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How To Integrate Split Off Parts Within A Relationship

In this article I will explain the biological and cultural differences between the sexes.  How they affect intimate relationships. How to integrate split off parts within a relationship.

In previous articles I discussed our shadow side and how we become attracted to our partners. This is because they exhibit the parts of ourselves that we had to repress to survive childhood.

In this article I will explain the biological and cultural differences between the sexes.  How they affect intimate relationships. How to integrate split off parts within a relationship.

The biological and cultural differences between the sexes often cause conflict in relationships. Children are socialized to be “men” or “women”.

Most people wish to have fulfilling relationships where each person feels valid. We need then to integrate the energies of the opposite sex that we had to give up to be acceptable those around us. (our denied and lost self )

Men and women are different. There are physical differences and their hormones are different too. These hormones have an impact on health and on brain development. The combination of these differences with cultural reinforcement and stereotyping result in divergent ways of perceiving and approaching the world. Understanding those differences helps us to resolve conflict in our relationships. We can have better understanding and empathy rather than blame.

Men can acknowledge and develop their split off female energy in themselves . Women can allow their masculine side to emerge. Then they no longer need to get what is missing in themselves from their partners. They no longer see each other as the enemy.

Women complain that men are domineering.  They don’t show their feelings and don’t communicate.

Men complain that their partner is too emotional, too demanding and they talk too much.

Most men communicate to give and receive information or to resolve problems. For women, generally conversation is a means of interacting and expressing their feelings.

Women often want a sympathetic ear when they express their frustrations to their partner.

Men go into “fix it” mode. They don’t converse just for the sake of conversation. This leaves their partner feeling rejected because they are drawn to intimacy and connection.

It can be difficult to accept those biological differences without making value judgements:-

“how can you not like ballet?”
“How can you eat oysters? They are disgusting!”

These differences in taste are often disparaged. Judging and blaming lead to a breakdown in communication and intimacy.

What we need to be cognisant of is that our partner is not us. We are individuals and want to be validated and accepted for who we are. When we intentionally and consciously seek to understand our partner’s world we expand our horizons and it helps us to get in touch with our shadow side.

Couples counselling is more beneficial than individual therapy to resolve conflict. Dialogue therapy helps couples acknowledge and embrace their denied and lost self. It also helps them to understand each other.

Dialogue is a crucial relationship skill which can be difficult when discussing emotive issues in the absence of a Counsellor.

It is suggested that a couple first practice it by simply listening without judgement. With open curiosity to get an understanding of the other.

The benefits of dialogue are:-

  • It shows respect for our partner’s different perspectives
  • It assumes equality – moving away from right and wrong, good or bad.
  • We can learn from it and not go to our default settings of blame, hurt and anger.
  • It narrows the gap between partners
  • It dissolves differences
  • It invites our partner to “share their world” with you

The goal of the dialogue is understanding and can be initiated by the following sentences:-

“How do you feel when…….(eg you are criticized/ignored/misunderstood)”
“What do you do when you are…….(eg scared/threatened/feel vulnerable)”
“When you…………. (eg don’t talk/are unaffectionate/are silent) the story I make up about your behaviour is…….(eg I am not good enough/you don’t love me)
and what I do then to protect myself is………..(eg withdraw/drink alcohol/sulk/withhold sex)
“And the affect this has on our relationship is………..(eg we are disconnected/lose intimacy/lead parallel lives)

Without dialogue we cannot relate to another person’s internal reality. We only relate to our version of it which means that we are relating to ourselves.

With dialogue any problem can be contained and resolved. The dialogue provides safety for each person to be vulnerable and those old stereotypical ways of behaving can dissolve.

We need the empathy and understanding of our partners to help us to reclaim the energies that we gave up in the socialization process. Rather than expecting them to make up for our missing selves.

Go to my relationship counselling services page for more information about Imago Relationship Counselling 

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