Anne Nelson On Her Approach To Coaching and Recognizing Emotionally Abusive Relationships

Amar Singh Rathore


Our audience loves to read stories of entrepreneurs creating a difference in the world. Tell us about yourself and your area of expertise.

I’m convinced that we all grow up with an idealized view of what the future will hold and yet the one thing we all have in common is that things don’t turn out quite as planned. I help people navigate bouncing back to a better life in those situations. The world that I envision for my future didn’t turn out quite as planned either. I’ve been fortunate to be able to weather the storms pretty well and bounce back to be stronger than ever before. So, when I work with people, I have a better understanding of where they’re coming from, whether it’s a relationship issue, a loss, or something else entirely. I love coming alongside others to see them achieve all they were created for.

When did you decide to become a relationship coach? What was your inspiration?

I’ve always been fascinated with what makes people tick. As I built relationships over the years I’ve learned a lot about how different we all are. Some of the setbacks I experienced in my relationships were my biggest teachers and I was blessed to be able to grow from those lessons and create even stronger relationships. So working with couples and relationships just kind of evolved out of my experience and my ability to help.

How would you describe your approach to coaching?

My approach is very holistic. Because every human being is uniquely designed and has a unique purpose, I believe it’s very important to take a look at the whole person as we navigate forward. Anything a person wants to improve or change, including relationships, is not just about how they relate to others, it very much pertains to how they show up in the world. My approach is also very collaborative. The growth has to be prioritized in a way that the client feels empowered to step into the person they were meant to be.

What are the signs of emotional abuse in a relationship? How do you help people going from it?

I think sometimes the word abuse can be distracting. Some people like to throw the word around very freely and others are afraid to acknowledge it. We all have unhealthy habits that we have developed in life and relationships. Frequently, our different mechanisms come from the way that we thought we had to protect ourselves while growing up, no matter how great our parents were. For instance, people often give their partner the silent treatment or blame shift or even pretend something happened that didn’t. The real question is when confronted with their shortcomings how quick are they to own them and make a decision to change?

It sounds so simple and to some degree it is, but people are complex. It’s not unusual for someone to blame themselves for somebody else’s destructive behavior. It’s also not uncommon for a person who is acting in an emotionally destructive way to blame others. I mean think about it. Have you ever overreacted and if so, have you been tempted to not take responsibility, not completely anyway? Of course, you have, you’re human! The real problem arises when these behaviors are habitual patterns in your relationship. Often an emotionally abusive person will deny that what they said was hurtful or even deny that they said it in the first place. Other times, they apologize regularly without changing their words or actions. One sure sign that it’s getting to the point of emotionally destructive or abusive is that the behavior never improves, or at least improvements don’t stick. Eventually, it just repeats itself over and over again.

If you’re in a relationship and you’re trying to discover whether there is an emotional abuse component, you should begin to ask yourself how you feel when you’re with that person. Someone stuck in an emotionally abusive relationship tends to feel on edge when with that person. They may feel like they just really want to please the other person and they are almost anxious to do so. Sometimes an “irrational” fear might arise, but the truth is, it’s not irrational. It’s the sub-conscience telling you something isn’t quite right. You should take notice if your body is getting warm, you start to get a headache or suddenly you feel like you can’t sit still. These may be signs that stress and fear are kicking in.

Let me be clear, I’m not saying the other person in your relationship is emotionally destructive or abusive if you feel these things. What I am saying is it’s time to start asking yourself some hard questions if you feel this way. Examine where these emotions are coming from. If you can’t quite figure out why you feel the way you do, it’s time to get a coach or counselor to help you sort it out.

What is the biggest challenge you helped one of your clients through?

Oh, that’s a tough one. I’ve helped couples who have separated live together again. I have helped grieving parents manage the relationships with their grieving children. I’ve helped people with depression gain motivation. Each situation is so powerful! Truly the size of the challenge is relative to each person. For instance, I helped a couple gain clarity and understand each other better. This understanding helped one partner stop holding a grudge against the other. She went from fearful and bitter to trusting and peaceful in the relationship and she stopped doubting her husband’s concern for her. Bitterness is a huge challenge and is often an impetus to a separation, divorce or loss. So while from the outside it might not seem like the biggest challenge, it is just as important! Again everyone is so valuable unique and beautiful and their challenge is huge to them whether it looks huge to everyone else or not.

What skills or experience have you gained outside of coaching that you integrate with your practice?

I’ve always been very intuitive, noticing how other people are doing and feeling. I can’t say this is an acquired skill, I think it’s simply the way that I am wired. Additionally, I am a certified neurofeedback trainer and positive psychology practitioner. All of this plays into my holistic approach to coaching. I deal with the whole person mentally, emotionally and physically.

What is the most rewarding part of being a relationship coach?

The most rewarding part is watching the reconciliation unfold. It begins with the “aha” moments when each party begins to understand how they are affecting the other. They begin to accept themselves and each other on a deeper level. This deep understanding ends with a beautiful reconciliation and love affirmed.

What do should one expect to transpire from each coaching session?

Each coaching session has its agenda and it fits within the agenda of the overarching theme of the coaching objectives that are tailored to each client. So, it is hard to say what is expected, because rather than using one specific process with every client, I will dive into my clients’ world and figure out the best unique process for them. I guess you could say the main expectations are encouragement, growth, and change.

How do you wish to take your coaching journey ahead? What are your goals for the year?

I think it’s time for me to launch a group coaching program in full force. There are not enough hours in the day for me to help everyone that I want to help. Therefore, a group coaching program would allow me to provide more support to more clients. Not only this, but I also think that there’s power in numbers and the support that happens in a community can be profoundly impactful. Additionally, I am running a virtual interview series on marriage this month, called Marriage Mastery: Transforming Conflict into Connection and Avoidance into Intimacy. It’s been such a pleasure that I plan to continue to run more virtual summits this year.

Connect with Anne Nelson, CAPP, ACC at her website or on Instagram and Facebook



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