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Relationships: The Challenge of Disengaging

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Relationships: The Challenge of Disengaging
Are you reactive in conflict with people who are important to you & often end up feeling miserable?

How do you generally respond in the following situations?

  • Someone you care about and is important in your life — your partner, a close friend, your employer, your parent, your child — says something derogatory about you or something you don't agree with.
  • Someone you care about complains about a situation, seeing themselves as a victim.
  • Someone close to you makes irrational statements about themselves, about you, about others, or about a situation or event.
  • Someone you care about verbally attacks you and/or blames you for something.

Do you jump in and correct them, explaining, defending, denying, arguing? What happens when you do?

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Do you walk away, withdrawing in anger, judgment and blame — blaming your partner or yourself? How do you feel when you behave this way?

The chances are if you do either of these the interactions, the conflict escalates into more attack, blame, complaints, verbal abuse, and other irrational behavior, or both of you retreat into distant, angry silence, inwardly blaming and punishing each other for your own misery.

What might happen if you lovingly disengage, i.e. walk away with your heart open, with no anger or judgment, no rumination about how awful the other person is, praying for the person and singing a little happy song in your mind? (Singing a happy song distracts you from blame and rumination). What might happen if you lovingly disengage and do an Inner Bonding process?

What might happen is that the other person is left with his or her own behavior to deal with rather than being able to further blame you. What might happen is that when the other person is no longer angry, blaming, complaining or attacking and comes back to re-connect with you, you are open and ready for connection.

This sounds simple, yet why is it so hard to do? Why is it so hard to lovingly disengage?

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There are two major answers to this question:

  1.     The ego wounded self believes that you can control how another person feels, thinks and acts — that you can control getting another person out of his or her intent to protect and into the intent to learn. The wounded self believes that, if you say or do the right thing, you can control the other person into opening up to you and seeing things your way.
  2.     The wounded self is terrified of feeling the core painful feelings of loneliness and helplessness over others, believing that you cannot handle these feelings.


If you lovingly disengage, keeping your heart open to yourself and to the other person, you will feel the loneliness and heartache that is always there when someone you care about disconnects from themselves and you. And you will feel the helplessness that you will always feel when you fully accept that you cannot control the other person.

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Article contributed by
Advanced Member

Dr. Margaret Paul

Author

Margaret Paul, Ph.D. is a best-selling author of 8 books, relationship expert, and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® process - featured on Oprah, and recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. Are you are ready to heal your pain and discover your joy? Take our FREE Inner Bonding course, and click here for a FREE CD/DVD relationship offer. Visit our website at innerbonding.com for more articles and help, as well as our Facebook Page. Phone and Skype sessions available. Join the thousands we have already helped and visit us now!

Location: Pacific Palisades, CA
Credentials: PhD
Specialties: Anxiety Issues, Couples/Marital Issues, Depression
Other Articles/News by Dr. Margaret Paul:

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