The Relational Oppositional system may explain why you feel trapped in a relationship

Behold! For you are about to receive the ultimate relationship advice, the key that will unlock true love and heal troubled relationships. This is the ultimate magic spell to bring happiness, love, and fulfillment into your life…

Be true to yourself.

Not what you were expecting? Hold on, there is more to this than meets the eye.

Being authentic with yourself

You might be feeling a bit surprised by this relationship advice, but the answer is not complicated, It just takes a bit of practice. Being authentic with yourself also means being authentic with others, and being at peace with the differences.

Before explaining further, there are a few questions that I will need you to ask yourself.

As we grow, and our personality develops, our own identity takes shape. Markers get put in place that defines our personality. What we love is what we love, what we dislike is what we dislike and our individuality is clear.

When we enter a relationship, a disruption is created in our identity.

In the first phase of the relationship, The other person is a stranger, yet so familiar. The feelings of lust and new love make us ignore their differences, as we all desire the other to be a mirror of ourselves. We look for things in common with the other person. Tastes, life stories, ideas, dreams, aspirations, reactions, etc.

But soon, the honeymoon phase wears off and differences now become obstacles. What used to be: “It’s cute how much she worries” becomes: “She is so possessive”. “He is so well organized” becomes: “He is so stiff”. “She is so strong” becomes: “She’s too opinionated”. These differences are what will put in place triggers and defense mechanisms. Screaming, name-calling, slamming the door, running away and eventually divorce.

If the relationship is not healthy and continues to grow, this is when the oppositional system sets in. The two people take on a role.

Each person becomes responsible for the other’s needs and this is how relationships become toxic.

But what is the oppositional system?

The best relationship advice ever given to me is the need to understand what role you play in a relationship. Once you know where you stand, you can work on yourself to break the bad pattern.

An oppositional system is a set of rules unconsciously put in place by both partners. When an oppositional system exists in a relationship, there is suffering for everyone.

Take a look at the examples of oppositional systems below and see if you recognize yourself in any of these roles. If you do, then your relationship is not balanced and you need to do some soul searching.

Here are examples of different oppositional systems:

The Master and the Slave

This relationship is based on dominance.

The master is constantly defending himself, rationalizing, against his or her fears. The fear of losing the other person, the fear of feeling inadequate, the fear of being seen in his or her fragile form. A master is a person who lives in fear of losing control. Here, the master controls the life of the slave because of his deep-rooted fears.

A slave can’t go out when he or she pleases, a slave can’t have fun but must always show dedication towards the house or master, etc. The slave finds a certain amount of comfort in being taken care of and told what to do, despite his or her suffering from not being allowed to be themselves in the relationship. The slave is afraid of being alone.

The Deserter and the Deserted.

In this relationship, the couple is constantly playing the cat and mouse game.

The deserter will leave the relationship (mentally or physically) and the deserted will do everything in their power to win them back. They do this to appease their fear of being abandoned (or being alone), therefore completely forgetting themselves in the process.

They will forget themselves completely and even forget their individuality. They might become Invasive and nagging. They do this in hopes to get their fears appeased by the other person. This will provoke a rejection from their partner.

The deserter is on the other hand constantly defending his fear of being loved, his intimacy and engagement. His fears of suffering are so great that the only solution is to always run away. When they escape, they have a temporary illusion that alone they are safe, but then comes the suffering of not being loved by anyone, and not being able to give their love to someone. Often, these roles are constantly being reversed with both partners.

The bully and the victim

This relationship is centered around responsibility.

The victim will constantly put the responsibility for his or her suffering on the other person. The victim will keep sacrificing himself or herself for the sake of the other person by choice while at the same time blaming the other person for the sacrifices he or she has to make.

The victim willingly gives his or her entire power to the other person, the happiness, and the unhappiness. The victim will never take responsibility for his or her own life. Everything is always the other person’s fault. These sacrifices are constantly being done to permit the victim to control the other person through guilt. The victim will often seek reassurance from outside sources to validate that she is correct, and the other always wrong.

The bully will be verbally, psychologically and physically abusive and can even become physically violent with his or her partner. The bully wants to be perceived as strong, even though he or she is completely dominated by fears. Fear of the other person, fear of being sensitive, fear of being humiliated.

The Angry one and the Nice one

This relationship is based on conflict.

The nice one will always be nice to the other person, and will always treat everything as a small deal. He will always be soft and smiling no matter what the situation. His fear of the other person’s reaction will bring him to deny his feelings.

He is an idealist, for whom a relationship must be harmonious at all times. He learned young that being angry is a bad thing. By denying himself this natural feeling he will shut down part of himself. In this denial of anger, he will not be able to distinguish between defensive anger and affirmation anger.

The angry one will explode at everything as he is not able to manage his emotions. He seems to always be letting it out on the other person. Deep down he is stuck in a bubble of emotions that he is unable to control. Behind the anger is a deep pain.

The Seduced and Seducer

This relationship is centered around sexuality.

The seduced one wants to take care of the seducer. His only purpose is to keep seducing his partner so that he stays. He is afraid of scaring his partner away if he shows his feelings.

The seducer wants to conquer. He seeks sexual attention from everyone. This makes him feel powerful. This person is afraid of commitment. Constantly conquering other people temporarily appeases his suffering and his vulnerabilities. By going from person to person, this person is unable to satisfy his great need of being loved and his or her sensitivity.

All oppositional systems have one thing in common. One is controlling and one is submissive, one is active, one is passive. For a master, a bully, or a deserter to exist, there has to be a slave, a victim, or a deserted one.

Do you recognize yourself in any of these relationships?

How to break free of the cycle

The key to freedom is authenticity with yourself and recognizing your needs. It is important to realize that you and your partner are not one soul. You are two separate people, with separate needs and desires. You need to give yourself the freedom to be who you are, without fear. The best relationship advice I can give you is this: Live and let live.

If you are submissive, then find the power within yourself to speak up, communicate and do you. Remember that this kind of change will very often have resistance on the other side, but that should not deter you from your journey of self-discovery.

If you are the dominant one, then you need to take a step back. Communicate and face your fears. This might be a terrifying step, but it is the only step that you need to take if you desire peace and harmony.

This article is based on the teachings of Colette Portelance, therapist and Author.

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