Human Relationships, Intimacy, Love and More
Let's face it, relationships are hard work. But as human beings we need to be in relationship: we have an inbuilt biological drive to be in contact with other human beings.
As children we grow up in a complex matrix of relationships which to a large degree will shape who we become as adults.
Later, we dream about romantic relationships; as teenagers we get excited about our first attempts at sexual relationships, and these first sexual encounters are an important rite of passage into adulthood.
As adults we look for committed long term relationships, and most of us envisage happiness as being part of a relationship (whatever that may look like).
What no-one ever tells us is that relationships are hard work. You could compare a relationship to a dance between two partners (or in some less orthodox cases more than two) where each partner is listening to a different tune and rhythm and they are dancing according to a different set of steps.
To make the endeavour workable, possibly even graceful and good fun, a lot of resilience, trust, negotiation, willingness to compromise, skill and humour is needed.
Again, this isn't really stuff that is taught to us beforehand, and we often believe that a relationship is supposed to save us from all our problems, rather than throw all our failings into greater relief.
So where does that leave us? Probably with a lot to learn, but also with a great opportunity for personal growth and shared happiness.
The bottom line for me is that when relationships do work they are fun and a source of great pleasure and security, but when they don't they can make one rather miserable.
On the whole, though, they do work - or at least can be made to work - with the right skills, and in co-operation with your partner. And for many of us, few things in life seem to be as worthwhile as investing in one's relationship.
If you're having persistent trouble with your relationships, we do recommend counselling as a good way to re-establish the lines of communicating and harmony within an intimate relationship.
This is a poem by Adrienne Rich, who captures so much of our human struggle and need to be in relationship:
An honourable human relationship - that is one in which two people have the right to use the word "love" - is a process,
Delicate, violent, often terrifying to both persons involved, a process of refining the truths they can tell each other.
It is important to do this because it breaks down human self-delusion and isolation.
It is important to do this because in doing so we do justice to our own complexity.
It is important to do this because we can count on so few people to go that hard way with us.
Last updated July 12, 2019
In our work we use the Jungian principles of Shadow and Archetypes and the concepts of Emotional Wounding. These concepts allow us to access the deep emotional wounds which play out in all of us as unhelpful repetitive patterns of behaviour, even though we might wish to think, feel and act differently.
The concept of archetypal energy is a useful one because it allows us to see the various parts of ourselves as semi-autonomous energetic forces which can act independently of each other. The switch between these archetypal energies often goes unnoticed: we identify with the energy in which we find ourselves at any one time, and we do not notice ourselves switching to another state. Then we respond form where we are, not where we would like to be.
The development of emotional maturity certainly requires us to examine the wounds which trigger us to move into one or other of these archetypal energies. For example, assuming that the primary archetypes can be listed as King or Queen, Lover, Warrior, and Magician, then the energies of rage might be triggered by a move into Warrior. The energies of grief might be triggered by a shift into Lover. Knowing where you are and how to move out of these energies by conscious choice is critical to good emotional health. This is the art of good shadow facilitation work - to enable a person to access the appropriate emotional state at will.