The Common Dysfunctional Relationship

Dysfunctional Relationship

You have fear, the fear of being alone. Your “aloneness” makes you feel a sense of lack. So you want to hook-up; you want to have a partner. A partner that will be with you in a relationship, an intimate relationship. And you meet the person. The person makes you feel special and happy. You fall in love. You feel alive because someone wants and needs you just as you want and need the person. You feel that the part of you you felt was missing has appeared in your life. The relationship is everything and everything else seems insignificant. The fact that something outside of you has become the centre of your life does not seem to matter to you. But there is something you are not aware of because you are unconscious: you are having an addiction.

You are addicted to the other person. No. You are actually addicted to the image you have of the other person. What you call “falling in love” is really an intensification of egoic wanting and needing. This is not true love. True love has nothing to do with wanting. Think of losing your partner. This creates the fear of loss in you which can manifest as jealousy, possessiveness, control, emotional blackmail. And if your partner does leave you, you find yourself in an intense grief. You get “low.” But you feel low because you have been high. Your addiction to the image you had of your partner acted on you like a drug. Your addiction came about because you unconsciously refused to move through your own pain. So you used a person to cover your pain. In other forms of addiction, substance can be used to cover up pain – drug, alcohol, food. Whether the addiction has to do with substance or someone, it starts with pain and ends with pain.

When the relationship ends you feel pain. The end of the relationship is however not the cause of the pain but you do not know this. The end of the relationship brought out the pain that has been in you. And you feel it intensely. You can say that the end of the relationship got you closer to your heart. Every addiction gets to a point where it no longer works for the addict. The addict feels the pain more intensely then.

If in your relationships you experience both “love” and the opposite of love – attack, emotional violence, and so on – then it is likely that you are confusing ego attachment and addictive clinging with love. You cannot love your partner one moment and attack him or her the next. True love has no opposite. If your “love” has an opposite, then it is not love but a strong ego-need for a more complete and deeper sense of self, a need that the other person temporarily meets. It is the ego’s substitute for salvation, and for a short time it does feel like salvation.

But there comes a point when your partner behaves in ways that fail to meet your needs, or rather those of your ego. The feelings of fear, pain and lack that are an intrinsic part of egoic consciousness but had been covered up by the “love relationship” now resurface. Just as with every other addiction, you are on a high when the drug is available, but invariably there comes a time when the drug no longer works for you. When those painful feelings reappear, you feel them even more strongly than before, and what is more, you now perceive your partner as the cause of those feelings. This means that you project them outward and attack the other with all the savage violence that is part of your pain. This attack may awaken the partner’s own pain, and he or she may counter your attack. At this point, the ego is still unconsciously hoping that its attempts at manipulation will be sufficient punishment to induce your partner to change their behaviour, so that it can use them again as a cover-up for your pain.1

In the early stages of many relationships, role-playing is common. Both partners usually are not being who they are and they play roles to attract and keep one another. The unconscious agreement they have is: “I’ll keep playing the role you want me to play, and you will keep playing the role I want you to play.” The agreement is unconscious and so is unspoken. But keeping up with the role that is being played is hard work. Hence, the roles cannot be sustained. Role-playing drops when they start living together. Then both partners seem to be watching Discovery Channel. Discoveries about the other person keep hitting them. What do they see? Ego in its raw form not covered by role-playing. And what do they feel? Anger towards each other. In this situation you blame your partner for not removing the fear and sense of lack you had before the relationship. But the fear and sense of lack have always been with you; they were obscured by the dysfunctional relationship you have.

There is no true love in the relationship, hence, it is dysfunctional. This is why the relationship oscillates between “love” and hate. The love you felt at the beginning now turns into hostility or withdrawal of affection which can happen in an instant. Some couples get addicted to the “love” and hate cycle of the relationship. The drama makes them feel alive. As time progresses, the negative cycle increases in frequency which finally leads to the collapse of the relationship. The “love” in the love and hate cycle is not true love. True love does not have opposite. It does not arise from the mind but from beyond it. The “love” and hate are actually two sides of the same coin – the dysfunction.

This write-up is not proposing you avoid relationships in order to avoid pain. Whether you are in a relationship or not, the pain you have is there. This write-up is rather asking you to awaken, to be conscious. It is asking you to bring your presence to your Being. If you do this in a relationship, the love in your Being will manifest as true love. If your partner is also conscious, both of you will have a relationship that can be truly called a love relationship. If your partner is unconscious, it is either your consciousness draws your partner to consciousness or your partner leaves you. Unconsciousness cannot stand consciousness for long. Instead of blaming your partner for leaving, you feel compassion for your partner. And as for you, your consciousness will most likely attract someone else who is conscious. The result is a better relationship.

Relationships with true love are rare today. Maybe it is because conscious individuals are rare.

Note

  1. Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment, 2004, New World Library, Novato, and Namaste Publishing, Canada, pp. 151 – 152.

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