How to Manage Ups and Downs in Your Relationship?

Annoying

“Marriage is ugly, you see the absolute worst in someone. You see them when they’re mad, sad, being stubborn, when they’re so unlovable they make you scream. But you also get to see them when they are laughing so hard that tears run down their face, and they can’t help but let out those weird gurgling noises. You see them at 3am when the world is asleep except you two, and you’re eating in the middle of the kitchen floor. You get to see the side of them that no one else does, and it’s not always pretty. Its snorting while laughing, its the tears when it feels like its all crashing down, its the farting, its the bedhead and bad breath, its the random dances, its the anger and the joy. Marriage isn’t a beautiful thing, but it is amazing. It’s knowing that someone loves you so much, and won’t leave you even though you said something nasty. It’s having someone have your back no matter what. Its fights over stupid things, like someone not doing the dishes or picking up after themselves. And it’s those nights you fall asleep in each others arms, feeling like there will never be enough time with them. It’s cleaning up their throw up, or just rubbing their back when they’re sick. It’s the dirtiest, hardest, most rewarding job there is. Because at the end of the day you get to crawl into bed with your best friend, the weirdest, most annoying, loving, goofy, perfect person that you know. Marriage is not beautiful, but it’s one heaven of a ride.”

From Journey to the Centre of Us

Put up

All marriages have ups and downs. Relationship journey is not a straight line yet one that zigs and zags and has numerous curves. Sometimes it feels like it goes backwards and forwards all the time. You might be:

  • Feeling very close and intimate sometimes – then distant and disconnected other times
  • Communicating in ways that you feel heard, accepted and supported sometimes and other times communicating in a blaming and harsh manner where you feel unheard, rejected and disrespected
  • Resolving differences and conflicts effectively sometimes while other times your efforts seem to make matters worse resulting in ongoing disagreements and conflict
  • Having satisfying, passionate and intimate sex sometimes while other times it feels rote, mundane and boring
  • Sharing joy, laughter and fun while other times you are pushing each other’s buttons
  • Experiencing times of calm and ease with one another which may be suddenly interrupted by an intense explosive fight leaving you confused and shocked and wondering “where’d that come from”
  • Gazing at your partner and having the conviction that you are with your soul mate and other times wondering “who is this person and how did I end up with him/her”
  • Agreeing on lifestyle and financial needs and wants compared to strongly disagreeing about these things.
  • Wanting to spend as much time with your partner as possible and other times wanting to be alone or with friends, or maybe even wanting to be as far away from you partner as possible.

Perhaps you can think about these ups and downs and curves in the following way. Sometimes when you go on a trip you get directly to your destination with ease in a timely manner. The trip and the roads you take are as smooth as can be. Other times you go on a trip and you have to negotiate bumpy roads filled with potholes and/or inclement weather and/or you are re-routed due to construction  and/or you get stuck in long tedious traffic delays… Travel, and life, is inconsistent and uncertain. Relationships are surely like this too.

How to Manage Ups and Downs in Your Relationship?

  • Understand that ups and downs and fluctuations are normal and know that they are surely going to happen
  • Be patient, kind and compassionate with yourself and your partner as you navigate the changes and curves
  • Look back to where you were and where you are now in terms of growth
  • Address concerns and issues as they arise to thwart building resentments
  • Communicate regularly with openness and honesty
  • Seek input and advice from friends or an experienced professional to help you see things objectively
  • Take responsibility for your part in the strengths and weaknesses of the relationship
  • Allow yourself to feel your feelings—your grief, relief, sadness, joy, sorrow, loneliness and anger

Adapted from 9 Ways to Manage the Ups and Downs in Your Relationship

 

Credits:

  1. Image 1 from pininterest
  2. Image 2 from pininterest

Healing from empathic distress

Jesus

Neuroscientists have discovered specialized cells in the brain, called mirror neurons, that spontaneously create brain-to-brain links between people. This means that our brain waves, chemistry and feelings can literally mirror the brain waves, chemistry and feelings of people who we are communicating with, reading stories about, watching on television, or those who we simply have in our thoughts.

We may think that our feelings and emotions are our exclusive property, that they belong to us and that we alone can feel them. However, emotions can easily pass from person to person, like infectious smiling. The way we feel can affect the way other people are feeling.

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Some people are so highly sensitive, that they can start feeling the way other people feel. They can start experiencing other people’s feelings as their own feelings. Much of the time this is done unconsciously.

People commonly put on a show of expression, hiding their true feelings and emotions. Sometimes, people are struggling to understand their own feelings. Highly sensitive people (or empaths) can sense the truth behind the cover and can help that person to better understand and express him/herself, thus making them feel at ease and not so desperately alone.

Friends

Empaths are often poets in motion. They are the born writers, singers, and artists with a high degree of creativity and imagination. They are known for many talents as their interests are varied, broad and continual, loving, loyal and humorous. They often have interests in many cultures and view them with a broad-minded perspective.

Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where a problem is, so too is the answer. They often will search until they find one – if only for their own peace of mind.

Empaths are often very affectionate in personality and expression, great listeners and counselors (and not just in the professional area). They will find themselves helping others and often putting their own needs aside to do so.

Empaths are often quiet and can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes.

Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs or get overwhelmed and confused with everything they feel.

An empath’s sensitivity is a gift but in order to fully develop and manage it they need to learn how to stop absorbing other people’s stresses. They need to learn to center and protect themselves, set healthy boundaries, and let go of the painful feelings they picked up from others.

There is a number of self-protection strategies for empaths including:

  1. Evaluation: is this feeling mine or someone else’s? It could be both. Feelings are catchy, especially if they relate to a hot button issue for you. You are more prone to take on the emotional or physical pain that you haven’t worked out in yourself. The more you heal issues that trigger you, the less likely you’ll be to absorb disturbing feelings from others.
  2. Step away from what’s disturbing you.  In a physical space when possible, distance yourself by at least twenty feet from the suspected source. See if you feel relief. If a movie or a book are negatively affecting you, stop watching or reading.
  3. Get to know your vulnerable points and protect them.
  4. Surrender to your breath. Concentrate on your breath for a few minutes. This is centering and connects you to your power.
  5. Set healthy limits and boundaries. Control how much time you spend listening to stressful people, and learn to say “no.” Remember, “no” is a complete sentence.
  6. Visualise protection around you. Visualise an envelope of white light around your entire body.
  7. Go for a walk or enjoy another outdoor activity. Empaths often find themselves continually drawn to nature as a form of ‘release’ from other people’s feelings. It is the opportune place to recapture their senses and gain a sense of peace in the hectic lives they may live.

Don’t panic if you occasionally pick up pain or some other nasty symptom. It happens. With these strategies you can have quicker responses to stressful situations. This will make you feel safer, healthier, and your sensitivities can blossom.

Storm peace

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Take off the mask and let your true self shine

Stage

Transparency and authenticity are buzz words that are heard a lot nowadays, but the actual practice of being honest, open, and even emotionally raw in a relationship is no easy task. On some level we are all facing that fear – afraid of being seen for who we truly are. Afraid of seeing ourselves for who we really are…

When we continually lock out our partners and refuse to let them know who we really are “behind the mask,” we limit intimacy, hamper communication, and create barriers to a fulfilled relationship.

According to Dr Gary Brown, “Being vulnerable in relationships is really opening your heart and letting your partner know your true self. It’s the warts and all. It’s those secret parts of yourself that you may have never shared with your partner…or maybe anyone else for that matter.

It’s the stuff that has stayed hidden away that you really don’t want to say – too scared to say — but maybe are thinking. It’s surrounded by the “if I share this stuff” my friend/partner/lover won’t like me/love me/will want to leave me.

And that is why being vulnerable with our inner world is directly linked to overcoming our fear of how our loved one may react. That is why vulnerability requires the courage to be truly authentic and real, letting your friend/partner/lover know all the sides of you, even the icky parts alongside the fear of the reveal.

Being vulnerable can be really scary. But it is the single most thing that will create trust and deep connection for a relationship to go the distance.

In a healthy relationship, both partners have a sense of connection and trust. Vulnerability creates emotional (and sometimes physical) intimacy and a closeness because you can feel safe to be your true self. It’s what creates a deeper sense of love and understanding.

In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. And that, understandably, can feel emotionally risky….

To know that you are seen and loved for simply being your full self, to be with someone else in all of their vulnerability and love them for all that they are may just be one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. When you feel yourself starting to shut down out of fear in your relationship, notice if you can make the choice to be courageous and embrace vulnerability.”

Mask

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Become friends with people…

Friends
I would also add people of different gender to this quote – an important point that Celia Lashlie highlighted so well in her book ‘He’ll be OK: Growing gorgeous boys into good men’:

“I often encountered the negative view that boys’ schools produce men who are unable to relate to women and who, because of their arrogance about being male – encouraged by the school – carry negative perceptions about the place of women in today’s society…. At the very least it has been suggested the boys leaving such schools are emotionally bereft and incapable of establishing and maintaining effective personal relationships with women…

It was uncommon for the fathers of some students, men who had themselves been educated at boys’ schools, to reflect that they’d been unable to understand or communicate effectively with members of the opposite sex when they left school. Some of them went on to conceded that the workings of the female brain remained a mystery to this day and I have no doubt they’re not alone in holding that view….

Their adolescent sons didn’t, however, appear to share their experience of not being able to communicate effectively with adolescent girls. Partly due no doubt to the greater degree of social freedom available to girls today, the boys appeared to understand their female counterparts much better than their fathers had.

Almost all boys I spoke to had close female friends within their immediate peer group – often referred to as ‘chick-mates’ – and many spoke of the value of the conversations they had with these girl friends about the ‘real’ stuff, the stuff they could not or would not talk about with their male peers…”

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How do you grow?

THE END

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What Are your Assumptions?

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Life is full of “unknowns”, so we all speculate and assume what we don’t know. We make decisions despite that and to the best of our guesses.

The same applies to our relationships with other people. We all hold certain assumptions towards other people (partner, close friends, or distant acquaintances). We give these, too, their share of wild “guesses”.

If we’re the suspicious type, we’re likely to have assumptions of negative intentions. We doubt what others are up to despite their disclosure. We’re uncertain about what they hide behind a probable facade they wear & distrust the truth of what they share or declare. We assume otherwise just to beware…

The assumptions that we have today are beliefs and expectations about reality which we developed at some point in the past.

While some of these assumptions can be constructive or harmless, other assumptions have the ability to destroy the relationship and trigger the whole chain of tragic events.

A mere assumption that his wife had an affair leads Alex, the main character in The Banishment, to force his wife to make an abortion in a hope to re-build their relationship and save their marriage once this unborn baby is out of the way. As the result of that mere assumption he loses everything: his baby, his wife, his family. Pure lack of communication takes a deadly turn…

It can be difficult to recognize assumptions because they tend to be buried deep in our subconscious minds where they become ingrained with our personal worldview.

Take as an example Othello –  a highly respected Venetian state servant, a Moor with an exotic cultural past.  As Peter Winsley points out, Othello is a truly admirable man whose achievements and successes are due to his own abilities and efforts rather than blood-line and inheritance. Why this admirable military leader, successful man with a bright strategic mind falls pray to Iago’s insinuations?

Iago’s detects and exploits Othello’s insecurities, causing him to falsely suspect people around him. He intuits that Othello feels insecure due to his racial identity, especially given that he has married a beautiful white woman, and manipulates Othello into self-destructive behaviours. He plays on Othello’s self-doubts, subconscious assumption and fear that he is not good enough for Desdemona because of his racial identity and that if someone “better” comes along, Desdemona would prefer that person over him.

It takes just a few seeds of self-doubt to grow and overwhelm Othello’s trust in himself, in others, and in the world…

OTHELLO Poster

As Charles Gosset points out, it is easy to “assume” that our assumptions are just the way things are for us and that there’s nothing we can do to change them. However we all have the power and ability to challenge and change our negative assumptions once we first learn how to spot these slippery tricksters.

What are your assumptions? 

THE END

Image 1: from https://coachingur3ps.wordpress.com
Image 2: From http://quotes.lifehack.org
Image 3: The banishment
Image 4: Othello
Image 5: From http://greaternw.org/

How do you escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear?

“Writing is a form of therapy; sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose or paint can manage to escape the madness, melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in a human situation.”

Graham Greene

Photo: Jan Myhrehagen via PixotoFrom http://www.elephantjournal.com/

I can be very talkative, though often do not enjoy talking. For me face-to-face interactions and talking are often lacking depth and meaning of writing and reading. Physical and social attributes of another person distract from the real essence of his or her being. I find reading and blogging much more helpful in expressing myself and interacting with other people.

From https://andrewjprokop.wordpress.com

What about you?

How do you escape the madness, melancholia,
the panic and fear?

What is your favourite way of expressing yourself
and interacting with other people?

THE END