What actually happens during the process of psychological separation?
Imagine that you are in a tug-of-war with another person. After near exhaustion and nobody winning, you decide to let go of your end of the rope. You are now free of the struggle and the other person is holding a limp rope. “Dropping the rope” is the first step in stopping the struggle in your relationship.
Many couples become so enmeshed that one or both believe that only their partner can provide what is wanted or needed.
They’ve lost of their ability to validate and care for themselves.
Psychological separation involves strengthening your own identity
and sense of self. It is a process of getting to know, understand, be, and
express your inner self as well as understand your role in your relationship.
It may be a time for looking deeply at how you were shaped by your family of origin, and how you are still acting from perspectives, expectations, beliefs, feelings, wants, and behavior that you learned as a child.
Becoming aware of how we relate to ourselves, learning better ways of meeting our own wants and expectations, and strengthening our sense of self can be very empowering. Ironically, realizing that you really can take care of yourself often allows your connection with your partner to change and even improve. At the very least, refocusing on you can help you gain insight and clarity into your wants and expectations and how your partner does or doesn’t meet them.
This, I believe, should be one of the goals of all separations: as you start to know yourself better and become more OK with your self, only then evaluate whether your relationship is working for you.
Each partner’s actions and behavior affect the other’s reactions and continue the circle. As in a dance, one partner changing his or her steps will affect the other.
The second partner’s response will again affect the one who initiated the change.
Example – If you are both arguing with each other and you decide to stop, you have begun to separate from a pattern where both of you dig in to the end. If you feel this is losing out to your partner, think again. It means learning to stop the conflict as first priority.
If you decide to take a psychological separation, it is likely that even small changes in the way one of you behaves, thinks, believes, andfeels will affect the circle and process of your relationship.
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