Letting go of a broken
relationship that does not nourish us: the why and how
Most people have relationships in their past that didn't work. Most people have one such relationship that is very hard to let go of. This type of a relationship will be covered in the next two columns.
There are two points to look at when we can not let go of a relationship in our past. When our partner was at their best, they met all of our needs. They were a perfect fit for us in our mind. If they could be the way they were with us 100% of the time, rather then 10% or 20 %, we would be in love forever. The times that they were everything we needed are very hard to let go of. We have been looking for that kind of a match all of our lives.
Here was a person who could meet our needs the way we wanted. We knew they could, because they had. But they wouldn't. We wanted to make them. We did everything possible to make them be the way we wanted them to be 100% percent of the time. We sent them to therapy, we talked to them. We used all of the tricks in the book to evoke the behaviors we craved.
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Finally we left the relationship. We knew we deserve better than just some percentage of what we wanted. But the attachment to our ex-partner lingers. It lingers because we never succeeded in making them fulfill our needs completely. This means we failed. It also lingers because we are angry that they had what we wanted and would not give it to us. For an explanation of the dynamic around the sense of failure please see column #1.
Let's talk about the issues of anger. Have you ever been in a situation when someone has something you want but won't give it to you? As far as you can see, it would be very simple for him or her. It may look like they are not doing what you want for no reason, just to be difficult, or to spite you. How do you feel in that kind of a situation? Most people would feel very angry, at least initially. They may also find that their mind will go over the situation again and again. Same thing happens in relationships. Because your partner had what you wanted, could clearly provide it, and yet did not, you find you are angry. You may also find you are repetitively thinking about him or her. Anger is a great way to stay connected to someone, albeit not a positive way. When we are angry at something or someone it overtakes our whole life, it becomes our god. Anger will permeate every interaction and activity we are involved in. This is one reason we find our past relationships hard to let go of.
There is also another reason why it's hard to let go of this type of a relationship. It is possible that the person we were involved with truly had great qualities. Perhaps with them we had truly an incredible connection. Maybe they loved us even more than we loved them. They may still love us. The only problem in the relationship was that they could only love a part of the time. The rest of the time, they acted hurtfully toward us. And yet it is very difficult to discount and throw away the connection that we had. It is even more difficult if they are still in our circle of friends. And more difficult still when we interact with the wonderful, caring side of them.
All this pulls at our heart. It throws us back in to the dynamic of anger. It also catapults us in to grief. The grief is about a relationship that has died with a person that we truly love who is alive. It is so much easier to let go of someone when it is clear they don't care about us. It may even be easier to let go of someone that dies, because there is nothing that can be done. But to let go of someone that is well and alive and loves us is an incredible task. Yet let go we must if our partner is not willing to meet our needs. And if we are ever to be fulfilled in any relationship, we must complete with our past partner.
So, how do we do this? How do we step out of the dynamic of anger? How do we let go of the living, breathing partner that loves us and yet is not good for us?
P.S. - By Rinatta Paries, and visit the her new WhatItTakes.com
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