Learning From All Our Relationships

Written by Margaret Paul, Ph.D.

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Title: Learning From All Our Relationships Author: Margaret Paul, Ph.D. E-mail: mailto:margaret@innerbonding.com Copyright: © 2003 by Margaret Paul Web Address: http://www.innerbonding.com Word Count: 698 Category: Relationships


All of our issues come up in our relationships - our fears of domination, rejection, abandonment, of being wrong, embarrassed, or humiliated. Relationships bring up our deepest fears of loss of self and loss of other, which triggers our deep learned protections - anger, judgment, withdrawal, resistance, and compliance.

While our dysfunctional patterns emerge most clearly in primary relationships with a partner, these patterns are certainly activated in friendships, work relationships, and relationships with our parents and children. Therefore, if you are not in a primary relationship with a partner, do not despair! You can still be learning from and evolving through all your relationships.

Craig, one of my clients, has not been in a committed relationship for about seven years. Yet most ofrepparttar 126213 work we do together revolves aroundrepparttar 126214 problems he has in his work relationships and friendships. Craig is a person who hates to be controlled by others. As soon as he feels someone wanting something from him such as time, attention, or approval, he feels smothered and withdraws. He is highly sensitive to people coming to him from an inner emptiness and "pulling" on him to fill them up. However, his withdrawal doesn’t work well for him. When a "puller" comes up against Craig’s resistance,repparttar 126215 other person tends to pull even more. Craig, who doesn’t want to appear rude, ends up giving himself up and caretaking - givingrepparttar 126216 person what he or she wants. He then feels angry and finds himself not even wanting to be around that person any more. This same dynamic occurred in both of his marriages.

Craig is inrepparttar 126217 process of developing a powerful adult self who can speak his truth when feeling pulled on rather than withdrawing or complying. He is learning that it may be loving to himself to be open to learning withrepparttar 126218 other person and say something like, "I feel there is something you are wanting from me. What is it?" He is learning that it may be loving to himself to say, "When you pull on me for approval (or time or attention), it doesn’t feel good. I would like to have a caring relationship with you, but I don’t want to be responsible for your good feelings."

Traumas as Social Interactions

Written by Sam Vaknin

("He" in this text - to mean "He" or "She").

We react to serious mishaps, life altering setbacks, disasters, abuse, and death by going throughrepparttar phases of grieving. Traumas arerepparttar 126211 complex outcomes of psychodynamic and biochemical processes. Butrepparttar 126212 particulars of traumas depend heavily onrepparttar 126213 interaction betweenrepparttar 126214 victim and his social milieu.

It would seem that whilerepparttar 126215 victim progresses from denial to helplessness, rage, depression and thence to acceptance ofrepparttar 126216 traumatizing events - society demonstrates a diametrically opposed progression. This incompatibility, this mismatch of psychological phases is what leads torepparttar 126217 formation and crystallization of trauma.


Victim phase I - DENIAL

The magnitude of such unfortunate events is often so overwhelming, their nature so alien, and their message so menacing - that denial sets in as a defence mechanism aimed at self preservation. The victim denies thatrepparttar 126218 event occurred, that he or she is being abused, that a loved one passed away.


The victim's nearest ("Society") - his colleagues, his employees, his clients, even his spouse, children, and friends - rarely experiencerepparttar 126219 events withrepparttar 126220 same shattering intensity. They are likely to acceptrepparttar 126221 bad news and move on. Even at their most considerate and empathic, they are likely to lose patience withrepparttar 126222 victim's state of mind. They tend to ignorerepparttar 126223 victim, or chastise him, to mock, or to deride his feelings or behaviour, to collude to repressrepparttar 126224 painful memories, or to trivialize them.

Summary Phase I

The mismatch betweenrepparttar 126225 victim's reactive patterns and emotional needs and society's matter-of-fact attitude hinders growth and healing. The victim requires society's help in avoiding a head-on confrontation with a reality he cannot digest. Instead, society serves as a constant and mentally destabilizing reminder ofrepparttar 126226 root ofrepparttar 126227 victim's unbearable agony (the Job syndrome).


Victim phase II - HELPLESSNESS

Denial gradually gives way to a sense of all-pervasive and humiliating helplessness, often accompanied by debilitating fatigue and mental disintegration. These are amongrepparttar 126228 classic symptoms of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). These arerepparttar 126229 bitter results ofrepparttar 126230 internalization and integration ofrepparttar 126231 harsh realization that there is nothing one can do to alterrepparttar 126232 outcomes of a natural, or man-made, catastrophe. The horror in confronting one's finiteness, meaninglessness, negligibility, and powerlessness - is overpowering.

Society phase II - DEPRESSION

The morerepparttar 126233 members of society come to grips withrepparttar 126234 magnitude ofrepparttar 126235 loss, or evil, or threat represented byrepparttar 126236 grief inducing events -repparttar 126237 sadder they become. Depression is often little more than suppressed or self-directed anger. The anger, in this case, is belatedly induced by an identified or diffuse source of threat, or of evil, or loss. It is a higher level variant ofrepparttar 126238 "fight or flight" reaction, tampered byrepparttar 126239 rational understanding thatrepparttar 126240 "source" is often too abstract to tackle directly.

Summary Phase II

Thus, whenrepparttar 126241 victim is most in need, terrified by his helplessness and adrift - society is immersed in depression and unable to provide a holding and supporting environment. Growth and healing is again retarded by social interaction. The victim's innate sense of annulment is enhanced byrepparttar 126242 self-addressed anger (=depression) of those around him.


Bothrepparttar 126243 victim and society react with RAGE to their predicaments. In an effort to narcissistically reassert himself,repparttar 126244 victim develops a grandiose sense of anger directed at paranoidally selected, unreal, diffuse, and abstract targets (=frustration sources). By expressing aggression,repparttar 126245 victim re-acquires mastery ofrepparttar 126246 world and of himself.

Members of society use rage to re-directrepparttar 126247 root cause of their depression (which is, as we said, self directed anger) and to channel it safely. To ensure that this expressed aggression alleviates their depression - real targets must are selected and real punishments meted out. In this respect, "social rage" differs fromrepparttar 126248 victim's. The former is intended to sublimate aggression and channel it in a socially acceptable manner -repparttar 126249 latter to reassert narcissistic self-love as an antidote to an all-devouring sense of helplessness.

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