For all of my life I have struggled with relationships. When it wasn’t my relationship with my family, it was friendships that just would not stay right. Later it became relationships that challenged me the most. I knew for a long time that one area of work for me lay in the development and healing of my relational life.
In graduate school, I struggled to connect and for the most part i felt totally disconnected. I tried to fit in but the truth was that it was an arduous task. I never felt smart enough, or creative enough or funny enough to be there. I felt like at any moment, they would find out and I would be out. My relationships were few, meaningful and long lasting but those were the two amidst the others that I allowed to harm me more than heal. I remember feeling deep compassion and love for the person that issued the most debilitating blow to me and in moments, I longed to see him.
The rejection I experienced in my romantic relationships in college really scarred me and I felt that I would never find real love that I would never marry and of course, I would never have children. The relationships didn’t really make me decide on that last part. The abuse I experienced as a child did.
So I suffered myself and my relationship partners as I tried to engage in one-sided love ships, “friend”ships and tortured affairs. I held the vision for my spiritual partner ship in my mind. I knew I wanted someone who knew how to love, because I had read and taught myself what that means. I knew I wanted someone with vision because of course, why would I be with someone without vision. I knew I needed a romantic to feed my whims and I needed and needed.
And as all spiritual lessons go, the thing you think you need make it too easy for you to learn the lessons you need and so life dealt me the opposite. It wasn’t until lately that I fully accepted that the issues that kept popping up in my relationships were thematic and would not be resolved until I was resolved with them.
the issues that kept popping up in my relationships were thematic and would not be resolved until I was resolved with them.
As I looked back on each relationship that I had struggled with since I could remember, I identified the core issues that popped up. I felt unloved and uncared for and in return I sought it desperately, everywhere except myself. I placed a premium on other people loving me and hurt when they didn’t. I felt used and unappreciated and chased after achievements only to feel empty when they didn’t satisfy my soul. I couldn’t connect with the person. We didn’t understand each other. As I listed them one by one, I saw that these themes were present in other areas of my life. So not only were the relationships a mirror for myself in relationship, but they were a mirror for my relationship with life.
I don’t pretend to be spiritually enlightened and I know I have tons of work to do but this lesson that all relationships are mirrors is a pertinent one because the new truth for me was that I could see how I related to life in the things I struggled with, worried about and most importantly got royally pissed about. I concluded that If I was triggered, I still had work to do on that issue.
Even as I resolve my issues with love, I realize I haven’t mastered the relating thing as new social issues begin to pop up. I have trouble communicating my value clearly. I become defensive when my work is critiqued. I loosen my boundaries to please others. These things are just mirrors for how Myself and life and entwined right now and these is so much work to be done.
So how do you know when a relationship is just bad for you as opposed to when it is a mirror: As a Psychologist I would say when a relationship hurts you more than it helps you, it is bad for you. As a human spirit, I would say when it starts to erode your spiritual essence, and you start to lose who you know yourself to be, you’re in the wrong spot.