Dr. Harville Hendrix and Oprah discuss how if your are unhappy or frustrated in your marriage or relationship it could be a good thing(!)


In a repeat of an Oprah show from 2003 shown on The Best of the Oprah Show, Dr. Harville Hendrix (author of Getting the Love You Want) and Oprah discussed how if you are unhappy or frustrated in your marriage or your relationship, that it could be a good sign because it means that growth is trying to happen (but it sure doesn’t feel that way!).   All frustration (chronic repetitive frustration such as “you’re always late, you’re never there, you don’t pay enough attention to me”) is rooted in unfinished business in childhood and also defenses that were developed in childhood.  What’s being expressed there is something that is rooted in a frustration in childhood of a parent who wasn’t available or wasn’t reliable so when you get married there’s an activation of those unfinished needs and so in marriage it’s going to come up.–Harville Hendrix

Oprah goes on to state,  “…you then draw to yourself the partner who really brings up your greatest frustrations, and your other stuff too…”

“It’s almost like you have an unconscious sensor and you’re just wandering around searching the world and all of a sudden there’s that person who’s going to be just right to become your nightmare…because they’re going to invite you into those parts of you that didn’t grow in childhood and activate all those wounds that you had and all the unmet needs and all the defenses that you developed.  They’ll start off of course being the person of your dreams but they become the person of your nightmare and you have to go through that stage before actually the dream is restored…Romance is really an anesthetic.   When you fall in love it seems a part of our minds prevents us from seeing the negative traits of the people that we’re drawn to until we get bonded and then we get bonded to them and then it’s like the anesthetic wears off and you go ‘Oh my God!  there’s that depression in my mother, the anger in my father, the perfection in my father or whatever.”– Dr. Harville Hendrix

Oprah adds, “And you say that unless you marry for money, you can’t marry the wrong person.”

Harville–“That’s right.  If you fall in love, your unconscious is picking the right person.  If you marry for money maybe that is the right thing for you but it won’t be a growth relationship.”

Oprah–“But, if you fall in love, you fall in love with a person who is there to help you heal yourself.”

Harville–“It seems  that Nature has set it up that the romantic attraction experience is a way that we are drawn to the right person for our maximal personal healing and personal growth.”

Then they had couples go through a workshop based on Dr. Hendrix’s book “Getting the Love You Want,” for ex., how one husband connected major frustration and conflict in his marriage back to his childhood pain of strict parents and not being allowed to hang out with friends or try out for sports when he was eight-years-old.  “Dr. Hendrix’s theory is that it always goes back to that, something that has happened in your past when you make that connection, you can then move forward and not still continue to repeat the cycle of your childhood.”  So this man needed to feel independent because of his childhood.  His wife was abandoned by her father as a young child and he felt she was too clingy.  So, after working with Dr. Hendrix and Imago therapy they consciously understood each other better and why they were acting the way they were.

Harville–“Marriage is a healing process  and when you think about it as a healing process it makes you a better person, makes you a better parent.  Marriage then also becomes a means of healing the world, because every time you have a better person with more empathy, they become empathic for the world; their children grow up feeling empathic and whole and those children then will not engage in violence or experience depression….You’re marrying to heal each other’s childhood wounds, to grow into your wholeness, and to become a contributor to the transformation of society.”

Harville–“Validation is the essential to developing wholeness, healing, and empathy and intimacy and without that you can forget having the relationship because there’s only one person there (which is you since you are not validating your partner and are disregarding them and their experience)….There is no place in any intimate partnership, in any marriage, in any relationship, for criticism… Criticism is abusive (because it) makes the other person bad; you shame them, you make them feel guilty, you hurt them emotionally believing that if you hurt them enough they will become wonderful…The process is can we work to solve a problem so we can both live in the same environment and feel safe with each other….(if you criticize) a child enough he will grow up feeling perfectionistic or feeling depressed.”

Harville–“To me the most important thing to remember is to eliminate criticism, get negativity out of your relationship, replace it with dialogue so that you mirror them, you listen to your partner, begin to see their point of view, begin to experience their feelings empathically, that’s what we mean by connection, connection dissolves all problems.”

(***As a side note, astrologically you might also be going through the “mid-life crisis”.  I think technically it is around early 40’s (40-44 or around there, it lasts for a few years) where you want to just get rid of whatever is not working, throwing the whole marriage away, the job, etc.–the whole “throw the baby out with the bath water,” so you might consider just allowing the emotions to come up and feeling them and releasing them and waiting for things to settle down before you make any big decisions regarding your life.  Really take some time to go within and maybe make small shifts, baby steps to get things more in alignment with what you are needing and wanting.  This is a time when clutter-clearing is especially helpful.)

Namaste and many blessings***


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