By Leanne Allen
This article has been supplied and reproduced with permission from the Great Health Guide, a 96five community contributor.
When both people in a relationship behave like adults, the partnership will grow successfully. Adversely, problems tend to occur when the inner child is allowed in control of the relationship. The fighting will often become worse, with miscommunications and sometimes even abusive or controlling behaviour occurring. Resentment will build and the couple will find it harder and harder to forgive and to move on.
Relationships that are shaped by childhood wounds, are bound to be fraught with problems.
Thus, it is important to know that there is a way to help the inner child ‘grow’, to heal the wounds of the past and to move into being a happy, healthy adult.
How can these problem behaviours be resolved in a relationship?
Problems within a relationship can often lead to the blame game, ‘I’m alright, you’re the problem’. Once you have recognised that the problems within the relationship, do NOT belong to one person but to both people, then solutions occur. When the emotional games have stopped being played out, a space is created for both people to grow emotionally. This means that the adult is now in charge and you are taking full responsibility for everything that you do, no excuses. You recognise when your triggers are being pushed and take responsibility for the emotion that you are feeling.
An adult will respond to difficult situations in a very different way than a child. An adult with more life experience and more self-control, can handle relationship problems more appropriately. When an adult is in control, a relationship is more likely to continue to be happy and healthy.
Examples of good adult behaviour are:
- Facing problems head on, not withdrawing from them.
- Staying true to yourself; behaving in a way that is consistent with your values.
- Never using sex as, a bargaining tool, to get it, or not to have it, but being respectful of each-others sexual needs.
- Never resorting to name calling.
- Listening to your partner’s needs and working with them.
- Contributing equally to the household chores; not expecting someone else to do it all for you.
- Knowing that you are secure enough, to allow your partner to do what they want, when they want.
- Knowing that you are equal in your relationship and being able to maintain equality.
Thus, when both people in a relationship apply these examples of good adult behaviour, then the partnership will grow successfully.
Allowing yourself to stop, slow down and acknowledge that you are the only person that can make you feel anything, no one else can do that, is very empowering. If you feel wounded, then it is your inner child that is wounded and who is again in control. If you can see a situation for what it is, i.e. two wounded children attempting to win an unwinnable battle, and be able to stay in control, then that is a very satisfying place to reach. This is something that as adults, we can all aspire to do.
A lasting relationship is about inner growth, acceptance and love.
It is important to note that old wounds also lead to many behaviours that as adults, are not helpful. These behaviours can be addiction to drugs, alcohol, gambling, shopping or porn for instance. Adults are unable to stay in relationships because of anger or an inability to see the other person’s point of view. Reading self-help books are useful, but really going to that deep wound and working on it cannot happen, simply by reading about it. This is where a therapist can help you to understand your feelings towards hurtful situations from your past.
Avoiding an emotional wound is just the same as avoiding a physical wound. It can lead to infection, perhaps it appears to heal but there are scars, it can make the wound worse. Giving the wound the right attention, means it is more likely to heal well and make a full recovery. This is why it is so important to go to relationship therapy sooner rather than later. Find a therapist that you feel comfortable with and work on yourself. You can heal the wounds of the past and to move into a happy, healthy, adult relationship.
Leanne Allen is the principle psychologist at Reconnect Psychology and Coaching Services. Find out more about their services here. For more health articles go to 96five community contributor Great Health Guide.