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Happily ever after… does happen!! – healing your aloneness in relationships

In Community and Relationship, Love, Sex and Sexuality by LivingNowLeave a Comment

The world and your relationships reflect what is going on inside you. A clue is to get curious about how whatever is happening to you externally, demonstrates what you are doing to yourself internally. And, our relationships are where we are offered both our greatest challenges as well as they are the most powerful area for emotional and spiritual growth.


You’ve heard it from so many teachers –  your thoughts create your reality! Your bad feelings come from your thoughts. You are feeling bad or unhappy because of the thoughts that you have and what you are telling yourself.

The world and your relationships reflect what is going on inside you. A clue is to get curious about how whatever is happening to you externally, demonstrates what you are doing to yourself internally. And, our relationships are where we are offered both our greatest challenges as well as they are the most powerful area for emotional and spiritual growth.

Zak and Sarah are typical of many couples today. With both having full busy schedules there is not much time left for just being together spending quality time where they give each other their undivided attention. Being married now for seven years and with two children “Happily ever after…..” seems like a myth. Sarah feels Zak avoids spending time with her and feels unappreciated, unimportant, unwanted and unloved. Zak feels criticised, rejected and it doesn’t matter how much he does it will never be good enough. The place to start is for them to look for how they are treating themselves –  how she is not appreciating herself and not paying attention and has made her own self and needs unimportant. For him, how he is rejecting and criticising himself and judging and putting himself down.

This is what Aloneness is. We abandon ourselves once we make others responsible for what we are feeling. When we don’t take 100% responsibility for our own feelings and needs, our inner child feels alone and then we will use various defences/protections to avoid feeling the painful feelings by acting out addictively – by working too much, using food, gambling, alcohol, drugs, sex, love, romance, money, exercise, meditation, religion, spirituality, etc – anything that keeps us busy and occupied. ADDICTIONS ARE SELF ABANDONMENT.

And addictions work for the moment – taking away some of the pain – our short term interests get taken care of. But it is important to note, once we abandon our selves there is no way we can connect.

This is different from Loneliness which is a fact of life – it is going to happen. When we are connected to ourselves and taking full responsibility for our feelings, we are full of love and we want to share our love with others. We will feel lonely when our loved ones or other people we interact with have closed their heart and aren’t available to receive our love and there are many people in the world whose hearts are closed and are not available or open to love. We also feel lonely when there just aren’t people available to share our love with. A way to check whether it is loneliness or aloneness is that loneliness is manageable – we don’t feel reactive to it and we can go and do something else that feels nurturing and loving to ourselves.

The worst feeling is when we are lonely and we abandon ourselves as well – this can lead to such a sense of heart ache, despair, helplessness and emptiness that it feels unmanageable. This is when our addictions become rampant. We do anything to avoid our painful feelings as these feelings seem intolerable.

Do you know how to work out whether you have work to do in your relationships?
Check out whether you are feeling loving, peaceful, joyous, happy, or grateful. If you aren’t feeling these in your relationships then there is a wonderful opportunity for you to grow and heal some wounded part of yourself. Whenever you react to another or you feel bad or unhappy, this is the time to put your curiosity hat on and get the magnifying glass out to explore what this says about you. Usually we will project onto others things that we feel bad about and that we judge about our selves. If in doubt, simply start with: “do I feel good?” or “do I feel bad?” Ask yourself: What am I doing? How am I treating myself? What actions am I doing that are causing my pain?
Usually we will feel it is someone else’s fault and blame it on someone or something outside ourselves. It is then that we often feel alone – we blame the other for not being more loving, or not listening better, or ignoring or rejecting us, or not being in their feelings, or being in denial, or not being there for us and paying attention or…many, many other ways

There are four general ways we abandon ourselves:

  1. We ignore our feelings – one way we do this is staying in our head, our thinking and our false beliefs we tell ourselves
  2. We judge ourselves – “You shouldn’t have done…”
  3. We turn to addictive behaviours – including anger. Addictions help us to not feel.
  4. We push our inner kid away and make someone else responsible for our feelings.

So I would like to offer a concept to you that can help you to begin to create deeply loving relationships which are a place of positivity and connection. (It is necessary to put these into practice to make them work)

Are you relating and living life from:
The CONTROL game board or the LOVE game board
(These are just some beginning points. You might like to add some of your own)

{Please Note: *I use the terms Wounded Self (WS) and Loving Adult self (LA) as described in Dr Margaret Paul’s books (“Healing Your Aloneness” is a favourite of mine) and the Inner Bonding® Healing process.

The Wounded Self is the “child-adult,” the part of the self who is like a child who had to learn to be a little adult, who had to take care of things that were beyond his or her responsibility.
It carries all the fears, false beliefs and controlling behaviours that result from living in our dysfunctional childhood environments. They were our survival mechanisms and were the only way we could feel safe when we were children.

The Loving Adult knows how to nurture and take loving care of ourselves and truly protect us as well as love others without trying to control them. It knows how to set appropriate inner boundaries against our harming ourselves with addictive behaviour and how to protect us from being harmed by others.}

A truly loving relationship is one where each person accepts and values the differences between them. Trying to control the other to be like you or do what you want doesn’t work. It will always be about CONTROL and resisting BEING CONTROLLED. We need to let go of what the other person is doing and take FULL responsibility for what we’re doing. If the other’s eyes are on you or yours on them instead of on themselves it can’t go anywhere good – there will only be blame and control. I am not responsible for the other.

Self abandonment leads to pulling on others to take care of it. When you don’t take care of your self and you look outside for it you are making someone else responsible. Whether you are pulling on them for it, or looking outside, nothing will work until you go inside and take responsibility for yourself.

As painful as it is when your partner is not there for you, it is even more painful when you are not there for yourself. What are you afraid of if you were to feel your own emotions? There is always some good reason when you don’t acknowledge their existence –  something is in the way of feeling your emotions. Go in and work with the wounded self: “what is my wounded self telling my inner child that is making the child feel stress?” It will be some old form of protection that was used in the dysfunctional environment of your childhood. Now it is completely outdated. Today it is not true. You are protecting in the old way. Connect into a higher part of yourself and ask what would work now?

Our work is to do whatever makes us feel happy and peaceful and loving and then share that with others. “Happily ever after……” does happen when we take full responsibility for our own happiness. It’s being tuned in, being present – making your feelings inside you more important than all other things such as your work, making money, being successful – all those other things that take you away from loving yourself. It’s about staying connected with your heart and with all the love that is always around you. When there is zero expectation, the other person will feel truly enriched by your sharing. True love comes from a full place in you – you don’t need anything from the other and you will not feel alone.


Susie Itzstein BA, psychotherapist/educator. Susie is an advanced clinician and international workshop presenter in Imago Therapy, and specialises in working with couples, individuals, families, groups and businesses on relationship development.

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