Practise to make perfect

A helping hand 2, photo by Melodi T, Waiuku,  New Zealand, not alone Human beings have an innate need to be united with another. That is why we keep going back for more even if it is unpleasant. Avoiding being attracted to dysfunctional relationships means developing the art of being clear about what is acceptable to us and what’s not. From when we are children we need help to learn about new things from others who are experienced, especially those we can trust. Then practise to make perfect, as the saying goes.

he said that he had been a proactive person
successful in his endeavours and happy too
then he met her and after the initial bliss
it all went downhill because she wanted him
to change just to please her
as he did it just got worse – he felt like a doormat for her
but she was still not happy, his self esteem plummeted
then he walked away from the breakup
and in an attempt to pick up the pieces
he asked me what to do? I reminded him that
once he was strong and capable as well as happy
so he could start again because he had done everything
to save that dysfunctional relationship
also it was now time to note what he didn’t want in
the next relationship and get on with his life
I saw him again and he was confident, refreshed and
optimistic about life

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Relationship dance

Light dance 2, photo by Audrey Johnson, United States, healthy loveResearch has shown that in a roomful of people we unconsciously choose a person who will do a relationship dance with us which suites our present need. That need can be healthy or not, a happy one or full of misery – depending on our self esteem level. There may be unfinished business with our parents and we choose someone to be attracted to who will give us the opportunity to resolve those issues.

Although we know that it’s not good to
fall in love with someone who reminds us
of one of our parents, nevertheless,
it happens so often unknowingly
the relationship dance that follows
can make us or break us
all in the name of being in love
her first husband reminded her of
her charismatic neurotic mother
whilst her second husband reminded her
of her gentle dignified father
neither marriages turned out
no wonder, but she resolved many issues
and said that perhaps her third marriage
will have a better outcome

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Self parenting

Baby, photo by Kathryn McCallum, Orlando, United States,  loving parentBefore we can have fulfilling relationships we need to first have a good relationship with self. This is done successfully when we have the emotional maturity to carry out parenting ourselves – self parenting. Otherwise we are out of touch with our feelings because we do not know how to deal with them and to befriend them. Our feelings are anywhere on a continuum between elation and depression. Feelings can be fearful unless we can recognise them and own them as being important to our personality. Only then can we handle the feelings of others in a relationship, be it a working or a loving relationship.

he looked at me with smirking eyes
when I mentioned self parenting
and laughed heartily saying
I was being ridiculous
but then I asked him to
tell me how he was feeling
about his unhappy relationship
and he struggled for the words
to express himself
so we spent several counselling sessions
until he found how to identify his feelings
and how to stop trying to bury them
the change in him was obvious and
this was confirmed by his partner and
by not needing so much booze to
self medicate the inner turmoil

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New beginnings

behold, photo by Arjun Chennu, Chennai, India, new relationshipsWhen relationships end, either by death or divorce, part of the growth process is how we make new beginnings. We complete our grieving and only then can we accept that it’s over. Some decide to spend time alone to recover from their loss, while others search for a new relationship. Nevertheless, Life goes on and so do we, that’s the way it should be.

every other time he had gone after her
this time he waited for her to come back on her own
and she didn’t!
so he licked his emotional wounds and
got back up from the depths of his depression
“Life goes on” someone had said
and now it was the best thought
as he considered new beginnings
the future was more promising
last time I saw him he was smiling and his life
was so much brighter now
behold, photo by Arjun Chennu, Chennai, India, http://arjmage.blogspot.com

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Love addiction

breaking, photo by Len Nguyen, Bloomfield, United States, soulmate, hostageHow often are we amazed at how we are held hostage by loving someone who does not return that love. Unrequited love is very potent and keeps us hooked. We become unaware that the other person does not feel for us as we feel for them and just because they show interest we interpret that as being what we want it to be. This is called denial and the core issue is love addiction. When we can see it for what it is: purely friendship, then we are able to stay real. But when we make something of it that it is not then the end result is pain. Love addiction is experienced by both the giver and the receiver.The receiver (victim) is the one who hopes that what they want is truly happening. The giver (perpetrator) is blind to the needs of the other and keeps them hopefully dangling. The whole process causes intrigue and is in itself love addiction.

she smiled, joked and had a sexy look
he thought he had found his soulmate
they thought alike but when he tried to
get closer she ran away
when he gave up, she was back
promising more than before but then nothing
he decided that was it, never again!
but she looked at him and he melted
what was he to do with this joy and pain?
she couldn’t understand why he was making
such a big thing out of nothing
she wanted just friendship and
was not ready for anything more
yet she couldn’t stay away!
they call it love addiction

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Passive Aggression

miserly witch photo by uc sesselle Adegem, Belgium passive aggressionWe all get angry but different people have different ways of behaving when they get angry. Some shout and others express themselves appropriately without throwing a tantrum. Then again there are those whose response is minimal but deep inside there is turmoil, so they withdraw. Nevertheless their behaviour shows they are unhappy and it is tense around them. That’s what is commonly known as passive aggression and not very helpful in a relationship. It is better for them and others that they at least attempt to express their feelings maturely rather than hold them inside which causes ill health, just as acting out angry behaviour aggressively also does.

for a long time she kept quiet when she was angry
that’s the way it had always been for her but
she had not realised that it was written on her face
all the frustration, the hurt and the pain
brought about by that anger
however it did not help in the long run even though she
had become good at passive aggression
as she practised a healthier way of communicating
she became more loveable and happier
only now and then she slipped back to the old ways
but at least nowadays it was for a shorter time because
she knew that it was so obviously
immature and unhealthy

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A dysfunctional relationship is a tragedy

Mother and Child photo by Alex Furr Southampton, Great Britain http://www.loopit.org , http://www.sxc.hu/photo/47328 dysfunctional relationshipLiving in a relationship that is unhappy can lead to sickness. Some people sacrifice themselves for the sake of appearances and their children. They think that it is better to stay in the relationship than to break up a family. However, what they don’t realise is that staying in a dysfunctional relationship is a tragedy for the children and all concerned. This only provides an example of how miserable life can be and that we have to put up with it. It is far better that counselling be sought in an attempt to improve things or failing that believing that a fresh start can bring a better life.

she cried as she told me her tragic story
of domestic violence and misery
the fear for her children’s future
was another side to it and
in response to my suggestion that
should she want to move on there are
refuges for the safety of women like her
she stared me straight in the face and
told me that she couldn’t bear the
thought of breaking up her family
“what would people say?”
I wondered what tragedy would be the
outcome of this dysfunctional relationship

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