My husband often tells me how much I've taught him to be a better partner. Of course, I have received so much from him as well. I think this illuminates the idea that marriage or a committed relationship is an opportunity to heal, grow, finish childhood, and truly become an emotional grown-up.
I've heard of marriage described as a major university we attend if we're up for the challenging curriculum. I love what Harville Hendrix, Ph.D,, says - Marriage IS Therapy.
How to Determine if Your Partner Isn't a Good Partner for you?
At the beginning of our relationship, we are both very focused on our partner, attuned, wanting to please. But how well can we keep that up?
I believe most of us have good intentions and want to do the right thing. But does your partner lack characteristics for a healthy and successful relationship?
In Imago Relationship Therapy, we talk about something called "The Lost Self or The Lost Parts." This is a part of us that we gave up or suppressed in our thinking, acting, feeling, and sensing because we weren't supported or felt comfortable expressing fully in our families of origin.
The Development of Your Lost Parts
Let's say that you are naturally an animated and expressive person in your soul, but your parents are more reserved or even detached. Perhaps, they gave you some verbal or nonverbal messages such as:
Be less expressive
Often sharing your feelings isn't acceptable.
Being an independent thinker is not Ok, and you must follow the norm of society.
You get the picture. All of what we've been is messaged and stored in our souls. Being told some of the following:
That's not how girls behave. Wear a dress and be nice.
Walk it off. You're not injured. Get back in the game and play!
Why are you so sensitive? You cry too much.
Why can't you get better grades? Your sister does.
You are too loud. Speak softer.
You need to diet and lose weight, or nobody will love you.
You can't wear a pink shirt, that's a girl's color.
Blocking Your Authentic Self
Negative messages can block off who you authentically are in your soul, and you'll begin to act differently to be accepted and loved. Sadly, it will follow into your adulthood until you decide to do the work to get back in touch with who you are and meant to be in your soul.
These messages become inhibitions and unconsciously show up in our personal relationships and even how and why we pick our partner. And our partner does the same thing to us.
So, when conflict arises, you have a choice to grow and evolve or become stuck in an unconscious pattern. The good news is that there's hope.
Taking Ownership to Grow and Evolve
If you are willing to take ownership of the following, you can make a change to have healthier and happier relationships where you can truly be your authentic self:
Take an honest look at your limitations and work to improve.
Embrace change to create the life you want as an adult. The good news is you'll be liberating yourself from the messages that made you go underground and not be the full you.
Be willing to dig deeper to connect to your authentic self.
If your partner is longing for you to be more expressive or less reactive, are you willing to stretch for them?
There is a difference between a character structure: narcissism, meanness, lack of empathy, and the inability to listen. These are red flags and are usually not amenable to change.
However, if you have a kind and loving person who is willing to take the journey towards not just having the right partner, but being the right partner, you can get there.
What's even better, you can grow and heal together to be two authentic selves and together have a loving and healthy relationship.
If you feel lost in your relationship and want to connect with your lost parts, we're here to help. Check out our Imago Relationship Workshops and Imago Relationship Therapy. We have Online Therapy and Online Workshops now too!
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