I was talking to someone the other day about relationships...I know, what a shocker...but we were talking about unhealed trauma and whether or not that was a solo job to heal or if someone else could help you. We were of course not talking about a therapist, they are, of course, totally helpful! But if an intimate partner could help you heal and how one would go about that.
I think we are all pick significant others that help us act out our childhood issues. It is very intentional and very unconscious. I completely believe that we are hard wired to select a mate to give us what we didn’t get as kids. This is not to say that everyone out there is walking around with a ton of childhood issues that are just waiting in alley to jump your next romantic partner...but maybe that is actually closer to the truth.
We all tell each other about our pasts, it is part of the getting to know you process. I do not think that most people think about their wounds, unmet needs or trauma. In fact, I think that most people are just trying to get beyond that. But how? How is anything that is lacking or blocking going to be addressed if it isn’t ADDRESSED?
It is amazing to me how much trauma and plain old unmet needs can inhibit and interfere with adult relationships, all because of some fucked up stuff that happened a million years ago.
You can think otherwise but I bet I could point out a few things that are driving your life right now that go way the fuck back! Seriously, let’s get coffee and I bet I can find at least one, likely several.
I think that dating needs to open up a dialog about your unmet needs early on, ok so maybe not the first date, but somewhere before you make a commitment to only see that person.
First, I think when dating you should gather information about who it is you are dating and see if that provides you a feeling of safety AND a feeling of excitement. There is always a balancing act going on here. Too much safety and you are bored to death. Too much excitement and it is way too risky to be authentic. So dating in the beginning should just be about getting to know each other and finding out that the person you are seeing is both safe and exciting. I also think it is super helpful if you can figure out what percentages you need.
I am a 40/60 girl. I need 40% safety and 60% excitement. I do need to feel safe but I also need you to not lock me down and bore me either. Because in the end, I will always pick autonomy over safety so there has to be enough excitement there to keep me in the game.
I think everyone who is dating should figure out their percentage. I would even go so far to say that if you are married or even just in a committed relationship, you should too. It could be super helpful for you to evaluate whether or not you are getting your needs met and perhaps why not.
I also think that you should evaluate the person you are dating to see where they fall. Are they a 90/10 person or a 10/90? HUGE difference! It is also super insightful to share this information with each other so that you can see if your perceptions about the other person actually match...
Then I think once everyone has made this most important assessment, you should find a way to discuss it and share this with a partner. Everyone talks about love languages these days and takes the little online quiz. How about spending a little more time and figuring out whether you are compatible on this continuum?
Having a conversation where you can open a dialog where both people are free to share and inquire about themselves is critical to getting needs met. Why are we not more intentional about this? We are really never discussing this and then are baffled as to why we can’t find someone who makes us feel heard, seen and loved. Perhaps, having an intentional conversation earlier on would be a good start...
If you find that you match up pretty well, I think you both decide to make a sacred contract. To help each other grow and heal. No one lacks wounds. Not one single person. Everyone on the planet is out there trying to get over something or someone. What if we all looked at each other as healers? What if all relationships were seen as a healing ground for trauma instead of a salve to merely cover the wound? Or treating the relationship as some sort of hide out?
If both people make a commitment to helping the other person take off their armor and allow sunlight and love and friendship to bring some much needed sunlight on those festering sores, don’t you think that we all might get more of what we need and less of what we don’t?
Healing could be a loving and intentional thing to give to someone else. For fun and for free. But instead of pretending that you don’t need it or trying to manipulate the other person to give it to you, you could just be honest and authentic and tell them what you need or at least open a space to figure it out if you don’t already know.
What if we all looked at relationships as a place for solace and company instead of hostages? What if we created a space for someone to walk into without booby traps and just allowed the door to remain open so that they could leave if it got too intense? What if we all just committed to helping each other even if our own issues require that the help we give is temporary or not life lasting?
What if we all started looking at relationships as sacred contracts to help heal? Wouldn’t that be a better use of love? What if everyone walked around knowing what they needed and had the courage to ask for it? What if we all were honest about what we could give and then tried to do a little better? What if we were brave enough to own our pain and share it with another? Holding open a space to allow another entrance to our soul. Would we be more satisfied? Perhaps...I like to think so. At a minimum I think we would stop trying to get our needs met with people who do not want to help, cannot help or don’t even want to...Perhaps, we all might retreat from treating each other as a means to an end. We all might value the person and the love given rather than treating people as disposable and unworthy.
I think it begins with personal consciousness. Then once awake, making a commitment to yourself that you will seek to heal and ask for help. To really do the work to live authentically in your skin and in learning to do that, provide a safe place for another to join you on the path. To stand before each other with a good match on the safety/excitement continuum and ask the fundamental yet revolutionary question...
Will you share your pain with me and I with you so that we both may become better versions of ourselves? Can we both commit to doing this so that we can show others how to as well?
How’s that for a Monday post?
Sacred contracts...you in?