Some people have a pretty good idea about the negative impact which their past history has on their behaviour in a romantic relationship but still feel unable to resolve it. We may know very well that we are not feeling confident or “good enough” because our father or mother was putting us down in some way or making us feel “small” or “not seen”, or because we were bullied at school. However, knowing the reasons often do not solve our difficulty in the present – however helpful it may be to understand the roots of it.
Having an ingrained in our psyche belief that we are “not good enough” may easily cause our romantic relationship to go pear-shaped. Our wound of “not enoughness” is what we need to heal, no questions asked. However, it is not our partner who is responsible for our healing, but us.
Healing our wounds is not the purpose of our relationship.
However, it is not true that only when we completely healed and “perfect” can we have a healthy relationship. In fact, all we need to have is sufficient levels of self-awareness.
In our love relationships, we are guaranteed to attract situations similar to those we experienced in our childhood. If we don’t have sufficient levels of self-awareness, we are bound to deal with these situations the same way we did it when we were small. At the moments like that, we think that we are taking care of ourselves but, instead, our actions make us feel more unhappy and “trapped”. Therefore, if we want to have a healthy relationship, it’s important for us to understand how we used to deal with “unsafe” situations as children, so we can invent some alternative ways of reacting and be courageous enough to try them out. For example, if your habitual reactivity drives you to run away or withdraw from your partner, it would be worthwhile to stay present, come closer and open up. Whereas, if your habitual tendency is to clasp, to hold on or to invade, it would be beneficial to learn letting go or walking away.
As a guide, you can use the following approach: to heal our dysfunctional reactivity we choose an action ‘in the opposite direction’. For many people, this would feel strongly like: “I can’t do this” or “This is impossible” or “This would kill me”. But the truth it, it is not going to kill you and the Earth would still hold you, no matter what happens. But by going against your grain, you will have much greater chances to preserve your heart connection with your partner and move your relationship forward.
The important thing to understand here is that our old mechanisms of protection are not loving. In the past, these mechanisms were not created by love but by fear. Therefore, our protective strategies, more often than not, are destructive to our relationships in the present. It is difficult to deal with them because at the times when we want to react and “protect” ourselves our “pain body” overtakes and we feel as if this is “the only way” and our mind usually has a very strong reasoning for why this is the “right way”.
If you recognise your unhelpful patterns of relating with your loved one but struggle to ‘convert’ your fear into love so your behaviour can be affirming your relationship rather that destroying it, working with a Love Coach can often provide a great support. It may help you to gain a better perspective on your behaviour, to get over your fear of vulnerability and develop more loving ways of relating.