uealse Are you Coming or Going? - Dr. Dina Evan's Columns

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Are you Coming or Going?

Ready for a fresh start, a new outlook, a different relationship? Have you been been ready for a long time and are too afraid to leave or make a change?

Have you noticed when you’re really finished with something it is not hard to leave it? Look back at your life at the times when you really hit your limit. Even though leaving may have meant a hardship in some way, when you were really emotionally and spiritually finished, there was more impetus and energy on going than staying , right? That is because when you have made a firm decision on the inside, the outside will always follow. However, when you are undecided on the inside, you won’t be able to walk out of the situation or the door. Often the reason you are undecided is because you still have work to do.

Relationships are like high school or college classes. If you don’t get the point, you don’t get to graduate. If you leave your relationship before getting the point, you have to repeat the class in your next relationship. It is almost as if the Universe says, “Okay, I see you still don’t understand about being co-dependent so I’ll just find you someone just like your last partner and we’ll try this issue one more time.” The Universe, bless it’s heart, is generous in that way.

There is only one hard fast rule about leaving relationships that I ever espouse. That one is, if you are abusing or being abused in anyway and you or your partner will not seek immediate therapeutic intervention or help…leave. The only way to stop the cycle of abuse in families is to leave the situation until therapy has an opportunity to change the negative dynamic between you and your partner.

My only other strong assumption about relationships in general is that I think the one you are in is usually the perfect place for you to be no matter how bad it might look to you. Amazing though it may seem, I always bet the couples who come into my office fighting like cats and dogs are the ones that will make it. There is energy and aliveness in those relationships. No one has checked out or abandoned the process. The people in them simply do not have the tools they need to make it work.

We choose certain kinds of people because we need to learn certain things about ourselves. Relationships are always mostly about you. That’s why you get to be in charge of your own curriculum. You can learn the lessons you need in this relationship or move on and learn them in a different one. My suggestion is that you learn the lesson you need first, then if you decide to leave you are not running away from your issue. If you get the lesson and then decide to leave it is probably because you are taking care of your self in a positive way.

“I don’t even know what the lesson is,” I hear you saying impatiently. Well, let’s see if we can give you some tools that will help you see more clearly. Let’s look at your situation in a metaphorical way. Very often your partner is a mirror or metaphor for what you need to learn about yourself. For instance, if your partner lies to you, there may be a way that you are lying to others or yourself. Perhaps you lie to yourself about what you really need and want in a relationship. Perhaps you lie to yourself or others about what is really important to you, or how his or her actions hurt you. Maybe you even lie to yourself about what you are feeling.

If you have a partner that abandons you, he or she may be reflecting back to you the ways in which you abandon yourself. Maybe you do that by denying your feelings, giving up your perspective even when you feel you are right . Maybe you are the kind of person who always takes care of everyone else’s needs but not your own. Maybe you abandon your right to privacy, respect or space.

If you have a partner that cheats on you, ask yourself if there are ways in which you cheat on yourself by not listening to your intuition. Do you discount your concerns or are you willing to settle for less than you deserve.

Is your partner abusive? In what ways do you abuse your self or others? Do you abuse yourself by choosing to stay in an abusive situation in which your inner child gets abused again and again? Do you abuse yourself by denying your pain, anguish and terror? Do you abuse yourself by not listening to the part of you that deserves better treatment?

As you search for the problem, let your mind expand a bit to include your past and be creative. Sometimes the answer may seem allusive but it’s there. No doubt there is a pattern in your relationships in which the same sets of problems seem to occur repeatedly. Maybe they wear different names and faces but the issues are similar. Those patterns are probably a very close replica of the same childhood issues you dealt with at home. Try to see what the pattern is and then you will have the answer to where your work lies. If you still can’t get the answer, process the question with a trusted friend who may be able to offer a more objective perspective. Don’t give up!

If you can step back from the situation a bit, you may begin to understand that having difficulties in your relationship is really an opportunity for growth and..that person you are always mad at…may be your best teacher whether you choose to stay or choose to leave.

© Dr. Dina Bachelor Evan 2013

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