Power Struggle in Relationships

“For one person to love another, this is the most difficult of our tasks.” ~ Rilke 

Awe….those first days and months of relationship feels like a series of magical moments. A new found glow fills our spirit with excitement and we can’t wait to see our beloved again. We return to a childlike state of wonder where everything we do or say–or our beloved does or says– creates a magical quality.

Connection and passion build in those early days as openness, curiosity and discovery open our heart to new possibilities. Love and admiration grow and we don’t feel quite so alone in the world. Those precious moments of falling-into another brings forth the fire of passion, stimulating creativity and self-expression.

And then…the inevitable hits — Power Struggle

Now we begin to feel those little niggles of fear creeping in..those first moments of primal panic show up in subtle and not so subtle ways. The power struggle stage that all relationships go through arises, because…

Love brings up everything unlike itself.

When you first fell into each other, to some degree you lost yourself. And, this is a necessary bonding process. However, it is not a sustainable way to live. The love you cultivated forces you to energetically separate and create a healthier relationship where you equally share power and learn to give to and receive each other. You learn to respect your differences and choices.

The love that grew and grew in those early days or months begins to shine its light on our greatest fears. Some of the deepest attachment fears show up – fear of being rejected or abandoned, fear of being trapped, controlled or smothered. Our lonely, grasping, vulnerable and desperate places are hard to mask when the light of love shines brightly.

The ‘what if’s’ begin to show up…Will I feel trapped or abandoned by the very person I’ve come to love? What if he finds out? Am I lovable enough? Will I lose myself? What if I’m rejected when she really knows me? What if I get bored? How can I keep being me when our needs are different?

Fear keeps us churning in the ‘What ifs.’

In this power struggle phase of relationship the openness you once had begins to shift as you return to yourself. You may notice that small disagreements get blown out of proportion. Or, you may feel like you are walking on eggshells to avoid rocking the boat. You may isolate, leave or attempt to change, punish or control your partner to keep the image you have of them intact. And you intact! This is the necessary power struggle stage that all relationships go through —AND this is normal!

Many people move on from this power struggle stage of relationship and create a supportive, intimate companionship rooted in trust and respect. Yet, many many couples don’t. These couples settle in to mild or moderate disharmony and a lack of intimate emotional and sexual connection for 10 or 20+ years – living side by side in a semi-comfortable (or uncomfortable) safety zone.

And, I find that often the reason is that they don’t know how to do it any differently. Distance becomes normal, sex wanes, and a yearning for ‘something more’ creates internal discontent and external chaos. Addictions kick in or a myriad of mental, emotional and physical symptoms show up to manage.

What to do?

There are many tools that support two people moving through power struggle to a healthier and more intimate connection. Yet, the first one that breaks the ice so to speak is to commit to the courage it takes to be Honest with each other. With honesty you state how you feel in the purest way. Yep – 100% honesty about what is going on inside of you, without criticism or blame. You take full responsibility for your part in the dynamic that has caused fear of true intimacy to trump the love that was once there.

When you stay on your side of the fence and express from your heart how you feel and what you desire, this pulls connection and empathy from your partner. If you blame your partner for your unhappiness and communicate through criticism, rather than own what is happening inside of you, you dissipate connection and wonder where He went or why she fell in to tears.This beginning tool requires courage and vulnerability. It brings insecurities, childhood wounds and fears to the surface to be held and healed.

Relationship is a potent path to open us to all the Brilliant Heart Powers inside of us — Compassion, Honesty, Respect, Acceptance, Gratitude, Gentleness and Generosity grow in the light of committed relationship.

If you feel a niggling discontent in your relationship and want to take it to a deeper level of connection and intimacy, I’m here to support you. And, you don’t necessarily need your partner to dive right in with you. One person committing to greater loving starts a transformational shift in the system of relationship.

WOMEN – Join me April 1 for a Women’s One Day Intensive to activate your own courageous love that will pull your man into deeper connection with you. (Space is limited)

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