I once heard a psychologist giving a lecture say something like, “without relationships no growth is possible.” Of course, having met saints who spent years in isolation seeking and achieving enlightenment, this sounded a bit too conventional for me. I myself chose to disconnect from the world for 3 years in an attempt to understand the meaning of my life, and I can honestly say that it allowed me to make quantum leaps in terms of both personal and spiritual growth.
I know, however, that relationships have a purpose and can definitely help us stretch beyond the confines of our limiting comfort zone, but not necessarily the way we expect or want them to. Relationships mirror aspects of yourself that you either need to look at and recognize or develop to feel more connected and empowered. So more often than not, they point in the direction of what needs attention: emotional wounds, broken dreams, unfulfilled desires, and so on.
Our dysfunctional world promotes codependency and is continuously bombarding you with the romanticized idea that relationships are one of the main goals in life. Hey, I’m not saying that relationships aren’t important, but I know from experience that if you don’t know who you are and what you want as an individual, the types of relationships you’ll likely establish will reflect the wounded, unsupportive dynamic between your sense of self and your sense of otherness.
What this means is that if you don’t center and empower yourself with self-love first, chances are you’ll attract and feel attracted to someone who doesn’t either, even if your mind makes you believe they do. The dynamic between two wounded souls usually turns into an unspoken power struggle where neither is willing to feel vulnerable to love openly and grow together; one partner remains at the top, in the sense that their needs are always more important than the other partner’s.
The world at large has yet to experience relationships in creative cooperation and unconditional love, which is really the type of relationship you are here to create for the New Humanity—through your own transformation. This can happen when you accept and nurture all of who you are without rejecting any painful aspects. Your love will heal you and then overflow toward others once you stop excluding yourself in this equation by remaining wounded and codependent—that is, by trying to heal through others.
if you’re not happy with your relationships, here are a few examples of common dynamics that will hopefully help you gain some insight into your motivations, so you can start shifting gears. These may overlap, since you are complex and the people you are attracted to or in relationship with may reflect different unconscious needs at different times.
Unconscious Motivations Behind Your Partner Choice
1. The Teenager (irresponsible, rebellious) → the Mothering ‘Fixer’: I seek perfection and find flaws in myself and others; I am angry that the world is imperfect and doesn’t allow me to express emotions; I can always find something wrong to complain about to hide my own flaws.
Accepting that life is what it is, in its own imperfect perfection, can free you up to honor your feelings, become more spontaneous, and express and pursue what you want from life.
2. The Con Artist (charming, manipulative) → the Self-Sacrificing Pleaser: I don’t deserve love and need validation and approval from others, but I resent them for not appreciating me; I feel shame and need someone to believe in me; pleasing others makes me useful and prevents rejection.
Recognizing your own talents and accepting that you are valuable and deserve love without having to please others can open you up to experiencing true love and compassion starting with yourself and what you can accomplish.
3. The Secret Agent (emotionally unresponsive) → the Worthless Achiever: I can only be loved for my accomplishments and without achievements I am worthless; I have trouble feeling love and must suppress any emotional expression because it makes me vulnerable; I don’t care about the meaning of my life, I just need to be successful to be appreciated.
Reconnecting to your emotions, which usually happens after a crisis, is the path to understanding that the true nature of life is love and that it starts with you letting go of the need to prove anything.
4. The Bully (judgmental, dominating) → the Dramatic Victim: There is something wrong with me and that’s why nobody loves me, but my tragic life makes me special; I dwell in my victim role and cannot find my place anywhere; my emotions are overwhelming and I hate myself and others for not deserving love.
Once you let go of your attachment to suffering, you can begin to enjoy life and experience love. Gaining a more spiritual perspective can free you up from the victim-blame game you are used to that keeps you trapped between judgment and guilt.
5. The Prince (controlling, wealthy) → the Childlike Observer: I am too fragile and vulnerable, life is overwhelming and frightening, so I remain invisible, withdrawn, and small; intellectual, spiritual, or creative information is safer than emotional commitment.
Dropping your intellectual shield, reaching out, and being more authentic with others without worrying about being judged or limited can make you feel stronger and help you engage in the world more aligned with yourself.
6. The Artist (idealistic, disconnected) → the Responsible Rational: I must take care of myself and others because life is dangerous and unpredictable; I have to be serious, alert, vigilant, and logical, since emotions cannot be trusted; if I could understand how life works, I’d be safe, so I wonder “why” and “what if” every step of the way, choosing to live in the mind.
Once you understand that the mind can decipher the truth only very partially, you can start tapping into your intuition and inner wisdom to experience life with more enjoyment, creativity, and playfulness.
7. The Lover (sexual, codependent) → the Discontented Seeker: I missed out on love before so I anxiously seek what life has to offer, looking for gratification everywhere; I need as many experiences as possible and must not stop until I find the love I’m looking for; I can’t commit to anything or anyone because the grass is always greener somewhere else.
Once you release the idea that love, joy, and bliss can be found through external means, you can begin to enjoy them anywhere and become a vehicle for them yourself, through the depth acquired in the commitment to yourself and your experiences.
8. The Scapegoat (unaware, noncommittal) → the Righteous Avenger: I am responsible for the world and must punish those who do wrong things; I secretly feel I am to blame for the suffering of those I care about and must hide my emotions lest I discover that I am ashamed of myself; most people can’t be trusted and are out to get me, so I must continuously prove how strong I am.
Once you stop blaming the world and understand that you create my own reality, you can begin to release your anger, perceive the purpose behind it all, and find peace within.
9. The Power Tripper (controlling, narcissistic) → the Compassionate Pushover: I have to be useful, serve, and uplift others or I am worthless and nobody will love me; I secretly resent how they treat and ignore me, and how their demands squelch my voice, but I’d be alone and lonely without them; I need to be liked and believe that self-effacing makes me more spiritual than them.
Once you understand that self-sacrificing is not love, but its egoic opposite, you can turn around and start giving yourself what you expect others to grant you someday: your own true voice.
10. The Touching Bankrupt (victimized, sickly, hypochondriac) → the Savior: I need to be needed so others realize how important I am in their lives, otherwise I feel insignificant and purposeless; I believe I can heal my wounds by nurturing the wounds of others, as if per osmosis; I secretly crave freedom, joy, and lightness, but do not think I deserve them.
You must realize that we each choose an individual path to walk and that we have the creative power to change it and shift course. Once you understand that you are solely responsible for yourself and your own happiness, you’ll become an inspiring model to others simply by being yourself, without having to do anything.
These are just a few of the dynamics I’ve observed, to spark your inquiring mind and bring insight into what lies behind the choices you make, but you may come up with other examples from your own experience. Feel free to share them in the comments below. If you’d like a more personal exploration of what goes on in the relationships you establish, book a Discovery Session today and start gaining the clarity you need to create a more loving dynamic with yourself and others!
© 2015 Yol Swan. All rights reserved.
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