Part II - What do Unhealthy vs. Healthy Relationships Look Like?
In order to build more conscious, quality relationships, we need to identify what constitutes a functional or healthy relationship and what the exact opposite looks like.
So here we go!! Let’s take the most uncomfortable one first.
What is an unhealthy relationship or connection?
Here are some useful tips on recognising whether your relationship is unhealthy:
• Addictive and obsessive behaviour
• Constant unhappiness
• Imbalance of power
• Frequent arguing
• Physical abuse
• Emotional and/or Verbal abuse
Did you notice something about this list above?
Most of the items can apply to personal relationships and those relationships within a business or workplace.
Getting to the Source of Dysfunction
Case study - Mary was 32 years of age with two young children and “locked” into an abusive, destructive relationship with an alcoholic, unemployed man. In fact, he was unemployed and an alcoholic when they met, got married and had children.
Why on earth would Mary, a bright, adventurous young woman, choose a partner whose life reflected his dysfunctional relationship with his body, who systematically projected his anger onto his spouse and unable through his extended unemployment, to support a family?
For the answers to this question, we must delve deep into Mary’s formative years and as my source of information, I am using real stories from my life coaching sessions, with complete anonymity and superimposing Mary’s name in place of those of real clients.
Between our birth and seven years of age, when we cannot fully enunciate words or string together perfectly logical sentences, we express ourselves through our emotions and any parent will vouch for this. Seeing the face of a happy child or recognising and responding to their discomfort, forms a big part of our parenting lessons. It is during these early years that we build our emotional body or patterns.
Mary’s Dad was a formidable, controlling influence in the household, insisting on things done to please him first before others and in his way. Mary’s Mum on the other hand, in order to keep the peace and harmony in her family, tended to kow-tow (Acting in an excessively subservient manner) to her husband’s demands and in doing so, divested her own personal power and relegated her needs to the scrap heap.
Mary witnessing her parents behaviour, made a conscious (or unconscious) decision to be like one of her parents. Was it to be Dad, who always got his way and the family’s compliant obedience, or Mum, who always kept “calm” and maintained the harmony in the home?
On too many occasions, Mary felt uncomfortable around Dad, always tip-toeing around on eggshells, never knowing when his volatility would explode and be projected upon the family, so she decided at a deeper level, to be like Mum, after all, she seems to be peaceful and loving most of the time.
Mary’s pattern of behaviour was now set in stone, whenever things got uncomfortable or heated, she would “give in” and dis empower herself to keep the peace. As she grew older, recognising her behavioural pattern, she would try to resist and push back against it, only to find it grew stronger; that which you resist, will persist! She is now in a dilemma, wanting to be like Mum and not wanting to be like Mum, the perfect inner conflict.
“What you resist, persists” – Carl Jung
Jung found that patients who resisted aspects of themselves would have those aspects persist, or actually enlarge. This would draw much energy into the cycle of resistance – problem – more resistance – more problem.
Enamoured by her husband-to-be’s false charm and charisma, Mary jumped into the relationship and played out the same old behavioural pattern of subservience, going on hoping that something would change. Without the proper intervention, it rarely does!
Watch for the WARNING Signs
While we may not see clearly or identify the root decision made when we were younger, if we are being perfectly honest with ourselves, our dysfunctional behaviours are visibly apparent and identifiable. If we can muster up the courage, this then leads us to doing something about the behaviour and releasing ourselves from this self-imposed prison. In other words, Moving from Powerless, to creating a new pattern of being Empowered.
"A human being is part of the whole, called by us “universe,” limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest – a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty."
- Albert Einstein
These learnt behaviours, as exampled my Mary, her husband, Dad and Mum can be exhibited in the workplace, at home, at play and within all facets of life where we interact with people. And the good news is, they can all be turned around by applying the formula, that which has been learnt, can be unlearned!
How to Unlearn Our Learnt Behaviours
1) Become aware of your thought patterns and behaviours.
Write them down.
2) Observe the outward signs of your dysfunctional behaviour and
your impulse to follow your old behavioural pattern.
3) Create a pause, and breathe in deeply, which gives you a moment to
re-evaluate your choice of behaviours.
4) Knowingly and consciously choose to behave in another, more
functional and appropriate way.
5) Practice, practice, practic.
6) If you need to, seek help in identifying the root cause of your
repeated behaviours and create a strategy to eliminate them.
Join us for Part Three, to uncover the components of a truly functional and quality relationships in all aspects of your life and business.
- Rick Pursell
A Bit About Rick
Rick’s passion and purpose in life is clear, and everything he does supports this. His journey in life has been hardly a straight line. Returning from the battles of combat in the Vietnam War at just 22-years old, he was a self-described - “broken man”. Rising up from this, he undertook both a corporate business path in the energy sector, as well as a spiritual one, studying with masters across India, China and SE Asia. Rick is a TEDx speaker and author, but above all, he is a master at intuitively listening, understanding and helping others see what they cannot see in themselves.
Rick was born in England, and then spent over 30-years in Australia and has called Ubud, Bali home for the past 10-years with his wife and family.