Does that peak your curiosity? The timber and tone of your voice, your behaviors, your values, attitudes and moods, how you handle change, crisis, emotions, and how you respond or react to every part of life is mirrored back to you through relationship with “another.” The mirror reflects their response to your energy, how it is received and how it impacts them. Your kindest most benevolent qualities as well as the gritty gnarly rough bits are seen. You may have been unaware of disagreeable or undesirable traits within yourself. You may not have acknowledged parts of yourself that push away relationship rather than attract connection.
Magnetic Attraction to Heal
No person goes unscathed in life. Whatever dysfunctions occurred in the households of your childhood and adolescent years had an impact on you. Your partner will enact aspects that “trigger” the unhealed or unresolved parts of you, which brings them to the forefront. Relationship invites you to heal the childhood attachment and developmental wounds that keep you from wholeness. You can no longer hide or keep hidden the sacred wounds of the past. They pop up whenever there is a similarity between something in the present and something that was hurtful from the past.
Yikes…you thought you were free of past wounds and here you face them again. Your task is to heal these wounds through learning how to have a different response, owning your “stuff,” regaining the truth within you, and integrating the past so that it no longer has a hold on you. In other words, freedom is found through personal growth and learning how to be relational.
Myth: Partnership and relationship will give me the Unconditional Love that I never received, which will heal me. Grip Yourself....
The Truth is that you will not receive Unconditional Love from Your Partner,
nor will You Give it.
Your Partner does not know all of Your Wounds and neither do You. They will Inadvertently Activate those Parts of You that need to be Healed.
Your Relationship is a Crucible for Growth
Being Present to Disharmony
Looking in the Mirror
Your psyche reacts from the impulse to protect and defend using non-relational adaptive strategies of the ego. Unfortunately, defense only escalates disconnection and is not concerned with repair. The mirror your partner holds up is a powerful and very useful aspect to show you the behavioral stance you use to protect yourself. Terrence Real brought forward four basic patterns of behaviors that your ego uses to defend and protect. The ego will either use power and control to “puff up” and feel Better than others, 1 Up, or contract and diminish and go, 1 Down, to be Less than others. It also defends by either not containing afflictive energy, which is a form of attack, or will retreat in containment and disconnection. Notice which of these stances most often emerges when there is conflict in your relationships.
The 4 basic Patterns of Non-Relational Behavioral Stances
1 Up and Walled Off and Contained: 1 Up is the sense of being Better Than and above another person. You feel a sense of righteousness and superiority. You contain your emotions by being indifferent to your partner. They are not worth your attention. You feel contempt and Wall yourself off from them and are Love Avoidant. You disconnect, retreat and withdraw even if you are in the same room. You may silence the other and punish them by not connecting. You may be mean spirited and passive aggressive.
1 Down and Boundaryless and Uncontained: 1 Down is the sense of being Less Than. You see yourself as a victim. You are hungry for affection, which may show up as insatiable neediness. You do not like being alone and will cling to your partner. You are Love dependent/addicted with a fear of being rejected. Insecurity, helplessness, dependence and desperation are hallmarks of this stance. You may use seduction and manipulation to get what you want.
1 Down and Boundaryless and Contained: 1 Down is the sense of being Less Than. You withdraw from life and contain your emotions. You feel small with no energy. You are downtrodden with depression, resignation, and futility. “Why bother?” You feel defeated with no “fight left” or energy to express your thoughts, emotions or to take any action. You retract inside yourself and may be suicidal.
When you find yourself behaving in any of these ways, know that this is a reaction to pain. You are feeling emotionally hurt. Your self-esteem has taken a hit. Ask: What is underneath the surface pain? What is it mirroring for you? Notice if you ruminate or cannot let go of the disturbance. If your reaction is extreme then it can be a clue that the hurt is more than the present interaction and is catalyzing a deeper wound.
Awareness is your friend. Knowing your pattern of reaction when you are triggered is the first step in being able to come back to a healthy state of consciousness. When you find yourself in a non-relational behavioral stance be aware, breathe, and wait until you feel calm and centered before communicating with your partner.
Holding up the Mirror to yourself reveals the truth of your pain. When you push away or disconnect from your partner, you are literally disconnecting from your own discomfort and pain. This may sound great but it never works to resolve the inner wounds and it keeps you from having healthy, loving relationships. Compassionately connect with the truth of your hurt and from this place you will find relief. Discovering the core of what ails you and reconnecting with yourself allows you to move towards connection with your partner. Remember that shining light when you first met your partner? That ray of sunlight was for you all along to shine a light on your wounds releasing the old hurts of the past and when you do, you connect with yourself and Open to Love.