Are relationships worth all the trouble? Absolutely! They are the greatest teachers on the planet. Where else can you learn to break open your heart, see what your capacity to love is, test your need for control or sameness and learn cooperative balance? That balance is necessary in order for a relationship to thrive. A tip toward boundary-less or controlling boundaries can screw up everything. This imbalance normally results in contempt, which can kill a relationship all together.
In a boundary-less relationship one person feels one-down and is often love-addicted. That person is normally walled off and unable or unwilling to express his or her needs and feelings. Boundary-less people feel as if, in some sense, they are prey to their partner and their partner’s needs. The boundary-less partners put up protective walls. They not connected. They sit in silent rage. Their silence can be interpreted as not caring or as consent to bad behaviors on their partner’s part. For instance, one person wants to be monogamous. The other does not. The person who wants to be monogamous gives in and allows the affairs or promiscuous behavior from their partner while suffering in silence. Eventually, the boundary-less person will leave, because, in truth, this person has left himself and his own morals and needs. Ultimately this will become so uncomfortable that there is no choice but to leave.
When one partner has controlling boundaries he might feel one-up and is often love avoidant. This kind of person uses blaming, shaming, interrogation, intimidation and threats to control other people. Controlling partners seldom take personal responsibility and are often unable to control their emotions or behaviors. They are slaves to stimulus. They feel connected but not protected. You often see this kind of person in a patriarchal, or domineering kind of relationship where he or she has the last word on everything. This kind of relationship is now passé and the new paradigm is one of greater co-operation and unity. New relationships are horizontal, equal and balanced instead on vertical and controlling with a misuse of power.
When relationships are imbalanced individuals begin to feel contempt. Contempt turned outward results in grandiosity, verbal abuse, physical abuse, a sense of entitlement and lots of judgment. There is little motivation on the part of this kind of person to change.
Contempt turn inward results in shame, feelings of self-loathing, depression and helplessness.
In a balanced relationship, each individual is working on him or herself and has a healthy sense of self-love. Healthy people are able to set boundaries, ask for what they need and honor themselves and the relationship with good boundaries. Those same good boundaries make is possible to feel more deeply connected because we can trust ourselves to take care of ourselves. It’s a little like going out into the ocean of love in a strong boat that allows you to enjoy the journey because you know you have good boundaries and are safe or deciding not to go because you don’t have a safe boat or boundaries and are afraid you will not take good care of yourself.
In order to create a balanced relationship there are some necessary shifts that need to take place according to Terrance Real, who wrote, “ The New Rules for Marriage.” or relationships or all kinds I might add. I have added a couple also. We need to move:
- From complaint to request
- From negative past to positive future
- From co-addict or victim/enabler to helping your partner be successful by you being a truth teller.
- From “You are bad,” to “How can I help you succeed?”
- Get out of ambiguity, either get in the relationship or get out because there is not such thing as a partial commitment. You can’t succeed with ambiguity.
Relationship are the most fulfilling and wonderful gift on the planet, if you are willing to be fully in them and do the work of your soul.
© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013