I recently toured a city and was struck by two things: the impressive level of passion around their beloved sports and music but also the deep feelings of fear and mistrust. The city folk didn’t like or trust the suburbanites and vice versa. I don’t know what they were blaming each other for but the result of their suffering was palpable and deep. Huge pre-war buildings, once opulent and gorgeous, now stood abandoned with blown out windows and huge barbed wire barricades. While gazing at these once exalted relics, I realized something. This is what often happens in romantic relationships. They start off so grand, so filled with hope for the future, promise of security, life companionship and everlasting love. But then, something happens.
I’ve been a relationship expert now for over a quarter of a century and no couple ever starts working with me when things are going well for themselves. No, they call me when they are on the brink of a break up – blaming each other for the problems and suffering that each are experiencing. Why does this happen? How is it that loving partners go from deep passion and promise to blame and suffering?
Blame is killing your relationship.
Couples who remain in the pattern of blaming each other for their own suffering are doomed. They spend their time together running from one “negative” state to another. They just can’t see the other person’s point of view because they are too busy trying to defend their own point of view. “I’m right he is wrong”, or “I am justified in what I did and she is unjustified in what she did!” Sounds familiar? Do you experience this in your relationship?
The only way to save a relationship filled with blame is through self-discovery. So, ask yourself, who am I in this relationship? Who is this, that I believe that I am, that is seeking to be fulfilled? What I mean is, do you believe yourself to be alone and need the other so you no longer feel lonely? Or, do you believe that you are wounded and need the other to heal? Or, maybe you feel empty and need the other to feel whole? So, ask yourself, “What is it, that I believe I don’t have or need, that I’m trying to get from my partner?” Is it possible to get this from the other? No, you can only get this from yourself and no one else.
Can you admit to yourself for what you are blaming your partner? Examples of this would be: “She was flirting with other men at the party”, “He is trying to upset me”, “She is always nagging me”, “He never listens to what I’m really saying”, “She doesn’t stick within the budget” or, “He had an affair.”
Whatever covert or overt role the other is playing, turn your attention inside now and experience the jealously, hurt, upset, fear, and/or anger. Your tendency is to want to run away from this feeling. But don’t do that. Continuing to avoid this just creates more suffering for yourself. Be with it. Feel it completely. Notice not only the emotions this brings up, but where it lands in your body. Feel your body now. Where are you feeling this? Have zero judgment about any of this. Don’t label this as a “bad” feeling, just allow yourself to be with this. Experience this feeling. Go deeper… and even deeper… into this emotion. Be completely present with this.
Now, who are you being when you feel this way? Is this emotion familiar to you? Have you ever felt this before? When was the first time you felt this emotion? Let the insights come – insights, from your own childhood. Did you feel this way within your family? Within your elementary, middle and High School years? What are you telling yourself? What’s the negative self-talk tape that runs in your head? Maybe its: “I am unlovable”, “I’m unworthy”, “I am misunderstood”, “I don’t matter”, “I am not good enough”. Do you have it – what you tell yourself? Now, ask yourself, “Is this true?” No, you know that it’s not true. Do you have the capacity to release this lie that you tell yourself? Of course you have the capacity! Right now, decide to destroy this erroneous belief. Very good. Excellent inner work!
Whether you stay with your partner or not, know that you will continue to experience, in your external world, what is going on in your internal world. Your suffering is your choice. So, take those crazy beliefs and change them to the opposite: “I am lovable”, “I am worthy”, “I am understood”, “I matter very much”, “I am more than good enough.”
Have a daily practice of reminding yourself of these truths and your relationship will improve dramatically and your life of suffering will eventually melt away.
- Turn your attention inside and experience your emotion
- Be with it – feel it completely
- Notice where this lands in your body
- Have no judgment – just be with the emotion
- Ask yourself, “Who am I being?”
- “When is the first time I ever felt this emotion?”
- “What negative self-talk tape is running in my head?”
- Come up with the opposite of that negative statement.
- Repeat your new positive statement like a mantra
- Watch this Heartbeat meditation. Not only will it help you heal, but the visuals and music are stunningly beautiful.