The Angry Dance of Unconscious Relationships: Why the Divorce Rate Is So High

Many relationships are nothing more than an angry dance of unconsciousness between two people who don't know themselves, who don't love themselves, each desperately clamoring at the other to get unnamed things in order to fill the HOLES in their SOULS.


That bears repeating:
If you never heal from what hurt you, you'll bleed on people who didn't cut you.

But now isn't that the way most of us go through life?

Bleeding all over those who were not responsible for inflicting our wounds in the first place?

One of my spiritual teachers once said that our emotional lives are based on the Holy Trinity of:
  • MOM
  • DAD
  • and ME
We walk through life trying to get what we didn't as children within that trinity, but we aren't consciously aware of it because most of us don't take the time to truly get to know ourselves.

If I asked you "Do you know yourself?" could you honestly say yes?

And what does that question mean to you?

Does it mean "I'm a teacher, and I like long walks in nature, and I take my coffee with two cream and one sugar"?

Is that your definition of knowing yourself? The things you do to fill your time, and your preferred ways of interacting with the world around you, as it pertains to daily life? (i.e. How you take your coffee or what kind of music you listen to.)

What about "I am how I am because..."?

Or "These situations make me feel scared / uncomfortable / vulnerable because..."?

And "I feel loved and cared for when..."?

Can you answer those questions?

"Why does it matter?" you might be asking. "Why do I need to know those things about myself?"

I'm so glad you asked.

Picture it...Sicily 1922...a young peasant girl...

Nah, I'm just messing with you.

Picture it.

Two people in a relationship.

Neither of them know themselves.

They don't know who they are, why they are, what makes them feel loved, what makes them tick.

The only thing they're aware of is a vague sense of emptiness; that something is missing.

(HINT: A firm grounding in their own sense of self and self-worth.)

They think it's the other person who will give them this; who will fill that void.

Neither person knows themselves and each person feels empty and needs the other person to fill them up.

Without self-knowledge, self-worth, and the ability to articulate who they are, each person turns to the other with outstretched hands: "Give me, give me, fill me, fill me."

Two emotional beggars on the verge of dying from spiritual hunger because they don't know themselves enough to nourish their own souls.

Frustrations grow, tensions mount.

They each WANT - NEED - LONG so desperately.

Neither one knows themselves, neither one understands themselves, so neither can express themselves, and neither can give of themselves.

They spin in frustration.

Spin baby, spin.

Spin, spin, spin!

Faster and faster.

Angrier and angrier.

Each one emotionally clamoring - TEARING - at the other: I AM SO EMPTY - I NEED YOU TO FILL ME.

I don't know me, but I expect YOU to know me.

I haven't spent the time getting to know myself or what I want, but I expect you to take the time to get to know me and give me what I need.

They rattle their empty hearts in each other's faces, begging, begging.

Please...please...I AM SO EMPTY - I NEED YOU TO FILL ME.

I don't love me, but I expect YOU to love me.

(I don't even like myself - forget about love - but I expect you to love me truly, madly, deeply.)

That's just fucked up.

But it's how many - if not most - relationships go down.
An angry dance of unconsciousness between two people who don't know themselves, who don't love themselves, each desperately clamoring at the other to get the unnamed things in order to fill the HOLES in their SOULS.
It's SICK. explains the divorce rate.

People who are "doing their work" (the work of getting to know and understand themselves) sometimes say things like "I am like this / I react like this - because of this thing from my past."

I get it. I've been that person. (Some days I still am that person.)

But knowing WHY we are how we are is only the first step. We can know why but then we need to use that information as a springboard for change.

Too many people who start doing the work of getting to know themselves get stuck in the "Why I am how I am" and then use it as a cop-out to get out of trying at life.

"Look - see? I am so wounded. I cannot possibly....." (Fill in the blank - go after my goals, be in a relationship, etc.)

You know what the word is for those people?


People who are not responsible for how their lives turned out, because everything just HAPPENED to them.

Nope. Uh-uh. I'm not buying it.

Choice. Choice. Choice. Choice.

There was always a choice. (Maybe you didn't see it then.)

There is always a choice. (Are you willing to see it now?)

In order to take charge of our lives, we need to know ourselves. Once we know ourselves, we can then heal from the wounds of our past and give ourselves that which we missed out on as children.

If we don't give ourselves that which we missed, then we will walk the earth like emotional beggars, rattling our hearts like empty cups in front of people we hope will throw into it the pieces of our missing souls - love, acceptance, worthiness, consideration, etc.

This does the opposite of what we want because it repels people.

Fear and neediness has the sickening stench of desperation.

Now, in order to give ourselves what we need, we need to know who we are. But how do we get to know ourselves?

Again, I'm so glad you asked.

I hero worship Mark Manson.

I won't go into a long love fest here, I'm just going to say this as a testament to my admiration: his is the only blog I follow, and pay to subscribe to. I was a fan long before he published The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck. My ego thinks that matters.

He's written a BRILLIANT article (yes I'm biased, but it doesn't change his brilliance) on Emotional Intelligence, which includes an outline on getting to know yourself. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, I'm going to paste the link and relevant excerpts below - but do read the article for the full "how to work through the process" stuff.

Mark Manson - 5 Skills to Help You Develop Emotional Intelligence
Emotional intelligence is a concept researchers came up with in the 1980s and 90s to explain why intelligent people...often do really, really stupid things. The argument went that the same way your general intelligence (IQ) is a measurement of your ability to process information and come to sound decisions, your emotional intelligence (EQ) is your ability to process emotions—both others’ and your own—and come to sound decisions...IQ is harder to change. But EQ is something you can work on and develop like a muscle or a skill and watch grow...
Self-awareness involves understanding yourself and your behavior on three levels:
  1. Know what you’re doing
  2. Know what you're feeling (about what you're doing)
  3. Knowing your own emotional bullshit (figuring out what you don’t know about yourself)

"My family didn't love me the way I needed and wanted."

Really? Ok, take a number and get in line. That's called pretty much everybody.

No matter how amazing our parents were, all of us have shit we could dump on a therapist's couch.

And since most of us had parents who were actually deeply flawed humans beings with their own untended wounds, they ended up bleeding all over us, leaving us with our own wounds. (Fun times for all!)

We gotta stop the cycle.

"My family didn't love me the way I needed and wanted."

It was what it was.

However, we're adults now. (Some of us.)

It's our responsibility to get to know ourselves in the ways in which those who raised us have never known us, and will never know us.

And once we know ourselves, it's our responsibility to step up to the plate and say "Right, well now I'm going to give myself the things that they never did."

We can only ask others to give us that which we are willing and able to give ourselves. Anything else is - at best - gross hypocrisy, and - at worst - a recipe for an unhappy life filled with empty relationships.

If we don't take FULL RESPONSIBILITY FOR OUR LIVES, we will always only be living on the periphery of our soul's potential.

Don't we deserve better than that?


Popular Posts