Healing is not easy or fun; it’s a painful, uncomfortable and lonely experience, which is why so many people avoid it. But any wounds you refuse to acknowledge, face, sit with, and hold up to the light, any wounds that are festering in your unconscious mind, simply own you. Until you lean into and examine those parts of yourself that feel unlovable, unworthy, unseen, unheard, discarded, neglected or abused, until you truly know yourself and can accept all parts of yourself (even the stuff you wouldn’t want to share with most people), you’re just going to act that stuff out in every area of your life. Particularly in intimate relationships. In fact, the very relationship you run to in an attempt to avoid your pain, loneliness or rage, is very very likely to bring all those feelings to the surface once the hormones wear off and the fantasy is over. Denial and distraction don’t work, and neither does trying to fill the void with “stuff”, or drugs or sex or a fast car or huge house or big biceps or anything else you can imagine. “The truth will out” as they say. And if you walk into a relationship with the expectation that the other person is going to “complete” you (or both people have that expectation of each other), it’s just a matter of time before it all falls apart.
When you find yourself in a relationship that is deeply painful, there’s an excellent chance that something from your history is being tapped. Yogis call these, “Samskaras”. Something in the interaction or dynamic is creating echoes from events of long ago. The reason it’s so hard to extricate ourselves from relationships like that, is on some level we’re trying to rewrite history. If we can just get that happy ending this time, then it will heal that original wound. But any relationship with a shaky foundation will collapse in on itself eventually, unless both parties get to work digging, knocking down walls, and raising the roof together. If that doesn’t happen (and it’s not likely if two unhappy people come together), when the bricks start to crumble panic sets in because it’s as if that original heartbreak is happening again. And again, you’re powerless to stop it, except you’re grown up, and your rational, problem-solving mind is going to have a very hard time walking away. If only I could get this right, solve the riddle, manage the outcome, manipulate the other party until they do what I want, then I could fix this.
You cannot fix your stuff with someone else, although you can certainly learn a lot about where there is room to grow when your buttons get pushed. I’m not saying a relationship is doomed if either or both parties have work to do individually, I’m simply saying you will need to figure out what is “yours”, what you’re bringing to the mix, and be accountable for it. And not just able to identify your stuff, but also actively working to make changes. The people in your life can be a source of comfort, support and love, but at the end of the day, you have to walk that path to healing alone. Sometimes a relationship is just not healthy. You have two people who come together, and instead of helping each other to grow, they tear each other down. You know if you’re in something like that, because it feels awful. Draining. Like the light is being crushed out of you. Holding on anyway is an attempt to avoid that pain that is yours underneath all the issues of the relationship you’re in. Participating in a situation that brings you nothing but heartache does a great disservice to your whole being. Every part of you suffers: your heart, your mind, your physical health. When you’re in a relationship like that, you really have to find the strength to get out. It’s like breaking an addiction, you can actually get hooked on the suffering. You may be totally convinced the pain you’re feeling is a result of loving this other person so much, and being devastated that they aren’t showing up the way you’d like. But if the scene is that dark, I guarantee you something else is at play. Let go of the relationship, and head directly toward your pain. I mean, truly, open up to it, shed your tears, talk to people you trust, get help if you need it, but face the dragon. It’s not going to kill you. Staying in a relationship that’s crushing your heart and your soul might, though. Not literally, but in the sense that you won’t be shining. You’ll have to numb out to get through. So much better to be in intense pain for a brief period, than endless pain for a lifetime. And if you’re on the other side of ending something like that and just feel devastated, that’s perfectly natural. It will pass, you will grow and heal and strengthen, and be better for having had the experience. Sending you so much love, and a hug, Ally