It’s likely you know that your childhood shaped who you are.
Your parents, your culture, and other experiences influenced how you interacted with the world around you. And while many of those influences may have been positive, you still lost parts of yourself in the process.
But it’s possible to regain those lost parts, and your partner is the best person to help you do that.
How You Lose Those Parts of Yourself
First, you need a better understanding of how you lost those parts of yourself.
When you were a child, you had a lot of energy. (All children do!) And you shared that energy in four different ways:
These four functions of the self are the way the child relates to him or herself and the outside world. When your partners or other caretakers believed you were misbehaving, they shared negative messages to try to redirect or change the way you interacted with the world.
You may have heard some of the following messages:
- Don’t think those thoughts.
- You’re not really hurt.
- Boys don’t cry.
- Behave more like a lady.
- Don’t touch that.
- Stay still. Stop squirming.
These negative messages caused you to block off certain parts of yourself. You began to under-function in those blocked areas – and over-function in the open areas.
In effect, you came to think, sense, feel, or act in certain ways – and stopped thinking, sensing, feeling, and acting in other ways.
This caused you to lose a sense of yourself, and that impacted the adult you are today. The negative messages affect the way you ‘related’ to your own self, and then on to relating to other people thereafter, which can make effective therapy or a great marriage more difficult.
What You Looked for in Love
You did not realize it, but this impacted how you looked for a partner.
Unconsciously, you sought out someone who was open in the area you were blocked. (And your partner looked for the same in you!)
You were seeking your partner as a model. He or she can help you step back into those blocked or “lost” parts.
So, the ways that you are opposite of your partner can be a source of conflict, but they are also a wonderful opportunity.
That is, if you embrace the challenge.
Reclaim Those Lost Parts of Yourself
If you embrace the challenge, you can reclaim those lost parts – and feel complete again. You can reconnect with the whole person you were when you were born.
But this can be a hard and scary process. After all, up until now, you have avoided those parts of yourself for a reason. You still have those negative messages in your mind, whether or not you recognize it.
The more you stretch, the more you grow. But you have to be willing to take the leap. To let your partner influence you in this positive way. To seek and accept new challenges.
Similarly, you can help support your partner’s personal growth.
It won’t necessarily be an easy journey. But it can help you rediscover yourself and grow close to your partner in the process.
Isn’t that worth fighting for? The Houston Center for Marriage & Family Relationships provides cutting-edge methods to help with both Psychotherapy and Education: the world’s leader… Imago Relationship Therapy.