Rewriting History in Your Relationships
Rewriting History in Your Relationships
Categories: RECENT RESEARCH
Gregory Jantz, Ph.D.
When a relationship is infested with hidden anger and unexposed truths, it is an unresolved relationship. Unresolved relationships are a source of pain. It is important to remember, however, that bringing resolution to a relationship does not mean the relationship will be good or positive or perfect. Bringing resolution to a relationship often means bringing clarity. When relationships are revealed for what they are, sometimes you must acknowledge difficult and hurtful truths.
Sometimes, the same hurtful relationship is played out over and over, just with different people. Repetition is substituted for resolution. This relationship redo seeks to bring resolution to a previous relationship but rarely accomplishes this purpose. Sadly, it often results in additional pain and heartache. As the pain piles up, so does the anger. As disappointment after disappointment is realized, hope is crushed. As compelling and understandable as this strategy is, it is not possible to right a wrong by proxy.
Relationships are very precious to God. He is the beneficiary of the very first relationship. In Genesis 1:26, God uses the phrase, “Let us make man in our image.” God is not singular, he is plural. Before you or I entered the scene, he existed in relationship. Once he created man, in Genesis 2:18 God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone.” He wanted people to be in relationship with each other. God is in relationship and values relationship. Relationship is so important, he sacrificed his only Son to heal the relationship with mankind broken by sin (2 Cor. 5:18).
If God so values relationships, so should you; you should not enter into one lightly. Nor should you enter into one in hopes of rewriting another. I have often seen this happen. A woman with a poor relationship with her father will enter into a relationship with a man very like him, in hopes of a different outcome. She may sacrifice her personality, her hopes, her dreams, even her virginity in exchange for the love she did not receive. She may marry a judgmental, rigid man in hopes of gaining the approval and acceptance withheld in the past. Because her relationship with her father is still unresolved, her relationship with herself is unresolved, and this irresolution will extend into any current relationship.
You also should not enter into a relationship expecting your current relationship to right the wrongs of the past. If you have an unresolved relationship causing you pain, you may be tempted to place all your expectations for relief in a current relationship. You may feel a sense of entitlement within this new relationship because of the pain you feel from old, unresolved ones. You may become angry when your current relationship fails to live up to this expectation and begin to shift blame from your past relationship to the present one. Thus blindsided by an unrealistic and unfair expectation, the person you are in a current relationship with may respond back in anger, starting a cycle of resentment.
Jesus said in Matthew 6:34, “Each day has enough trouble of its own.” From what I’ve learned in my years of counseling, I can state that in the same way each relationship has enough trouble of its own! Relationships need to stand on their own. Each person you enter into a relationship with needs the freedom to be who they are, not a reflection of someone else or as a projection of someone you want them to be. That is not the truth. Healthy relationships are based on truth.
Authored by Dr. Gregory Jantz, founder of The Center • A Place of HOPE and author of 30 books. Pioneering whole-person care nearly 30 years ago, Dr. Jantz has dedicated his life’s work to creating possibilities for others, and helping people change their lives for good. The Center • A Place of HOPE, located on the Puget Sound in Edmonds, Washington, creates individualized programs to treat behavioral and mental health issues, including eating disorders, addiction, depression, anxiety and others.