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Moving Beyond the Fairy Story of Relationships

September 11, 2018

Many of us when we hear the word relationship, immediately think of an intimate partner but of course there are many different relationships we have throughout our life time. From our family, friends, work colleagues, community members and pets to our relationship with ourselves, the earth and (for some) our faith. We are relational beings and it is our human need to be in connection. Ultimately, we belong with each other. It is however the relationship we have with ourselves that will determine who we attract into our lives and how we treat them or allow them to treat us.

We are born into relationship in the form of a family and the first man and woman we ever meet are usually our mother and father. They show us (even if one leaves through divorce or death) what to expect from a woman/man or indeed how to be a woman/man. How they relate (or not) becomes our unconscious template for intimate relationships and the depth of love and care they offer us determines the quality of the relationship we go on to have with ourselves. This in turn will determine the calibre of our friendships, partners, our life choices, beliefs about others and how we relate to the whole world. Such is the impact of that first crucial relationship.

For those who grew up in a less than nurturing home environment or one with too much rigidity and control, intimate relationships can prove to be a real challenge. The wounded inner child whose fundamental needs were not met, becomes frozen in time inside us. This child within the adult then unconsciously looks outside for their needs (from childhood) to be met by a partner (a.k.a. parent). Like a Fairy Princess waiting for their Knight in shining armour to come and rescue them. Relationships like these can start off so well in the early romantic phase but as the relationship develops, the unmet needs from childhood will surface and core wounds are ripped open. Ouch. The reality is that what so many describe as ‘love’ is in fact merely attachment. In the early romantic phase, we can see our partner as who we need them to be rather than who they really are. We attach to the idea of them rather than the reality. If we do not do our inner work to heal our childhood wounds, we can get stuck looking for ‘mummy or daddy’ in our partner choices and raging when they do not fulfil our unmet needs. Rarely a ‘happy ever after’ here….

So what to do?
First off get honest with yourself. If you find yourself attracted to the same ‘type’ of partner over and again and the relationships keep ending disastrously, the clue is the common denominator. You! So many people want to believe that they have just been unlucky in love and wish to blame ‘the other’ rather than do the necessary inner work required to make healthier choices. If you do however dare to explore the impact of your childhood upon your relationships and grieve what you did not receive as a child, then you have a chance to emotionally grow up that wounded inner child and heal rather than harm in your intimate relationships and beyond.

This healing inner work allows you to make your peace in the mirror and start to truly accept and embrace all that you are, building a healthy loving relationship with yourself. You will then be open to entering relationships with others from an adult place. One that starts from a place of wholeness rather than deficit. One of emotional maturity, realistic expectations and conscious relating, whereby you can grow alongside and with your partner and other loved ones. This might not offer the ‘happy ever after’ fantasy of relating that inner unhealed children long for; but it sure does make passionate friendship and healthy, joyful adult relationships truly possible. The End.

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