Healing unhealthy relationships
While observing the inner child more closely in the previous paragraphs, we arrived at a point where we came to understand how the various child-layers developed and succeeded one after the other. What we will observe now is the way we interact with each other in whatever relationship we share. Starting point is: out of every one involved the inner child may be in charge. When the inner child is in charge in situations where we are not in agreement with each other at some point, the relationship will be effected in its development accordingly. In the end, we hurt each other, trusting one another will decrease, openness toward one another diminishes – thus creating space for secrets, avoiding and even rejecting each other. When this grows from bad to worse, especially in love relationships (when we start fighting, not respecting each other’s boundaries which may even give space to violence), the relationship may be hitting bad weather. In the interaction with one another two extremes may arise: playful and merry from one moment to harsh and hurting in the next. This can be very confusing to both partners, they have to pay attention to not growing apart. Because … there used to be love, isn’t it? Where did I lose connection with myself? What happened … that we lost love for each other like sand between the fingers? Where did we lose sight of each other? Is there any opening for reconciliation …?
Arduousness in maintaining a relationship – The way each of us as an adult maintains a relationship, is a reproduction of what we saw happening in the relationship between our parents. This reference has formed us, did hurt us. The observation, the experience, not getting what we needed then, in nowadays life are effecting our present expectations toward the other in our love relationship. Lacking the understanding parent we project this expectation toward our partner. Where in our youth the loving adult was absent, we did not have the opportunity to mirror it, missing the possibility to develop the loving adult within ourselves. It is not difficult to notice relationship issues often emerge from fears and expectations from the hurt and/or surviving inner child. This happens unconsciously. Fear that your partner may be leaving you when you don’t meet his/her expectations, is a child-fear, as well. Also, that you would lose yourself when the other would come too close to you.
Absence of the loving adult – When we are having a new love relationship we initially feel in heaven, we feel seen, we feel appreciated for what we are, for what we do. Slowly, slowly, things change. We learn to know each other better, we are getting used to one another. The naïve quality of the pure, natural child makes room for realism. Again, we feel our vulnerability, the honoured armour provides protection, yet again. At a certain moment the hurt child takes over. Action follows reaction: when one of us feels rejected, the other feels the need to protect him/herself against the pain evoking within his/her body and withdraws. This triggers the memory of having been left alone, creating a reaction, too. Unwillingly the partners are challenged by one another constantly. The relationship becomes painful, the chance drama turning into irreversible confusion increases, because of which the couple may separate from one another.
Couples counseling – Therapy for couples is about recovering the own loving adult, as well as the partner’s. Because of recurring confusion in situations where each one of the couple feels the need to be seen by the other, it happens that the loving adult with one of the couple, or with both, withdraws, so the hurt and the surviving child feels abandoned, once again. The partners do try to get out of the situation in a proper way, however, as long as the inner child parts are in charge, being rescued from this situation will take some more time.
During the sessions at praktijk Karuna we will first talk about the history of each of the partners, starting with the earliest youth. How did relatives in the family of origin interact with one another, and what did you take with you in your present relationship?
In what way are you entangled with your present partner as a result of unprocessed early experiences (co-dependency), in what way shock and shame are playing tricks in your relationship, because of which it has become difficult to be intimate with each other, emotionally, as well as physically. You will learn to differentiate old feelings and reactions from the situation in the present – you will be able to experience how pleasant, even liberating, this can be.
As a matter of saying, you will be looking at each other with other eyes. With this new ability you can decide to stay together … or maybe to not give it a try. That choice will be much more based upon what you have discovered from each other in openness and honesty in the moment (fully aware of the present), rather than reactions of old child parts (very helpful survival strategies in your youth, which are no longer helpful, even may be working in a destructive manner on your present relationships).
Intake – After having contacted Karuna – coaching with life questions an appointment will be made. This initial talk will be the intake – during which we will be discussing the questions you may have, we will talk about inner child work, and what this work possibly will attribute to the relationship you and your partner are having with each other. When (both of) you are of the opinion that this therapy will be helpful to you, and you want to work with it, we may decide to make an appointment for a number of sessions. After the first five sessions we will discuss the initial results of the coaching, and you may decide whether or not it has been helpful for you and your relationship – together and individually. After this talk, (both of) you may decide to continue working on your relationship, after which the new phase in the process can be prepared.
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