People are obsessed with the difficulties in their relationship, they just keep thinking about it and hurting over it. They put too much negative mental energy into it. I don’t really blame them as I know it is very difficult and painful to be in a relationship that just keeps hurting them, but one gets out what one puts in. Negativity begets negativity.
When you are focused on how bad, painful and dissatisfying your relationship is, you are drenching your relationship with unwarranted negative mental energy and attention. When the relationship gets desperation, negativity, criticism, disgust, and hopelessness, it is strangled. Its lifeline is being cut off. The flame of love, lust, trust, friendship and partnership is close to being smothered.
When we are this stuck in our relationship, we have given the power struggle stage in our relationship a life of its own. We are so entrenched in thinking how awful it is for us that we loose perspective of the relationship and our partner with it. It is time to reclaim that power and use it to create the relationship you want.
Stop chocking the life out of your relationship. When the pressure is off, when the energy we send our troubled relationship is retargeted, miracles happen…
The power struggle is a very lonely, frustrating, enraging and painful stage in our relationships. It takes courage, will power and stamina to wade through the wounds, hurts, negative coping mechanisms, exits, reactions and intimacy ignorance. It is difficult healing ourselves and our partners simultaneously while dealing with everyday life. It is hard work and we have to have faith that in the end it will be better.
This is where it gets really tricky. Having faith in ourselves, our partner and our relationship is a daunting task when we are running on empty and when we hurt so bad, but do rest assured. I can tell you that if you stick it out and do the work, things do get better. I know this because I have seen it in my own relationship and in that of all my clients that have made it through the process.
It is difficult. I do give you that. And trying, and exhausting and painful, but in the long run, it is all well worth it. After all, what have you got to loose? If you end this relationship, it is all a matter of time before your wounds (and that of your new partner’s) resurface in the new relationship creating another dissatisfying relationship and you are back to square one…
So, stick it out and do the ‘real work to heal yourselves’ and move out of the power struggle in your relationship.
Remember, partners are unconsciously attracted to each other and are stuck together because they have the ability to re-wound each other as they were wounded when they were children by their caretakers and now have a chance at getting what they didn’t get then.
This is the reason you keep having the same issue over and over and why it’s so painful. Your coping mechanisms are opposite each other’s recreating hurts for each other. The more painful and stuck, the better the match between the two of you.
This means that you both have the ability to really hurt (re-wound) each other as you were before, but also to heal each other. There is reciprocity in your coping, it creates a cycle that needs to be broken by one putting their needs, and associated mental energy, on hold for a bit and tend to their partner. This breaks the cycle and healing can commence. When you both give each other alternate outcomes to the usual hurting situations, healing takes place.
The big hint here is to refocus your energies. Stop thinking about yourself and how your needs are not met and how hurt and dissatisfied you are and put yourself in your partner’s context for a change. Really look at your relationship from your partner’s perspective.
The trick is not to go into your partner’s shoes with your own head, but to look at things from their perspective and mindset. How do they experience the relationship? How do they experience you? Are their needs, as they define them, met? Is their vision of the relationship a reality for them? Are they happy?
When you do this, you realize that you are not alone in this and that your partner is not out to get you, but they are also trying to survive. They are not your enemy! With this new realization in mind, switch your mental energy setting to life saving mode and engage your ally in creating a win-win situation.
First, do a mental update on how you look at your relating. Your partner is not really out to hurt you, but they are protecting themselves. They are communicating their dissatisfaction and pain. Look at all your interactions and relationship situations from this perspective.
Once that mental energy is refocused, you are ready to start creating some changes. What can you give your partner to help ease their pain? When their pain eases, so will yours…
~ Your MetroRelationship™ Assignment
Make an appointment with your partner for them to gift you with tips on how you hurt them. Ask them to prepare and bring a list of things that bother them about you that recreate wounds for them. Review the list together while remaining accepting and trusting.
You might want to create a safety shield around yourself before you start. You will probably find that some things you do because you mean well or are trying to be helpful are probably the worst or most painful ones to your partner. Remember, we have to give love how our partner wants it not how we want to give it…
Just listen to your partner and take it in. Don’t defend or explain. Finish the appointment by asking your partner to help you change by showing you when you do the damaging behavior and how they would like it to change. Pick two behaviors on the list to start with.
Copyright (c) 2006-2014 Emma K. Viglucci. All rights reserved.
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Emma K. Viglucci, LMFT is the Founder and Director of Metropolitan Marriage & Family Therapy, PLLC, a private practice that specializes in working with couples, she is the creator of the MetroRelationship™ philosophy and a variety of Successful Couple™ content that assist couples succeed at their relationship and their life. Stay Connected™ with Emma and receive weekly Connection Notes in your inbox with Personal Growth and Relationship Enrichment insights and strategies, visit: www.metrorelationship.com.