Like many folk, I grew up in a family where my parents had not embarked on a path of emotional and psychological healing to address the wounds of their respective inner children. This meant they unconsciously projected their negative expectations onto each other, recreating and exacerbating the wounds they had received in childhood. This is the unfinished karma – our past life experiences we reincarnate to heal. So my training as a Tantrika…the term for a Tantric adept, started here, observing what not to do if you didn’t want vinegar put in your coffee! (True story)
Identifying What We Don’t Want
Like so many children, my expectations of partnership were anchored through observing my parental role-models – witnessing the cold wars, blame games, sarcasm, criticism, competition and resentment that in my parent’s case escalated to a bitter divorce.
As a young adult I then found myself working in the family law courts, watching long queues of estranged couples getting their divorce paperwork hurriedly stamped, without any of the pomp and pageantry that had created their legal, wedded union. Like a fly on the wall, I sat next to the magistrate to record the proceedings for the transcripts, watching the end of the road for polarized parents who had declared war upon their opposite over cash, assets and children.
I saw disempowered men try to dodge maintenance, and disempowered women try to extract every cent possible for fear they couldn’t create an income in their own right. I have also seen women rightfully demand that their tireless work as housekeepers and primary care givers be financially recognized, and devoted fathers picketing for their legal right to have equal access to their children.
Having been divorced myself, I also know how gut wrenching it is to try and explain to your two year old that Mummy and Daddy won’t be living in the same house anymore. Let alone how that defining moment makes you determined to never re-create the same circumstance again.
Acknowledging the Cost of Unconscious Relating
Matrimonial law work is currently a staggering $28 billion a year industry in the USA with the average divorce proceedings costing between $15,000-30,000. The average cost of a wedding is another $30,000.
So we live in a culture that spends big on weddings, divorces and also invests considerable time and money on dating and matchmaking services. By contrast very little if anything at all is spent on relationship education. Despite the investment, and possible losses at stake, both financial and personal most couples only invest in their relationship as a last ditch attempt to save it with private counseling services…with many singles still focusing more on trying to secure a mate than reflecting on what they learned from their previous relationship breakdown and acquiring the skills necessary for relationships to thrive.
We accept this status quo as most primary relationships in our families of origin have been immature and dysfunctional – a fact made evident by the success of ‘The Simpsons’ – the longest running U.S. sitcom of all time, voted by Time magazine as the best TV show of the 20th Century. This show lampooned the unconscious family dynamics which struck a chord with millions who identified from their personal experience. This pop culture phenomenon played the role of ‘group therapy’ for the masses, by enabling us to laugh at our collective interpersonal shadow.
Understanding the Past So We Don’t Recreate It
As part of our personal preparation for adult relationships we need to consider and understand the wounds we received in childhood so we don’t ‘act out’ our unresolved negative expectations from our family of origin. It is our unconscious words and behaviors that wound our partner and children, eroding trust and harmony. Not that we should expect ourselves to be completely healed before attempting intimacy with another as relationship is the ideal forum for helping bring our unhealed wounds to light if both parties are willing to commit to relationship as a path of mutual growth and healing. The more self-aware we become, the more we can identify our triggers, making us less likely to project our past wounds on to our partner. It is self-awareness that minimizes our potential for conflict and drama. If we learn practices to diffuse triggers and conflict and honor each other’s needs mutually, relationship becomes a potent vehicle for transformation.
Partnerships are built upon the foundation of our inner union with all the aspects of our psyche or soul. To have a soul mate partnership requires we unveil all the aspects of our soul. Families are built upon the scaffolding of our primary relationships, so we need to spend time and energy investing in our relationship with ourselves and maintain attention to our primary partnerships, especially after the added pressure of children. without a strong foundation and structure it stands to reason that so many relationships buckle under the external pressures of life. So accessing relationship resources and support is imperative if we are to create healthy partnerships, not just as a final act in the drama before lawyers are called.
Reading insightful books, attending personal growth and relationship seminars, online courses and regular journaling all help us deconstruct and understand our interior thoughts and feelings, so we have greater self-awareness and skills to apply.
Are You Sabotaging Your Capacity To Love?
If we aren’t prepared to do the inner work necessary to build a solid foundation for harmonious relating we unwittingly avoid emotional and psychological intimacy. This is pandemic in our culture and evidenced by these common human behaviors:
- shutting down within an existing relationship and becoming emotionally distant and unavailable
- substituting intimacy with virtual realities to avoid rejection
- keeping sexual relationships casual or professional as paid transactions
- sabotaging partnerships with affairs to bolster self-worth instead of examining the underlying reasons
- avoiding the possibility of relationship by minimizing opportunities to meet potential partners
Since we internalize both of our parents as we grow up as a template for our inner feminine and masculine identity and expression so ‘running away from home’ to create a happy family or replacing one partner with an upgrade like a commodity won’t work unless we take the time to examine our inner templates. Just as we are experiencing a quantum leap in the field of technology, we are experiencing an acceleration of consciousness that’s seeing us outgrow conditioning that encouraged us to seek someone to rescue us from the pain of our past, in the form of a ‘white knight’ or ‘good woman’. Now it’s time to acknowledge we must save ourselves and become that ‘white knight’ or ‘good woman’ if we wish to attract it externally in a partner.
Excerpted from Creating Sacred Union in Partnerships by Tanishka.
Click here to find out more about Tanishka’s online relationship course Conscious Relating.
 Forbes magazine