How can we tell if our intimate relationships are based on need or something deeper? Here I share some common indicators of codependency and other behaviors that erode goodwill and harmony in relationships.
Ask yourself if these scenarios describe your relationship, and then read my suggestions for how to transform these behaviors into a more loving way of interacting.
Scenario: You lie to your partner.
Lies may range from little things, such as “Yes, honey, I love your chicken casserole,” to more important ones, such as telling your spouse you have to work late when in reality you are going to meet a lover. But whether they’re white lies or whoppers, they’re a sign of a relationship based in need — the need to receive the approval of the other.
Solution: Be honest.
Love is always truthful. Lying comes from fear. If you want a loving relationship, the truth is the only option. Always.
Scenario: You try to control and change your partner.
The need to modify them comes from your own expectations of how you think they should behave in order for you to feel supported and loved. This comes from not taking responsibility for your own security.
Solution: Let go.
Get The Latest From InnerSelf
When you see yourself manipulating or being overbearing, stop. Bring yourself into the moment and think to yourself, Oh, I can let that go. Go inward and focus on loving yourself. Then the need to control your partner will fall away.
Scenario: Your conversations always turn into arguments.
You may find that the smallest disagreements spark disproportionate arguments in your relationship, that before you have finished giving your point of view, your partner is already reacting from a past expectation of what you are thinking or feeling, and vice versa.
When your partner is talking to you, really listen to what they are saying, especially if you don’t agree or if it makes you angry. You will find that the things you least want to hear can help you grow the most. You don’t have to agree in order to listen, and by listening you are not automatically making the other person right, but you are opening up to receive what they have to show you. When you listen, you learn more about the other person, but, most importantly, you learn more about yourself.
Scenario: You resent your partner.
If you do not express your feelings openly with your partner, resentment will begin to grow within you. This resentment will then be triggered by the silliest little things. During an argument, you will whip out the list of everything you feel resentful about.
Solution: Be vulnerable.
A truly loving relationship will bear the test of the truth. Be honest about what you are feeling, and you will soon see the true nature of your relationship. Tell your partner how you feel — on a regular basis, whenever feelings come up. Don’t try to change them; express your feelings with the goal of being totally transparent, of showing yourself exactly as you are. Recognize the fear at the root of your tendency not to speak up, and allow yourself to feel it. By doing so, you will begin to release the emotional charge that causes resentment, and to replace it with love.
Relationship Based in Mutual Love and Respect?
The wonderful thing about these recommendations is that they only take one person to work! Don’t fall into the trap of thinking, I can’t share my feelings with him because he never listens or I’ll be honest with her if she is honest with me.
If your relationship is truly based in mutual love and respect, it will only become more intimate, more fulfilling if you adopt these behaviors. If, on the other hand, the love really has gone, then the relationship will probably end soon. Yet ask yourself this: when faced with the truth, would you really want to spend your life with someone who doesn’t love you?
Once you start being honest enough to confront that reality, you will already be well on the way to loving yourself. You will find that this more than compensates for the loss of an ultimately unfulfilling relationship.
Reprinted with permission of New World Library, Novato, CA.
©2012 by Isha Judd. All Rights Reserved.
www.newworldlibrary.com or 800-972-6657 ext. 52.
About the Author
Isha Judd is the founder of Isha Educating for Peace and the author of Why Walk When You Can Fly? Born in Australia, Isha has lived since 2000 in South America. She is the founder of Isha Educating for Peace, a self-funded NGO that provides thousands throughout the continent with free access to her teachings. Working with children, politicians, prisoners, and people with disabilities, the organization aims to support the underprivileged in all areas of society. She was recently named Ambassador for Peace by the Argentinean Senate, and Citizen of the World by the International University of Cuernavaca, Mexico. Visit her website at www.IshaJudd.com
Watch a video: How Loving Ourselves Will Change The World (with Isha Judd)