to force change through fear and guilt and judgment.
At that point, amazingly, things often do start to change and improve. Since both you and your partner feel seen and accepted AS IS, defensiveness dissolves. You feel a sense of space and freedom to compromise and a true inner motivation to grow and make choices for the sake of the relationship. And since the two of you are honest about all the ‘ingredients’ you bring to the table, even if you didn’t want four extra buns, endless possibilities open up for creatively working with what you’ve got.
Danielle B. (Klotzkin) Grossman, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, provides psychotherapy for California clients who are looking for a way to move forward through relationship issues, problems with alcohol, drugs, or managing money, eating and body issues, trauma, grief and loss, depression, bipolar disorder, and anxiety. She consults by phone for mental health professionals nationally. Contact her at (530) 470-2233 or www.truckeecounseling.com.
Danielle B. Grossman, MFT
California Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist #42516
Psychotherapy services in a comfortable, private practice setting. Located in Truckee, California. Phone sessions available.