Every fight follows the same path, or every friendship ends the same way, or one romantic partner blends into the next because they’re all so similar: all signs that unhealthy patterns control one’s life. As a therapist, much of what I do is unearth patterns. Why? Because patterns point the way to the real issue: emotional wounds keep us stuck in the past.
Tether points are like invisible strings that tie us to the past and keep us from functioning fully in the present. To stop having the same fight with our spouse, or losing friends the same way, or dating the same kind of toxic person, we must discover where our tethers are attached. Then, we must cut ourselves free. To do this, we have to make conscious what is unconscious.
Tether points originate with experiences that were hurtful and damaging to one’s sense of self. We experience many of these emotional injuries, both large and small, over our lifetime. Each one becomes a marker on the “map” we make of the world and affects how we navigate life. Sometimes these wounds help us build resilience, but often they weaken and limit us.
To help illustrate tether points, I’d like to tell you about a person whom I’ll call Christina…