The best and the worst
|One of my best and most painful relationship experiences ever, EVER, was with a man I loved deeper than deep and yet with whom I also experienced much emotional distance and confusion.
Soooo, crazy-making, right?
I can say intellectually and bravely, “I learned a lot.” And that’s true. But it would be less than honest not to also say, “I suffered a great deal until I really grasped the many layers I was tangled up in.
I felt like a fly stuck in a bitter-sweet spider web!
With plenty of solid inner-work, Self-growth and a fresh perspective, let me tell you what was really going on there… it goes on for so many of us, so I think you’ll find this very useful!
Early on, it was easy enough for me to empathize with him. And he encouraged me by telling me I was the first person who could “handle” him. I felt honored to have such a unique place in his life, maybe you can relate?
But eventually things got hard. Every time he spoke to me in a way that I found super painful, my threat response would get activated. I would go silent and my safety strategy would switch on as it had many times in my life – trying to keep the peace by finding empathy for him.
But all the empathy in the world isn’t going to bring about the change we need when honesty is what’s missing.
Again and again, I would find myself in this “freeze” response and I struggled to do what I knew I had to do – speak honestly.
It wasn’t just that I was having a hard time being honest with him, the real issue was that I couldn’t be fully honest with myself.
Things didn’t change until I was finally able to get free of shame, be fully honest and see the destructive dance we were caught in–particularly how I was participating in it.
As a couple, we were missing some other key components that are needed to break free of this type of cycle, so we didn’t make it. Since then I have supported many other couples in doing just that – finding freedom from painful core patterns.
It’s SO important to break out of those damn cycles! to do what it takes to pull together against the threat cycles, towards deeper love.
It’s not enough to be bringing compassion to our surface frustrations and get a little relief, yet not really get down to the emotional insight needed for real lasting change ♥️
Note: even with ALL that I knew about relationships, intimacy and disconnection, I almost lost myself in this one!! I learned that one simply can’t fully see oneself – I think this is what Love is blind really means.
♥️ Most of us simply can’t identify when we are acting out our threat response. Our threat responses are SO sneakily normal and seemingly appropriate, at least to us! I hear people say – that’s how I am. My response is yes, but it’s not who you are.
I’ll share the two things that helped me break free of this relationship and the dysfunctional patterns we were in my next post.
If you’re in a place like this then I’d love to hear from you. Let’s talk, you can book a time that suits you in my calendar using this link for a Introduction Session