How to Master Relationships


In my quest to understand the dynamic of intimate relationships I found a simple model/map to understand the mechanisms of protection and vulnerability that surface in relationships.  This model is inspired by the book Face to Face with Fear by Dr. Thomas Krish Trobe.

It is about how we relate in intimate relationships when we get triggered by the wounds that we carry with us from childhood. It can be the wound of rejection, the wound of abandonment, or the wound of humiliation, just to mention a few. When we travel deeper into an intimate relationship, we inevitably encounter these wounds. They were so devastating to feel like a child, that we learned, over the years, different strategies to protect ourselves from feeling them.

The model represents three circles surrounding each other, where the outer circle is our protection layer, the middle circle is our vulnerability and the third innermost circle is our essence.

Model Layer of Protection

As a child, the capacity to protect ourselves is a positive thing, because, without it,  we wouldn’t have survived the intensity of the energies coming to us. As adults, we are strong enough to face and feel the pain, but we so identify and attached to our protections, that we live in it unconsciously. Some examples of being in this layer are blaming, controlling, reacting, and withdrawing.

If we stay in the protection layer, we end up in a fight, or what I call the “relationship hole”. In intimate relationships, clashes happen when both partners are in the protection layers, and in these moments, we cannot heal.

When we become aware that a wound is activated and we take the courageous step to move into the second circle of our vulnerability, exposing ourselves and feeling the pain, we can start to heal the cellular memories. This is not a comfortable place to be, but it opens the doors to the inner circle, the essence, which is who we really are behind the veils of protection and the wounded child.

Understanding and cultivating awareness in those moments of being triggered is an important factor. Without that, we cannot detect what is going on and we just go on with the automatic reaction of protecting ourselves. It feels safer to be in this layer, but we cut the connection with our essence and nothing can really happen there, we can’t access our full potential and uniqueness.  Cultivating self-love, creating the most loving relationship with your inner child, and becoming your own best caretaker, anchoring compassion, trust, and patience is also a necessary step to heal ourselves.

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