Most couples have the same fight over and over again. These seemingly endless, irresolvable, repetitions are the templates of our unsuccessful relating strategies. They are a vicious cycles that dig us in deeper and deeper, eating up, over the years, more and more of the goodwill and connection we start off with. Terry Real calls this a couple's "Bad Deal."
Where Does your Bad Deal Come From?
Our Bad Deals replay some aspect of the relationships we grew up in. Our parents fought, sometimes fair, sometimes not, sometimes there was no couple in our home growing up, we had only dad, mom or another significant parental figure. It's fair to say none of our caregivers were perfect, in fact many were far from it, within the confines of their primary relationships. If you look at your parents relationship style and think "I certainly don't want that" then you have some skills to learn. We recreate what we know, hence the relationships we observed growing up become our early love map and template for later life.
Are we doomed?
Only if we want to be. While we recreate what we know, we do so in hopes to heal it. When couples I work with become conscious of this it changes the script. The initial draw to a partner is from our core wounding meaning; we find someone who is similar enough to our parent or parents, who we can play out our unresolved childhood drama with. The flip side is this person is different enough from our parents, that we have a chance at cracking the code, and healing our wounds, if we get very aware.
Awareness Doesn't Just Happen
Have you ever heard the saying you are better at judging other's problems than you are at judging your own? Well it's true. Step one is accepting that you do not have the answers to your marital or relationship problems. In fact, the answers you have are how to reinforce and trigger the problems. These are all the answers you need when you work with a skilled therapist. My job is to help you see things from a new perspective. The world is no longer flat, you may not want to accept it but we will find the new answers over time together through different awareness building techniques. Willingness and openness also help the therapeutic process a long as well. Once we are in a place of not knowing what our problems solutions are, we become open to the possibility of healing.
Ultimately You Do The Work
As much as I would love to offer client's a magic solution, there isn't one. Reparenting ourselves starts with awareness, skill building and ultimately practice. Surrender is the first step in healing, when we stop fighting the urge to get what we never got from our parents, from our partner, we suddenly and profoundly become open to what is actually available to us.