Are you just giving up?
Have you ever, in the middle of a fight or particularly painful moment in your relationship, flashed to the idea of “just breaking up” as a way to end the problems? You just want some relief from the conflict that is going on between the two of you, and your instinct is to simply get out.
There is nothing more painful than to be in conflict with someone you love, especially a romantic partner. Especially when it's an ongoing situation.
Many couples have conflicts that continually resurface, and despite engaging in these conflicts over and over, the blocks never seem to really go away. There might be a truce for a while as everyone is on their best behavior, or one person in the relationship finds a way to put up with their partner’s questionable antics — but the problems never seem to go away. Instead, the problems change or shape-shift as couples learn more about each other. This is because their deepening understanding of each other allows them to arm themselves with more intricate, unconscious ways of playing out childhood issues in their relationship. But this isn't all bad!
That's because, if this is happening with you, it means your relationship is unfolding in exactly the way that it needs to in order for you to have an opportunity for incredible personal and emotional growth.
Some people believe that we get involved in romantic relationships (unconsciously) in order to heal our wounds from childhood, as this is the stage upon which all of our attachment and relationship issues from childhood are triggered and play out front and center. And doesn’t this make sense? Our romantic relationships are, generally, the closest opportunity to mirror our attachments to our primary caregivers.
Given that our romantic or closest friendships most closely resemble the intimate attachments from childhood, this is where we project all of our unfinished business from childhood.
And it generally is never a “coincidence” that our partners often have some resemblance, emotionally, structurally, or even on an energetic level, to one or both of our parents or caregivers. This is not random at all. That can make it scary to be vulnerable. So, when these ongoing conflicts arise, what they are offering you is an opportunity to learn about your unfinished relationship business from childhood, and how you are also impacting the conflict between you and your partner.
The actual dilemma that you feel, the part of the conflict that you are hung up on, believe it or not, lies within you.
Your responses and your reactions, as well as what you believe that you need from them is based upon your unfinished developmental and relational issues from childhood. Think about the last time you asked your partner to take out the trash and they didn’t do it — or acted like they didn’t hear you. The upset that you feel isn’t fully about the trash sitting in the bin for days on end.
Sure, neglecting to take out the trash might be something that you are not ok with in any circumstance, but the discontent and upset about this that keeps you up at night, or drives you to talk with your friends about it, is really about something much deeper.
Perhaps it's about how you don’t feel heard or important perhaps, or taken seriously in the relationship, and the inability to work through these and resolve them is about some unmet childhood need around this. Because if it was just about the here and now, you’d be able to work through them easily and move on with things.
If something feels complicated or ongoing, it’s because it’s the past getting projected onto the present. It’s never really just about the trash.
You and your partner actually might be more compatible — or incompatible — than you know, but there is no way to really know this unless you are willing to look inside and examine whatever unfinished places are showing up front and center in your relationship. Both of you. And if your partner is not interested in looking inside at their own part while you look at yours, then this would be a sure sign of incompatibility between the two of you, and a great time to decide whether you are willing to take 100% responsibility for the health, well-being, and outcome of the relationship. But don't let your fear of commitment keep you from doing the hard work. And if not, walk away.
Unless your physical safety is compromised, walking away from a relationship just to stop the pain or end the problems is never going to be the solution that brings you the most satisfaction.
It may bring you relief, but relief and satisfaction are not the same things. And I can guarantee you that you are just going to be walking into the same problems in another relationship — it is just a matter of time. Hanging in there and growing together is incredibly fulfilling and awonderful way to build intimacy in the relationship. But it takes two for this to happen.
Kate Schroeder is a therapist and life coach who utilizes the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator ® and the Enneagram, as well as body-mind-spirit healing practices to access one’s inner wisdom in order to create a life filled with satisfaction. Start changing your life today by downloading her guided imagery program, Soul Meditations: Building A Relationship That Lasts, or visit Kate at Transformation Counseling, LLC for more information on how to connect with your best self.
Originally published at YourTango.com
Kate is an INFJ-3 on the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator and Enneagram.