Category Archives: Relationship

Positive Factors Of A Healthy Relationship

Many ponder what are positive factors of a healthy relationship. It is difficult to pinpoint at a particular time whether you are in a healthy relationship or not. Arguing with your partner is not particularly a sign of an unhealthy relationship. Having different views sometimes is not either. Therefore, what are the positive factors of a healthy relationship?

Communication

This is one of the most essential aspects of any relationship. You and your partner need to learn how to talk to each other. Laying things on the table are not hard tasks for either of you. With breakdown in communication, your relationship is bound to break down as communication is the key of any relationship. Proper communication takes honesty, understanding, love and empathy.

Compromise

You and your partner are unique people. Each of you has different needs, likes, views and perspectives. This is to say that arguments and disagreements are inevitable. Therefore, learn to compromise. If he loves sports, let him take the day off with his friends to watch the Premier League. Take the day away from him to do some spring-cleaning or meditate.

Independence

Everyone is unique. Therefore, it is important to take time away from your relationship to focus on yourself. Embrace your individuality and do things that you enjoy as yourself. While he is out watching a football match, you could go out doing something you like e.g. painting or riding.

Respect

After a long commitment, partners are bound to get very free with each other. You may find yourself saying or doing offensive things without caring about your partner’s feelings. A key word to remember in every step of your relationship is ‘Respect’. Value your partner for what he/she believes in. Appreciating your partner’s views reaffirms your love for him/her.

Romance

There is a difference between love and being in love. In a relationship, strive to sustain the two. Ensure you are always in love by constantly introducing the spark into your relationship. Romance could as well be the difference between having a platonic relationship or romantic relationship.

Always remember to live, laugh and dream together.

The factors stated above are not mutually exclusive. Short of one factors may signal that you are in an unhealthy relationship. The list is also not exhaustive. At times, it is hard to point out the positive factors of a healthy relationship especially if you have been in a long-term commitment and you have gotten too used to each other. However, if you are in an unhealthy relationship, your conscience will convict you. Many times, we shrug of signs of an unhealthy relationship. Listen to your mind and your heart, and change your relationship for both of you. Make yours a healthy relationship today.

Love/Hate Relationship A Clue About Its Lessons

Was it intended that I meet this woman as I did in the elevator at that particular time in both of our lives? Yes, I believe so.

You’re going to have guilt if you try to benefit from a relationship at the expense of another. You are not going to have peace if you condemn a part of a love one. Each relationship we have must be a total commitment– but the commitment must be to the understanding of the relationship that exists in the Oneness, without guilt.

There is nothing bad about a relationship coming to an end. Just because the relationship ended doesn’t mean that effects from it are not ongoing.

There will always be faith.

There will be guilt if you think you can make your partner into something he or she is not, just because you want it so. Does this sound familiar?

He also knows that you made the relationship, and the Holy Spirit can translate the relationship into holiness by removing as much fear as you will let Him. You can place any relationship under His care and be sure that it will not result in pain, only if you offer Him your willingness to serve no need but His.

This meeting eventually turned into a long relationship.

We had many good times, along with some bad times when, over the years of the relationship, neither one of us could end the love and hate relationship struggle.

All guilt in the relationship comes from your use of it. The Holy Spirit is not concerned with the number of years you remain in a relationship, but the ego surely is.

This is the same thing you do to yourself when you live under the ego’s illusory thought system– try to be something you are not.

Regardless of the time involved in a relationship, the Holy Spirit will need to use this relationship for the purpose of the whole, which means you. Simply try to think briefly, here, how it is that you are the whole.

Your real inner Self

Let’s face it, not feeling whole is a guilty feeling. What I decided to do with the lessons was simply based on my readiness to learn something from the giving and receiving that was involved.

When you and your partner understand this, there is no need to be afraid to let go of your imagined needs; ego-based needs will only destroy the relationship anyway. Your only need while you enjoy each other is the Holy Spirit’s need of the relationship for His use. In this, all relationships are blessed as one.

The Holy Spirit also showed us qualities in each other that brought joy. With the hold our egos had on us, we could not experience the joy that was there as a whole, let alone love. As long as my ego, along with her ego, needed us to use each other, the Holy Spirit simply used what He could from it.

It was not necessarily the direction or the intention given by the Holy Spirit– the true and real guidance system in all of us, for me to continue or for the two of us to make a relationship.

The Holy Spirit merely will use our ego-based decision making–our wrong-mindedness, perhaps, for instance, when you send an aggressive email or text message, to give each party certain lessons, and to provide lessons for others.

Recognizing Unhealthy Relationships

One of the keys to obtaining a better life or living arrangement is to assess the quality of relationships that you surround yourself with. Do you surround yourself with loving relationships or unhealthy relationships? For someone that has a pattern or history with unhealthy relationships, the difference between the two may be difficult to decipher.

Healthy relationships are relationships that add to our well being, not subtract. They bring out the best of us by being supportive of our goals and our inner selves. Unhealthy relationships often cause us stress and subtract from our well being, often leaving us feeling depleted of energy.

Common symptoms of unhealthy relationships include sickness, stress, and a negative outlook of ourselves and our world around us. People who are accustomed to unhealthy relationships often stay cornered in situations like this because they do not recognize that there is another way of living. They might continue the unhealthy relationship indefinitely and never seek a better way of life for themselves or they may leave the unhealthy relationship, but not the pattern.

The life pattern is essentially the root of the problem. The pattern may have stemmed from family upbringing or any other form of influential relationship. The key is to recognize the behavior and identify where it is coming from.

A creative way to assess your patterns is to write it down. Take out a notebook that you know you will keep for years to come. Write down all the major relationships that you have had in your life. Your earliest form of relationship more than likely was a family member or someone acting in this form. Note how they showed you love. Then note how you reciprocated that love. Continue in a chronological order with any additional relationships you have had, i.e. friends, personal and love relationships.

Next make a column on your right hand side. Re-read your assessments in order, as you read through them determine whether they were healthy or unhealthy and mark it down in your right hand column. Having an overview of your relationships right before your eyes makes it easier to ‘look’ at. You may actually bring issues to attention that you were not aware of before. For some this may even be a rather emotional exercise, but be reminded it is an exercise encouraging growth and healthy behavior.

Whatever your circumstance take time to assess your own involvements and choices with relationships. Do you always pick a controlling relationship? Or do you always pick a relationship where you are the enabler? Are you respecting your own boundaries while you are in a relationship or are they being sacrificed? Are you always compromising your time and energy to please another? Or are you always compromising your morals or beliefs? Are you maintaining a balance with yourself and other activities? Or are you focusing so much on the other person that you are not taking care of other obligations and priorities?

All of these questions will help you identify the quality of choices you are making when you are choosing relationships. Once you identify your pattern, you can no longer deny an unhealthy relationship. Awareness will make your own behavior and the unhealthy relationship even more difficult to tolerate.

Once you identify your patterns and bring it fourth into awareness, the next process is change. Granted the other party involved will not always agree or like the change that you are going to make, but you have to take action for yourself. In the long run you both will suffer if even one of you is unhappy.

How can we avoid unhealthy relationships? By learning to love and care for ourselves regardless of whether or not someone is in our lives. Once we identify our own needs we can easily work with others feelings without interfering with our own. When we establish a relationship with ourselves, we no longer have to have ‘needy’ relationships. Instead we can re-teach ourselves to have ‘giving’ relationships.

Follow your intuition. If something doesn’t feel right to you with a relationship then pay attention to those feelings. They are there for a reason. Some people can grow together inside their relationships and some may have to grow apart. The key is to look at ourselves and our relationships in their truest light.

Know that each one of us is entitled to have a loving relationship or friendship. We are worthy of receiving love just as we are worthy of giving it. True partnership fills our cups with abundance, joy, and solidarity, a gift that multiplies within our hearts and our families’.

Make Your Relationship New Again

Relationships are generally seen as our main source of support, love, self esteem, enthusiasm and pleasure. Naturally there are differences of degree and type when we look at our relationships with friends, coworkers and acquaintances versus family members or someone we are intimately involved with in a love relationship. Many seek a permanent love relationship which they’d like to last throughout their life. In theory then, we should be exerting every effort in order to nurture and to perfect those relationships.

Do we? Not usually. We may dream of the perfect relationship but actually putting in the time and effort seems beyond us as we struggle with all the details of day to day existence.

Our relationships, then, often become sources of distress, anxiety and feelings of failure when they fail to meet our needs and expectations. Potentially even more damaging, they can become a source of a deep inner rage that can poison one’s life. These are some of the dimensions of relationship problems. Certainly having a problem with a relationship isn’t going to doom it to failure – every relationship has its problems. We are each individual and our needs and desires vary and are sometimes in conflict.

How we deal with these inevitable problems, the effort we put in to resolve them and to allow space for our differences can determine whether a relationship succeeds or withers in misery and failure.

Would you expect to become a great athlete without work? Learning how to have, nurture and protect a love relationship is work. Unfortunately we were not born knowing how to do it and often our early experiences were less than helpful in shaping our abilities to relate. The statistics on divorce are disheartening.

To succeed in any relationship, we must make an effort to keep things intact. Taking our partner for granted, failing to see our partner as a unique and special individual is the beginning of the end. Merely hoping that things will be good is nonsense. What you do day by day to support, encourage and enrich your partner will help a relationship grow.

Too many people simply go from one “relationship” to another seeking some perfect automatic solution that simply doesn’t exist. We all know the excitement of a new love, the craziness and the powerful emotions of falling in love. Some become addicted to that newness and confuse it with being in love. They expect those feelings to endure and when those feelings fade, they seek to recapture them. But the only way to truly do that is in a new relationship.

We do not see clearly, we do not know our partner as we are falling in love, To build a relationship that will last over time, the couple must move beyond falling in love toward being in love. This is a much more conscious process and requires some work and understanding. It requires an ability to share and to recognize the unique value of the other person. It requires building experiences and feelings and activities in common. All of this takes time and as time passes, we have a tendency to start taking our partner and our relationship for granted. Our responses become automatic. We hardly even see the other person any more. We have reduced everything to a dull habit.

And that is a major relationship killer. The same way you can drive a familiar route without even consciously seeing the street, the other cars, or the people on the sidewalks, your relationship turns invisible.

There’s no way a short article like this can cover every aspect of building a successful relationship. Nor can it describe every problem. After all, every one of you is a unique person and your relationships all have their own unique qualities. What I want to stress is that letting your relationship turn into a routine, letting it become a habit is one of the very worst things you can do.

Look for opportunities to do new things together, explore each other’s ideas and beliefs. Take your partner seriously and pay attention to everything. Force yourself to see, really see, your partner again. Regain a sense of play, fool around with each other again. Flirt and tease. Does it sound absurd? It might, but if you want a love relationship that lasts, you must make the effort. Starting right now.

Matter of Choice in Long Distance Relationships

Have you ever come across someone who just kept saying that a long distance relationship would not work no matter how hard you try? It even sounds more familiar when he/she ends the conversation with the universal phrase such as “I know it because I saw lots of failed LDR” If you choose to listen to this kind of comment, then you choose to fail in your long distance relationship because you will never be able to survive your LDR. The reason is simple, you choose to listen to the wrong command or choose to believe the wrong concept.

I truly believe that everyone in this world have their own opinion which is best to them all the time. What they think is true to them because they are capable of thinking only the true thing. I don’t blame them because they are true at least in their own little world. It is all up to us to believe what is said or we can choose to believe that every outcome is at our own hand. Let me tell you this, you can completely determine your own outcome when it comes to a long distance relationship. How you think what you do can really determine the result of your LDR. If you choose to believe that you can determine the outcome of your long distance relationship, then your LDR journey will becomes easier or more predictable.

Below are some examples of the positive choices you can make in relation to your long distance relationship.

1) Believe in Yourself, Your Partner and the Relationship

Throughout the period of a long distance relationship, nothing beats the trust and believes you had in yourself, your partner and the relationship. You can prepare yourself whatever you want but if you do not believe that your long distance relationship will work then, nothing matters anymore. Therefore, you must choose to believe that the relationship will work regardless of all the odds mounting against your relationship.

2) Set Back is a Way to Strengthen your Relationship

There are no such things as a perfect romantic relationship and needless to say when it comes to long distance relationships. Set back is part and parcel of a relationship but how you tune yourself to see the set back is very important. You can choose to see it negatively or positively and the outcome (solutions) derived from what you choose can determine the course of your relationship. Therefore, instead of viewing the set back as a hindrance or threat to your long distance relationship, you must view it as an opportunity for you to strengthen the relationship.

3) You can Choose to Win or Lose

It is our nature to see only the negative side of everything due to lack of self confidence and uncertainties. We do not blame you for having this thought as most of the couples in long distance relationship we work with, expressed the same concern. However do you know that the success rate for long distance relationship couples is as good as any other relationship? Research has proven that the success rate for long distance relationship is as high as 85%. With this data, you can choose to be in the positive 85% or choose to stay in the failure 15%. Therefore if you are serious about your long distance relationship, you must put yourself among the success 85%.

4) Opportunity in Distance

Physical distance in a long distance relationship is not necessary bad to the relationship. Although physical distance prevents you from certain physical activities such as hand holding, kissing, hugging and sex, it does not prevent you from advancing further into the relationship. The physical distance is a good opportunity for you to rediscover the relationship and yourself. You can always take the opportunity to upgrade yourself while your partner is away such as taking up the courses that you have always wanted to take and etc. In fact the distance will also test your patience, the love you had for your partner and as well as the integrity of the relationship itself. Therefore, instead of focusing on what you cannot do over the distance, you can always focus on what you can do to improve your relationship from the distance. What you choose here could really determine whether you are happy or not throughout your long distance relationship.

5) Problem in Communication.

Communication is one of the biggest elements that could either make or break your long distance relationship. Unfortunately, many people believe that they are not going to make it when it comes to communication due to the difficulties, time and cost involve. Instead of looking at the problems, you can always think of the opportunity that comes along. The biggest opportunity here is to learn how to communicate effectively over the distance. The valuable skill cannot be learned anywhere else as distance will automatically sharpen your conversation skill. If you start to think carefully, all other problem mentioned earlier can be solved easily with current available technology (Internet, VOIP phone, email and etc). Therefore, it is proven again that you have the ability to choose what is best for you in regards to long distance communication.

There are two sides to every coin and the above are just some of the examples of the choices you can make in your long distance relationship. How or what you choose really makes the difference throughout the period of your long distance relationship. The choice is at your hand, choose correctly and you will triumph regardless of any relationship. Lastly, I on behalf of Perfect-Relationship.com would like to wish you all the best to your long distance relationship.

Ways To Make Your Relationship Last Forever

Do you realize that it is perfectly possible for you to have a relationship that lasts forever? And a relationship that is not just normal, or struggling, but that is consistently great. I believe that you can have a relationship where you are soul mates with your partner, and in love, and that you can have this over many many years until your are finally separated by death.

I call such a relationship, a “lifelong soul mate” relationship.

I know that you hope for such a lifelong soul mate relationship, but I suspect that you believe that it is only possible for you in some abstract kind of way. You may even believe that such a relationship is not possible outside of fairy tales.

In this, the first of three articles, I share with you that it is possible for you to have a lifelong soul mate relationship. Not only is it possible, but also it is relatively simple to achieve this, providing certain simple rules are followed.

In my second article I share with you what you have to do. In my third article I share with you what you must avoid doing. As you will see, a lifelong soul mate relationship need not be difficult at all.

With regard to achieving a soul mate relationship all people can be divided into three categories. These are: (1) those in relationships that will never become lifelong soul mate relationships, (2) those in relationships that can become lifelong soul mate relationships, and (3) those currently not in a relationship.

(1) Relationships that will never become lifelong soul mates.

No matter how much you want your relationship to work, if your partner does not want it to work, then it won’t. As the saying goes, it takes two to tango. Many people actually do not want to be a lifelong soul mate, preferring instead a much lesser relationship. If your partner is one of these, you have a simple choice to make, Settle for a relationship that falls far short of being a lifelong soul mate relationship, or get a new relationship. The choice is yours. The rules for having a lifelong soul mate relationship will help you judge your current relationship to see if there is any possibility of it becoming such a relationship.

(2) Those relationships that have the potential to become lifelong soul mate relationships.

These are relationships where both parties are committed to the relationship, committed to a future together, and both are interested in deepening the relationship. The chances of this type of relationship becoming a lifelong soul mate relationship are good. And remember the rules for achieving this relationship are easy to follow.

(3) Those that are not currently in a relationship

For those that are not yet in a relationship the lifelong soul mate rules can be used to judge any prospective partner, increasing the likelihood that any relationship that you are about to enter into will be a lifelong soul mate relationship.

In my next article I set out the things that you must do in order to deepen your relationship into a lifelong soul mate relationship. And remember following the rules is not hard.

How To Recognize Relationship Breakdowns

In this complex world that we live in, one of the most complex things we have to deal with is ourselves and our relationships with others. In an ideal world, this should be simple, but we do not live in an ideal world, and the issue of relationships is anything but simple.

When we are born, we have a relationship with our parents. They teach us, they scold us, and they love us. But that point in our lives is the very last point in time when relationships will ever be even close to be simple.

In our teen years, the aspect of the importance of relationships goes right off the scale, surpassing almost everything else. Relationships are critical to us at that point. We are super conscious of what we wear, who we go out with, what our peers think of us, and if television and billboard advertising is to be believed, it is also of critical importance to our relationships and our future lot in life as to what brand of soda we drink and the brand of sneakers we wear.

Then we settle down, get married and start a family. The interesting thing is now that relationships get even more complex and diverse. Let’s look at some of the types of relationships that we need to be conscious of.

In business, customer relationships are very important, especially in the area of sales. Growing and strengthening the relationship you have with existing customers is every bit as important as finding new customers and forging new relationships. There are many things you can do to make your life easier here, but don’t let it all be electronic in this computer age, as there is still much to be said for the personal touch.

With friends and co-workers, we need to maintain a relationship that is part friendship and part business. This can be a fine line to walk for some people, but it can be done. A group or team that has respect for each other and trust in the opinions of others can be a major asset to any business organization.

Lastly is the interpersonal relationship with our spouse. The key to an effective relationship here is open, honest, and frequent communication. Remember, this was designed to be a long term commitment for both of you, and is takes both time and energy to consistently ensure that you are both on the same page, with common goals and desires. That cannot happen without a solid relationship, and a solid relationship cannot occur without good communications.

All too frequently, this interpersonal relationship with your spouse goes in directions that you never anticipated. Your spouse may have some major control issues, where they want to control every aspect and issue of your life, which will take away your uniqueness, the traits that comprise YOU. There are ways to recognize this and also ways to get this straightened out.

Other times, the relationship turns into being an abusive relationship. The definition of abuse does not need to necessarily mean physical abuse. This also encompasses mental abuse, verbal abuse and emotional abuse. Learn to recognize the different types of abuse and how to work with the different types.

What causes a relationship to break down? There can be many factors involved with this, and frequently this is a combination of many different things. Learn to watch for the signs of the relationship starting to break down and take the necessary steps to get the relationship back on the right track.

The topic of relationships is a complex one, but the best way to be able to create good solid relationships is communication. We are all unique with different needs, requirements, and abilities, but we need to be aware of the impact that relationships have on our everyday lives, and put forth the effort to keep those relationships solid.

Ways To Improve Your Interpersonal Relationships

Very few of us never have contact with the outside world or other people, and as a result, there is a relationship that is created whenever we interact with someone else. As time goes on, that relationship can remain stagnant, or as in the case of a love or dating relationship, that relationship can grow and flourish. But the real key to any meaningful relationship is effective communication between two people. That statement is every bit as true for interpersonal relationships as it is for business relationships, and also for the marital relationship between a husband and wife.

Effective communications cannot be stressed enough, especially in a marriage relationship. In today’s world where both husband and wife are holding down at least full time if not part time jobs, things happen during the course of a normal day. But it is only at the end of the day when two people are relaxing that effective communications can take place. It doesn’t matter how mundane, since even in mundane conversation you can learn a lot about another person, understanding what is important to them, what irritates them, and things they find enjoyable.

Suppose your partner is depressed about something, whether financial stress, job pressures, or anything else. How much time do you give to your partner to improve the mood? If your answer is “none or not much”, you are running the risk of your relationship starting to deteriorate. The breakdown of a relationship does not happen overnight, but it is all these “missed opportunities” to show care, understanding, and support that all add up over time.

Respect is a key ingredient of any relationship. If you do not feel you can trust someone, your communications with them will be brief or nonexistent. There is no real relationship there. That type of relationship may be fine for the checkout clerk at the grocery store, but how many people have that kind of relationship with their spouse? The real answer to that question will probably scare you, but you have control over that and the fate of that relationship, even your marital relationship, rests squarely in your hands.

Trust is another key element of any relationship, which goes hand in hand with respect. You need to feel you can trust the person you are communicating with. If you don’t have a level of trust with that person, even your spouse, then your communications will reflect that lack of trust. You won’t elaborate on things you say, you won’t go into details, and you will subconsciously leave out information that may leave you vulnerable to a future rebuttal or even attack from the other person.

Many times, especially in a marriage relationship, the three key elements of a relationship (communication, trust and respect) slowly start to erode over time. It is typically not a conscious thing, but it can happen if both spouses are not aware that they need to keep all levels of these elements at peak values consistently. So what happens as these components start to degrade? That relationship can develop into an abusive relationship. This is particularly difficult in a marriage relationship – when the checkout clerk at the grocery store abuses you, you can report them to their management or you can just decide to shop somewhere else. But in a marriage relationship, it is not nearly as clear-cut at that, nor nearly as simple. The marriage equivalent of “shopping somewhere else” is divorce, which although being a very drastic step, is sometimes the best solution for both parties when the respect, the trust, and the communications have degraded to the point where both parties are unwilling to put in enough time and effort that will be required to rebuild those elements.

Although divorce should not be considering as your first option, it can certainly be a viable option, depending on the state of your relationship. You should visit the web site Divorce Advice to get more insights into whether this is your best option or not.

Take care of your relationships and understand how you can improve them on a regular basis, and those relationships can grow and flourish over time, where you can gain comfort during the dark times and share your joys in the good times.

The Relationship Model of Addiction

“An inherent limitation of the medical model is ignoring the fact that ‘pathological dependence’ implies that a relationship, one that is emotional and psychological in nature, has formed with the substance or activity (i.e. gambling, porn, etc.) The ‘pathological dependency’ is a pathological relationship, one in which there is continuous and increasing emotional involvement.”

The application of the disease concept to alcoholism, chemical dependency and addiction by the American Medical Association in 1956 marked a turning point in how addicts are viewed by treatment practitioners, significant others, the addicts themselves, as well the population at large. This turning point served to lessen the impact of stigma. There is less shame and secrecy associated now with being an addict, clearing the way towards seeking professional help. The shift in perception allowed for a more objective understanding of the disease and had a humanizing effect. The disease concept streamlined the process of assessment, diagnosis and treatment.

However, despite its reliance on objective, measurable data and tried and proven research, and beyond meeting the necessary criteria to be labeled a disease, we actually know little else about the emotional and psychological aspects of addiction.

The “Pathological Dependence” is a Pathological Relationship

An inherent limitation of the medical model is ignoring the fact that ‘pathological dependence’ implies that a relationship, one that is emotional and psychological in nature, has formed with the substance or activity (i.e. gambling, porn, etc.) The ‘pathological dependency’ is a pathological relationship, one in which there is continuous and increasing emotional involvement. The relationship with a source of relief that serves primarily to provide relief from emotional pain or frustration by bringing on a rush or high, pleasure, excitement or as an escape.

It’s possible that the medical establishment never focused on or embraced the relationship aspect of addiction because the concept of relationship is subjective, immeasurable and not provable scientifically, and therefore ignored it. Yet it’s clear to all of us that a relationship does exist; one that can be likened to a secret love affair.

Certainly the term “pathological” to describe this relationship is apt in a number of ways, beginning with the underlying obsession and desperation that drives the relationship, as the addict is out of control, unable to stop thinking about or pursuing it. The relationship is carried on behind a cloak of denial and deception, separate from the rest of the addict’s life. This relationship immediately becomes the primary relationship, more powerful than any other. While the substance or activity provides much needed relief, it feeds the addiction by further starving the addict emotionally. As time goes by, the addict is becoming increasingly cut off from the rest of the world, from other people and relationships and is actually worse off than before s/he got involved in this relationship as the level of (pre-existing) pain increases over time. It’s a relationship that offers no real emotional nourishment — nothing healthy — only an artificially induced high and temporary relief along with a number of harmful effects.

Etiology & Pre-disposing Conditions

Addiction is the result of non-emotionally nourishing relationships. The Relationship Model of Addiction is based on the premise that a relationship with a source of relief is driven by the need for relief from unmet emotional needs. The need to relieve pain is considered to be a basic human need, whether physical or emotional, and often becomes overpowering depending on the extent of pain. Human beings tend to avoid pain at all costs. Behaviorists have established the need to avoid pain as well as the need to relieve pain as primary motivational forces, i.e. negative and positive reinforcement. Emotionally based pain comes from unmet emotional needs, and leaves one in a dysphoric state thirsting for euphoria, or the most easily accessible, effective means of relief possible.

What happens when we’re deprived of emotional nourishment? When we are unloved, don’t receive the affection, attention, acknowledgement and appreciation we require? When we don’t feel heard and understood? When we don’t feel like we belong, or are special in any way? When we don’t feel connected to someone? There is a build-up of hunger, shame and emptiness and the need to relieve this pain takes over. At some point, desperation sets in. One way or another, we’ll find relief. We’ll either find external sources of relief in the form of substances, activities or other relationships, or rely on tried and proven defense mechanisms at our disposal in the form of denial, delusion and deception.

Defending against pain involves and results in losing touch with our feelings. When losing touch with our feelings, we become more isolated and deprived, which leads to increasing pain, and the subsequent increasing need for relief becomes part of an endless vicious cycle, one in which self-growth and intimacy are impossible. Depending on the amount of pent-up pain, defending or coping can become overwhelmingly difficult, which is why there are so many people who commit suicide, suffer with depression, go crazy, become dependent on mind/mood-altering substances, or find other means of relief.

Why are so many people in so much pain?

Addiction doesn’t occur in a vacuum. When we put the quality of relationships or the inability to communicate intimately under the microscope, a bleak image emerges. There are a lot of people fending for themselves in emotionally barren terrain. The overwhelming majority of families and relationships, including family of origin as well as current ones, are dysfunctional, non-intimate, non-emotionally nourishing.

Expanding the focus beyond family and current relationships to the rest of the world leaves an even bleaker image. Television and newspaper headlines inundate us daily with lurid descriptions of atrocities committed by human beings upon one another. We are bombarded by excess in the economic realm – by greed and corruption – as well as in the political realm by rampant abuses of power, terrorism, war, gangs, hatred, and seemingly endless cases of abuse, rape, kidnap and murder. And this is only the tip of the iceberg. We all know stories that never make the news – the secret horrors of violence, abuse and insanity in so many homes; homes that are the breeding grounds for what we see reported in newspapers and on television. All of this drains our vitality and reinforces the need to further insulate ourselves. After a while, apathy, alienation and emotional numbness become a state of existence.

Why do some people get addicted and not others?

The medical model approach to these questions is that alcoholism and chemical dependency are largely the result of genetic and biochemical factors. Evidence suggests that a history of addiction in one’s family of origin or prior generations predisposes one to becoming addicted. Evidence also suggests biochemistry — the unique combination of chemicals in the brain with mind/mood-altering substances brings about some kind of extraordinarily pleasurable experience and irresistible craving.

However, there are those who have addiction running rampant in their families or who have a biochemical predisposition for becoming an addict who do not become dependent. The same goes for a chemical imbalance. We may surmise, therefore, that becoming addicted involves more than just genetics or biology. By the same token, we know that the incidence of abuse in one’s family of origin also correlates, but we don’t know exactly why or how significant a role it has. Some people with a history of family of origin abuse may experiment with various mind/mood substances or activities, but don’t become addicted. We might, therefore, strongly consider the level of pre-existing (emotional and physical) pain at the time of discovery another way to explain why some people and not others become addicted.

Perhaps the simplest explanation for the phenomenon of addiction is that it is a matter of the right chemistry. It is when the “right” person discovers the affect that a need for more develops. The right person could be anyone whose level of pre-existing emotional pain causes an extraordinarily pleasurable or pain-relieving gratifying experience.

The Relationship Model of Addiction establishes a new standard for understanding and treating addiction. It expands the disease concept by re-defining addiction as a relationship. The model accounts for the cause of addiction as related to the preponderance of non-emotionally nourishing relationships, unmet emotional needs, the resultant pain and need to relieve that pain. It identifies pre-disposing conditions as a backlog of pain, general state of dysphoria that goes beyond past and current relationships and includes the much larger social context. We know that despite the fact that this pain is subjective in nature, it is no less real or consequential than physical pain. Therefore we may assume that the greater the emotional deprivation, the greater the pain, the greater the need to relieve that pain and the more susceptible one is to becoming addicted.

The Relationship Model brings forth phenomenological or experiential, humanistic and existential perspectives; sheds light on the psychological dynamics of addiction; and holds profound treatment implications. We know that recovering addicts must eventually make the transition from “pathologically” dependent relationships based on the need for relief to sober healthy, intimate, emotionally nourishing relationships. Regardless of one’s experience in past and current relationships, learning some basic principles, pitfalls, challenges and skills, can be an empowering turning point and unleash one’s creative potential.

When Not to Start a Relationship

Have you recently ended a relationship or are you recently divorced? Are you thinking about dating again?

Many times, putting yourself back into the dating scene is a good idea. But how can you know when it is time to start a new relationship?

Here are some questions to ponder:

1. Are you fully over your last relationship, or do you still have hope of reconciliation?

If you still fantasize about getting back with your partner, then you are not truly available for another relationship. Is there really a possibility of reconciliation, or are you making up the possibility? If there really is a possibility, then it is certainly not time to date. If the relationship is really over, then you need to fully accept this before moving on to another relationship. As long as you are in denial about the relationship being over, you are not fully available for another relationship.

2. If your partner has died, do you feel ready for a new relationship?

If you had a loving relationship with your deceased partner, then any time you feel ready is fine. You already know how to have a good relationship, so there is a good chance of having another good relationship when you feel ready for it.

3. Have you fully explored your part of why your relationship ended?

When a relationship goes on the rocks, it is because each partner is contributing to the problems. It is always fairly easy to see what the other person did that caused problems, but much harder to see what you did.

It may be necessary for you to have therapeutic help in understanding your end of the relationship issues. I have been working with individuals and couples for 40 years and I have seen that people tend to repeat the same patterns in relationships over and over unless they do some healing work. Even if, at the beginning, a new relationship looks different from your other relationships, there is a good possibility that it will end up the same.

Most relationships create a system with one person being a caretaker and the other being a taker. These roles can switch in different relationships and around different issues. Unless you heal your tendencies to be a caretaker or a taker, you will continue to create relationship systems that don’t work.

Underneath all relationship dysfunction are control issues. Whether you control with anger, righteousness, blame, judgment, compliance, resistance, or withdrawal of love, until you heal the fear underlying all controlling behavior, you will continue to create relationship problems.

This does not mean that these issues need to be healed before starting a new relationship, but it does mean is that you need to be in the process of healing to have a chance at a good relationship.

4. Do you feel available for a new relationship?

Most people have two bottom-line fears when it comes to relationships: the fear of rejection and the fear of engulfment, which means the fear of losing the other or the fear of losing yourself. These are deep fears that start in childhood and may continue throughout your life, making it difficult for you to be fully emotionally available in a relationship.

These fears do not just go away. Until you develop a powerful loving adult self, you may take rejection personally and not know how to handle loss. Without a strong loving inner adult, you may allow others to control you, giving yourself up to prevent rejection.

Again, these fears do not need to be healed before starting a relationship, but unless you are in the process of healing them and continue to do healing work within a relationship, there is a good chance that you will recreate another unsuccessful relationship.

A relationship is a wonderful arena for healing and growth when both people are devoted to learning to be a strong loving adult. If you are on a devoted healing and learning path, make sure that your new partner is too!