From Donna Goddard
Every intimate relationship with a partner will bring back old, unfinished childhood-parenting issues. They lie in wait, to resurface in a different context – one in which we are an adult and can start to process things that were beyond us as a child to even understand, let alone resolve.The parent who abandoned, for example, is not gone. The whole issue and every emotion attached to it will come stomping back into the arena under the guise of an adult relationship. When we look for a partner, the last thing people generally want is some connection to their own, usually faulty, upbringing. However, the in-built healing push in humans will make the connection inevitable.
The psychology of human relationships is such that we will have a tendency to look to our partner for “parenting” whenever we are receiving love, protection, courage, energy, money, and any symbol of care. We will give that same thing to our partner when the roles are reversed. Here is the gateway for the issues to arise. Our tendency to swing in and out of child-parent roles in our relationship will open the door to all the old unresolved issues, even if we can’t yet see the connection. It is meant to be like this. We heal our past by living our present love relationship. This makes the love relationship healing in a way that stands on its own. It also makes it susceptible to a level of pain which similarly stands on its own. The issue at the centre of every argument is not just the current perceived issue but, behind that, there is a whole stack of related issues based on the same emotion. Every small rejection from a partner will give rise to the whole extent of past rejections, particularly rejections from childhood, usually long suppressed under the blanket of, “It’s best to forget about that.”
Friendships cannot do this for us. They are just not deep enough. When we share our naked body, our money and our financial future, the range of our good and bad emotions, our dearest dreams and most painful memories, our trembling fears, our fragile hopes, and our sweetest and most touching joys the relationship cannot be anything other than a uniquely powerful human opportunity. It will unavoidably hold within itself the capacity to hurt and heal in an unparalleled way. It is a unique gift to ourselves. And it is a unique gift to another. No; friendships cannot do that.
Very young children go through the continuous rotating cycles of saying, “Pick me up. Put me down. Leave me alone.” If they are particularly testy, they can do that numerous times in one hour. It would wear the patience of any parent. However, it is crucial to their psychological development as they oscillate between complete dependence, tentative exploration, and courage (even if it is misplaced courage). Although generally more sophisticated than toddlers, adults will do some version of the same thing to each other – sometimes within one day, often within cycles which can run for weeks or even months. The pick me up will feel nice, unless it’s too clingy. It can feel tremendously satisfying, beautiful, reassuring, empowering, and spiritual. The put me down can feel anything from,“Okay, we both need some space” to disappointing aloneness. The leave me alone will usually bring up a sense of sadness, vulnerability, and a fear about the future viability of the relationship. However, each cycle is not only inevitable but, if used properly, it will be the threshing ground for working through issues and letting things settle.
If there is too much pick me up, the couple are probably repressing most of their inner issues for the sake of appearances or because one is so dependent on the other that they will sell their soul to that person so long as they don’t leave. If there is too much put me down and leave me alone then obviously the connection will deteriorate and one or both will lose interest. Eventually, the child is left behind and we become a sane, well-balanced, and loving adult. One day, even that adult is outgrown and we merge with our spiritual identity which knows neither childhood sorrow nor adult relationship pain. It neither clings to human happiness nor runs from human suffering. It is a fluid, strong as steel, soft as the breeze being. It has tremendous resources of love and compassion for a world which dimly sees the beauty that is forever breathing around it. That identity is at the core of each one of us to slowly be discovered when the resistance is flimsy and the pull is irresistible.
Donna shares her love for the Divine and mankind and her understanding of the causes of suffering and happiness. This article is from her book, “Love’s Longing”. https://donnagoddard.com/buy-books/
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