sub page header

Relationship Problems

Definition of relationship problems:

  • Inability to have long term relationships
  • Difficulty feeling close to friends
  • Difficulty trusting people
  • Feeling inadequate in comparison to other people
  • Chronically lying when it would be easier to tell the truth
  • Fear of rejection or being left
  • Social anxiety

Origin of Relationship Problems

Very often relationship problems can be traced back to ways of relating in one’s own family. Sometimes parents did not model how to enjoy a conversation and how to handle differences or conflict. Often parents are too busy to take the time to talk and sometimes they themselves did not learn from their parents how to interact and socialize.  

In other more severe cases, one or both parents had an addiction problem,  worked excessively, had a mental illness or suffered chronic pain. A parent could also be co-dependent, meaning they themselves grew up with a parent that was addicted, abusive or mentally/emotionally ill. The focus is often on one person and there is often a crisis and much time spent alone. It is difficult to learn satisfying social skills in an environment that does not model these skills.

Relationships are not as much fun when you don’t feel skilled in relating. 

In therapy we will figure out what your unique resources are as well as what you specifically need in order to have more fun with people. Examples of what we’ll look for are:  how to stay engaged in conversations, how to handle disagreements, practice eye contact and how to set appropriate boundaries.

Adult Child of an Alcoholic (ACA)

If you grew up in a home with an alcoholic or drug addict, you may experience some of the following symptoms: you feel frightened by authority figures, you seek other's approval, you see yourself as a victim, you find it easier to consider what others want rather than what you want, or you judge yourself harshly. Research shows that “telling your story” and being able to make sense of your childhood can have a healing and therapeutic effect.  Understanding what happened and how it affected you is an important part of healing and recovery. Please also visit for more information.


Co-dependency is a learned behavior that interferes with the ability to have healthy relationships. Some co-dependent behaviors include doing for others what they should do for themselves, feeling overly responsible, having difficulty identifying feelings, being overly dependent on relationships, having an excessive need for approval, difficulty trusting oneself and others, needing to control others and fear of being alone.

Part of the recovery process for co-dependency is to grieve childhood traumas and losses and to understand the origins of the behaviors that cause problems. Another part of healing is to work with the therapist on a relational level. This means bringing up any negative or positive feelings towards the therapist and experiencing a response from the therapist that is different from the responses received within the family. Changing negative thoughts, increasing self-esteem and self-confidence, and for some, finding a spiritual practice are all important parts of recovery from co-dependency.




Michele Honeck, MFT, CHT Irving Street San Francisco, CA 94122 (Sunset District)

Nearby Districts: Richmond District (94118/94121), West Portal (94127), Haight/Ashbury/Cole Valley (94117), Ingleside (94112), St. Francis Wood (94127), Twin Peaks (94131), Lake Merced (94132) Nearby Towns: Sausalito (94965), Pacifica (94044), Daly City (94014) 2011 Michele Honeck