WEINGAARDE // UTTERBÄCK
RETREATS // MEDITATION // PSYCHOTHERAPY // SPIRITUALITY // SILENCE
Why problems arise in love
A common ground is needed to
facilitate healing of emotional wounds
How to heal emotional wounds in love
Some of the pitfalls in dealing with
emotional wounds in partnership
Why problems arise in love relationships
Most people are very immature in relationships. They behave like children when it comes to relating. The reason is that we have not healed those wounds and that keeps maturation from happening. Instead we are stuck in wishful thinking, not realizing how deeply we are deceiving ourselves. If you have a strong feeling of being rejected from childhood, you will find a partner that some way or another mirrors that for you. If you lack in self-respect, you will have difficulties finding a partner who really respect you. This may seem troubling, but it’s actually the opposite. It is only a problem if you don’t see the invitation and take the opportunity of healing those wounds together with your partner.
If you have grown up feeling safe, loved and free to be yourself, then relationships are usually fulfilling (why would you stay otherwise). If you have the opposite experience you probably unconsciously repeat those destructive relational patterns. One of the defense mechanisms the psyche has to handle overwhelming experiences in childhood is denial. It’s normal -but that which helped you to manage difficult experiences when you grew up, can be a great obstacle later in life, unless you deal with it.
Meeting a partner is a perfect playground for healing childhood wounds. They will surface. If you give up the romantic ideas about love you can start finding out what love really is. If you see the great opportunity for healing and are willing to do the necessary work to heal yourself, love can start to flourish and maturation can happen.
One of the reasons you are drawn to a specific partner is the perfect matching of your emotional wounds. This works like a magnet. If you have a charge around something; that is what causes the attraction. What you strongly want or oppose doesn’t make any difference: If the charge is there attraction is there. This is structured in the subconscious, which is a strong creative force. It is like a houseplan: if you want to build a different house you need to change the houseplan. Opinions - likes and dislikes - has no impact on the actual outcome. This is where we usually miss out. We all want to love and be loved. Why is that not the way it is for most people?
A common ground is needed to facilitate healing of emotional wounds
You cannot change the other. If you want to do this work of healing emotional wounds together with your partner - you need to find a partner that actually wants the same. This work is totally rewarding - but it is not easy. Manipulation or force is not going to make it happen. (See my article on Fulfillment in sexual love - Choosing a partner)
It’s all about you and how you deal with the situation. Nothing ever really has to do with the other person. However - for this to work both need to commit to doing this work and to each other. It means not giving up on each other when when it becomes difficult. You need to be able to trust each other. (Distrust can be part of the wounding that needs to be healed though)
A foundation of awareness and self-reflection in both partners is needed for this to work. Both need to be willing to see and let go of self-centeredness. Both need to be willing to surrender. With surrender I mean the willingness to give oneself over completely to love. It means to quit self-protection and self-defense. It demands a willingness to look at oneself and take responsibility for what is seen; to become capable of meeting all the pain that has been hidden inside instead of continuing to dramatize it. This is the return of innocence; back to the child-like quality of immediate and honest reaction - but with the wisdom and skill and total responsibility that comes with maturity.
It’s crucial to realize that both partners need to have some common ground; and it’s your responsibility to find that kind of partner. He or she should not be blamed in retrospect for not being what you want. Don’t try to change the other into what you want. It doesn’t matter if this would clearly be in the best interest for the other person - everyone has a free will and that should not be tampered with. It doesn’t matter if the other person promised that he/she wanted the same as you in the beginning and it later showed to be untrue. If so you misjudged the person - or he/she changed and that is allowed.
How to heal emotional wounds in love relationships
At this point it is pointless to continue talking; unless you have acquired enough skill to know that you are speaking from the right place in you; that you are not speaking from the wound (i.e. feeling like a victim), but from sincerity and clarity and total non-judgement.
At this point you need to give each other space to listen inwards and take full responsibility of the feelings that have surfaced. If one of you have difficulties doing that the other person needs to take responsibility for him/herself and leave for the time being. There is no point in letting the other continue to spew his/her trash on you. This is time for self-investigation; but not from the ”thinking mind”: You are stuck in a story you are telling yourself about what is going on. The story simply is not true. The hard thing is to convince yourself that this is more true.
You need to see through your own story, and to do this you need to be quiet. You observe your mind, but you don’t fuel the story. You remove your focus from the story-telling to what you are feeling. (Anger, sadness, emptiness - doesn’t matter). You accept what you feel - but you drop the story of why.
And this is much more true. Something that just happened triggered your memories, your defense system. Believing the other person is responsible for what you feel will keep you trapped in your drama. Taking responsibility for your own feelings - no matter what triggered them - will heal you. So what you need to do is accept what you feel and stay completely quiet with yourself through the time it takes until the feelings subsides by itself.
Staying quiet means not fueling the story. If you are sad, cry - just make sure you don’t cry victim tears. Then the story is still lurking behind the scene. Let there be self-compassion - but don’t feel sorry for yourself. That keeps you trapped.
You hold yourself like you would hold a small crying child; it needs your presence, not your words. Learn to mother yourself through the pain.
Then you can meet again. When you are willing to really listen to the other without defending yourself. When you don’t care about who was right or wrong, when you only want to understand each other - then you can speak.
In this way you can cut through layer after layer of wounding - healing yourself with the assistance of your partner. It sounds simple - but for most people this is hard. Because we have to wear down our own pride, ignorance, self-centeredness and so on - until all we want is truth.
Doing this work together means learning and unlearning at the same time. You have to let go of ideas and defenses - unlearn - until innocence is restored in you. In one sense you have to become like a child again; immediate and honest in your reflection.
Acquiring the wisdom and skill is learning; the tools are awareness and a greater and greater willingness to see through your own games, a greater and greater ability to surrender to love. You have to become a mature adult. It’s a rare condition today - at least when it comes to relating.
With this comes a growing capacity to love yourself, and the other, no matter what you see, and a willingness to take responsibility for yourself at a deeper and deeper level. It all unravels as you truly listen - and respect what you hear - from inside yourself.
You and your partner are co-creator’s of the unconscious dramas you bring into the relationship. Being together will at some point make the drama start playing, you are both acting in your partner’s drama and you are both the director of your own. Right here you need to find the pause button - you need to stop the drama the moment you have spotted what is going on. You feel hurt. Stop. There is blame going on. Stop. You are arguing. Stop. Your partner tells you there is drama going on but you don’t see it. Stop.
Some of the pitfalls in dealing with emotional wounds in partnership
Wanting to change the other and self-deception - not seeing your own contribution to the mix - is probably the main thing in most problematic relationships. If you add being judgmental and unable to love yourself you have a great recipe for misery. A cinderella dream on top of that and you have created hell on earth.
We need to see through our ideas of relationships, who are often based on wishful thinking and unrealistic demands of the other person that are actually very self-centered and based on how a small child needs to be taken care of, not mature individuals in a relationship. Most people are not aware of having such a pattern though. They see fault in their partners instead.
We need to see and acknowledge our own emotional wounding to be able to heal, and the more wounded we are the harder this seems to be for us. Then we stick to our ideas - our survival strategies - our self-deception - as if our life depended on it. To understand this we need to understand the mechanisms behind. Deep down in the subconscious this may actually be the case: We feel threatened to life when the person we love are not responding as we think we need and think they should. We unconsciously give him or her the role of care taker - especially if we didn’t get our physical and/or emotional needs sufficiently met during childhood. Now, finally, we will get our needs met, we will get saturated!
No. Because we will attract a partner who acts the same way. Suddenly, when we have the other really on the hook - we start demanding instead of giving. And we don’t see our self-deception - we think it’s all about the other person. The other person is needy or indifferent, not enough or too much, and so on.
We are all born vulnerable and dependent on our parents or other care takers to survive. When needs are not sufficiently met this can create havoc in our psyche; during our early years it’s life threatening if we cannot trust the bonding with our care takers. Some children are more sensitive, others more resilient. But the way you experienced your environment is what matters, not the ”objective” reality, not your parents wishes and intentions.
Some children will respond with closing off needs, pretending they don’t have any, others with clinging and manipulation and demanding, to cope with this. Different strategies will evolve to cope with the fear of abandonment and rejection. For a child that is actually life threatening. Different wrong conclusions will be made: like not being worthy, not being useful, and so on…. And this becomes our belief system, our operative system. Some will become rebells, others pleasers… But we get distorted somehow or another. We lose our authenticity and vulnerability. And in the unconscious abandonment and rejection is still experienced as life threatening - if that fear was provoked during childhood.
We will never question this if we don’t end up seeing the patterns and get really tired of the struggle in relating. Change is possible when we stop trying to find the right one and realize it won’t happen until we are the right one….
Being the right one is resuming the responsibility for our own unconscious acts, until we are able to love truly again, not getting caught up in demanding to get our needs met - but feeling responsible for filling our own needs, creating our own life. For instance - attracting a partner that truly loves you, instead of demanding love from you. In such a relationship there can be a true felt need of the other - but you take responsibility of your own ”neediness”, and don’t project this onto your partner.
This doesn’t happen overnight though. This transition can be made together; if you find a partner willing and able to learn to love together with you, admitting to his or her and your shortcomings without judging - while you do the same. Then you have the recipe for healing emotional wounds together.