Hal and Sidra’s earlier book ‘Embracing Each-other’ is also highly recommended reading if you are interested in the role that aware ego and inner self work can play in extending trust, commitment and intimacy in your relationship.
Practising your own partnering skills
It takes many hours of what can be very enjoyable practice as you develop your own set of partnering skills. Voice dialogue gives both partners the chance to discover how they really like to operate as a couple and do this safely.
One of the many enjoyable aspects of inner self and awareness work and actual classic voice dialogue between couples is the comfortable way it allows people to develop their partnering skills at their own pace. The best part is when you actually start to dialogue with the selves and discover how to balance being the person you really are and the person you need to be, in the same relationship. However, in the end you and I must both get out there and practise and polish each of the techniques until we can use them with confidence.
Why the inner selves cannot handle relationship work or partnering:
To set the scene, let’s look at some of the most important aspects of partnering and see how each of these can be over-controlled or get out of balance if your inner selves are left to handle any of these aspects of your relationship:
Vulnerability - being vulnerable is an essential for closeness, trust and intimacy. Yet vulnerability is what the inner selves were created to help you avoid.
Openness and authenticity - being who you really are, which is largely the opposite of the person who your selves aim to show to the world. When they succeed that may also be the person most often seen by your partner!
Intimacy - most selves are scared of it because it makes you more vulnerable.
Linkage - a deep energetic connection between two people involving body energy rather than the usual physical, verbal or psychological connections. Because the inner selves have only learned to work with the ‘normal’ energies they have no abilities in the linkage area.
Differentiation - the ability to continue being who you are as an individual while also acting or doing the things required as a committed partner. The selves don’t understand much about being and know too much about doing.
Commitment - most selves worry about it or try to avoid it because they can neither understand it nor do it. It’s something you ’are’, a being energy not a ‘doing’ one.)
Love - most selves don’t understand it, only a few selves can give it to you, no self really knows how to give it freely to someone else.
Trust - another essential, but if one self makes a promise you can’t expect other selves to keep it.
Boundaries - essential for adult-to-adult linkage and needed in the background for safe intimacy. Many selves are used to taking the place of missing boundaries, with some success in the outer world, but with devastating results in a partnership.
Personal and impersonal energies - You and I and our partners all need to be able to move between these two opposite states. However, some selves specialise in using too much personal energy, others use too much impersonal energy. Only the aware adult and aware ego can create the ability to hold a flexible and movable balance between the two. Yet this is what has to happen if we are to develop safe, intimate partnering.
Disowned selves - these selves and their energies turn up consistently in opposite partners. As you come to understand this, you discover why you can get so agitated by another person’s selves. It’s not that the partner is the ‘bad’ or ‘awful’ or ‘hurtful’ person they seem like. In time you also discover that the selves in your partner that annoy you most are really carrying some of the most important lessons that you need to learn in the school of life.
Power and control - critical issues that have to be dealt with in every relationship before it can work. These are the same two issues, however, that trigger most selves into action which sets up blocks to trust, linkage and intimacy.
Bonding patterns - probably the most destructive force in a relationship and one that is totally driven by the selves in their misguided attempts to reduce vulnerability, deal with the negative emotions that get fired up by the disowned selves in your partner and stop you learning the lesson you were meant to learn from that situation.
As you learn more about the ‘school of life’ you discover the wonderful truth, that when you finish learning each lesson, you are no longer triggered by what your partner does or says around that issue.
Core beliefs - mostly untrue, mostly unknown, mostly negative beliefs about ourselves and what we have to do to survive in a relationship. (I am so unlovable. But my selves help me do whatever he wants. If it weren’t for them he would leave me.) Letting selves protect you like this only makes the belief seem more true. As you learn to question such false beliefs you can see how treating them as ‘true’ blocks intimacy and creates background resentment towards the partner.