IImagine yourself on a beautiful colourful island, enjoying a sunny day. You can feel a slight breeze on your skin, smell the sea and trees around you, hear the waves and crickets in the background…
You’re sitting in a circle, a nice company, discussing one of your favourite topics: relationships.
It is exactly what we did this week…
Why are relationships so painful sometimes?
How conscious am I in my relationships?
Do I know the real reasons for my behaviour?
What are some typical co-dependent behaviours that ruin my relationship?
These are just some of the questions we explored in my workshops “Conscious loving relationships” that took place on a beautiful island Obonjan, on the Croatian coast.
What does it take to fully connect and co-create a loving future with someone?
Oh, we had a lot to share.
I am one thousand percent sure that you are not the only one who sometimes feels lost or discouraged in your relationship. Whether you’re single or currently in one, I’ll assume you know what it feels like when your partner says or does something hurtful, when they act weird, close up or withdraw from you…
Phases like that make you question things, yourself, that person, whether they really love you…
“Will (s)he stay?”
“Can I trust him/her?”
“Is this it? Is this all?”
“Should I stay?”
Another fight… Another disagreement… Another doubt.
Fearful thoughts like these make us react in ways we never thought we would.
When doubts and scary thoughts creep into our relationship, we just want release. We want a confirmation that all is well and that we needn’t have worried. Often, we just hope (or trust) that things will work out on their own, “time will do its thing…”
Yet, still, there is a need to share what’s going on. To be raw and honest. To know that our partner will understand us.
That they will value our point of view.
That they’ll be interested in how we feel and will want to repair things just as much as we do.
Yes – and that all sounds good in theory. When it comes to real life examples, let’s be honest – we respond in some pretty shitty ways sometimes (pardon my French).
Ways that actually make things worse and disconnects us even more.
Three Destructive Ways of Behaving
Well, I’d like to share the three most common reactions to pain in our relationships, which Gay Hendricks beautifully explores in his book “Conscious loving relationships” (<– book recommendation right here)
So, how exactly do we behave? How do we react?
The first one is: Withholding.
Withholding means not expressing what we really feel or think.
Let’s say that something happened that you didn’t like, or something is bothering you, and you don’t say it openly. Perhaps you tried to communicate it, but you didn’t feel like you were heard. Even if you were, nothing changed.
Withholding the truth means bottling up your feelings. Anger, sadness, annoyance, resentments… instead of talking about it, addressing it, you keep it all in. For various reasons. And after time, it becomes too much to handle.
(What have you kept inside?)
The second one is: Withdrawing.
Instead of stepping up, expressing how you really feel, you withdraw and disconnect. You keep silent and are not attentive of your partner anymore. You close the doors to your room. You don’t send that many texts throughout the day. You turn your back, on the other side of the bed, when going to sleep.
Distance raises between you two, an empty space – literally and emotionally.
(Rings a bell?)
The third one is: Projecting.
Difficult emotions and behaviour, that we ourselves possess, we see in our partner. We project our own feelings onto them. Why? Because it’s easier to see the “flaw” in the other person than it’s in ourselves. It’s a coping mechanism.
One simplest example: A partner who’s put on weight and is unhappy about himself will easily notice (and comment, tease) their partner “Oh, those jeans are a bit too tight, aren’t they? Did someone put some weight ooon??”
Often, when we project, we actually project emotions that we buried a long time ago and are meant for another person. For example, being angry at our partner (even boiling with rage) for coming home late even though he/she had a good reason for it. While not being aware that this anger actually stems from a previous relationship, because the ex-partner used to be late all the time, as he was being unfaithful.
Past hurts trigger all kinds of reactions and emotions, and without knowing – we project.
Now that you’ve read all three types of behaviour, do you recognize yourself or your (ex) partner in them?
We all do it, unfortunately.
But there are better ways to approach your relationship. There are better ways to connect, to share ourselves, to be seen, and to be loved.
If we want a healthy, loving relationship it is essential that we become conscious of ourselves and our thoughts, emotions and behaviour. It is essential that we start to practice our reactions and the way we show up in our relationship.
We need to learn how to communicate and how to distinguish is what we feel really connected to our partner or is it a shadow from our past life, our own internal wound that was never healed.
Want to stop sabotaging yourself and your relationships?
Want to find peace of mind and ease of heart?
Want to be loved and accepted just as you are?
Send me a message to find out more about 1 on 1 coaching here: https://www.mateateller.com/contact/
Or message me on Facebook here: http://m.me/mateateller
In the meantime, here are some photos of the workshops and this stunning little paradise island: