Life is a series of learning experiences and many of its lessons come in the form of human experiences. Most of us think that the relationships that are pleasurable are blessings in our lives. But every single person we come in contact with provides a unique opportunity for our inner self to either evolve or degenerate. Relationships, especially those driven by conflict push us outside our comfort zone. Often the principles taught by these encounters are ones that would be hard for us to grasp on our own…things like forgiveness, humility (not being defensive and really listening to someone else’s needs/ reality) and compassion.
So in the big picture even relationships that we would describe as “bad” can be good if we are willing to learn, be vulnerable yet also have boundaries that protect ourselves. If we are not strong in these areas, this relationship gives us an opportunity to work on these areas.
What happens in our intimate relationships when things aren’t working and we aren’t able to resolve issues/ problems. When one person voices their concerns, what happens when another reacts rather than responds…what is going on? Could one of our fears be activated? How do we take a step back and get compassionately curious about what is happening within ourselves? Sometimes there are deep wounds in this area. If this is activating childhood trauma, does distress equal shame in our relationships? We will often see that if we were over-corrected as children and didn’t talk about our feelings with a safe adult, we may not know what to do when we have hurt our partner. If your experience is that you hold your feelings in, how do we learn to face our partner’s disappointment and still believe we are worthy and loved. Are their addictions that keep us walled off from our partner as well as our own vulnerable feelings? What happens when one partner shuts down and doesn’t face the difficulties? The other partner feels alone/ abandoned…how does this person react or respond when they experiencing these feelings? Counselling can create a safe place to explore these issues and understand more about what each person needs.
What are a couple’s main fears?
- Fear of
- Making things worse
- Financial insecurity
- Losing your sex life
One thing to remember is what hurts is not so much not being understood by others in the context of our experiences, but rather in our desire and our attempts to reach the other and open up in a meaningful way. Needing to have the courage to express oneself to the other. We need to be able to create emotional safety for relationships to move forward in a healthier direction.