We were so suited for each other, so in love, so happy together. We had so many dreams. Our every moment together was so full of joy, happiness and excitement of being close to someone who loved us and understood us. We were so sure that we would live happily together forever. We never thought that we would arrive to this state of not communicating, misunderstanding, distance, indifference and even competition, aggressiveness and, in some cases, verbal violence. What happened? How did this happen? What can we do so as to be loving again as we were?
SOME REASONS WHY RELATIONSHIPS DETERIORATE
1. Lack of education in effective communication. We have not been educated in how to communicate openly and honestly.
2. Poor examples – Role models. We learn through imitation. We have much more of our parents in us than most of us would like to admit. We are programmed subconsciously by the way in which we saw and heard our parents to communicate (or not communicate) between themselves, with us and with others.
We now mechanically repeat this type of communication with our partners, children and friends. We tend to create the same problems which existed in the role models which we observed as children. If our parents were self suppressing and non communicative, we tend do the same. If they were competitive and aggressive we are likely to act in a similar way. In some cases, out of reaction, we may do the opposite, but this is also a programming.
If we are having communication problems with our loved one, it may be useful to work on transforming our childhood experiences. What we believe to be a problem with our spouse, may actually be simply a projection of a problem with one of our parents.
3. We do not take responsibility for our reality. Our beliefs create our reality. If we want a new reality, we will need to change our beliefs about ourselves, others and the world around us.< It will do no good whatsoever to blame the other for what we are feeling. He will just harden his stance and stay the way he is. No one likes to be told he is wrong or to be blamed. Even if down inside he knows that he is, he will never admit it as long as we are blaming him.
4. We expect the other to fulfill our needs and expectations. We believe that the other, in some magical way, is going to give us that which is lacking within us. No one can give us inner security or self worth if we do not have it. If we want to create an harmonious relationship, we will first need to be in harmony with ourselves, which means developing inner security, strength, self confidence and self acceptance in all situations.
5. Fear of what the others think. We create considerable tension when we want to place limits on, or change our loved one’s behavior, so that we can be accepted by others. When we pressure a loved one to change, not because what he is doing is morally wrong, but because we need the society’s approval, he feels that we are putting others above him in our heart. We are placing our needs for recognition above our love, acceptance and respect for our loved one and for how he needs and wants to function. Perhaps we should ask, “what is more important to me? This affirmation, based on appearances, or maintaining a deep and loving relationship with my partner?”
This is an especially important question for us, as parents, to ask ourselves concerning our children. Whether we want to force our children to fit into a social mold, and risk loosing our communication link with them, or whether we prefer to risk loosing social recognition for the sake of maintaining our communication. Remember, we are not talking about sacrificing ethical values, but rather subjective and often quite superficial and materially oriented social values.
6. Lack of energy. I have seen a number of relationships fall into disharmony and even separation because one or both of the partners let their energy level fall to a dangerously low level and became a negative element in that relationship. When we do not care for our bodies, energy and mind, they begin to function defectively creating negativity for ourselves and those around us. We have less clarity, less patience, less understanding for others’ needs and problems.
A person without energy is naturally ego centered because he needs to take. He is naturally defensive, because he feels he needs to protect himself. He does not feel safe. When one person in a relationship is in such a state, then problems are created for everyone. When both are in this state, then the relationship cannot last long. We have an obligation in any relationship, whether it be emotional, professional or social, to offer others a being with quality. No one likes an emotionally polluted environment, full of complaints, criticism, negative thoughts, negative feelings, blaming, fear, hurt, anger or depression. We would all like to live in an environment flowering with positive emotions of love, joy, laughter, pleasant and positive thoughts and feelings.
That requires energy. We can create and maintain a high level of energy by eating properly, and daily practicing exercises, breathing techniques and deep relaxation techniques as well as positive thinking. We also need to get enough sleep. Vitamins may also help.
7. We carry the past around within us. We do not live in the present. Remember how you saw your loved one for the first time; during those early times together; how refreshing those contacts were. It was because you were discovering something new. Now we have already formed an image in our mind of who the other is and we see our image and not the person.
This image is unfortunately permeated with many misunderstandings and wrong assumptions concerning the other, that we have made, through our inner subjective beliefs and programmings. We distort our perception of reality and of the others’ motives. We often think that the other is trying to harm us, when this is not, in fact, his motive. He is simply functioning out of his needs and beliefs. He is probably not even aware that what he is doing is offensive to us. Or, if he is aware, he may find it difficult to understand why. He may also be unhappy that we are creating this hurt within us through his actions, because this is not his motive at all.
We tend to hold a running account of how many times the other has hurt us, or disappointed us, in some way, and, when we interact with him, we have this “balance sheet” hanging in front of our eyes. Holding on to the hurt of the past prevents an opening to who the other actually is in the present. This accumulated resentment, or feeling of injustice, obstructs our clear perception and communication in the present.
We need to learn to forgive and forget and approach our loved one as if for the first time, forgetting whatever he or she may or may not have done in the past which has hurt us. If we can remember that there is a divine law which allows only what is necessary for our evolutionary process to happen to us, we will realize that our partner (or any other person) was only the means by which this experience came to us.
We have been the creators of everything anyone has even done to us. This may be difficult to swallow, but it is true. Thus there is not any one to forgive, except ourselves for creating such a reality for ourselves. Let us forgive ourselves and the others and start each day a “new” relationship with those close to us.
8. We cannot imagine harmony. Many of us cannot imagine a harmonious relationship. This may be because we have experienced negative childhood role models. Or perhaps we have lived now for so long in a negative relationship (or have had a series of negative relationships) that we cannot imagine ourselves in a positive one.
In such a case, we would benefit from learning to project positive thoughts and images while in deep relaxation. While in the relaxed and concentrated state, we can imagine our relationship partner immersed in light, well and happy. We can bring to mind five positive qualities which we can respect in the other. In this way, we create a positive image of the other person. Then, we can imagine ourselves together with the other in a happy, harmonious relationship. We can imagine ourselves communicating in various ways, talking, dancing, loving, walking, working together etc.
Some of us have difficulty in imagining such a positive relationship. In such a case we should realize that our own negative subconscious (or conscious) thought-form is a serious obstacle towards creating a happy relationship.
Thus, in some cases it may seem that the other is the aggressive one who is doing injustice to us, but as long as we are unable to imagine a more positive reality, our negative expectations are as much responsible for what is happening as is his behavior. The solution is to work on changing our image of ourselves and the other, and of how our relationship can be.
9. Inner Conflicts. Inner conflicts often externalize as conflicts with our loved one. When beliefs, needs, values or desires conflict within us, we project those conflicts onto those around us, especially those closest to us. We believe that they are in conflict with us, limiting or resisting us, when in reality, one part of our selves, is limiting or resisting another. Then, when we harbor feelings of resentment or blame towards the other, he in turn feels abused, as he feels innocent of our accusations. The other, in fact, will often take the opposite side in a conflict. Not because he really believes so much in that but, more so, because we, through our doubt, are sending him subconscious messages which force him to take this opposite stance so that we can work this thing out on a conscious level.
We believe that the other is conflicting with us, but the reality is that we are conflicting with our selves through him or her. When we have worked enough on an inner dialogue with our selves and have come to a reconciliation between our various needs and beliefs, we will find that the other will be freed from his temporary antagonistic role and the external conflict will disappear.
For example, we might start a new diet, or a path of self-improvement, or spiritual growth or any new activity. As long as we doubt, or have an inner conflict about making these new changes in our life, the others will resist, criticize, ridicule and even become aggressive with us. This will last as long as we are not sure of these changes, or not sure of our right to make them. It is also prolonged by our need to prove to the others that we are right, by arguing, or converting them to our new way. This is a serious mistake which must be avoided. It creates unnecessary conflict.
We will discuss how to overcome the above mentioned obstacles in our effort to create a conscious love relationship in the upcoming chapters.