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Many of us have spent a great deal of time in unsafe relationship spaces. In fact, some of us have never experienced a safe relationship space because many, if not most, of us have not learned to create a safe inner space by staying in a loving adult frame of mind when our fears are activated. When our fears of being rejected, abandoned, engulfed and controlled are triggered, most of us are triggered into a child state and immediately retreat into our learned controlling behaviors. We may move our focus into our minds to avoid our feelings; we may attack, blame, defend, demand, explain, deny, judge, criticize, shut down, withdraw, resist, give in and comply, placate, lie, become overly nice, and so on. Of course, moment we act out in controlling ways, our behavior may trigger another's fears of being rejected or controlled, and that person may then react in controlling ways as well, creating a vicious circle and an unsafe relationship space.
If, when these fears are activated, we focus on who is at fault or who started it, we perpetuate an unsafe relationship space. Blaming another for our fears (and for our own reactive, unloving behavior) makes relationship space more unsafe than ever. Then both people in relationship end up feeling bad, each of us believing that our pain is result of other person's behavior. We feel victimized, helpless, stuck, and disconnected from our partner. We desperately want other person to see what they are doing that (we think) is causing our pain. We think that if other person only understands this, they will change--and we exhaust ourselves trying to figure out how to make them understand.
Over time, being in an unsafe relationship space creates distance between people involved. When we have not created a safe space in which to speak our complete, heartfelt truth about ourselves, joy between us gradually dies. And more we hold back our innermost feelings and experiences, shallower our connection becomes. Our intimacy crumbles.
In friendships, marriages, and work relationships, our joy, aliveness, and creativity get lost as we each give up parts of ourselves in an attempt to feel safe. In romantic relationships, passion dries up. Superficiality, boredom, fighting, and apathy take its place. We try valiantly to figure out what went wrong. But too often we ask, "What am I doing wrong?" or "What are you doing wrong?" rather than inquiring into health of relationship space itself.
Only when we look at relationship space will we see what we are each doing to create unsafe space. The dual fears of losing other through rejection and losing ourselves through being swallowed up by other are underlying cause of our unloving, reactive behavior. These fears are deeply rooted. They cannot be healed or overcome by getting someone else's love. On contrary, we must heal these fears before we can share love--give and receive love--with each other.
The key to doing this is learning how to create a safe inner space where we can work with and overcome our fears of rejection and engulfment. This is a process, not an event. Practicing six step process of Inner Bonding gradually creates inner safety as we learn to take personal responsibility for our own feelings and behavior. Inner Bonding guides us in defining ourselves internally through eyes of our personal spiritual guidance, instead of externally through performance, looks, and others' approval. In addition, it provides us with a clear process for conflict resolution that can be used in any relationship difficulty. Instead of love eroding with time, love deepens daily, supporting each person in sacred journey of soul's evolution.
Any two people who are willing to learn to create their own inner sense of safety can also learn to create a safe relationship space where their intimacy and passion will flourish and their love will endure.
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?", "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?", "Healing Your Aloneness","Inner Bonding", and "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?" Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is the best-selling author and co-author of eight books, including "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?", "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By My Kids?", "Healing Your Aloneness","Inner Bonding", and "Do I Have To Give Up Me To Be Loved By God?" Visit her web site for a FREE Inner Bonding course: http://www.innerbonding.com or mailto:email@example.com