Ending of Relationships
But ultimately the mirror's image was too harsh
 and the reflection unbearable- so it was easier to shatter the
mirror and destroy the truth.

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Love is nothing else- if not eternal

"All loves are a bridge to Divine love. Yet, those who have not
had a taste of it do not know!"-Mevlâna Jalâluddîn Rumi

Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were
to live forever. - Mahatma Gandhi

The beginning of the adventure of finding yourself is
to lose your way. - Joseph Campbell

"Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor
 do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding
danger is no  safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life
is a daring adventure or nothing at all. - Helen Keller

The above are quotes from bodymindsoul.

If you allow it to be, love is the greatest healing
force in the universe.

When most people end relationships they reject what they most
 love in order to avoid  facing what they most fear- themselves.

As they say, it is important to live in the present, not the past or future.
Yet, it is also important to understand the past- so you can
avoid repeating the mistakes- even if those mistakes
were an important part of your learning.

Healthy love must be nurturing. It is not only about what you are,
who you are now- but what you may become. The potential of the human
 spirit for growth, love and awareness. Therefore, for me, love is about
 unlocking the potential of the other- not stymieing  it with judgment. Instead
nurturing.  It is an awareness  of your beloveds potential. I have seen relationships
where one or both people are choked - where their love has  become an albatross-
an antidote to the fear of being alone not a mysterious adventure. To often humans judge
and judge and judge - nothing more is this than extension of ego- destroying
 communication and cutting off the vitality needed in a healthy relationship.
 My answer to this is thanks, but no thanks

When we reject others- we reject a part of ourselves.
When we seek happiness by rejecting love and losing
 our openness to others- we only delay the time that it takes
to become fulfilled and truly happy.

Love is the unconditional support of someone’s soul.
 It is the unshakable desire to see them become what they
 were meant to be, yet accepting of who there are now.
 It is unmoving, and remains when all else is gone- whether
that is youth, health, mind and even life.

I promise you this. Each day I will say I love you
- regardless of how sad, disappointed or angry  I become.
 Each day I will commit to you as if for the first time.
 An each day I will be thankful that you are with me.
Each day I will remember how imperfect I am.

A relationship is not about you or me. It is about us.
Without the "us" there is no relationship.

To make one person the focus of one's love-may be the inspiration
 of many a love song- but in the end- that focus is narrow and selfish.
 If one loves, then one must love all consciousness- all life-
 and the full manifestation of this in oneself and others.

The essence of life and love is change.

My heart is open- but to be understood the other must be willing to receive-
to accept the offering.

Without commitment there is no possibility of change and growth,
 and without these things the relationship and the people in it will
not heal and become healthy.

Often the ego's "self protectiveness" can be destructive-
 resulting in anger, threats and withdrawal. Yet sometimes there
 is a need to fight. A need to break the silence- to restore
 a balance- to unleash the truth.

To often people forget that life itself is a gift. They lose
 perspective on what is important and isn't- they forget the
 primacy of love and instead revel in fear. While we think that
our fears protect us- they really destroy us and eventually rob
what they seem most desirous of protecting- life itself.

For too many relationships are nothing more than sources of
ego gratification. This kind of love only leads to cruelty & pain.
True love is as constant as the North Star & as faithful as the
sun that rises & sets every day. True love is unshakable. True love
cannot willfully hurt the beloved. To love someone is to love their
spirit- their essence. To seek to know them at the deepest level. To
love what they love & to accept them fully for who they are.

Lowell Greenberg


Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.- William
Shakespeare, Sonnet CXV1

The ending of relationships, whether friendships, marriages or work is always painful. Often there is a great sense of loss. At times it is necessary when one or both partners are emotionally and/or physically abusive, and unable or unwilling to change what has become a toxic, unhealthy and/or addictive relationship. However, reconciliation is often possible if both people  love, care, trust and respect each other and are fundamentally compatible. The ability and willingness to honestly, assertively, empathetically and non-judgmentally communicate thoughts and feelings and actively listen is also critical.

Sometimes counseling helps if both people are sincerely committed to relationship building and are psychologically secure and healthy enough to alter their thoughts and behavior. Counseling can help us understand that conflict can be healthy- a way to talk about problems, instead of arguing and withdrawing. It can help us find ways to empathize, acknowledge and express feelings and avoid the pitfalls that commonly escalate conflicts. What of course doesn't work in salvaging a troubled relationship are threats, ultimatums, harsh criticism, sarcasm, passivity, pent up aggression, passive aggressive behavior, violence and/or resigning oneself that any relationship is better than no relationship.

One of the key elements of a healthy relationship is unselfishness. In essence, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you"- and engaging in the self questioning necessary to make this a reality.

In any relationship it is important to understand and accept a situation from the other's perspective, even if that perspective is radically different from your own. It is also important to understand that expressed or unexpressed anger may generate a similar reaction - whether aggressive, passive aggressive and/or passive. While anger is a natural human emotion one cannot expect that response to anger will always be positive and constructive. The ability to unselfishly deal with both you and your partners anger and to non-defensively communicate your thoughts and feelings in the context of a trusting relationship is essential.

It is true that in any relationship there must be shared values on ethics and commitment. However, some feel we are drawn to people that help complete ourselves. It is in these relationships where there is the greatest potential for growth, precisely because both people are so different in personality and life orientation. Yet it is often true that these relationships may engender the most conflict- at least in the beginning and until both people learn to communicate unselfishly and acquire enough of an understanding of themselves and each other for healing to take place.

Accountability, honesty and commitment are crucial to a healthy relationship. Kathlyn and Gay Hendricks of the Hendricks Institute write:

bulletIn our thirty-plus years as therapists, educators and consultants, we have never seen dishonesty produce happiness and intimacy. So we advocate absolute honesty in any relationship that matters to you. If your relationship to yourself matters, be scrupulously honest in acknowledging your feelings and motivations to yourself. If your relationship with a specific person matters, scrupulously tell the full truth about your feelings and your deeds to that person. Almost every relationship disaster people have brought to our office began with lying to protect the feelings of another person. For this reason, we never advocate concealment.
bulletCommitment is crucial to relationship harmony. Almost all relationship problems are problems of commitment. We have worked with couples married for twenty years in which one or both people had not yet made a full body-and-soul commitment to the relationship. In other situations, problems were caused by a person being more committed to an addiction--such as smoking, alcohol, work or others--than to the ongoing dance of intimacy with a partner. Unconscious commitments can best be discovered by listening to what you complain about, out loud or in your mind. When people complain about something repeatedly, it is almost always because they have an unconscious commitment to it. Take, for example, the common complaint about weight: Most insightful people eventually discover that they were unconsciously committed to perpetuating their weight problems. If they weren't complaining about weight, they'd have to do something with all that energy, something truly risky like expressing creativity. We advocate a monogamous sexual commitment, and have never seen any other model work.
bulletArguments start when someone points the finger of blame and races to occupy the position of "wronged victim." This causes the other person to blame and race toward the victim position. Both people end up feeling wronged, justifying that position, and burning immense energy in a futile attempt to get the other person to accept the role of villain. Our work deals with this problem in a radical way: We invite both people to take full responsibility for any problem in a relationship. Both people are invited to shift to asking "What's my role in this problem?" and "How can I shift my consciousness so it doesn't re-occur?" rather than "Why is he/she doing this to me?" When people are courageous enough to do that, the energy that previously was burned in the race for victimhood can be re-channeled into creative activities.
bulletOur work focuses on learning to appreciate other people, and learning to receive appreciation, rather than trying to get other people to appreciate us. When you open to receiving appreciation and learn how to appreciate skillfully, other people go to great lengths to appreciate you.
bulletWe are much more interested in how people are the same than how they are different. While some approaches focus on the differences between men and women, for example, we focus on the underlying unity of genders. Whether you are in a same-sex relationship, a multi-cultural relationship or any other variation, you still face core issues common to all.
bulletCreativity is crucial to relationship harmony. Unless both people express their creativity, they are going to think the other is oppressing it.
bulletMost relationship problems can be resolved with five questions: What am I not facing? What truths have I not spoken? What have I been blaming others for that I need to own responsibility for creating? What choices do I need to make? What actions do I need to take?

Some individuals are narcissistic- viewing a relationship primarily from the perspective of their own needs and wants. They may lack self esteem and compassion- resenting their partner for insensitivity to their needs. Their resentment can manifest in any number of forms of exploitation and emotional/physical abuse and withdrawal. They sometimes exit from a relationship when painful challenges and disappointments arise either as a byproduct of the relationship and/or external to it. This adversity represents too great a threat to their self esteem, often conflicting with their sense of self importance, entitlement and fantasy world of success, power or brilliance. Ironically, this very escape, while a symptom of their illness also further saps the joy from their life- making life less, not more bearable. Rather than attempting to resolve differences and challenges through understanding and compassion, they cycle through future relationships- repeating the negative, sometimes abusive patterns of the past. See also: Dr. Irene's Verbal Abuse Site.

Other personality issues or disorders can contribute to relationship difficulties. Low self esteem may lead to pent up anger, confusion, poor self assertion and unhealthy relationship dynamics. Depression, anxiety disorders, narcissism, bipolar disorder and more severe types of mental illness such as schizophrenia, can severely exacerbate relationship problems. The same can be said for substance abuse and addiction. Substance abuse may accompany mental disorders- the two feeding on each other and destroying individual lives and relationships. Co-dependency may also arise- perpetuating, rather than resolving problems. Relationship counseling in combination with self work, individual therapy and medication may be required to successfully resolve many or all of the above issues.

At times a partner withdraws from what seemed a loving and supportive relationship with little or no  effort to communicate why and resolve differences. When this occurs the "rejected" can feel deeply betrayed and the "rejecter" less authentic and human. Understandably, previous words of love and commitment are called into question- the rejected feeling "used" and/or victimized by what appears to be a psychologically irresponsible, perhaps narcissistic human being. Our memories are not of what was, but how we remember what was. Understandably, thoughts creep in that what was- never really was and therefore could never be.

However, relationships do change over time and maybe love flowered once, but gradually died over time- with the warning signs ignored or only dimly felt.

Mark Knapp, identifies these stages in the coming together and coming apart phases of a relationship:

bulletInitiation- This stage is very short, sometimes as short as 10-15 seconds. In this stage, interactants are concerned with making favorable impressions on each other. They may use standard greetings or observe each other's appearance or mannerisms.
bulletExperimenting- In the next stage, individuals ask questions of each other in order to gain information about them and decide if they wish to continue the relationship. "Many relationships progress no further than this point"
bulletIntensifying- Self-disclosure becomes more common in the intensifying stage. The relationship becomes less formal, the interactants begin to see each other as individuals, and statements are made about the level of commitment each has to the relationship.
bulletIntegrating- The individuals become a pair in the integrating stage. They begin to do things together and, importantly, others come to see them as a pair. A shared relational identity starts to form in this stage.
bulletBonding- During the bonding stage, a formal, sometimes legal, announcement of the relationship is made. Examples include a marriage, "best friend" ritual, or business partnership agreement. Few relationships reach this level.
bullet Differentiating- In this stage, partners begin to stress the "me" instead of the "we." In other words, the individuals begin to assert their independence. They may develop different hobbies or activities. The relationship may continue to dissolve, or this stage may be a warning sign that the couple needs to address their relationship status.
bullet Circumscribing: Communication between the couple diminishes during this stage. They tend to avoid certain topics of discussion. Outwardly, the couple appears normal. At this stage, attempts can be made to discuss the relationship and return it to a positive state.
bullet Stagnating: During the stagnating stage, the individuals avoid discussing the relationship because they think they know what the other will say. Others begin to take notice that something is wrong.
bullet Avoiding: The pair begins to physically separate themselves during the avoiding stage. The individuals try to reduce the opportunities for discussion.
bullet Terminating: This is the final stage of the relationship. Termination may come naturally, such as at the end of the semester when roommates move out, or arbitrarily, through divorce. Termination of the relationship can occur positively or negatively.

While memories of a relationship fade- they still remain part of who we are. We must incorporate the relationship experience, understand and learn from it-treasuring the best parts- but never suppressing memories no matter how painful or joyful. Attempting to suppress ultimately hinders the growth of the soul.

Love is productive- giving genuine love to another enriches one's own life and being even if this love is rejected. Still, we must learn from our past relationships, seeking partners that can love us deeply and unconditionally. We must learn to recognize the warning signs of relationships in crisis and of partners who can't fully love.
 

All of us have had relationships that have ended. But while we may gyrate through the various stages of denial, anger, grief, acceptance and forgiveness the consequences are always painful.

James J. De Santis, Ph.D,  recommends the following steps to take if you decide to exit a troubled relationship.

bulletFormulate specific steps for exiting your relationship that will help you avoid procrastination or excuse-making.
bulletActivate your social-emotional support system, including friends and family.
bulletAvoid entering a new relationship too quickly. Take time to work through your feelings. Examine what happened so you can make better relationship choices in the future.
bulletPursue your own goals for happiness, personal growth, and getting on with building a new life.

We must remember that all endings are new beginnings and that if we remain open, caring and alive, love will again return- perhaps sadder and wiser- but no less beautiful and fulfilling. No star or flower is more beautiful than another- only a unique expression of love. And remember- true love abides.

The experience of pain and loss can foster personal growth, healing and renewal-but first we must listen- inwardly and outwardly.

Chuck Spezzano's Psychology of Vision is based on the principles below. These principles emphasize the importance of self-understanding and love- the critical foundation of any relationship....

bulletWhenever there is a problem or conflict, there has to be a better way.
bullet The world is our mirror.
bullet Anything that happens to us serves our purpose.
bullet No one can do anything to us that we are not already doing to ourselves.
bullet As we change our beliefs, we change our patterns.
bullet We are always in the perfect place to learn the lesson we most need to learn in order to heal and grow.
bullet We construct either heaven or hell on earth, depending on what we give to our relationships.
bullet Leadership lets nothing be more important than answering the calls for help around us.
bullet Problems are opportunities to heal the pain of the past.
bullet The key to our fulfillment is to live our purpose.
bullet All manner of pain and suffering are washed away by love.
bullet Relationships are the fundamental building blocks of life.
bullet We are on an evolutionary path to realize that we are Spirit.
bullet Whatever our circumstances, however we see things, the answer always lies in healing.

Dr. Michael Mirdad, wrote this about healing in his article entitled, "Creating Fulfilling Relationships,"

"If you want your relationships to be fulfilling, then you must let them fulfill their two purposes. The first is to bring about whatever healing they are presenting. The second is to let yourself reap the rewards of doing the work, allowing the healing and committing to experiencing love in your life. When you accomplish this, you will feel whole and healed. You relation is no longer based on fear and dysfunction but instead on love and wholeness. Passion and joy are no longer temporary distractions that the ego can demand payment for. Your debt has now been paid. The relationship is yours. You own it! Now you choose to share it with God, with all parts of yourself and yes, with others whom you feel will recognize and appreciate it."

He goes on to write,

"...But in your new, healthy state of being, you are in a perpetual state of LOVE. To have a partner or not have a partner is all the same and holds no desperate energy. You are no longer relating out of neediness. There is no longer codependence driven by dysfunction. There is only a focus on sharing. Each person will eventually learn to share their True Self with whomever they feel will benefit from the experience and each will take responsibility for what they gain or what limits they impose. This level of taking personal responsibility dissolves unhealthy codependence and provides each person with an opportunity to create a safe, fulfilling relationship."

I would like to add to what Michael wrote. In the end we are all one. Security, youth, old age, physical beauty, ugliness, dependency, needing, anger, attraction- even hope for the future, anger at the past- are all illusions. None of these things define the true self. Clinging to illusion- to the belief that we are anything but love and consciousness- brings pain and becomes a source of suffering in relationships. Relationship and community can become places where we as humans foster each other's growth and enlightenment. Where we learn to be more in touch with our true selves. Where we learn what is important and not important. Where we learn who we already are. If you love someone- do not therefore say you love them because they are smart, beautiful, tall, short, energetic, calm, etc. Rather say you love them for their true self that is always loving and caring. It is in relationship where we can help each other realize this true self.

In this universe there is constant change. Clinging to anything results in suffering. Yet- nothing changes- our essential self does not change. In the end- it is only this unchanging self than can be loved- in fact it is love.

The closest most people come to this kind of love- is the love of a mother for a child. Most mothers can love their children regardless of their faults and in fact find in their perceived faults other reasons to love them. It is also true that children who never find this love may have difficulty experiencing it later in life- with partners and others. Yet challenges early in life while bringing suffering, can also the foster growth and the desire for truth.

Finally, the kind of love I am describing is all around us. In nature, in the universe- in all things it is boundless and flowing. Once we are awake to it- we realize we are never alone.

I wrote this at the end of relationship. Perhaps overly idealistic for some and for others too spiritualistic- I still believe it is fundamentally true...

The True You

Anyone who has been "in love" knows that the words are almost meaningless. They fall trippingly off the tongue and are said by so many so early. What they really mean is...I love myself and I love how you make me feel. I love that you make me happy. I love this, I love that. And yes I love YOU. But is it YOU? That YOU is often everything BUT who you really are. In truth most don't even know who they are- so how can they love another for who THEY truly are?

So you may ask- what is the true YOU? I will tell you. It is not anything you think it is- any quality, emotion, feeling or physical trait. It has nothing to do with what you love or hate. Do you know what it is? It is the core essential being- that will be part of you after you leave this plane and before you enter it again. That is always with you. It is the eternal, all knowing presence that can only manifest love and can see everything that was, is and will be. Perhaps you might say it is the god within you- the great stillness- the eternal harmony. It is only at this level where there can be true love. Love, not just for a partner- but for all life- all existence- all consciousness.

A part of me wants to cry. A part of me can't imagine how so many memories must now be reinterpreted- found to be false. The child within wants to die- and not face a world full of human beings who seem to lie so much-unknowingly or not. But the truth is easy to see. Why should it be otherwise. That child comes from an eternal place of love and is thrust into a world of suffering and pain. The child will always be hurt and the pain is real but illusory at the same time. How could a relationship based on anything else but the true ME, the true YOU, ever be permanent- every endure? It can't. To make one person the focus of one's love-may be the inspiration of many a love song- but in the end- that focus is narrow and selfish. If one loves, then one must love all consciousness- all life- and the full manifestation of this in oneself and others.

I also wrote this in connection with the ending of this relationship:

My partner is now trapped in his own thoughts, feelings and emotions. Some people feel that they ARE their thoughts, feelings and emotions. Sometimes they create their own personal hells and become trapped. If they break out- they can begin to breath and experience their true selves. I feel sorry for him because he is trapped. The only thing that in a sense can “save” him is his love for me and this is the very thing his psyche has attacked and attempted to destroy over many months. Why? Because he attributes the pain he is experiencing to me and the relationship- rather than face the other issues he has- deep seated emotional wounds- that cutoff his vitality and prevent him from getting past the traps. In this sense I feel very sorry for him- and to the extent I can be objective- I realize that is not ME or US that has the predominate set of “issues.” It can only be US- if there is an US…

For me, the sadness is that having once trusted and believed- and still capable of great love- the relationship is not what it once was- or perhaps never was what I felt it was- and that there is nothing I can do about it- nothing. There are no words, no emotions, no thoughts that can awaken him. If and when he does awaken- and if he has greater awareness- he will realize that something very beautiful, very real and very precious was lost.

The Tree and The Man

Many years ago there was a tree and a man. They met in a forest one day. They gazed at each other. The man fell in love with the tree and the tree fell in love with the man. The man so admired the beautiful outstretched branches of the tree- its youth- the vibrant leafs, the sweet sap, the gentile swaying of her branches in the breeze. The tree felt at home with the man- admired- finally known for who she is- a little less alone.

Years passed. The tree became less beautiful. Some of the branches were barren. She began to lean over a bit. The man grew bored. The tree was no longer as beautiful to him. The man was unhappy and the tree no longer made him happy. So one day the man moved on. He left the tree and never returned. At first the tree was puzzled. She said to herself, “I thought he loved me.” The sun loves me, the birds love me, the wind caresses me- they always return- we are never apart. But this man has disappeared. Why? Did he ever love me or was his love, like his rejection, nothing more than a game he played with himself. The tree felt used, but finally the tree understood the truth. The man never loved the tree, but only the saw the tree for what it could do for him. When the tree no longer did what the man wanted- he left.

The tree wonders- will I ever find true love? Will I ever be loved for who I am? The tree knows that she has always loved and has  always been loved- by the sun, the stars, the mountains, the river, the rain and the wind. But she also knows...the man never loved her. He can’t even love himself.

 

 

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