As far as I can make out it is often the trivial stuff which causes the kind of relationship damage that leads to relationship breakdown. It also appears that it is often the serious stuff that actually cements and strengthens relationships.
Trivial: People end relationships because their feelings have changed
Serious: People stay in relationships to care for a seriously ill partner
Trivial: People end relationships because of differing value systems
Serious: People stay in relationships where their partner has changed gender
Trivial: People end relationships where they are not getting their own way
Serious: People stay in relationships with extended periods of absence
I mention this because I believe that recovering from relationship damage and/or breakdown is dependent on the circumstances and how well we can make sense of it all.
In my experience we appear to place greater weight on the trivial stuff than the serious stuff. I have spent quite a bit of time thinking about this odd state of affairs and haven’t really been able to figure it out – dammit! However I think that it may be because we have difficulty dealing openly with the serious stuff, often substituting it with the trivial stuff. The result being extremely strong emotions erroneously linked to something incredibly trivial.
I also think that in the event of relationship damage and/or breakdown Forgiveness, Acceptance, Redemption and Reunion are very important. Although I’m not religious or spiritual I do find a lot of sense on these areas in much of the religious and spiritual texts hence the following extract on Forgiveness.
From ‘The Power of Your Subconscious Mind’ by Dr Joseph Murphy, Prentice Hall – USA, 1963, 0-671-69671-8
- Forgiveness is necessary for healing
And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have ought against any,,,Mark 11:25.
Forgiveness of others is essential to mental peace and radiant health. You must forgive everyone who has ever hurt you if you want perfect health and happiness. Forgive yourself by getting your thoughts in harmony with divine law and order. You cannot really forgive yourself completely until you have forgiven others first. To refuse to forgive your-self is nothing more or less than spiritual pride or ignorance.
In the psychosomatic field of medicine today (Note from Yernasia: Early 1960s), it is being constantly stressed that resentment, condemnation of others, remorse, and hostility are behind a host of maladies ranging from arthritis to cardiac disease. They point out that these sick people, who were hurt, mistreated, deceived, or injured, were full of resentment and hatred for those who hurt them. This caused inflamed and festering wounds in their subconscious minds. There is only one remedy. They have to cut out and discard their hurts, and the one and only sure way is by forgiveness.
Forgiveness is love in action
The essential ingredient in the art of forgiveness is the willingness to forgive. If you sincerely desire to forgive the other, you are fifty-one percent over the hurdle. I feel sure you know that forgive the other does not necessarily mean that you like him or want to associate with him. You cannot be compelled to like someone, neither can a government legislate good will, love, peace, or tolerance. It is quite impossible to like people because Washington issues an edict to that effect. We can, however, love people without liking them.
The Bible says, Love ye one another. This, anyone can do who really wants to do it. Love means that you wish for the other health, happiness, peace, joy, and all the blessings of life. There is only one prerequisite, and that is sincerity. You are not being magnanimous when you forgive, you are really being selfish, because what you wish for the other, you are actually wishing for yourself. The reason is that you are thinking it and you are feeling it. As you think and feel, so are you. Could anything be simpler than that?
Acceptance & Redemption
My view is that forgiving means actively avoiding talking about past transgressions in a negative way. I think it is healthy to have a process involving the following in order to facilitate forgiveness leading to Acceptance and Redemption:
- Accountability & Responsibility
I think it is not healthy to continually throw things back in a former transgressor’s face each time conflict occurs.
In my experience attempts at reconciliation taken too soon after a separation may be doomed to failure. Emotions are still very raw so there is good chance things could be made a lot worse. It’s also unlikely that any of the parties involved will have even begun to figure out what’s going on.
While the benefits of total separation (minimal to no contact for an extended period of time – years if necessary) are not blindingly obvious, especially at the time of separation, I now believe they are there; the problem for me was that it took a good few years to figure that one out. One of the stand-out benefits of total separation for me is that the other party(ies) is(are) no longer able to blame me for everything that is going wrong in their life or work.
Whether they’ve taken the separation as an opportunity to have a good, long, hard look at themselves or chosen to shift the blame to somebody else is none of my business unless they decide to invite me back in to their lives or workplaces. I also now consider a major benefit of total separation to be the fact that I am no longer a part of their lives or work.
Earlier in this article I mention Forgiveness which forms part of the phrase “Forgive & Forget”. In my view forgetting does not mean forgetting what happened; it means forgetting the bad blood that is an inevitable part of getting upset with other people’s bad behaviour. I feel that we must forget our animosity and replace it with forgiveness.
Furthermore by forgetting the emotional intensity but not the event we should eventually be able to recall and speak about what happened. I would expect this to be at worst with neutrality and at best with humour, being able to laugh together about it. Also, and perhaps most importantly, if there was anything to be learned from the event, recalling the event goes a long way toward reinforcing those lessons.
In summary, I say let go and prepare for fresh relationships based on all that was good and learned in previous relationship(s) whether or not with it’s with the same party(ies).
Stay strong and serene.