Even though two people are in a relationship together, it doesn’t mean that they are relating as adults. Physically they may look like adults, but that could be as far as it goes. And upon closer inspection, it could look as though it is between a parent and a child.
This won’t be limited to intimate relationships of the opposite or the same gender; it will also include friendships and between family members for instance. It won’t matter how old someone is, as the parent and child dynamic will still be at work.
Now, for some people, this will stand out and be as clear as anything, and then for others, it will be overlooked and will remain invisible. It can all depend on what one’s own relationships are like and as to whether they are aware of what is taking place.
And a big part of this is because if one has always experienced relationships where one person is above another, then it is not going to stand out. It will be seen as how relationships are meant to be.
The modern day world helps to support this outlook, as control, manipulation, dominance and submission are often part of the interactions that people have on a local level and on a global level. But of course, this is nothing new, as this has been taking place for a long time.
However, just because something is normal, it doesn’t mean that it is functional and healthy. And while the media likes to focus on what is going on out there and on countries that are violent, the relationships that people have in the western world, are not always examples of love, respect and kindness.
In fact, what they often reveal is how dysfunctional and abusive many of today’s relationships are. And this is in countries that are described as ‘civilized’ and ‘evolved’ for example. The kind of relationships that someone has reveals a great deal about them and what is going on for them at a deeper level.
And one of the biggest reasons as to why today’s relationships are like they are is because of a lack of education. In order for anyone to know anything, they need to have been taught it in one way or another.
Although people’s minds are generally educated, it is not as common for them to learn about how relationships work or how their emotions function. And these are two vital elements when it comes to connecting with others in a way that is healthy and functional.
So what usually happens is one observes how other people treat each other and then mimics this behaviour. There is no thought required here; this can all take place unconsciously.
Now, if the people around them have relationships that are healthy it won’t be problem. But if they are not healthy, it means that one could end up having relationships that are the same.
And this process starts from when one is a child and then goes onto include relationships with friends, colleagues and the partners that one has. The biggest factor is often ones childhood and the kind of roles they had to play during these years in order to survive.
If one has a relationship with another adult and they end up acting like a child or the other person does, then it is going to be sabotaged. This could be something that happens every now and then or it could be how the relationship always is.
It won’t be possible for each person to be on the same level; one person will end up in a position of superiority and another will be in a place of inferiority. But while they may appear to reflect each person’s true nature, they are nothing more than roles that they are playing.
One person could always appear to be stronger than the other or this could be something that changes based on what the situation is and how one feels.
When one person tries to rescue, save, fix or change another person, it is not an adult to adult relationship. And the same applies to when one is trying to be rescued, saved, fixed or changed by another.
To look at this one way, it seems as though one person has more power than the other, but these are often two sides of the same coin. And this is what happens when one person has denied and repressed certain parts of themselves and then ends up projecting them onto others.
How emotionally developed one is will often define how functional their relationships are. On one side will be someone who feels powerless, hopeless and uncomfortable with having needs and this is likely to be the person who plays the role of needing to be rescued.
And on the other side will be the person who has the same feelings and yet they have become disconnected from them. When they see other people behaving in these ways, it will either consciously or unconsciously remind them of how they feel.
So to rescue another, allows them to indirectly rescue themselves. However, until they face their own feelings, they will continue to attract and be attracted to people who need to be saved and rescued; simply because they haven’t faced their emotions.
Out Of Balance
These dynamics stop each person form taking responsibility for their own lives and instead of them consciously asking the other person to meet their needs, it can cause one person to go without getting their needs met.
This could lead to resentment and one person being exhausted and without enough energy to survive, let alone thrive. And while one person has been falsely empowered, the other person will end up feeling falsely disempowered. So it won’t be possible for each person to embrace a balanced sense of empowerment.
In order for one to have relationships that are more functional and fulfilling, it will be important for them to do two things. Firstly, leaning about relationships and secondly, to deal with their emotions.
If one feels powerless, hopeless, abandoned or has trouble feeling supported, then it is likely that they have trapped emotions in their body. And these could stem from their time as a baby and when they were children.
The assistance of a therapist or a healer will enable one to release their trapped emotions. And there are many books out there that will give one a new outlook on how relationships can be.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.