Are your past experiences impinging on creating happiness in your present relationship?
Do you feel like you and your significant other are stuck in fighting about the same old things? Do you feel stuck in a repeating pattern?
Do you think it’s your partner fault? Do you think your partner has a strange way of seeing things?
Learning more about your own reactions and developing a conscious understanding of your own emotional patterns will help you navigate your romantic relationship. Plus, your new found self-awareness will help you develop more skillful parenting and work relationships as well.
Is self-awareness difficult to achieve? Well, try to have an open mind and a non-defensive attitude. The process is a matter of looking at your past, learning what your past emotional hurts and wounds are and seeing how you are presently re-enacting these past wounds in present day, in the way you relate to others around you.
In fact, examining and understanding your own emotional reactions, rather than jumping to your old internal pre-programmed emotional reaction is the key to building a healthy relationship.
This psychodynamic approach works really well when both people in the relationship decide to become conscious of their old emotional and role patterns ingrained throughout their lifetime. Then, you can both work together through shared frustrating emotional and communication conundrums.
One good relationship skill to cultivate is mindfully disengage. Next time you feel yourself getting irritated with your partner, try this. Instead of engaging in a fight, pay attention to the signals from your body to help you track and manage emotional responses.
When you notice your body becoming tense, notice the thoughts and feelings that are present as well. See if you can slow down your responses and reach for new behaviors instead of reaching for your old responses. If you feel yourself escalating, take a break and walk away from the situation. Mindfully check in with your own feelings, breathe, relax your body. Go back to the discussion with your partner when you are feeling calmer and less emotionally reactive.
It’s not a simple task. There are no easy “Five Steps to a Better Relationship.” You and your partner’s emotional patterns can be reworked, but over time and with patience. And you can’t do it alone; both partners need to want to participate, too.