Saturday, May 23, 2009

What behaviors create challenges in an intimate relationship and how can we change them? I wish someone could tell me what to avoid next time?

As you know, intimate relationships, though complicated, are our opportunity to know ourselves and grow emotionally and spiritually. Through the insights we gain in our relationships we leave behind childhood patterns and we become adults.
Some essential unconscious behaviors that create challenges in an intimate relationship:

• Denying, repressing or not appropriately expressing feelings. This pattern is associated with past emotional wounds.
• Not taking responsibility for our true needs and not taking action to fulfill them. This creates expectations that our ‘happiness’ depends on the other person.
• Projecting our denied parts on the other and then holding that person a prisoner of our projections.
• Not being present. Reliving the past or anticipating the future.

Below are the solutions I propose. Of course, these steps take time, as the y form an entire journey to finding wholeness and inner peace.

1. List your expectations of the other, such as “He should do/be________in order for me to be happy/whole/in control. “ These expectations point to neglected needs that you project on the other, creating expectations.

2. Embrace and take responsibility for your projections, then turn them around. “He should understand me” becomes “ I understand him/myself”. “He should show acceptance” becomes “I accept him/myself.”

3. Allow unaccepted feelings to emerge—anger, hurt, shame, envy. Feel them, own them, embrace them and confess them to someone you trust. Usually they are associated with parts about yourself/your past you haven’t accepted. Embrace them. Don’t act on the feelings.

4. Stay in the present—embrace the present. Free your mind from the past and the future.

5. Once you accept the rejected, repressed parts of yourself, you will see clearly who the other is in the relationship. Withdrawing your projections by accepting all there is to accept in yourself and staying present in the now will allow you to love the other without expectations. This frees the other to relax and be their true self in the relationship. This keeps the flow of a relationship alive. If, after withdrawing your projections, you realize that you can’t love the other and be in a relationship with them, you can choose to leave.

Remember, a challenging relationship is a situation. To address it, you must first accept it as is, and they change it, or leave it. The key here is that, in order to change a relationship you don’t change the other person. You change how you relate to them.

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