I recently finished reading Patricia Evans' book, The Verbally Abusive Relationship. Her ideas gave me some new insights into my failed marriage and gave me an excellent model for a better understanding of healthy relationships.
Evans says there are two types of relationships: Level I (the verbally abusive relationship) and Level II (a healthy relationship). To reach Level II, the two partners in a relationship need to be aware that both partners are equal. As long as inequality exists (i.e., one partner exercising power over the other), then the relationship will remain at Level I. In order to exercise "power over," the dominant partner must protect their position at all costs. Initially, that protection relies upon verbal insults, put-downs, demeaning jokes, mind-games, emotional withdrawal, name-calling, condescending tone, and several other verbal weapons. The dominant partner must win every verbal exchange to keep power and control. If these tactics fail, then the power-over "game" can (and over time probably will) escalate to physical violence.
I've decided that if I'm ever going to be involved in another significant relationship, both my partner and I are going to have an awareness of why relationships work and why they don't. I want a relationship of equals, partners, friends—who mutually affirm, encourage, and support each other.
I have to admit, I sometimes wonder if a healthy relationship is possible. Sometimes I wonder whether I'm worthy of such a relationship. Books like Patricia Evans' give me hope. It's exciting to think about the possibilities.
As a co-dependent, I want to focus on being the best person I can be, so when the opportunity for a healthy friendship or relationship comes along, I can participate in helping create a mutually beneficial partnership. Being the best person I can be means taking care of myself, loving myself, being un-dependent, and having a deep reservoir of love, kindness, compassion, gentleness, and unconditional acceptance to offer myself and another.
Healthy relationships exist between two whole, aware, conscious adults, deciding together to give the best of themselves to a partnership where both are nurtured and where both are growing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. A partnership where both partners are equal, where both partners are independent, yet interdependent. A partnership where the dynamics result in creativity, spontaneity, emotional safety, and spiritual growth.
Dear God, lead me to healthy, aware relationships. Grant me to bring wholeness and safety, on my part, to the relationship. Help me to always remember I am worthy of healthy relationships.
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Staff, H. (2009, January 1). Healthy Relationships, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2023, December 6 from https://www.healthyplace.com/relationships/serendipity/healthy-relationships