Monday, August 31, 2015

Day 211: Relationship Dynamics| The Emotional Turmoil Years

Continuation from:

Now moving on from the high school crushes, I want to talk about the rest and remaining of my 'relationship years', which all seemed to steep into dark emotional abusive turmoil. Here I realized years later that I was delving head first into a design constructed by me in my adolescence, based on the strange thwarted relationship I had with my father. I have done blogs here and there that touched on my relationship with my father and these blogs mostly discussed my experience in relation to his death and the years leading up to his death.

Now what I realized after reflecting on all of my relationships into adulthood, was that my distant relationship I had with my father, created a strange dynamic within me, with regards to how I viewed 'relationships with men'. My father suffered from depression and this was the reason why he had a very distant relationship with me. I have mentioned in a previous blog that for a child, their relationship with their parents becomes the basis from which they develop their own personalities and future relationships in general. So for example when parents fight and argue and use sarcasm and resentment towards each other, the children from a very, very young age pick up on this and start integrating this as 'puzzle pieces' or 'bricks' into the foundation of their living words -meaning these things they see, hear and perceive from their parents make up the words in their own vocabulary, which the child then integrates into their own living expression later on as their basic personalities. So watching and hearing your parents fight and use sarcasm and ugliness for example will integrate into the child's personality with regards to 'relationship dynamics'.

From there the child will adapt and learn either directly from what they see and hear - meaning they too will learn these relationship dynamics and make it 'who they are' - or they will learn opposite coping mechanisms and will then alter themselves or attract partners that represent the parent and they themselves represent the fear and insecurity they experienced as a child.

These mechanisms again will depend on the child's main personality designs. A combination of designs existent within each one of us from childhood determine how we adapt to these childhood influences, in how we integrate them into our personalities. Therefore the one child might be an introverted personality, with dependence traits, who likes to suppress their feelings. Into this they take what they witnessed in their home environment and together with these 'base' personality programs with take on the victim to the partner who blames and argues - and they will then remain as the child - fearing the arguments but also as maybe the mother or father doing, looking for ways to please the angry parent by becoming submissive, using specific placating words or changing their behavior to pleas the other. And therefore later in 'adult life' we are still stuck as the child living out our parents patterns with us as the participant.

Or you might have a child who has a more dominant personality, growing up to be out going and more assertive. Here the adult might become the one parent they saw was the more dominant one within the patterns of conflict. This is where we say 'I will never become like my mother'/father' (usually in our teenage years) and then when we blink again, this is exactly what we become. So these personality designs are multi-dimensional and I have only given 2 examples here. Each person is able to relate to how they incorporated the personality traits of their parents into their already pre-existent designs.

Myself for example I saw my parents being distant towards each other and their children. I saw fear about money and suppression of self expression. I saw resentment and coldness etc… This I incorporated into my own personality design, which meant that I walked down a path of abuse and emotional turmoil whilst sometimes being my father who was cold and depressed and at other times my mother who was reactive and needing validation. These cycles would play out over years and I noticed that each boyfriend I chose, was a part of these dynamics.

For example there was the first serious boyfriend after school - who was charming and romantic and then turned into an abuser who I think could have been bordering on some form of a 'delusional disorder'. He had bouts of extreme paranoia and delusions about people wanting to hurt him and plotting against him and he would often fly into a fit of rage saying that I had been out cheating on him. This he would then react to with threats of violence and emotional/mental bullying. What I did in these years is I took on the understanding of relationships I had learnt from my parents. I saw that my father was distant towards me and hesitated real intimacy and therefore to me this was 'love'. Therefore when the boyfriend became abusive, I thought this was normal. My own 'disorder of disillusion' from my childhood drew to me a partner who manifested what existed with me. Also because as in most families there was a fear of money I grew up absolutely hating money, not wanting anything to do with money but also therefore creating absolute dependency on the boyfriend who was threatening to kill me at least once a month -for financial support. So, even by the time I snapped out of the delusion that this was not 'love' I realized I was completely dependent on him for money both because at the time I could not find work (we were going through affirmative action in South Africa), plus my hatred and fear of money caused me to shy away from really pushing for any job I could find.

So in the years that followed after the ending of that relationship, I picked men that were also somewhat obsessive and/or emotionally unstable. Mostly the partners experienced difficulties with intimacy and subtle degrees of obsessiveness. So how I worked with myself in the later years is I allowed myself to lean about who I was in the types of men I picked. I realized my tendencies towards emotional turmoil, abusive patterns and fear of intimacy. Therefore by walking through these relationships and even when it got tough using them as self support to change myself was invaluable. Otherwise how does one expect to change the patterns if you don’t learn somehow from your internal and external realities. So after each relationship ended I would reflect and apply self forgiveness and my self corrective statements. Then I would enter a new relationship if the opportunity arose - being diligent in looking for the points of change within myself and therefore not picking the same characters again. Then what would happen is I would see where my corrections were not 100% because an old pattern would re-surface, usually a bit changed and sometimes watered down. This showed me that there were still some designs active even though their 'charge' was not so strong any more. The new relationships allowed me to then see what new patterns would open up. For example the dynamic of mental, emotional and physical abuse as it was in the first relationship changed, but was now more subtle in relation to it still showing me my self esteem was not 100% and therefore my partner and I would eventually build up resentments and be subtle about self-abuse which is prevalent in most relationships, in the way we eventually speak to each other and have ugly thoughts about each other. So I again went back to the drawing board each time, looking at what this was showing about me.

It was not easy - realize that when you are in the relationship you are dealing with all your reactions and fears and emotions, plus I was trying to address them to a deeper level back to my childhood - to the core of 'who I was really' - not the charming, loving person I was trying to project into this new relationship - rather the cold, angry bitch that was out to crush a man like a twig once he started manifesting my old patterns. So the cycles would change or repeat in lesser degrees and each time after it ended I would cry and feel emotional and then when the storm would subside I would start reflecting and changing myself. Each time I would then look at a potential new partner I would not know for sure what would happen, you really cannot say - but you can trust yourself enough that you know you will keep on applying yourself and even if it all goes pear-shaped - you will learn and change.

So - when I speak to people and they say to me that they feel bad and disillusioned by the idea of ending their relationship - like it is a token of 'failure' - I tell them that I see it mostly as the exact opposite. Obviously I am not saying to end a relationship just because it is tough. I think one should give it your best and develop all your skills while in the relationship and only end it if you see that you have applied yourself, but things have changed to such a degree that it would be best if both walked away - that 'starting over' or 'reconciliation' is not possible for one or both people. For example - lets say into the relationship you see your patterns of self abuse or self victimization. Now you work at changing this but in the course of changing it an interesting thing happens - as you change your partner des not - and they remain the same (or the other way around where they change and you do not). Now you are living with your old pattern whilst you are realizing you don’t want to live that any more. Another scenario I faced and that many face, is that change becomes hampered by to much resentment and to much 'mind clatter' based on the past. *Please note these examples could pertain to either yourself or the other person. For example you set out to change yourself in relation to for example 'I will not bully my partner'. Now you stop yourself daily, but the partner resents you for the 'past' and each time you now clearly communicate (not bullying) the partner shoots off and the entire conversation is sabotaged because the partner only knows bullying and does not trust that you have changed. Now you find yourself compromising your communication to be even more subtle and calm, this having the consequence of resentment and one day you snap…. So this is just one example of a dynamic that plays out where things get too muddled. Often people then take a break from each other and in discussion with people, we have spoken about unconditionally starting again - meaning each one stops their patterns and if for example one of you go into an old behavior the other person points it out - (whilst checking their own reactions),while you unconditionally listens and reflect and changes. But as you can see here are many tiny teensy places where either one can fall back into old patterns, thus one really has to work at unconditionally, trusting self and consistency in your tools.

For example - you might explain to your parent that you are changing pattern A, at first they don’t believe you - meaning the person is holding onto the past and basically (as we can all relate) looking for mistakes and signs of 'he old' - but with your consistency they see after a few weeks that yes indeed you are changing. But let's say after 3 weeks something happens and bam you go back into the old pattern - now the partners 'trust' in you is broken all over again -as in their mind you are reconfirmed an old belief. So there are many dimensions one could say to working on a relationship -as you can see from these few examples many things can happen that make working on a relationship difficult. But if both stick to their principles and keep applying themselves and make the main directive 'I change' - then you continue working together side by side, supporting each other day by day no matter what. In this one realizes that it is in the end not about the other person, therefore if you are changing to please the other - then you have a problem. It is not about me in my relationship - it is about ME and thus my relationship is simply a reflection of me now matter who I am with or what I am doing. Therefore the focus always remains on me, who I am and my process of change and self honesty - therefore one is not moving away from 'oneself' to try and shift into make-shift solutions to save a relationship or keep a person out of desire or fear of loss. Thus taking on this approach - both partners know they are changing to honor themselves, so in the end if a relationship ends, this is not the end of you - it is a decision made and from there one lets go, and uses the opportunity hopefully to reflect and change.