She then answered back to that voice, the third step in Voice Therapy. She revealed her real point of view about her partner; she spoke of how she really loves him, that she finds him attractive and enjoys sharing life with him. Next, she looked at how this voice was affecting her relationship, enticing her to pull away from her current partner and to look for other men. She decided that instead of distancing herself, she would take actions to show him how much she cares for him and to get closer to him, thus completing the last two steps in Voice Therapy.
Leaving this session, she was surprised by how different she felt from when she walked in -- the shift in her point of view amazed her. Prior to the session, she felt that her superior, rejecting attitude toward her partner was her real point of view. She now recognized that she had come perilously close to taking actions that would have sabotaged her relationship, one that was providing her with much happiness and satisfaction.
Recognizing how the voice operates as the agent of self-sabotage and as a destroyer of close relationships is the first step in breaking free from an identity that is not really you. We can start to have compassion for ourselves and our partners. And we can begin to pursue a healthy and fulfilling relationship. Challenging these critical inner voices and taking actions that go against their prescriptions is key to differentiating yourself, yet it simultaneously allows someone else to get close to you.
Separating from the negative aspects of your early caretakers, which you have incorporated into yourself in the form of an "anti-self," allows you to start to gain a sense of who you really are and what you really want in life and love. You can then start to pursue the people, activities, and experiences that light you up and make you feel more yourself, the things that give meaning to your life. By breaking these patterns of self-sabotage, you give yourself the best chance of truly falling in love and staying in love.
To read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone on Relationships visit PsychAlive.org