LOVE TIP – Monday August 27, 2012

Relationships do not cause pain and unhappiness. ………………….The Agenda you bring from your childhood does!!… And what this has to do with why you choose your partner…..

Hello dear Friends

“Relationships do not cause pain and unhappiness. They bring out the pain and unhappiness that is already in you.” ~ Eckhart Tolle

I am so excited to have found this quote.  I think this is one of the most profound and succinctly put sayings I have come across on relationships for a long while. How spot on!…… And why is this?

It will help you to understand if I share with you a perspective or the way of looking at relationships that has significantly influenced the way I see the world and all my relationships. It is a synthesis of many theories.

Remember when you ‘fell in LOVE’…it was like all your dreams had come true. Like you imagined it would last forever….…….You thought you chose your Beloved because they were soft, gentle, LOVE-ing……. or maybe strong, dependable, intelligent or playful, handsome, free-spirited, spontaneous, generous, spiritual, good-looking, had a great body, sexy, beautiful……… know all those gorgeous qualities you place at the head of your list if you are thinking about what to look for in your ideal partner.

BUT the part of our brain that ‘sees’ and relates to all these wonderful qualities is unfortunately NOT the part of us that chooses our partners….There is a hidden reason you picked your partner and a hidden agenda in LOVE relationships.

1. Relationships have an unconscious purpose which is to get the needs met that weren’t met as we were growing up.

2. Every living thing has embedded within it a “blueprint” for what it will become as an adult. For humans this blueprint involves accomplishing certain developmental tasks at specific stages during childhood….All children go through DEVELOPMENTAL STAGES  ATTACHMENT, EXPLORATION, IDENTITY, COMPETENCE are the first four and we focus on them as they are the most formative.

Let’s take a closer look at the first Stage as an example -The ATTACHMENT Stage:
Desired Parenting – parents need to be available, attuned to the baby and their needs and to respond out of that tuning in, as the primary need for the baby is to be close and attached and bonded to the parent. The parent needs to be reliably available and reliably warm…..and they will respond to what the infant needs when they need it, regardless of whether it is convenient for them or not.
Healthy Outcome – emotional security for the child; “I am bonded, I feel secure, I am safe…there is always someone there when I reach out and need them…..”

It helps to see parenting styles and the wounding that happens for the child as being along a continuum. On one end the parent’s availability is inconsistent and unpredictable and they are consistently cold. The resulting wound for the child is rejection and feeling unwanted and unlovable and aloneness. The child ‘protects/defends themselves by pulling in, detaching, holding back and avoiding.

On the other end the parent is inconsistently available and inconsistently warm. Sometimes they are present and sometimes they are not; sometimes cold, sometimes warm. The wound for the child is abandonment and they ‘protect/defend‘ themselves by clinging; by ‘going after’ and hanging on tightly. Intermittent reinforcement is the strongest there is – you get rewarded sometimes and sometimes you don’t.  You chase after because you know that at some point you will get your needs met. This is where the wound of abandonment begins. You have experienced connection and you want it back again. And this is how ‘clingers’ are created.

This is followed by the EXPLORATION Stage when the child starts to move away and explore the world, then by the IDENTITY Stage where they are experimenting with and trying on all kinds of identities and asserting who they are; and then to the COMPETENCE Stage where the focus is learning how to do tasks and achieve things and the healthy outcome is a sense of personal power to achieve……and so on. We all go through these Stages.

Since most people have had ‘less-than-perfect’ childhoods and have been around ‘less-than-perfect’ care-givers most people have needs that were not met as they went through these various Stages and have developmental tasks that were not completely accomplished. This leads to what are called in popular psychology “childhood wounds” or ‘baggage’. These “wounds” are simply needs that haven’t been met.

And these needs have not been met by their parents for many reasons, many of which are not conscious and intentional. Most parents do the best they can given the learning they have had and are usually responding the way they do because of how their parents treated them.

3. Another part of the relationship “blueprint” we have inside us is an image or a picture or a template of the way someone who loves/cares for us will treat us and the way we will respond to them and treat them. This image is made up of both the positive and the negative traits of those people who influenced us in the formative years. This is mainly up till about six to seven years old.

And as well from earliest childhood our brains are actually formed and wired according to what is repeated in the environment around us. Whatever is reoccurring over and over and modelled to us by the people around us becomes our reality about who we are and what we can expect from people in the world.

This is backed up by scientific research on the brain which shows that the neural pathways that are at the basis of our behaviour are formed in relation to the people that are significant to us as we are growing up. Caretakers are most crucial in shaping the child’s developing self-image and world-image. Whatever is fired over and over gets wiredOur brain then is in fact “hard-wired” to sabotage our significant relationships!! 

Question for you:  What were the models of behaviour and ♥LOVE and caring that you were exposed to and influenced by as you were growing up? It is important to be curious about and to explore and be aware of this in yourself and your partner/’the other’.

4. So unknowingly, we are drawn to and select partners who are like our parents/primary care-givers….. People who have both the positive and the negative characteristics of the people who raised us. The image or template inside us is the basis that we unconsciously chose from. Our unconscious has programmed us since we were born to partner with our worst nightmare!!

5. So the consequence is our partners will be unskilled in helping us to get those important needs met!  We bring that agenda to all our adult relationships.

6. And this unconscious agenda is why relationships can shift from the place of deepest LOVE to total negativity and pain and unhappiness in the space of seconds. Your partner just “turned into” your father/brother/mother/uncle………./other significant people and you swore you would never chose a husband or wife or partner like that!!!…..

And as well as their actions hurting and frustrating you and creating pain and unhappiness in the present, it reminds you of all the times you didn’t get your needs met and how hurt you felt when you were growing up, whether you remember the link or not. There is also an element of betrayal in those times of conflict as in the early Romantic Stage when we are ‘blind’ to the negative characteristics we think we have finally found someone who is going to meet our needs and LOVE us in the way we have always longed for……

7. People have many misconceptions and myths about the nature of ♥LOVE and these lead to destructive conclusions. All relationships go through normal and predictable STAGES and many couples mistake the lows for the end of ♥LOVE.
“Most of the serious problems in relationships stem from the fact that people do not understand the true nature of love”
says ♥Dr Pat Love in her highly recommended book, “The Truth About Love”.

The Romantic /Infatuation Stage is the initial period in a relationship when people fall in LOVE. It is the first and a crucial stage in the journey of creating Real LOVE….When you first meet and are developing your relationship you are in a chemically-driven space where you only experience your partner’s positive qualities. Yet this is not what LOVE is really about. This Stage doesn’t last and it isn’t meant to.

We then move into what we call the Power Struggle. All the negative qualities that we thought we had left behind are now showing up……So what are we to do then as we feel we are living in our worst nightmare as our partner’s behaviour reminds us of the very things we wanted to get away from when we left home?

Is there one thing all couples need to know?

People need to know what LOVE is, and what LOVE is not—that LOVE is not sexual desire, not infatuation……. Says Pat Love: “It’s a misconception that love is a feeling and you either have it, or you don’t. The fact is that LOVE grows in response to getting your needs met”.

Find out what your partner needs, what says, “I LOVE you” to your partner and give it as a gift. Learn how to LOVE your partner in the way they want to be LOVED. That’s really the key.

So paradoxically the proposition I am putting  to you is that your greatest growth and healing and life changes will come from S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G into doing the very things that will make your partner feel most LOVED and cared for….And, these are the very behaviours which will be the hardest for you to do!!

“This is a revolutionary view of relationships: rather than leaving it to find yourself, you find yourself through it – being the right partner is more important than picking the right partner.”  ~ Dr. Harville Hendrix.

The partner that most matches what we got in the past is the person who is most able to help you to heal the wounds of your past. Your marriage/relationship becomes the therapy—you become healed not by a counsellor but by the relationship itself!

What touches our heart is someone, who is unable to give us what we want, being willing to learn how and to S-T-R-E-T-C-H into doing those things that are the hardest for them to do and give us what we never got……so re-creating/being-a-replica of the child-parent relationship where the child longed for the parent to change and be there for them and to meet their needs.

What does your partner ask you to do that is important to them that you don’t do very well? It might be listening, or talking or not talking, or spending time doing things together, or feeling, or touching, or cuddling, or laughing and playing, or speaking gently, or dancing, or valuing the way they do things, or going on holidays instead of always working, or being on time, or making love, ………..or a million and one things.

What does your partner ask you to do that you continually reject? This again, believe it or not, is your greatest growth edge and opportunity for you to grow into being more of who you truly are. Giving your partner what is hardest to give is healing for them as you are meeting their needs but it is also growthful for you as you have to S-T-R-E-T-C-H into doing new behaviours that wasn’t OK for you to do as you were growing up.  It will feel unfamiliar and uncomfortable. It won’t feel like “being you”.

LOVE is a DECISION. It is not just a feeling. It is a decision we make [or we don’t make] and we make it every day, every minute, in the way that we behave with one another.

The more clear you can get about your history and ‘the baggage’ you bring with you the more connecting and intimate your relationships will become. And by the way this doesn’t just apply to your primary LOVE relationships – this process applies to all your relationships – your parenting, siblings, your boss, mother in law……

Don’t give up on finding and creating deep and meaningful relationships.  Know that applying these points and learning the Skills and TOOLS that assist you to uncover and process and heal your unmet needs from childhood will lead you to manifesting your soul-mate and building life-long LOVE and relationship success…..with the partner you are already with or for the singles to attract ‘the partner of your dreams’…..

Phew! That is a lot to take in! Thanks for ‘hanging in there’! I hope I am making sense. I would value hearing your comments and what this brings up for you. This is a great topic for a MIRRORING PRACTICEShare with someone what impacts you about this post. MIRROR each other for a minimum of 5 minutes.

I am inviting you here to look at yourself and your life and relationships in a new way. Behaving in an intentional and LOVE-ing way toward your partner is the greatest opportunity you have to help you heal unresolved pain and hurt from childhood for yourself as well as for your partner and for both of you to become who you truly are.

I have an Exercise to offer that will throw some light on the unconscious agenda you bring to your adult relationships. Please email me at if you would like me to send that to you.

Happy exploring and uncovering and LOVE-ing, Susie.