Relationships come in many forms. But have you ever considered that your relationships are a gift in some way or another? Different types of relationships can give us a lot, but many also take from us. While this can be challenging, it also provides us with the opportunity for personal growth.
Connecting To Your True and Authentic Self
One of the main reasons a relationship can be a great gift is because often, it’s the best way to connect to your true authentic self. And when you’re connected to your true self, you’ll have better, more expansive, and pure relationships, not just with yourself, but with other people in your life.
With this in mind, the possibilities in your personal life, work-life, and relationships with friends and family mean fulfilling your dreams and aspirations by using your relationship experiences.
The true gift of using our relationships to find our true selves may feel paradoxical. This is because when we often consider our relationships, we focus on the other person, particularly when it comes to our intimate partners.
But by looking at our relationships from a different perspective, we begin to understand how we, and of course, they are connected to other people. Thus, creating the ultimate gift, using our journeys and experiences to reconnect (or even connect) with ourselves through our relationships.
The Ego Plays an Important Role
How exactly do we connect with ourselves using our relationships? When people talk about ego, it’s often referred to in a negative sense. But our ego is a good thing because it’s the mechanism we use to navigate the world. When considering that all relationships are a gift, we need to be thinking about the sub-personalities of the ego, one of these being the people-pleasing persona.
If we take a step back in time to childhood, we develop a way of managing and navigating our environments and surroundings through our ego. When we look at the ‘child ego state’, it’s the part of our personality preserved from childhood; it contains all the impulses a person was born with that generally grows with us into adulthood.
“If I make sure mum/dad is happy, then I’ll be okay.” think about this, as a child, did you ever find yourself thinking along these lines? Maybe your parents didn’t like you to be noisy, and so you kept quiet to please them, thinking that if you continued to hide, you’d be okay.
Our ego keeps our parents or caregivers attached to us as a child, ensuring we are loved and nurtured as we develop.
History Tends to Repeat Itself
When it comes to certain relationships, you may have come to be the individual that pleases the other. This isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s undoubtedly learned behaviour from a young age. Extensive research suggests that we’ve adopted these emotional imprints by age seven, which lock us into our psyche.
So, when we grow up, these ways of emotionally relating to and pleasing people are still there, so history repeats itself by us entering relationships as we would have done as a child.
The problem with this is that at some point – usually after not long – we begin to feel that this way of working isn’t working for us. You may think, “I don’t want to be a people pleaser anymore”, “I want to speak up; I want to have a voice”, or even “I want to connect with feelings of anger, perhaps I want to do some advocacy in the world, and I need some of that energy to go forth and do these things”.
It’s inevitable that at some point, we feel this relationship isn’t working for you anymore, and what you notice in your relationship is that there are qualities or attributes about your partner that will trigger you. It’s common.
Hiding In Plain Sight
It could be that you find your partner too loud, they’re always angry, they aren’t emotionally available to you or that they are plain selfish.
You experience that their behaviour has a negative impact on you. Maybe you feel like you must be quiet, you can’t speak your mind without fear of making them angry, or if you do, ‘you’re being too emotional’. But guess what? You do have a voice, and if you have something to say, you have the right to say it.
But for each of us, the reasons are different; these annoying behaviours are clues to how we learned to survive in the world as children and continue with as adults. It’s as if you’ve been blind to something all these years.
Dealing With The “Issue”
The most important thing you can do is pinpoint the pain point in your partner’s attitude or personality that’s triggering you. Then, consider what it is about yourself that you’re not connected to.
Let’s take anger, for example. Anger can be a helpful tool. If you think your partner is angry all the time, and this makes you feel uncomfortable, or you simply don’t like it, the invitation here is to think about what it would be like for you to be angry?
Not becoming or taking on the other person’s anger like for like but, what would your anger look like?
Would you be using it to speak up for yourself or others? Would you use it for humanitarian good by joining protests? Or would you use anger to stand up for yourself and set boundaries instead of someone doing it for you? Think about it…
Learning From Relationships
How could the quality of anger serve you? Any time you notice something that your partner is doing which triggers you (i.e., causing you to have an emotional response to what they’re doing), think about what that might be telling you. Are you thinking, “What if I had a little bit more of that quality in my life?”
So, what we do in intimate partner relationships, more often than not, and very unconsciously, is we pit partners who match those parts of ourselves from which we have disconnected. This disconnected part is called our Shadow. This forces us to ponder what’s in our Shadow, the part of us, at some point in our lives, someone told us it wasn’t okay to express.
It’s like finding the other piece of a jigsaw puzzle – it’s the perfect match. It’s not about someone completing you because you don’t need anyone to complete you. You’re already complete.
But by using and analysing these patterns with those you’ve split from, you will develop a more authentic sense of yourself and a clearer idea of things you would like to do in life through the relationship recovery process.
Can you see how the gift of a relationship is all about finding you?
My passion has been to support women throughout my career, helping women from all walks of life make the difficult decision whether to stay or leave a relationship and helping them take their confident next steps. If you’d like to learn more about how I can help, particularly if you’re feeling stuck and would like to find out how relationships are a gift to finding out more about your true self get in touch.
Over To You
If you want a safe space to explore how relationships are a gift to your Shadow and how it’s showing up in your relationship, get in touch and discuss the way forward which is right for you. I offer video sessions online via a secure platform. Coronavirus (COVID-19) doesn’t need to put your therapy sessions on pause.
Or call me today on 07535 864836.
Leave a comment below; I’d love to hear from you.
P.S. PASS IT ON
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© Sandra Harewood 2021
Soul Centred couples counsellor and relationship transformation coach Sandra Harewood specialises in working with couples and women with childhood wounds that impacts their adult relationships. Sandra provides a soulful space for her clients to explore creative solutions to their difficulties and create a great relationship.