The Foundation of Our Relationships
You would think that relationships were all about sharing love and having amazing moments together, well, yes, that is true but to Spiritual Psychology, a relationship entails each partner healing old wounds that have been suppressed in the subconsciousness. This baggage, if not given an outlet can wreak havoc.
Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never harm me is simply a fantasy. Words do harm us and if we try to “forgive and forget” it leads to depression, anxiety, and angry outbursts. Here lays the foundation of our relationships – dealing with our own wounds so we don’t inflict our woundedness on others.
Our wounds are lying down deep within each of us. Traumatic experiences from our past, which may not meet the definition, but to us at that time they were difficult to handle, just don’t vanish into thin air. When we experience things in life, they get imprinted into our brains. Sigmund Freud believed that under stress, the mind would regress, or revert our wounded memories and suddenly you remember the situation and it usually isn’t very pleasant. Now, it isn’t only stress that causes regression, Spiritual Psychology is proving that in the face of unconditional love, this same regression process takes place. This is why many people in relationships blame the other person for “making them feel bad.” Nope, this is far from the truth, the real truth is, that your mind has simply let go of its shield and is trying to allow a release of what has been suppressed. This isn’t something bad. In fact, we feel this is a good thing because when you have the tools to process through your old wounds, you heal and grow at the level of the soul.
In the book, “Conscious Relationships,” Dr’s. Gay and Kathleen Hendricks write about using relationships as a healing journey. They understood that each partner brings all their past baggage with them into the relationship. Perhaps it is a situation, a word, a tone, or something else that triggers a memory from the past and starts the regression process. Not in our adult mind, we regress to the emotional age of a child at times, and as a child would. This is when we act like fools and say things we regret. Then what?
When difficulties happen in your relationship, what do you do? Do you blame the other person? Do you act like a bully? Do you give the silent treatment? Do you run and hide? Many people will turn to substances to calm themselves down. A conscious relationship has two people freely talking about what was triggering them, trying to find the root of their unfinished business, and supporting each other in the process.
“Healing? Is this all you therapists think about?” Well yes. Relationships create the perfect environment to process through your subconscious wounds from the past. Alone, there is little triggering taking place. People get to do what they want to do when they want to do it and there isn’t the consideration of another person in their personal space. In the presence of another person, it is normal to get irritated and judgmental. For me, at first, it was anxiety. I was confused about how to please my partner and was afraid they were going to leave me because of the abandonment I felt when I was growing up. If you find yourself easily triggered by the actions of your partner, you have an issue inside of you that needs to be addressed.
Let’s be honest. The reactions you are having in your relationships are not new. You’ve probably felt the same upset hundreds of times before in your life. Consciously riding a feeling back in time to the core wound is where the healing work begins. Once you have arrived at the core wound, Spiritual Psychology encourages people to apply love to the younger part inside of them that went through the experience. This tending to this core wound will heal out all similar wounds. This type of work can be considered the hero’s journey because there is a fair amount of hurt that goes along with it. Well, at least it was that way for me. Learning to hold tight to the younger self with all the love you can muster will help you get through this. At first, it was a slow process for me and then I would zip through it after mastering the process. As a former addict, this process became my new high! Yep, deep personal work can often lead to euphoria.
We have been trained by society to care for other people first, then if we have the time, nurture ourselves. When nurturing ourselves it can often feel so wrong. Yep. This is because we were taught backwards. How can we care for others when we are not caring for ourselves? We can’t give away what we don’t have. So the first priority in having a successful relationship with another person is having one with you. Oh, you may delude yourself into believing that you know how to care for somebody else, but are you 100% sure? To be honest we can’t – we are not them. Our actions go through their filter and they decide if something is good or bad. This same dynamic takes place within ourselves. The only person you have 100% confidence in helping is… you. Take care of yourself first, and after doing so you have more juice to assist others. You will definitely have more love inside of you when you do.
When two people make a commitment to each other, they both have the opportunity to do this healing work. If you choose not to work on yourself, your relationships will suffer. Is it their job to make you feel better? Do they know how? When you are upset, the only person that can get inside of you – is you. If you don’t process through your upsets, they will continue to appear over and over again. Such is life. Spiritual Psychology believes that these same problems or “repeating issues” are by divine decree. Basically, the same issue will appear over and over again until we finally process through it. How long do you want to deal with the same issues? And if you don’t deal with it in this lifetime, how many lifetimes do you want to face the same old problem?
Let’s be honest – Do you judge your partner? Do you realize that when you point your finger at someone, three fingers are pointing back at you? We say – “If you spot it, you got it.” How would you know that they are being rude unless on some level you are rude too? This is why working on oneself is important. We bring all of ourselves into a relationship. How would you rate how you were with yourself? How you are with others? Are you happy with that rating?
Yes, we see a lot of couples at Basic Steps Mental Health and the typical problem is when one person claims the other person isn’t involved enough. “He just doesn’t communicate, or care, or show me any interest.” In seeing the “Projections” – or the three fingers pointing back to them, they would realize they were doing this too. Simply put, if you feel your partner doesn’t care, you don’t care. The solution is to show them care. If there is no love, show love. If there is no involvement, get involved. You get the point.
Many people make assumptions. “I know what he is thinking. He is judging me because I haven’t found a job yet.” Flip the word he into “I”, or we say “take ownership.” Then what you are really saying is, “I know what I am thinking. I am judging me because I haven’t found a job yet.” Isn’t that the real truth? At this point, you can judge yourself and become paralyzed, or break the problem down into incremental baby steps and start stepping. In job seeking, for example, focus at first on the resume, and get that dialed in perfectly. Next, research the companies you would like to contact (at minimum 20), then make a handful of calls each day, go on interviews, next refine the process. Normally you will get 19 no’s to one yes. Know that each “no” brings you closer to the “yes”.
The problem we humans have is with our EGO. Our EGO is the center of our personality that tries to keep us from despair. Our EGO is very fragile and finds it hard to take criticism. We have learned to defend our EGO by using – what Freud referred to as EGO Defenses. To name a few are denial, rationalization, and as stated before – projections. In reminding ourselves of our wonderful qualities – which is what affirmation work is essential for – we can bolster our EGO and are better able to handle defeat.
Mother Theresa said, “If you judge people, you don’t have time to love them.” I felt it was important to include this in the text because our judgments again, are us judging us. On the flip side, our loving them is loving us too.
Another problem we see in relationships is one partner being jealous. In their mind, their partner is cheating on them and is going to run off and leave. We work with people to see their wonderful qualities and help them realize that they are an incredible person and why would anybody want to leave them because they are so awesome?
The emotional bank account is a good reference for couples. Ask yourself, in doing this thing, am I making a deposit or making a withdrawal?
A common problem with relationships is partners bonding in drama. Many believe that their partner is there to hear them vent. Do you like hearing people vent about their bad days? Caroline Myss wrote about “Woundology” in which people bond in their woundedness. “Oh, you can’t believe how my Marvin treated me today.” “Oh yeah, well my Henry started drinking again and acted the fool.” What about bonding in love, joy, and happiness? Is it important to share your shitty day with your partner? If so, ask permission first. Don’t be surprised if they tell you no. If you have had a bad day, go for a walk and exercise to release it. Or, write it out and then rip it up. There are dozens of tools you can use to get things off your chest. Remember, your partner is there to share love with you, not be your negativity receptacle.
When was the last time you told your partner you appreciated their efforts? When was the last time you told your partner you loved them? And why? The “I love you honey” can seem like a handshake. When you say, I love you because… this goes deeper into intimacy.
“Sweetheart. I love you because you are dependable, honest, easily speak your mind, sexy, and you inspire me to be better.” I think this is more meaningful than a simple high-five statement.
What can you do if you have a problem in your relationship? The first step is getting pen to paper. Write out your problem in the form of a letter to your partner. You are not to give it to them, therefore write out everything that has been bothering you and then rip it up. Once the steam is out, then talk about your insights with them. That is, if they are open to talking to you. Sometimes, people don’t want to talk about issues and if that is the case, ask to go for a walk or a drive together. Side-to-side communication can be less threatening and words can naturally flow better this way.
Relationships can take so many forms. Today we are seeing the rise in multiple partner relationships and the LBGQT+ movement. If this is the case then it is important for all partners to agree to the terms of the relationship. When people don’t want to get approval for any type of relationship and cheat on their partner, these are subversive relationships. “Let me do what I want to do because you will not agree and I want things my way.” Well, in relationships, sometimes it doesn’t always go the way we want it to, and that is okay. Relationships go the way they need to go for our learning and growth.
Compassionate Care is Always Available
There are many more tools and strategies you can use in your pursuit of happiness. Here is where we come in. Contact us at Basic Steps Mental Health and let us support and educate you on this journey back to your loving heart center. Imagine living a heart-centered life, regardless of what is happening externally. We’d love to be of help.
For 25 years, Dr. Scott Alpert, the clinical director of Basic Steps Mental Health, has treated over 7,000 people with mental health and addiction problems, using a Psychological approach that mixes and matches ten of the top approaches used in the industry. We are here virtually and in-person to help you get through this COVID-19 pandemic and many other difficulties you may be experiencing.
May you have good mental health.