As Autumn and I were discussing her article, Letting Go of Anger in Relationships, we realized how much it resonated with my own relationship. Our stories may all be slightly or even totally different, but we can all relate to each other once we have an understanding of how we compete for energy.
I think knowing this is amazing because it proves to me that every one of us has worth in our own unique way. We each are holding a piece of the bigger picture. By sharing our authentic truths through our unique stories, we are able to extend a hand out to those who are struggling and may need to be reminded that they are not alone. Together, we can learn how to create spiritual relationships based on understanding, acceptance, gratitude, and love.
My fiancé has no interest in spirituality, which has caused some arguments since I began my own journey. We have different perspectives on what is right and true for each of us, how to raise our children and the validity of the spiritual teachings I have been learning. In addition to the difference in opinions, we also had various other common relationship issues. The struggle for power was so great that I lost everything about who I was to the point that I didn’t recognize myself anymore. My friends and family had been telling me about the warning signs they had noticed through the years, but I was so caught up in my Poor Me Drama that I couldn’t see a way out.
Eventually, I found the courage to make the decision to end our relationship. While we were separated, I felt just enough freedom from the control he had over me to be able to see how I gave up all of my power and had fallen into a pattern of blaming him for all the choices I made for myself. I knew that he needed to understand how he had contributed to the problem, but I was determined to find out where I also went wrong.
Together, we read The AIR In My Bubble. In her article, Candella discusses being open to each others’ different perspectives, how to recognize when we were not communicating respectfully, and the benefit of relationship counseling. Over time, we chose to keep our family together. Even though my fiancé still has no interest in joining me on my spiritual path, we do share a common goal to improve our relationship and support each other in breaking the cycle of our pasts that would, in time, negatively affect our children.
It’s not always roses and sunshine, and we still use our control dramas, but we have taken the first step towards a deeper Spiritual Connection by deciding to invest in creating a more loving relationship.
Everyone has their primary drama, but we are capable of using all four of them, depending on which one works in the moment. I believe the first step we must take, as stated in the Experiential Guide, is to create awareness of why we use our control dramas so we can understand how we continue the cycle and patterns of seeking control.
My primary drama is Poor Me, and my fiancés' primary drama is Aloof. We play these out on a regular day-to-day basis as if it's just naturally who we are. We learned them while growing up, and they are so ingrained into our psyches that we hardly notice when they are happening. Yet, we can easily identify when the other is playing the role.
If you and your partner are looking to create a more harmonious relationship and want to overcome your control dramas, working together as a team will make it easier to acknowledge when you are both falling back into old patterns. For this to be successful, it may help to set some guidelines that you both can agree on, such as:
- Upon noticing the drama, ask how your partner is feeling.
- Stay calm and speak with kindness, without calling out, shaming, or blaming.
- If needed, detach to refill your energy and come back when calm and rational.
- Be gentle with yourself and your partner. Show compassion and empathy.
- Listen without interruption and give each other space to express yourselves fully.
- Allow the process to create a stronger bond between you, letting go of resentment, which will bring you closer to unconditional love.
At this point, I have to accept that he is not yet ready to clear the past and overcome his drama, and that is okay. What I can do is begin to take responsibility for my own reasons for stealing energy.
1. I tend to resort to using control dramas when I'm not getting my needs met.
Impatience, so evident in my tone of voice, is the first sign that I have been neglecting my physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual needs. Self-care is the greatest gift we can give to ourselves and others. Our relationship with our partner is bound to deteriorate as we begin to lose the pieces of us that make us who we are. I can also notice that it also affects my children – who are now old enough to begin questioning my love for them – causing them to develop their own control dramas.
"As we learn better self-care, we become better people in general. When we are in touch with our own feelings, we can then reach out more effectively to others and show love and empathy to them also. If we are filling our own emotional tanks with self-respect and loving care, we have much more to give to our families, friends, and the world in general." ~ Karyl McBride Ph.D.
2. I have not been accountable for my own energy.
I'm not certain if I am an empath, but I am very intuitive and do pick up on my partner's energy. I allow his control dramas, anxiety, and fear to control my AIR (actions, inactions, and reactions) and as a result, I make decisions that go against what I really want. It is crucial that we put the utmost importance into filling our own energy up and learning how to protect it from outside sources.
It doesn't take long before we are depleted when we are continuously pouring it into the relationship, on top of caring for other family members, dedicating much of our time to work and saying yes to things we'd rather not do. We also must look after the household responsibilities, travel to appointments and other activities, possibly all while feeling the impact of lack of sleep and exercise, too much unhealthy food on the go, and the list goes on.
3. When I resort to blame and judgment, it is more often about me rather than another.
"When you blame and criticize others, you are avoiding some truth about yourself" ~Deepak Chopra.
As a Poor Me, one of the most difficult parts of my spiritual growth was taking responsibility for the reality I was creating. Once we are ready to take a deeper look at ourselves, the transformation can be quite remarkable.
"When you judge another, you do not define them; you define yourself." ~Wayne Dyer.
Reacting from our ego states (inner parent and child) keeps us locked in negativity. It traps us in a never-ending cycle of low energy as ruminative thoughts cause us to continuously overanalyze our circumstances.
4. I don't take enough time to get to know me, be my own person, and truly live my life.
Codependency does not allow us to be centered in our own inner process because our energy fluctuates based on what others do or say. They say, "treat others the way you want to be treated" but, we should first be taught, "treat yourself the way you want to be treated" because we teach others how to treat us.
"Our biggest fear is taking the risk to be alive and express what we really are." ~ Miguel Angel Ruiz.
I learned that in order to become my own person and avoid codependency, I had to first find a balance between giving myself to others and devoting time to my well-being. Knowing and standing up for my core values takes a lot of courage, but it allows me to live with integrity, recognize my worth, and embrace my authenticity.
5. I allow my past experiences and parental influences to impact my need for love and security.
Until we heal our childhood issues and insecurities, we will continue to negatively affect all of our relationships. People will show up in our lives with lessons that will bring us closer to facing our inner pain so that we may nurture and balance our mind-body-spirit and live in alignment.
Working on the Sixth Insight has brought me to understanding and forgiveness, but I realized I am still hanging onto limiting beliefs that have been unconsciously controlling my decisions and behavior. We can challenge our beliefs to find out if we want to keep them or transform them into new empowering beliefs based on our personal and shared relationship goals.
FINDING THE PATTERNS
After considering the five top reasons that cause my power struggles, I can see the pattern that has been unfolding and how integrating the insights into my life and interactions will help me in creating a more spiritual relationship with my fiancé. Being open to coincidences surrounding my relationship and the messages I am receiving will allow me to see the areas I need to be more mindful of.
Understanding and healing my past will set me free so that I am better able to avoid using control dramas. Creating space and time for meditation, reflection, and solitude will assist me in connecting to the universal source and building my inner energy. Following my intuition and setting intentions based on the principles of the Eighth Insight will ensure that I am doing my part towards creating a flourishing relationship.
Becoming spiritually conscious in our relationships is a choice we must make. Nothing will change if we continue to do the same thing. Today, I choose to come up with new ways of interacting without losing my own inner source of energy. Today, I choose to communicate on a soul level, no matter what I may be faced with. Today, I choose to show love and kindness to all others, including myself.