Relationships can be challenging for all of us, but for some the struggle goes beyond the norm. This can occur when one's self is compromised at an early age. In my practice as a Healing Facilitator, I have seen the roots of this problem embedded in early childhood experiences. In situations where one's parent has enormous personal needs, they often look to their child for validation of their existence. A child, in this circumstance, is placed at the service of the parent rather than being contained and reflected by the parent. This sets up a paradigm for the child of self-sacrifice in relationships.
Such a pattern often continues throughout the child's life, making them "other-focused." They serve the "other" at the expense of their self. In such circumstances, healthy ego development is thwarted, separation from the parent is rendered incomplete, and development of healthy boundaries is impossible. Consequently, relationships can be experienced as dangerous, since they are based in primitive attachment which does not allow for the ability to be separate.
The striving for both merging and independence is characteristic of the early stages of child development with its push-pull relational pattern. This dynamic both creates a problem with relationships and provides a remedy at the same time. By consciously navigating the waters between bonding and separation, they can access the territory from which a healthy self can develop.
If an adult chooses to work in the context of the Healing Relationship he or she can begin to see the cause and effect of their patterns. What becomes apparent is the erroneous belief that one must pay a huge price to obtain love, even though love is longed for very deeply.
The wonderful thing about our universe is that it presents us with what we need. When we need to heal a part of ourselves, the universe will show us the way. We must, however, have the ability to observe ourselves in order to see this. With a certain kind of detachment, we can see that we will always attract a person who fits our pattern.
For one whose sense of self is compromised in this way, it is common to attract a partner with boundary issues of their own, who may collude in recreating historical relational struggles. For example, when the relationship is characterized by enmeshment and control, it recreates a complex ambivalent dynamic, offering both that which is longed for and that which is difficult. However, even this can show the way out. Through the development of conscious awareness, one can begin to change patterns. One may see that the relationship itself can help them to heal, and at the same time, the relationship can be healed. Learning to seize the opportunity which is provided, rather than staying stuck in repeated patterns of unfulfilling relationships is part of the work. In my Healing Practice, when this dilemma presents itself, I have learned to focus our attention at the causal level of patterns. This is done through dialogue and healing touch, and I have found it to be quite successful. As a consequence, resilience is built for the person who was too fragile to handle certain life challenges. One who might take everday interactions as personal assaults, begins to build strength, boundaries and a capacity to be non-reactive. Illusions about safety and danger in relationship are shattered.
The ability to recognize unsafe situations arises with the capacity for healthy separateness, true connections with self and an ability to make mature personal choices. Although the process of working through this kind of wounding can bring up tremendous pain, commitment and perseverance in one's relationship with a healer or therapist can produce great healing. One can develop inner strength and realign and reinforce the foundation of Self. Going it alone is simply not enough to heal relational wounds.
One who has always been "other-focused" and self-sacrificing, may feel that taking this time and making this commitment to such a process is self-indulgent. However, the experience of being self-focused for awhile can provide deep healing to the inner young child; within the context of the healing relationship, this child can now experience the reflection and containment which was enormously lacking at early stages of their life.
True intimacy arises only when one is in healthy relationship with themselves. This process allows one to recognize their own needs and honor them, without feeling an urgency to have these needs provided by a significant other. Thus, when this person does connect to another, the relationship can proceed without the burden of early childhood needs.
In my healing practice I have seen old relationships change and new relationships emerge with different characteristics springing out of a new paradigm. It is through this process that one can be set free to embrace their self, as a whole independent being, ready to engage in relationship in healthier and more fulfilling way