In practice of course, people have different objectives and viewpoints in life and these can conflict. "Reach toward" becomes "fight against". Conflict may be between one's self (or any part of one's self or environment that is being identified with, such as parental "shoulds", child insecurities, family, friend, boss, lover, teacher, footballer, politician, pop star, possession, or fixed attitude, belief, idea or feeling) opposing any element of the outside world that is felt to counter the intention of self.
This conflict only becomes a problem if one can't confront (face up to with equanimity) or experience comfortably, the confusion it creates; otherwise it could be handled and the situation viewed (realistically) as part and parcel of the "game" of life. Possible responses to a conflict situation include:
- Reach TOWARD - when rational it is communication with affinity; when neurotic it is dependence.
- PACIVITY - when rational it is acceptance of reality, when neurotic it is resistance to the truth.
- Fight AGAINST - when rational it is to negotiate needed changes, when neurotic it is aggression.
- Withdraw AWAY - when rational it is to simply give space, when neurotic it is avoidance or flight.
- Two-way COMMUNICATION - when rational it is to interact, when neurotic it becomes an obsession.
To the extent that these movements are flexible and spontaneous, the individual is free. When they are inflexible and rigid, he has become entrapped. The neurotic behaviors are based on fear.
If one direction has become compulsive, e.g. "towards" may be compulsive between lovers, then the other flows are likely to be repressed, e.g. between the lovers, repressed "against" may include anger, and repressed "away" may include the desire to be with other people. These repressed factors may suddenly and seemingly inexplicably erupt.
If "against" has become stuck, as in an irresolvable problem, this will tend to hang up in time, floating in a no-time rather than in a location on the time continuum of experiences, and cause a mental compaction or ridge of opposing energy flows - a feeling of heaviness and tension around the head.
Creative causation becomes reduced to a fixated compulsion as a safe solution, or defense, to unfaced pain, fear, anxiety, confusion, change or guilt. A solution may involve dominating others, pleasing them or attracting sympathy. It is internally rationalized as being "right" or "ideal" behavior, with other points of view being "wrong". The solution becomes a fixed pattern and the rationalization is a self idealization; these connected ideas are held unconsciously alongside the traumatic experience which originally necessitated them.
When the unconfrontable circumstances reappear, or similar ones, the pattern is replayed automatically, and the person does not realize he is dramatizing reactively or that his true self is "asleep". His views become unrealistic, mystifying and idealizing how the world is or should be.
Early character molding, where parents imposed a set of "shoulds" and "shouldn'ts", causes a child to derive a picture of what he should be like to be secure, to get over the basic anxiety of being "not OK". This is later reinforced by other dominant personalities among friends, teachers and so on.
idealizations, and the claims on others that result, conform to this internal "should be" image, e.g. that "people should do things my way because naturally my way is right", or "this shouldn't happen to me because I'm special". Frequently claims contain the expectation that things will come to you without having to make any effort. Indignation when such claims are frustrated may cause self-pity or victim feelings or be repressed and surface as psychosomatic symptoms.
Internal demands on self (e.g. "I should be independent"), result in external demands on others ("leave me alone to do it"), using pride as a defense against self-hate, which is the result of constant unrealistic internal demands that cannot be fulfilled.
False-pride and self-hate are two sides of the same coin: the compulsion to be right, and this is the cause of so much misery and suffering.
When a person is operating on basic anxiety and uncertainty about his real capability and worth, failure to live up to his idealizations leads to unconscious self destructive impulses and actions, symptoms of self-hate. Such things as recklessness and drug abuse, as well as self-contempt ("No-one could possibly love me"), still further demands on the Self ("I shouldn't get upset"), self-accusations ("I'm just a fraud"). Morbid dependency or "acting victim", are means to get reassurance by refusing all responsibility.
Detachment may be seen as a solution to this conflict - anything to cut off sensitive feelings, "leave me alone"; not giving a damn about anybody else; or "Don't try to change me".
The self hate may be projected against other people, ideas, institutions or life itself, with generalizations used to protect the untruth from scrutiny, e.g. "politicians are stupid", or "there's no justice in life".
Or in an effort to "be right" idealizations may be identified with, a false pride, resulting in a never ending search for glory - being perfectionist, ruthless, arrogant, devious, etc. - to prove the ideals are truth. Because they are not founded on reality, however, life is likely to be disappointing and self-hate reappears.
On the other hand when a person operates with a confidence based on realistic self-knowledge, he will not mind making mistakes and will be willing to learn from them. Integrity, wholeness of self, is based on respect for self and others.
The basis of communication in a relationship between two persons or more is these factors, which work together:
If you communicate well to another, you obtain good understanding and empathy in the other person for yourself and your message. If you comprehend clearly, and have empathy for the other's viewpoint, then you are listening well and are in good communication. If you use empathy in your communications, you will obtain better mutual understanding. So if you make one of these factors better, the other two improve too.
Communication, Understanding and Empathy add up to Duplication. That is, a sharing of reality - the picture or map of the other has been duplicated - received exactly as it was sent.
Communication is a flow of energy, that reaches and withdraws between two or more people, as they share their individual viewpoints and agree upon a shared reality. The source of this flow of energy is the originator of the communication; it reaches out to the receiver and then withdraws, as the receiver then responds with his or her own communication. The quality of the communication is demonstrated by the understanding and empathy obtained between the parties.
Empathy does not depend on liking what another has to say, nor agreeing with it; instead it is an acceptance of the other person's viewpoint. Commonly, if a person disagrees with another's opinion, or dislikes their views or behavior, then a breakdown in the relationship will occur, an upset and maybe a parting of ways; at the least a sense of frustration may occur. But none of this is necessary if you adopt a more spiritual viewpoint, that of empathy with the other, in which you are tolerant of the other person's views and can understand them - even if you do not much like nor agree with them, nor wish to share them.
The essence of relationships is communication; and yet, even between people who care deeply for each other, communication sometimes becomes blocked. In the enthusiasm of the initial courtship, a person who generally has a poor ability to listen may be motivated to change this in order to attract the partner, but later on returns to his or her habitual ways. So at the start of a relationship it may not be recognized that important communication skills, such as the willingness and ability to ask appropriate questions and to listen effectively, are not part of the person’s normal behavior. Eventually, there will be a price to pay...
A satisfying relationship with another person requires good communication, mutual understanding and empathy. If there is a significant drop in one of these factors, e.g. we disagree and have an argument, then an upset ensues. An upset occurs when there is a sudden departure from what is wanted or expected. Such upsets inevitably have emotional consequences: ranging from less enthusiasm, through boredom and hostility, to fear and eventually to apathy. So the effect of upsets is cumulative; a small upset may be easily forgotten but many such instances, or a particularly painful experience, will likely never be forgiven - unless the upset is resolved in the present time by new and effective two-way communication.
Misunderstandings between people are very often due to poor communication skills. When a couple are unable to effectively discuss their feelings and ideas together, their relationship may eventually break down. Issues such as financial arrangements, family visits, pressures at work and contribution to home maintenance are common ‘hot spots’ in which failure to disclose feelings, or when those feelings are not genuinely listened to and understood, can lead to tension or serious upsets. Perhaps the ‘hottest’ issue is sexual response, since sex is such an integral aspect of a loving relationship.
For the body-mind's natural sexual response to function correctly, a relaxed state is necessary. If there is emotional tension between a couple, or if there is internal fear and anxiety about sexual performance, then the nervous system cannot switch into the parasympathetic mode required for sexual arousal. The solution in this situation is better and more open communication between the couple, to let each other know how they are feeling and to have a mutual acceptance of the other without blame or recrimination. After all, that is what a loving relationship is about, and sex as an expression of love is far more exciting.
Another factor is that many men have little clue about their partner's sexual response. This isn't taught in school nor in the movies. Women can become resentful and eventually give up on the matter of receiving sexual pleasure. Sex becomes a cold ritual or is abandoned completely, as the man (who doesn't understand) is simply not in proper communication with his partner on this issue.
As men get older, often the ability to respond sexually is no longer like it was in the teenage years. The man may feel guilt and anxiety about his sexual performance, and even avoid sexual relations as a consequence. To help overcome this barrier, many have turned to Viagra supplements to boost their arousal. But these are expensive and unnatural pharmaceuticals. I would recommend primarily to begin to develop more intimate communication within the couple - this in itself can be a "turn on."
OK, that's enough theory - let's now begin with some practical exercises, done with your partner.
Would you like to have more meaningful relationships?
Return to Contents
Continue to the next page, Exercise 1
- Relationships and Heartbreak - by Edwin Harkness Spina
- Recreating the Magic in Your Love Relationship - by Michelle Allsop
- A Marriage with Soul - by Andrea Lee Avari
- Manifesting Your Dream Relationship - by Hether Ayres
- Setting Intentions for All Relationships - by Hether Ayres
- How We Avoid Conscious Relationships - by Hether Ayres
- He Said, She Said: Communicating With The Opposite Sex - by Emily Bermes
- The Relationship Doctor - by Dr Jackie Black
- Saying "No" is Not Rejection - by Dr Jackie Black
- Gossip, Rumors and Innuendo - by Gary Ryan Blair
- Just Be Nice! - by Gary Ryan Blair
- A Crucial Marriage Saving Tip - by Larry Bilotta
- The Power of "No" - by Linda Binns
- Six Steps to Build Charisma - by Karla Brandau
- The Silence of Listening - by Karla Brandau
- Life Lessons: Dealing With Angry People - by Pat Campbell
- Where to Find Your Beloved - by Alan Cohen
- The Opportunity of Conflict - by Julie Cohen
- Networking is Not a Dirty Word - by Julie Cohen
- Bouncing Back From Bad Feedback - by Julie Cohen
- Delivering Difficult Messages at Work - by Julie Cohen
- Sorry No More - by Julie Cohen
- Falling in Love in the Fall of Your Life - by Carol Denker
- Saying "I love you" to the World - by Carol Denker
- Speaking the Unspeakable - by Michael Elias
- Public Speaking Survival Tips - by Roger Elliott
- Resolving Conflicts in the Workplace - by Roxanne Emmerich
- Fed Up with Feeling Alone? - by Alison Finch
- Am I In Love? - by Alison Finch
- How To Influence People With Your Mind - by Jim Francis
- Top 4 Ways to Attract Mr or Miss Right - by Leanna Fredrich
- It's never too late to find love - by Chuck Gallozzi
- Expectations - by Amanda Gore
- The Web of Life - by Amanda Gore
- What Do Men Want From Women? - by Bob Grant
- Healing Relationships: a Gift - by BJ Harris
- Romance Without Relationships? Yes! - by Jim Hinds
- How Do I Find My Soulmate When I Can't Even Get a Date?! - by Tanya Haden Tebb
- How to Engage Employees & Lead from the Heart - by Joe Hubbard
- Spiritual Tips for Singles to Survive the Holidays - by Doris Jeanette
- Are You Getting the Love You Deserve? - by Doris Jeanette
- Teaching an Anthill to Fetch - by Stephen James Joyce
- Meaningful Participation in an Age of Uncertainties - by Stephen James Joyce
- To Give and Receive - by Carolyn Kalil
- The Curriculum in EarthSchool - by Edward J. Kesgen, Ph.D.
- Creating Your Best Relationship - by Karinna Kittles-Karsten
- Your Parents, Your Children and the Marital Bed - by Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D
- Committed Relationships: Use Them to Grow Towards Self-Understanding and True Love - by Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D.
- Is Needing Part of the Love Equation? - by Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D.
- Losing the Connection: You Still Love Each Other but No Longer Connect - by Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D.
- Why Does My Partner Treat Me Like This? - by Gabriella Kortsch, Ph.D.
- Relationship: The Ultimate Frontier - by Jean-Claude Koven
- Anti-Bullying Skills and Techniques for Children - by Mark Lakewood
- Expectations In Relationships - by Coleen Lawrence
- Persuasion Techniques to Handle Difficult Customers - by Michael Lee
- Persuasive Public Speaking - How to Persuade Your Audience Through Public Speaking - by Michael Lee
- Square All with Love - by Lester Levinson
- Bridging Age Gaps in the Workplace - by Simma Lieberman and Kate Berardo
- Do Your Employees Know Your Name? - by Simma Lieberman
- Théun Mares on Relationships - Our Greatest Challenge Today
- Set Limits - by Stephanie Marston
- Create the Relationship You Want - by Betsey McGuire
- How to Get On with Everyone! - by Christina Mills
- Where Radio Meets Web 2.0 - by Carl Munson
- A Resolution Method That Works - by Nisandeh Neta
- Seven Habits of Highly Successful Couples - by Nisandeh Neta
- Relationship Advice: How True Love Can Last a Lifetime - by Brenda Novak
- Loving Without Losing Yourself! - by Allie Ochs
- Taking Back the Matches - by Aislinn O'Connor
- Cultivate a Spiritual Relationship - by Dr. Tim Ong
- Create Links to Communicate at Your Best - by Sue Otis
- Secrets to Create Deeper Intimacy - by Jafree Ozwald and Margot Zaher
- Expert Coaching and Counseling Tip - by Colleen-Joy Page
- Personal Perspective: Releasing Negativity - by Beba Papakriakou
- The Dating Curriculum - by Persephone S. Parker
- Speak Your Love Carefully, So That Your Partner Might Hear - by Yvonne Perry
- Betrayal of the Soul: Lessons learned from Emotional Abuse - by Dr. Yukio Strachan Phillips
- How To Live Happily Ever After - by Maya Pinion
- Looks Can Be Perceiving - by Deon Du Plessis
- Sustainable Intimacy in Relationships - by Alison Poulsen, Ph.D.
- Sex and Awakening - by Mick Quinn
- 8 Ways to Heal When Love Hurts - by Lori Radun
- Want Closeness? Avoid These Intimacy Killers - by Lori Radun
- Forgiveness - Breaking the Cycle of Resentment - by Lori Radun
- Make 'The Judge' Sit Down - by Lori Radun
- Help, I'm Getting Angry - by Lori Radun
- How to Attract the Relationships You Want - by Lori Radun
- C.O.N.N.E.C.T. - by Lori Radun
- Strong Relationships are Good for Your Health - by Michele Ritterman
- Blending Gender - by Suzann Paneck Robins
- Utilizing A Humanistic Approach to Create Successful Relationships in Business - by Gary De Rodriguez
- Personal Boundaries In The Workplace - by Altazar Rossiter
- Why Romance Stops and How to Keep it Alive - by Helene Rothschild
- How to Have the Relationship We All Want - by Leo Ryan
- Be a Powerful Voice! - by Suzann Rye
- The Way to a Woman's Heart - by Becky Ruff
- What Relationships Really Offer Us - by Sage
- Parents In Love - by Linda Salazar
- The Naked Truth Behind Overcoming Public Speaking Anxieties - by Gianna De Salvo
- How Healthy is Your Relationship? - by Dr. Linda Sapadin
- Listen, Don't Solve - by Dr. Linda Sapadin
- The Word "NO" May Be Your Best Friend - by Dr. Linda Sapadin
- Obama Critics, Admit You Were Wrong - by Frank Schaeffer
- Why Are Our Relationships Such a Challenge? - by Andrew and Bonnie Schneider
- Relationship Messages - by Andrew Schneider
- What About Relationships? - by Henk Schram
- Don't Break Down, When You Break Up - by Damien Senn
- The Art of Listening - by Dharmbir Rai Sharma
- Marriage Muscle - Excerpt from 'Fit for Love' by Olga Sheean
- The Top 9 Marital Blunders - by Michael Shery
- The Mistakes Men Make about Women - by Bob Smallwood
- When Your Children Come From Different Planets - by Kenneth Sprang
- Challenges for Adult Children of Divorce - by Kenneth Sprang
- Finding Your Soulmate - by Kenneth Sprang
- Building Client Relationships - by Dr. Gregory Stebbins
- Find the Hidden Message in Your Prospect's Handshake - by Dr. Gregory Stebbins
- Love Hurts? - by Ashleigh Stewart
- Practical Steps To Listening Effectively - by Gwen Nyhus Stewart
- Attract Love by Allowing Yourself to Receive It - by Enoch Tan
- The Couples Song - by Bob Tracey
- The Gift of a Broken Heart - by Bob Tracey
- Men, Women and Emotions - by Mark Tyrrell
- Confident Non-Verbal Communication - by Joshua Uebergang
- Communication and Self-Management to Reduce Stress - by Joshua Uebergang
- The Best Way to Influence People - by Boris Vene & Nikola Grubisa
- The True "Perfect" Partner - by William Weil
- Build Power Relationships - by Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler
- Finding Mr. or Ms. Right - by David Wood
- In My Humble Opinion - by Karen Wright
- Is Not To Be To Be? - by Peter Wright
- Employee Communication: 5 Tips To Engage Employees - by Marcia Xenitelis
- Your Relationship Triggers are your Greatest Teachers - by Margot Zaher
- Communication Works For Those Who Work At It - by Dr. Alan Zimmerman
- How to Eliminate Workplace Conflict - by Dr. Alan Zimmerman
- How to Earn the Respect of Others - by Dr. Alan Zimmerman
- A Healthy Team and a Healthy Relationship - by Dr. Alan Zimmerman
- The Three Rules for Self-Esteem - by Dr. Alan Zimmerman
- The Healing Art of Communication - by Ayal Hurst
- Inspirational Quotes about Relationships
- Free eBook Downloads: Communication & Relationships
- Videos about Relationships