There is a theory that we choose our partners to help us heal from our childhood wounds. Romantic relationships start as just that – romantic, after a while we realise our partners can push our buttons like no-one else can. So why did we choose the person who can upset us so much?
We form our core beliefs and values in childhood and these come primarily from our parents. As we grow up we develop our own ways of being that sometimes challenge those core beliefs and we go through a process of change and adaptation to avoid pain and strive for happiness and peace. But sometimes those messages from childhood emerge and without even realising it we clash with our partners because of them. Examining those messages and how they fit with us now is how we heal from those wounds.
However, most of the time, we are not even aware of those core messages and so the conflict that arises in our relationships are disguised as other issues. We get caught up is solving the wrong problem and it can become very complicated when we take into consideration our partner’s own issues and perhaps those of the wider family system.
Clear communication and self-examination can help us get to the root of problems and open our hearts to each other’s inner world. With empathy and understanding we may be able to see the world from the other person’s perspective and step back from our selves. This speeds up the process of healing and moving towards peace and harmony. Otherwise we can get trapped in a perpetual cycle which seems unsolvable, eventually causing the relationship to end due to perceived incompatibility.
This may sound like hard work, and it can be, but if both parties are willing to engage in a different way of relating and thinking about why we feel and behave as we do the rewards can be great. Christmas and New Year can be a time of heightened stress where we see our families and sometimes revert to old patterns.
Can you see some of your parents’ traits in your partner? Do you sometimes feel like a child when they speak to you in a certain way? This could be a clue that they are triggering those old messages and you are getting caught in a transaction that doesn’t belong in the relationship you want. It helps if your partner is willing to try couples counselling with you but you can also do this alone. If one element of a relationship changes – the relationship must change.
Finding the time to attend couples counselling when jobs and children come first can prevent us from seeking the help we need. Many counsellors don’t work into the evening or at weekend and so it seems like we must soldier on and grin and bear it. If you find yourself stuck in this situation try individual counselling and see if it helps your relationship issues.