I recently listened to a podcast where the host interviewed author and couples’ therapist Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. I must admit; my mind was blown.
This therapist’s beliefs about companionship were extraordinarily different from what others say, and it was incredibly powerful to hear his message.
Most relationship experts (me included) say that finding a companion with whom you truly connect, can build a life, and grow with, are the foundations of a solid relationship.
But what about the things we bring with us into the relationship? It’s something not enough people talk about, and if they do, they say “baggage,” but what that often refers to is having had a difficult relationship with an ex.
But what about the other stuff?
We All Have Trauma
Essentially, Dr. Hendrix feels that relationships are about helping yourself and the other person heal, both from childhood trauma and past trauma. Childhood trauma is something not enough people are talking about, but we all have it. ALL OF US.
Maybe your parents were too strict growing up. Maybe they didn’t give you enough attention. It could be you were emotionally abused, or worse. Whatever it is, it is a part of you and impacts who we are every single day of our lives.
Hendrix’s message was clear. Relationships aren’t about the “happily ever after”; they are about the everlasting “work in progress.”
How Connection Heals
It makes so much sense to me. I’ve always known that a relationship takes work, but I haven’t ever thought about how our partners can help us heal from the past.
After hearing his message, it made me reflect on my own relationship with my husband. Do we do this? Have we, unknowingly, been helping each other heal from the past?
It made me think of a time, maybe six months into my relationship with Mike, where he shared that I made it easy for him to be open about himself and that for the first time, he didn’t feel judged. He’ll say, even these days, that I help him share. He’s acknowledged several times that he didn’t feel safe enough to share his feelings in previous relationships.
Truth time: I felt the same.
I think back to some hard conversations we’ve had—the candid, raw, deep-dives we’ve done into painful past memories. No matter what was shared between us, we were there to listen, be compassionate, and be present for each other.
The realization that we’ve been doing this all along—helping each other heal—was surprising but also not shocking.
My message to you here is that, instead of sharing all your deep, dark secrets with your therapist or counsellor, how about sharing with your partner? You might discover new levels of intimacy and profound healing that you would never have thought possible.
Here’s the hack: instead of seeing vulnerability as a weakness, look at itas an opportunity to connect.
Building a solid foundation starts with vulnerability. And knowing that ALL OF US carry some sort of trauma is all the reason you need to be the olive branch, open up, start the conversation, and give your partner a safe haven to share and heal.
Compassion and kindness are ours to give.
Podcast recommend – https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/super-soul/id1264843400?i=1000532345346
Book recommended – https://www.chapters.indigo.ca/en-ca/books/getting-the-love-you-want/9781250310538-item.html