Relationship Busters – Relationship Builders
I want to share with you some key issues that I have discovered to be at the heart of many relationship difficulties. These are disrupters to the love and happiness we all seek in companionship. I have seen couples so hurt and mad at each other, seeing their partner as a mean monster and understandably, trying to hurt them in return or get out and away.
All this can so often be the result of constructs – beliefs, behaviors and habits that produce confusion, misunderstanding and harm. Once created, they become normalized and invisible to those in the dance. Like a toothache, the pain reveals the problem. AND THE PROBLEM IS NOT YOUR PARTNER! Nor are you bad and wrong. It’s the behavior.
When you can see that there is a problem, and are willing to honestly find the source and then practice new behaviors, you will create connection, synchrony, and harmony in your relationships. In a series of upcoming newsletters, I will talk about these relationship busters and their remedies, relationship builders.
Keep Your Finger Off the Trigger!
We are all walking wounded. I’m not calling you a zombie, exactly, but in our search for safety and love we have all been…. shall I say, surprised? Hurt, shocked, wounded. From these past experiences, we carry into the present automatic responses to anything that might put us in a position to be hurt again. These unconscious protective patterns disrupt an otherwise workable relationship.
A wound creates a hypersensitivity to any situation that might hurt you again. Your subconscious sets up a “trip lever,” an easily activated defensive response. The subconscious is powerful but not very smart. It can’t tell the difference between ”then” and ”now,” between your father and your boyfriend. Nor does it realize you are no longer 3, 6, or 18 but an adult with greater strength, wisdom, and skills – and therefore more effective options to deal with the situation – than you had when that earlier incident occurred. In fact, when this protective switch is ”triggered,” the consciousness and untrained reactions of that younger “you” come into play.
Imagine your 8-year-old self in a fight with your current spouse, or your 12-year-old self receiving criticism from your boss. When your mother says those same unloving things now that she said back when, you feel just as small and rejected though you are now loved and supported by others. You look all grown up, but when triggered, your scared child is arguing with your partner’s angry child. Not much gets worked out! Once either of you is upset you will react defensively and likely trigger the other person. Then your wounded self is attacking and defending itself from their wounded self. The person you love and respect has left the building. Sadly, this pretty much explains much of human history!
Solution? Stay off of each other’s triggers! Then the real you is present; your best and kindest present-day self can enjoy her real self.
How? First, you have to recognize triggers, yours and theirs. Be aware of their tender areas so you don’t hit them. Working together is best, but unilateral efforts can totally work as well.
First, watch the patterns of conflict that repeat themselves. As relationships mature, we find recurring issues that bring up anger and other emotions and result in arguments or distancing. Break down the steps in the cycle: there are times of relative peace, and then things go bad. What was said or done that got you or the other upset? You must specifically identify the things that trigger you.
Then, you must understand why that trigger is upsetting to you. What do those words or actions MEAN to you? What sensibility does it hurt? What does it take away; what do you need that you are not getting? The underlying reason will be something in the past that you needed, like love or safety, but did not get. All humans need these things and you still need them today. Underlying every triggered emotional reaction is a need that you are attempting–usually very unsuccessfully–to fulfill.
To see through the pattern, to the need, I recommend meditation. The Senses of the Soul Method combining Kundalini breath work and emotional mindfulness is a quick and accurate way to get to these personal truths. A therapist or similar assistance can also help you with this. It may become obvious where in your past this wound originated.
Underlying every trigger is a wound and within that is a deep, universal human need, like safety, security, support, respect, and love. This need is the wound’s remedy! Either one of you has the power to stop the cycle of exchanging pain. Ask them and experiment to find the many ways to give that need. Be patient and you’ll see them soften and eventually want to do the same for you.
From the soul’s view, this is why we come together; to heal each other. It’s normal that we have conflict in order to drive the pain to the surface. Don’t stop there. Get to the giving and healing so you can live in peace and harmony. Takes work; WORTH IT!
Summary: Stay off the trigger. Give them what they need. (And get the same in return).