The Healing Power of Relationships

Relationships are our greatest gifts, a powerful teacher, reflecting our deepest wounds, our joy, our core selves. They break us open, shattering walls, penetrating masks and show us our true selves. When we leap off the cliff and connect in transparent vulnerability, intimacy deepens and profound connection happens. Soulful, heartfelt intimacy is divine and makes the world a more beautiful place. When we are naked and raw, magic happens.

- Shari

Twin rays, Soul Mates or beloved relationships occur at various levels of our development. We find the right match in our learning story and evolutional maturity. As we raise our self awareness and vibration, our relationships mirror that frequency and energetic pattern. The depth and expanse of the intimate connection aligns with our capacity to travel the infinite landscapes of emotion, exploring the depth of ourselves and the universe. There isn't one perfect relationship, but many over several incarnations. Each relationship represents the perfectly designed script, supporting us to master life lessons, achieve liberation and completion of the human Karmic wheel.

Intimate relationships provide opportunity for deep growth, healing and learning.  They are mirrors reflecting our emotional issues and wounds. Growth is accelerated in relationships because our shadow aspects are highlighted. The perfect partner is the one we work on our life lessons with. 

 

We have a “Soul Contract” involving predestined choreography orchestrated in relationship that uncovers emotional blockages, inhibiting self-love and self-knowledge. Some people walk solo and work through life lessons independently. Others are destined to have casual relationships and not deal with confrontational emotional content. But for many of us, our intimate partner is placed in the front position unlocking emotional terrain such as (pain, shame, anger, fear, rage, jealously, resentment, defenses, etc.) Intimate relationships push our buttons. It’s hard, but that’s how we discover ourselves.   

 

Blind Spots reflect repressed emotions activated within us by our partner. Usually in conflict or heated arguments, defensive walls are pushed, protecting deeper hurts, patterns and traumas.  At times, we deny our feelings and push back with arguments, deflection or projection.  Other times, defenses crack open and we feel exposed. Relationships are repetitive cycles of opening and closing the heart.  It’s easy to externalize blame, projecting all sorts of “crimes and misdemeanors” onto our partner. For example, we may be angry not being supported with household task, the kids, unpaid bills, the trash not being put out or the lawns mowed.  We may feel invisible or not heard.  Our feelings are justified. However, it is important to see if there’s an emotional charge. In conflict, there is more than meets the eye, a deeper story behind the issue. We storm and rage, focus on anything, then what threatens that part of our inner child that feels hurt, wounded and unsafe.

 

Relationships challenge our sense of self, comfort zones and protective overlays. Interactive dynamics hit again and again at those contracting walls of self-preservation.  We close off and feel misunderstood, frustrated and unsatisfied. By objectifying issues and not facing our own relational patterns, we don’t learn and grow. Staying hidden behind walls, we close off to deeper intimacy. 

 

Many of us carry trauma in the unconscious part of ourselves, physiology and cells. Emotional issues have layers and unwind like an onion. Our parents model relationships for us as children. For some of us, our childhood was a delight, a series of fond memories filled with love, encouragement and fun. With validation and nurture from healthy role models and high functioning parents, some of us have relationships that don’t hit so hard on inner wounds. Our childhoods were healthy, communicative and harmonious, resulting in healthier attachments as adults. Later relationships tend to be emotionally lighter, have greater intimacy and less conflict. However, for many of us with dysfunctional childhoods, emotional wounds percolate under the surface, ready to ignite. With self-reflection, we garner insight about these blind spots, those hidden areas where we feel stuck, afraid or unsafe. Until trauma is released from the body, emotional issues 

surface repeatedly in relationship.  

 

In past experiences, I created codependent relationships where my intimate partner played father figure making me feel safe, secure and protected. Because of my mother’s verbal abuse as a child, I excommunicated from my family and sought parental security in my relationships. I remained as the emotionally wounded child, needy and codependent. I had to find my own independence and self-confidence, balancing the wounded inner child and the responsible adult.  By recognizing the pattern in counselling, I learned how to create healthy and balanced relationships, standing on my own two feet. The wounded child no longer ruled the show. 

 

Models of relationship and values are carried down the family genealogy. It is common for patterns of discipline, addiction or abuse to be repeated, not only by our parents, but our grandparents and great grandparents and further down the line. This shows up as the abused child turning into the abusive parent, the abandoned child being emotionally unavailable with their children, or a child of an alcoholic becoming an alcoholic father. If our parents are critical, abusive, or absent, we internalize feelings of unworthiness or invisibility. We make conclusions about relationships in response to how our parents treated us, or by observing their behavior with each other. This impacts relationships we create as adults. From past trauma, we get stuck at the emotional development or physical age the trauma occurred. In relationship, what we manifest is a recreation and triggering of the same emotional response we felt as a child. This is known as a “Frozen Need” where we get unconsciously stuck at the point of trauma, manifesting relational dynamics bringing up childhood feelings and blocking fulfillment of our nurturing needs. 

 

If issues are not addressed in our current relationship, unresolved feelings will surface in other relationships. Patterns don’t clear until the deeper wound is resolved. We may feel unsafe sharing our vulnerability and authentic self. We don’t want to get hurt like we did as a child or from past relationships. This isn’t the case for everyone.  But family patterns, when not dealt with, have power and unconsciously manifest in our interactions. That is what we learn and what we know. We observe and model our parents’ style of relating, consciously and unconsciously. Doing inner work on ourselves, we change unhealthy patterns and instilled family dynamics and break the destructive cycle. With self-awareness, we can make conscious choices, rather than blindly reacting when conflict arises. Unless we take responsibility for our behavior, we will be stuck in old repetitive patterns and not heal the past.  

 

We don’t have to stay in toxic or dysfunctional relationships. Some people recognize their relationship isn’t working, but over stay. They fear being alone, have kids or don’t want to lose financial or emotional security or lack confidence living independently. By reaching out for support, such as talking to a counsellor, family or friend, we can let go of the past and create anew. We can make healthier choices, make a firm stand and say No when an abusive, toxic or non-supportive potential partner comes along. Being conscious of our patterns and having self-confidence, we can choose high functioning relationships. 

 

In the early days, I had relationships with questionable men. Some were aggressive, drank too much, used drugs, hung with the heavy crowd or were emotionally walled off. One man I dated had a temper and punched his fist through the wall. His verbal aggression mirrored my mother’s abuse. I became the frightened little girl who hid behind a mask, trying to keep the peace to stay safe. Though I really liked the guy, the cost was too high. I didn’t want a violent relationship. I trusted my intuition, did counseling and walked away. 

 

Many of us block intimacy because we don’t feel good enough. We don’t feel safe letting our hair down, fearing we won’t be loved or accepted for who we are. We fear we aren’t strong, intelligent, attractive or good enough. Our insecurities get the better of us.  Many of us have body image issues, don’t feel sexy or safe opening up sexually. Some of us have been raped or sexually abused and carry that trauma in our body. We shut down our sexual responses fearing rejection, making too much noise or not doing it right. Sexual violation runs deep and takes time to heal. We need to be gentle with ourselves and let our feelings be ok. When we are ready and with the right person, we will trust again.  

 

It takes courage to express the bestial, wild and decadent parts of ourselves. It is frightening to open our emotional skin in front of another.  Relationships are more satisfying when we are authentic and present, sharing raw emotion. When we are open, we invite our partner to do the same. Making the choice to share our innermost secrets and feelings deepen intimacy, activates heart connection and heal hurts locked inside.

 

In my relationship with Robert, we have written a book of poetry called “Wild Heart Beats”. By sharing our deepest feelings with each other, it has strengthened our intimacy, communication and spiritual bond. Though it was scary being vulnerable and open, especially after my childhood abuse, our emotional connection garnered depth, greater, meaning and transparency. 

 

Though the fantasy of finding the perfect relationship, “the White Knight in Shining Armor” sounds wonderful, the harsh reality is, relationships are bloody hard work! Though they have wonderful bits, they move from one challenge to another, often involving misunderstanding, miscommunication and conflict. The stress of life and daily responsibilities make it difficult to consistently hold intimate connection. Relationships are about the journey, not the perfect picture or end goal.  It’s about the hard stuff, working out issues and learning about ourselves.  By choosing to not plug into the drama, we gain clarity how to move through. Relationships aren’t perfect, but neither are we. We need to honestly communicate and ride the turbulent waves together. It’s the hard stuff that makes us stronger.  But we can still have fun along the way.

 

It is our birthright to celebrate ourselves and express fully in relationship. Healing is self-discovery. Many of us hide our vulnerability and deeper emotions. The juice is allowing spontaneous flow of expression, without barriers or control. We need to forgive ourselves for past hurts and traumas, knowing there is nothing to forgive and let go of self-judgment and blame. It’s ok to trust again.  Life is a game of lesson we are doing the best we can.  We are beautiful, loveable and good enough just as we are. 

Ways to Enhance Intimacy

*Be present with each other. Spend quality time together every day, even just a few minutes. Have the cup of tea, glass of wine, a quick chat to catch up on the day. 

*Communicate feelings. Be open and honest, attentive and empathetic. Speak your truth and allow your partner to do the same.

*Have play dates, romantic excursions and travel adventures.

*Share hobbies, nature walks, sports, and creative interest.

* Laugh and play, tease, have fun, bring the naughty inner child out.

*Be social, get out there, spend time with family and friends, go to that concert, theater night club, party or social gathering. 

*Break the routine, surprise each other, and be spontaneous, daring and bold.

*Spice up your sex life, talk about your wants and needs, experiment, try new things, and be outrageous and decadent. Let it out and Let go! 

 *If you have an argument, listen to both perspectives; give your partner time to communicate his/her feelings, compromise, say sorry, kiss and makeup.

*Own your stuff, don’t deflect, blame or shame. 

*See your partner as a mirror. Ask yourself what do I need to learn from this situation? Buttons are pushed in relationships; this is our greatest learning.

*Have stimulating conversations, talk about interesting stuff, share ideas, and support each other in your goals, dreams and aspirations.  

*Be direct, open and honest. Don’t wall off, stonewall and shut down. Emotional issues won’t resolve within discussion.

 Stay present and current with each other. Be interested in what’s happening for one another.

*Speak up about what’s bothering you. Work out solutions together, brain storm or seek support. Speak your truth. Be compassionate and kind.

*Be supportive, empathetic and respectful of each other.

*Accept and celebrate each other’s differences and perspectives. It’s ok to disagree.

*Manage mobile technology and spend time together without distraction.

*Learn to give and take, hold balance so you both feel supported and heard. 

*Help each other with domestic responsibilities. Don’t make assumptions about what your partner is supposed to do. Support each other. Keep the balance.

*Do nice things for each other. Give complements and offer encouragement. Be emotionally available and aware of your partner’s nourishment needs. Give them a hug or kiss, buy flowers, a bottle of wine or chocolate. Go for dinner or a romantic getaway. Do something to make them feel loved, special and cared for. *Acknowledge holidays, anniversaries and special occasions.

*Share touch, cuddles, message and intimacy. Touch keeps intimacy alive and the emotional connection strong. Make a warm gesture toward your partner every day.

*When things get hard and emotional issues too challenging, seek couples or individual counseling. It’s ok to ask for help. All couples have rough patches.

*Use helpful tools, read books, participate in healing workshops, retreats, support groups or personal development classes. Do something together. 

*Try new things to deepen intimacy, Tanta, Massage, Breath work and Mindfulness, yoga, Tai chi, Meditation, hot baths or read inspirational books. “The five Love Languages” by Gary Chapman is fantastic.

*Create a solid friendship. Most important say I love you every day!!

Sessions can be done face to face, over the phone or online

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© 2020 by Shari Rhodes