Posted in Relationships

Relationship Conflict: Taking Back Our Power

In our journey of ascension, spiritual evolution, enlightenment, self-actualization, personal growth: we come upon a practice that helps us to manage the relationship conflicts in our lives and keep them in the proper perspective. The practice teaches us that every relationship conflict we experience is there as a teacher, revealing to us our own unhealed wounds.  With this practice, instead of lashing out at or projecting blame upon the other person in the conflict, we STOP and take a look within:  What is being triggered in me relating to an unhealed wound or unacknowledged fear?  What can I do to help support the healing and release of this wound/fear?  This practices invites us to ask the question, “What is mine in this?” while freeing us from the temptation to harbor resentment, blame, anger or to entertain thoughts of retaliation toward the other person in the conflict – owning what is ours and taking care of our own sh.t.  This practice also frees us from the temptation of wanting to “fix” or “correct” the other person in the conflict, recognizing that we are only responsible for our own healing and leaving them to work on themselves (if they choose to do so).

couplefightingpixabay

Holding ourselves accountable to our own part in relationship conflict is a profoundly freeing practice. It facilitates our own self-awareness.  We experience healing and release of fear and the wounds that are still haunting us.  We are able to enter into a place of detachment in our inter-personal communications – freeing ourselves from reaction, blame, projection, resentment, hurt and anger.  We are also able to grow in compassion toward the “other.”  As we realize our own woundedness we become more sensitive to the unhealed wounds of others, allowing us to have empathy for those who have not yet found healing.

This practice of self-reflection and self-scrutiny is a powerful and important step in our individual journeys toward wholeness and while we should never NOT engage in this practice, there is one grave danger we must be conscious and aware of:

OVER RESPONSIBILITY

As we engage in the practice of self-scrutiny and self-evaluation in our relationship conflicts, it is easy to fall into patterns of taking all the blame for the conflict and neglecting to hold the other person accountable for their own unhealed wounds and unacknowledged fears. This over-responsibility shows up in subtle patterns of self-blame, shame and sometimes even evolves into self-loathing.  To put it simply, we find ourselves always questioning our actions, motivations, roles in relationship challenges and we neglect to REMEMBER that the other person is AT LEAST 50% of the problem.  As it is said, “it takes two to tango.”  We feel these patterns inwardly as a sense of heaviness, feeling burdened, even depressed or slightly angry or resentful.

When we find ourselves bearing the full burden of blame in any relationship conflict, it is time to TAKE OUR POWER BACK! Yes, it is important to enter into self-evaluation, acknowledging our part in a relationship conflict, but it doesn’t end there.  It is critical that we also acknowledge (to the best of our ability), the other person’s role in the conflict.  We might even know them well enough to surmise the unhealed wound or unacknowledged fear that caused their part of the conflict.  Whether we are able to do this or not….it is IMPERITIVE to keep the responsibility where it truly lies – and at least 50% of that burden lies on the shoulder of “the other,” and that is where it should remain.  In taking back our power, we acknowledge what is ours and do the work of cleaning that up, and we leave the rest for the other person to deal with.  Whether they deal with it or not is none of our business as the only person we are truly responsible for is ourselves – and that is work enough on its own!

Posted in Boundaries, codependency, Lessons, Relationships

Not My Fault

At the end of the day, all we really want as human beings is to know that we are love(d).  We will go to any lengths to insure that we are love(d) – including taking on the fears and unhealed wounds of another.  Today’s blog is about releasing ourselves from the burden of other people’s fear.

notmyfault

Natural Order

Contrary to the way our conflict and war-torn world might make us believe, human beings are naturally inclined to seek out harmony.   In fact, we are hardwired with a biological alert system which signals when we are involved in interactions that are not in support of harmony.  Human beings are also naturally inclined toward loving and peaceful actions.  It is only when we are afraid that these natural inclinations toward loving and peaceful actions in support of harmonious and loving human relations are thwarted.  The challenge is that until we learn how, we are mostly unaware of our fears.  When unaware of our own inner anxiety and fear, and without the tools to identify the source of these fears and strategies for coping with them, or even transcending them, our fears tend to come out sideways.

Fear Coming Out Sideways

In most cases, fear that is unacknowledged and unmanaged comes out sideways, typically in the form of blame.  We experience a state of unease and unaware of how to handle anxiety, we determine that it must be someone else’s fault.  I’m feeling anxious about a work deadline, but instead of identifying and working with my anxiety, I decide the unease is my boss’ fault for being such a hard-ass. Finances are a little tight and I feel anxious about this, but instead of identifying and managing my own anxiety, I lose my temper with my child when they show me they have outgrown all their clothes.  I feel burdened and stressed out by the tasks needed to get ready for my daughter’s graduation party.  My husband gets called in to work and I bite his head off.  It’s my boss’ fault, it is my child’s fault, it’s my husband’s fault.  Nope….it is nobody’s fault.  We simply feel anxious and we don’t know what to do with it.

Here’s Where it Gets Messy

It would be one thing if all we had to do was manage our own anxiety, but we are pack animals and live and work in proximity with other human beings.  Here is where things get messy.  Until OTHERS know better, they are just as likely to put their fears on us.  And until we are secure in the love that we are, we are likely to accept the blame for their fears in an effort to win their love.  We know when we are the one who is being blamed for someone else’s fear, because that biological alert system goes off and (until we know better), we feel shame, which we often quickly cover up with defensive anger.  This feeling of shame then triggers our fear of rejection. Somehow, somewhere, by some strange act of nature (or conditioning), we are SURE we are at fault – their anger, sadness, distress, etc. etc. etc. must somehow be our responsibility.  THEN we do everything we can do to please the other person in an attempt to earn back the love we are sure has now been denied us, including picking up their fear, etc. and carry it around, doing grave danger to ourselves either through self-punishing thoughts and behaviors or defensive rage.  The trick is, it is really not our fault, and the other person does not have the power to deny us of the love that is the very nature of our being.

It’s Not Our Fault

Unfortunately, the “it is not our fault” piece can’t happen until we get a handle on our own anxiety.  We can’t point out the splinter in our brother’s eye until we remove the plank from our own.  Once we understand how to identify and work with our own anxiety, then we can address the projected blame of others.  When another tries to make us responsible for their own anxiety, the first step is to do an inventory – did we actually do something wrong?  Did we make a mistake?  Did we inadvertently cause harm?  If so….immediately take responsibility for it, apologize if necessary, forgive ourselves, them move on.  If we have not done anything wrong, then the next step is to purge ourselves of the shame ignited by the other person’s fear and the resulting fear of rejection.  If we did nothing wrong….then it is not our fault, and it is not our job to carry around shame, neither is it our job to chase the other person around trying to make them happy.  Their anxiety, is their responsibility and their responsibility alone and love has nothing to do with it.  We may choose to be a source of support in helping them learn to manage their anxiety (when appropriate), but it is not our job to make them happy.  We need to be very clear on this piece.  In spite of the natural human inclination toward harmony and the resulting desire to be love(d), it is not our job to make other people happy, neither is it helpful for us to accept responsibility for their fears and other unhealed wounds.  In fact, this dynamic of projected blame and accepting this blame is a distortion of humanity’s natural desire for harmony and our natural propensity to love.  In truth, authentic harmony is not arrived at until we each take responsibility for our own fears, learn how to manage or heal them, and stop projecting them on to others.  Imagine what the world would be like if we all learned to manage our own fears, including the fear of rejection, and stopped taking on the burden of other people’s fears.

 

Posted in Authentic Freedom, Being Human, God, Healing, Mary Magdalene, shame, Surrender

Those Demons in My Head

Today’s blog explores those stubborn, deep, elusive, hard to heal wounds and where we can go for healing and comfort. 

No Doubt!

Yesterday while driving my daughter to volleyball practice, a song popped up on my CD player that spoke loudly and clearly about one of my own elusive, stubborn, hard to heal wounds  And….I’m pretty sure I’m not alone.  The song was In My Head by No Doubt.  Here the Youtube link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CB0sH2OpPzE  and a portion of the lyrics:

I try to think about rainbows
When it gets bad
You got to think about something
To keep from going mad
I try to think about big fat roses
When the ship starts going down
But my head is wicked jealous
Don’t want to talk about it right now

[Chorus:]
Long distance
Don’t talk about ex-girlfriends
Don’t talk about you with out me
Don’t talk about your past

In my head
It’s only in my head
In my head
It’s only in my head

To learn more about the seven core fears (demons) and how to heal them, read Authentic Freedom.  Buy it HERE!

Demons in Our Heads

When scripture tells us that Jesus healed Mary Magdalene of seven demons, Luke wasn’t talking about the dudes in red morph suits donning horns and carrying pitchforks.  He was also not talking about the demons that make our heads spin around and vomit pea soup.  Luke was talking about the perceptions and voices of fear that plague our human existence and keep us from living in the peace, love and joy that make up our original nature in Oneness with God.  These demons, I have found, vary in their strength and stubbornness.  Some we can heal simply by naming them.  Others take years or maybe even a lifetime to transcend.  Some, it seems, stay with us until we die.

To learn more about the seven core fears (demons) and how to heal them, read Authentic Freedom.  Buy it HERE!

Stubborn, Willful Demons

There are two demons in particular who have plagued me for as long as I can remember.  These two demons say, It’s my fault and There’s something wrong with me. I have worked really hard to find healing and release from these demons, but I find the healing elusive.  The worst part is that these demons work together, rarely alone, at torturing me and keeping me imprisoned behind a wall of shame.  And, these demons are really tricky because they come disguised as the virtue of Integrity.  As a person of integrity, I strive to say what I mean and mean what I say.  I also want to own my part in a challenge or struggle before confronting another party.  I want to be clean within myself before taking a challenge out into the playing field.  I work really hard not to blame others before examining the mirror of my own guilt.  See how tricky these demons are?  It is truly a good and virtuous person who owns their own stuff, who does their own work, who can accept their own responsibility.  True……to a point.  It is the demons job to make sure that I never escape from the cycle of self-examination, culpability and blame.  It was ultimately the work of these demons that kept me stuck in my childhood wounds, seven years too long in an unhealthy marriage and hesitant to hold the other person accountable for their part in the hurtful end of a relationship.  It must have been my fault because there must be something wrong with me.  BLECH!

To learn more about the seven core fears (demons) and how to heal them, read Authentic Freedom.  Buy it HERE!

If at First You Don’t Succeed

Try Try again!   Or when all else has fails, turn it over to God.  This is the point I have reached with these two demons.  I have tried and tried and tried to find healing of these fears.  I have employed every tool at my disposal, every weapon in my arsenal.  I have employed the Authentic Freedom principles, the Aramaic Lord’s Prayer, mantra, Tonglen, the Enneagram.  And still, these demons sing their evil songs in my head and perform their wicked dance, surrounding me in darkness like Rothbart, the evil swan demon of Black Swan fame.  Damn them!  Literally!  So last night while wrestling these demons in my head,  after trying and failing with rainbows and big fat roses,  I screamed out in defeat, “GOD TAKE THESE AWAY FROM ME!”  I’m done with these demons and done fighting and struggling with them.  Your turn God!  Of course God answered.  This morning, I opened up the scripture for today and here were God’s words to me:

The Lord is my shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.

In verdant pastures he gives me repose;

Beside restful waters he leads me, he refreshed my soul.

Even though I walk in the valley of darkness

I fear no evil, for you are at my side.

Psalm 23

There you have it.  Today, God has the final word.

Who are the elusive demons that you struggle with?

How have you sought healing from these voices of fear?

How are you invited to give it over to God?

Lauri Lumby

Authentic Freedom Ministries

http://yourspiritualtruth.com