Do you sometimes feel that the going gets tough in your intimate relationship? Is your partner haranguing you, berating you for not communicating, for not sharing, for doing something, for not doing something, demanding you be more?
In the face of this, you maybe feel like fighting back, pushing back, resisting, yelling, getting very angry and defending yourself at the injustice.
Or do you sometimes feel like crawling into a cave, sticking your head under the pillow, or pulling the blankets up over your head? And you are listening to the haranguing with a sense that you’ve just gone numb.
But underneath the numbness, your body is crawling in pain, contraction and tension. Your neck feels locked up, the back has gone stiff, a headache is setting in and there is nowhere to turn?
And the last thing you want to do is communicate with your partner. And the one thing your partner wants, is for you to communicate, to feel some kind of connection with you.
And when you don’t respond, your partner spirals into an even greater frenzy – supporting your decision to withdraw your self from the danger.
If you can relate to this, there is a chance that you and your partner are playing out a classic relationship dynamic – and you are both suffering its unconscious dance.
You are not alone. This is a very common cyclical pattern and it’s the product of what you’ve learned. It is the safest way you may know of, to deal with a threat that someone is not loving you as you want them to.
So the first step to freeing yourself from the pattern, is to see that the cyclical pattern is the problem. By shifting the focus in this way it helps to set yourself free of blaming your partner or blaming yourself.
Blaming is what we do… when the pain inside us is so intense, we look for a way of projecting it as blame on to someone else. And usually that will be our intimate partner. And if it is not our partner, it may be our children, a work colleague, or it might be directed inward at our own self, which puts us on a road to a melt down, an implosion of energy, a journey down a dark hole with no apparent way out of it.
Awareness and compassion are the keys to turn this around.
If you are aware of the cyclical pattern and aware of the pain you feel – start by acknowledging that. You are aware of it.
Then by making a little time to connect with and focus your attention on your breath, you can create a sense of space around the pain. Rather than pushing the pain away, simply say “I know you’re there”, “I acknowledge you” and allow yourself to gently stay present with it with no intention of getting rid of it. With a little patience and time it will probably soften and the tension and pain will relax and dissipate.
There is more to this that I will share in another post…
If you would like to gain these skills I offer a communications workshop 'Relating to Connect' to learn how. You can find the details here.