Are you a victim in your relationship?
“It’s your fault. You hurt me. You did this to me. I hate it when you… If you just….”
This is the message of the victim. It’s also an unchecked habit about how many of us relate to others. While very popular, it is very limited.
Hollywood, romance novels, and cheesy movies like Jerry McGuire perpetuate our magical thinking about relationship, as it did mine for over a decade (I was that guy who kept looking for the one to complete me, which caused me and the women I dated a lot of unnecessary suffering).
If our view (context) is that relationships are supposed to always be a safe haven, a place where we are fully met by our partner, or a “feel good” love fest where someone “completes me,” then the practice will be directed at trying to achieve this ideal. This view is a recipe for failure and disappointment, but most folks go along with it and keeps all parties involved stuck in immature love.
If, on the other hand, our view is that relationship is an ongoing practice rather than a static destination, then we can create practices that support this more realistic view. Our expectations and results will then be very different. We also start to see “practice” as a place other than the cushion or yoga mat. We see it all around us each and everyday.
If your claim is that you want to change your relationship life, you must be honest about where you are being a victim and wanting a rescue-job. It’s understandable where you got this message. The media and our culture inundate us with nonsense about how relationships are supposed to be. Many of us still think that when we find the one all will be well and they will complete us. Or maybe some of us think a “conscious” relationship means that we somehow transcend our issues, triggers, and neurosis.
When you don’t want to do the real work of relationship, you end up settling on these outdated views given to you by your parents, culture, traditions or teachers, thus perpetually avoiding the mountain of trauma, loss, hurt, anger, neglect, abandonment, rejection, that is living inside of you, which comes up very naturally in relationship.
This outdated view is keeping you perpetually young and unsatisfied. It keeps you trapped in the belief that you are supposed to always be happy in relationship or that the “right” relationship or “unrealistic” relationship will make you happy. Then we get upset when it never happens. We might even compare ourselves to others who make it look like this is happening (even though it rarely is) and we feel like crap. These are more reasons to be hard on ourselves. And, if we have a tendency to project perfection onto our teachers, we also remain susceptible to projecting “relationship perfection” onto our lovers and friends while remaining a hurt child inside.
The way out of this magical thinking?
We can learn to be adults devoted and committed to learning about “mature love.” We can heal through our relational hurts and pains and grow ourselves up on a daily basis.
We can turn this whole ship around people.