Manage Known Networks The Hidden Benefits of a Relationship Break Up

You may be surprised to learn that, after the shock and the hurt feelings of a break up recede, you have a perfect opportunity to become acquainted with some fundamental aspects of your Self.After a time, your re-discovered core-confidence and Self-esteem will shine through, empowering you and enabling you to attract someone worthy of your love.The more intense the attraction we feel towards a partner at the beginning of an intimate relationship, the more likely it is, that what will roar to the surface are those issues around emotions and patterns of relating we experienced in childhood.Even more so if, or when, things begin to go wrong.The Child within you, often referred to as the Inner Child, is the seat of your emotions. You carry within you still both the positive and negative aspects of your emotional experiences from childhood.When a child is born and through infancy, they are a ‘bundle’ of emotions. Their intellectual capacity, their ability to think rationally, has not yet begun to develop. And they have no language with which to express what they are feeling.They are totally dependent on their caregivers, who may respond in a nurturing, positive way, a ‘good enough’ way or in the worst cases a negative, critical, sometimes abusive, way.Because a child is ‘pure’ emotion he or she experiences their feelings vividly. So much so that, whatever those experiences are, positive or negative, becomes the source of their future emotional capacity as adults.At the beginning of a romantic relationship there is a natural tendency to want to show the other person what you consider to be the more positive aspects of your personality. With a strong attraction comes a yearning for intimacy.

A little like the small child you once were, there is also a need for approval, a desire to please or at least not to offend. This ‘honeymoon’ period may last for a few weeks or months, even longer and, during this time we will usually see our partner through rose-tinted spectacles.But in our effort to please, we may also be in danger of making too many compromises, which ultimately could mask, or even deny, our unique Self. Soon, there will come a time when the less attractive aspects of each person’s personality come to the fore, as these all exist to some degree in all of us.Depending on how skilful we are at negotiating our way through this period will have a direct bearing on how healthy our relationship is going forward or, indeed, whether or not it thrives or founders.There is another factor that influences how well we manage in this area and this is how we match each other in terms of our dependency needs.There is usually an unconscious attraction that brings people into our lives based on our respective level of self-awareness and development as well as the patterns of relating we experienced as children, which exist already within us.It is often the case that someone with a need to control will attract someone who is familiar with being the dependent one in a relationship.We may also attract someone into our life who possesses a quality that we have, up to now, denied within our self. So that someone who finds it difficult to express their feelings may unconsciously attract someone who has a need for emotional expression and closeness.This is why, further into the relationship, things may become difficult. The person who is unaware will not realise why this may be, other than knowing they desperately crave emotional closeness, the more so because their partner is unable to express it.In turn, the more self-sufficient partner will begin to distance him or herself further as what they see as their needy and dependent partner piles on the pressure.Speaking on marriage, Kahlil Gibran in The Prophet says, ‘Let there be spaces in your togetherness’ and ‘Stand together yet not too near together… for the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.’What he is stressing is not only the essential nature and importance of our unique individuality but our recognition and acceptance of it.The more Self-aware you are as you enter a relationship, the better able you will be at attempting to communicate your needs to a partner. Knowing your Self, your needs and asking for what you want puts you in a stronger position from which to try to negotiate any compromises.At the same time, encouraging your partner to express his or her needs and what they might want will allow you both to get off to a good start. The best time to negotiate these ‘ground rules’ will be soon after the beginning of your relationship. In this way you are building a strong and healthy foundation for the future.And, if the relationship ultimately does not survive, you may experience the sadness of loss, but still be aware of how it came about it.The majority of people are unaware of these deep and powerful emotional links to our childhood experience and for the most part it will not matter. Those that are positive will reinforce and enhance all the positive aspects of a healthy relationship.

But in relationships that falter or grind to a halt further down the track it may well be that negative links to the past on behalf of just one of the partners begins to affect the equilibrium in the relationship.He or she may suddenly act ‘out of character’, in some cases create uproar and behave in ways that are difficult to comprehend or suddenly, ‘out of left field’ make what appears to you to be a weak excuse to end the relationship.Because it makes no sense when you are faced with this kind of irrational behaviour, you may find it impossible to accept. You may even begin to doubt your own sense of reality. How can this be?But what you must accept is, that no matter how close you once believed you were, you cannot force another person to be honest or to look more closely at themselves if they show no desire to do so. The only person you can change is your Self.And in these circumstances, your priority must be your Self: to minimize the damage, to let go of the need to understand the other person’s motives or behaviour, to re-draw certain boundaries, to protect your Self from further hurt, to strengthen your sense of Self.It will take time but, in the process, you will come to have a better understanding of your Self, you will learn more about WHO you are, enough to go forward and build a stronger, healthier relationship in the future.