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Can I cement suffering through relationships?

Deepak Chopra
Alternative & Complementary Medicine
Pain is a universal experience; therefore, it enters into every relationship. Nobody truly suffers alone, and even if you do everything you can to suffer in silence, you are having an effect on those around you. The reason that people find it so difficult to enter a healing relationship is that life in our family of origin often required a good deal of unawareness. We overlook what we don't want to see; we keep silent about things that are too difficult to discuss; we respect boundaries even when they put someone into a box. In short, the family is where we learn to deny pain. And denied pain is just another term for suffering.

Given a choice, most people would rather preserve their relationships than stop suffering. One sees this in abusive families where the victims don't speak up or walk out. (Some states have passed laws forcing the police to arrest domestic abusers over the protest of the spouses they beat up and torment. Without such laws, the victim sides with the abuser more than half the time.) A healing relationship is based on awareness; in it both partners work to break old habits that promote suffering. They have to walk a fine line because compassion means that you appreciate the suffering someone else is experiencing, as well as your own. Yet at the same time there has to be detachment, making sure that suffering, no matter how real, isn't the dominant reality. The attitudes that make for a healing relationship become part of a vision you hold for yourself and the other person.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.