Relationship Failure - the Art of Living Retreat Center

The One Major Cause of Relationship Failure

By Margaret Paul
December 12, 2018

Relationship Failure - the Art of Living Retreat Center


What if there really is ONE major cause of relationship problems, one issue that if you address, would change everything? The good news and the bad news is – there is!

The good news is that it makes it easier to understand why you might be having problems in your relationship, or why your relationship has failed.

The bad news is that to resolve the issue takes a deep personal commitment to heal.


The one cause is: self-abandonment

Let’s take a look at what self-abandonment is and why it causes almost all the problems in relationships.

There are many areas in which we can abandon ourselves: emotional, physical, spiritual, financial, relational, and organizational. One or more of these areas may be affecting your relationship, or may have caused your relationship to fail. The area of self-abandonment that often causes the most problems is emotional self-abandonment.


Emotional self-abandonment

The Encarta(r) World English Dictionary defines ‘abandon’ as: “to leave somebody or something behind for others to look after, especially somebody or something meant to be a personal responsibility.”

As adults, our own wellbeing is our personal responsibility.

Do you abandon yourself, making your partner responsible for you, and then feel abandoned by your partner or others when they leave you or don’t take responsibility for you?

As an adult, another person cannot abandon you, since they are not responsible for you. We can abandon a child, an ill person or an old person – someone who cannot take care of themselves. But if you are a physically healthy adult, you can be left, but you cannot be abandoned by others. Only you can abandon yourself.

What are the ways you might be abandoning yourself?


Judging yourself

How often do you judge yourself with comments to yourself such as:
“You are not good enough.” “You are inadequate.”
“You are stupid.” “You are an idiot.”
“You are ugly.” “You are not attractive enough.”
“If you fail, you are not okay.”
“If someone rejects you, you are not okay.”
“It’s all your fault that….”
“You will never amount to anything. You are a failure. You are not reaching your potential.”
…and so on.

Just as a small child feels alone and abandoned when a parent is harsh and judgmental, so your own inner child – your inner feeling self – feels alone and abandoned when you judge yourself. Self-judgment not only creates inner feelings of aloneness and emptiness, but it also creates feelings of anxiety, depression, anger, hurt, fear, guilt, shame, aloneness and emptiness. Then what do you do when you have judged yourself and created all these painful feelings?


Making others responsible for you

Once you judge yourself and then ignore the pain you have caused, it is quite likely that you then turn to your partner for the love and approval that you are not giving to yourself. Your inner child needs love, approval and attention. We all need the love and comfort of others, but when you abandon yourself with your self-judgments and ignore your feelings, the wounded child part of you turns to your partner in needy, controlling ways that may actually push your partner away. Because the child part of you is desperately needy for love, you likely become manipulative to get that love – getting angry and blaming, or becoming overly nice or compliant and trying to do everything right. You have handed your inner child away to your partner, hoping he or she will give you the love you are not giving to yourself and that you so desperately need.

The more you make your partner responsible for giving you the love, attention and approval you need, the more your inner child feels abandoned by you, leading to more addictive and controlling behavior to fill the emptiness and avoid the pain of your self-abandonment.
People tend to treat us the way we treat ourselves, so the more you abandon yourself, the more you might feel rejected by your partner.


Financial self-abandonment

When we refuse to take care of ourselves financially, instead expecting our partner to take financial responsibility for us, this can create problems. This is not a problem if your partner agrees to take financial responsibility for you and you fully accept how he or she takes this responsibility, but if you choose to be financially irresponsible, much conflict can occur over your financial self-abandonment.


Organizational self-abandonment

If you refuse to take responsibility for your own time and space, instead being consistently late or being a clutterer, and your partner is an on-time and/or neat person, this can create huge power struggles. In fact, some relationships actually break up over these issues. While these issues might not have seemed so major at the beginning of the relationship, over time they can erode the love between you.


Physical self-abandonment

If you refuse to take care of yourself physically, instead eating badly and not exercising and possibly causing yourself health problems, your partner may feel resentful at having to take care of you. Your physical self-abandonment not only has negative consequences for you regarding your health and well being, but it also has unwanted consequences for your partner, which can lead to much conflict and power struggles.

If, due to physical self-abandonment, you have put on a lot of weight, this might be a turn off to your partner. It might not just be your weight that is the turn off, but also the fact that you don’t care enough about yourself to take care of your physical wellbeing. Again, not caring about yourself might be reflected back to you in your partner also not caring about you.


Relational self-abandonment

If you refuse to speak up for yourself in your relationship, instead giving yourself up and allowing your partner to control you, you are eroding the love in the relationship. When you abandon yourself to your partner, you create a lack of trust that leads to conflict and resentment, because if your partner knows that he or she can manipulate you into giving yourself up, how can he or she trust that you are not going to allow yourself to be manipulated by others?


Spiritual self-abandonment

When you make your partner your dependable source of love rather than learning to turn to a spiritual source for your dependable source of love, you place a very unfair burden on your partner. When your intent in the relationship is to get love rather than to share love, then you will pull on your partner for attention, approval, time, or sex. When you do not take responsibility for learning how to connect with a spiritual source of sustenance and comfort, your neediness can create much conflict in the relationship.


Controlling behavior pushes your partner away

Trying to get love, rather than learning to fill yourself up with love to be shared with your partner, is a major result of self-abandonment. The more you abandon yourself in these ways, the more you will try to control your partner, and the more you try to control your partner, the more he or she will likely pull away.

What are the ways you try to control your partner?
Do you:

  • Explain and defend yourself?
  • Shame and judge your partner?
  • Comply, giving yourself up?
  • Withdraw, shut down, ignore, resist?
  • Yell, blame, and attack?
  • Complain?
  • Cry as a victim?

How does your partner respond when you attempt to control in these ways? Does this lead to closeness or to distance? These are some of the ways you might be trying to get love from your partner when you are abandoning yourself.


The way out: learning to love yourself rather than abandon yourself

When you decide to learn to love yourself rather than continue to abandon yourself, you will discover how to create a loving relationship with your partner. Practicing the 6-Step self-healing Inner Bonding® process is a very powerful way of learning to love yourself!


A brief overview of the Six Steps of Inner Bonding

Step 1: Willingness to Feel Pain and Take Responsibility for Your Feelings
In Step 1, you move into the present moment and focus within, tuning into your feelings and emotions – moving toward your feelings rather than away from them. You make the choice to be mindful of all your feelings, including your pain, rather than protect against them with various addictions. You make a conscious decision that you want to take responsibility for your feelings, which means that you want responsibility for learning how you might be causing your own anxiety, depression, anger, guilt and shame with your own thoughts and actions, and that you want responsibility for learning how to nurture the painful existential feelings of life – the loneliness, heartbreak, grief and helplessness concerning others that are so challenging.

Step 2: Move into the Intent to Learn
In Step 2, you focus in your heart and invite the compassionate presence of your higher self into your heart, by simply saying, “I invite love and compassion into my heart.”
Now you’re ready to focus on “intent” – your deepest desire, your primary motivation. There are only two possible intents you can have in any given moment:

  • The intent to protect yourself from pain with various forms of controlling, self-abandoning behavior, or
  • The intent to learn about loving yourself and others

When your intent is to learn, you are operating as a loving adult. When your intent to avoid your pain with some form of self-abandoning behavior, you are operating from your programmed ego self – what we call in Inner Bonding your ‘wounded self’.

Step 3: Dialogue with Your Wounded self and Your Inner Child
With kindness, gentleness and compassion toward yourself, you discover the thoughts and false beliefs from your wounded self that may be causing your shame, fear, anxiety, depression, aloneness, emptiness or anger, and you learn how to release anger in appropriate ways. You uncover the false beliefs that were created in the past and have led to the self-abandonment that is causing much of your current pain. You explore what may be happening with a person or event that is causing the existential painful feelings of life – loneliness, heartache, heartbreak, helplessness concerning others, or grief. You explore your core self – your essence, your inner child, which is your feeling self – and discover what brings you joy.

Only when the unconscious false beliefs that have limited you for so long are understood and identified, can they be replaced by new and healthier truths that will nurture and heal you.

In Step 3, you ask yourself questions, such as, “What am I telling myself and how am I treating myself that is causing my pain?” “What am I trying to control or avoid with my controlling behavior?”

Step 4: Dialogue with Your Inner or Higher Guidance
In Step 4, you ask a source of inner or higher wisdom – whatever that is for you: “What is the truth about the false beliefs I may have uncovered in Step 3?” And, “What is the loving behavior toward my inner child in this situation? What is in my highest good? What is kind to myself?” You open and allow the answers to come through you in words, pictures or feelings. The answers may not come immediately, but if you have a sincere desire to learn, they will come.

By staying open to learning, you will begin to experience that you are never alone. This is where fears start to fall away and you begin to receive all the love and wisdom you need to take loving actions for yourself and with others.


Step 5: Take Loving Action
Step 5 is about telling yourself the truth and taking the loving action based on the information that came through from your inner or higher guidance in Step 4.


You have opened to your pain, moved into learning, started a dialogue with your wounded self and inner child, and tapped into your higher wisdom. In step 5 you take the ‘loving action’ that, over time, heals the painful feelings that have been the result of your self-abandonment.

Step 6: Evaluate Your Action
Once you take the loving action, you check in to see if your anxiety, depression, guilt, shame, anger, aloneness or emptiness is getting healed. If not, go back through the steps until you discover the truth and actions that bring you relief, peace, joy, and a deep sense of intrinsic worth.

Turning this daily practice into a way of life is what will protect you from going back into self-abandoning behaviors. Much like attending to – say – a child’s feelings, you learn to keep a loving relationship with yourself throughout your life, no matter the challenges that come at you. This loving relationship with yourself and your higher guidance fills you and empowers you to handle life’s challenges with strength and equanimity. This is what then leads to being able to share love with your partner, rather than always trying to get love.

Even if just one of you in a relationship starts to learn to love yourself rather than abandon yourself, your relationship can begin to heal. Try it! You will be truly amazed at the results!


Learn more about the Inner Bonding Process and heal your relationships, your emotions, and your spirit. Dr. Margaret Paul hosts the Inner Bonding workshop at the Art of Living Retreat Center from May 17th-19th, 2019.


Dr. Margaret Paul is a bestselling author and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, and the related SelfQuest® self-healing online program – recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including Oprah. Margaret holds a PhD in psychology, is a relationship expert, public speaker, consultant and artist. She has successfully worked with thousands and taught classes and seminars for over 50 years.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


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TAGS: abandonment , Love , margaret paul , relationships , resilience , wellness
Inner Bonding - Art of Living Retreat Center

The Inner Bonding Process

By Margaret Paul
August 13, 2018

Inner Bonding - Art of Living Retreat Center


This past May, the Art of Living Retreat Center hosted Dr. Margaret Paul for Inner Bonding, a weekend of transformative healing. Below, she elaborates on what the Inner Bonding Process is, and how it can change your life. 


If you don’t value yourself or think that you’re good enough, why would you be motivated to take care of yourself?


A new solution for happiness

I worked as a traditional psychotherapist for 17 years, and I did not see people healing on a deep level. They’d feel better after a session, of course, but then something would happen in their life and they wouldn’t be able to deal with it. They didn’t have the tools, techniques, and inner strength needed to overcome the struggles of everyday life. I started to pray for a process that would go deep in terms of healing, for something that people could draw upon no matter where they were or how they were feeling.


That’s when I met the co-creator of Inner Bonding, Dr. Erika Choprich. I’m certain that Spirit made sure that we met so that we could combine our experience and knowledge. Our process has been life-changing for me, and I know it has been life changing for others, as well.


Learning to love yourself

With the Inner Bonding Process, people really get a handle on their anxiety and depression. They become motivated to take care of themselves, especially with what they put into their physical bodies. Their addictions to sugar, cigarettes, alcohol, what have you, begin to fade away.


Their relationships improve. Many people begin to realize that they’ve never learned to take responsibility for their own feelings and how to truly love themselves. In our society, we don’t have role models for that! In order to know what to do in any given moment, you have to access your inner guidance. You learn to ask yourself, “What’s loving to me right now? What can I do that’s in my highest interest?”


Nurturing emotional intelligence

Let’s say that you’re angry, and you’re convinced that your anger is because someone else has been unloving to you. Somebody else has put you down, judged you, rejected you, or pulled away from you. Your first instinct might be to say, “Well, of course I’m angry! Look at what they’re doing to me!” But in the Inner Bonding Process, we learn that anger is a symptom of our inner child, our soul, our essence, angry at us because we don’t know how to take care of ourselves in the face of somebody else’s unloving behavior.


When we get angry, we’re abandoning ourselves. We get defensive, we explain, we give up, we shut down, we take it personally, we blame the other person. We teach people to turn around and say to their inner selves, “How am I treating you? What am I telling you? How am I judging or abandoning you? How am I not being an advocate for you in the face of what somebody else is saying?”


That inner self might say, “Well, you’re judging me all the time. You’re putting me down. You’re not standing up for me. You’re not keeping me safe. You numb me with food. You don’t even know I exist.”


This self lets us know whether we’re loving ourselves or abandoning ourselves. When we feel peaceful, full, loved, and valued, then we know we’re taking care of that self.


Unlearning childhood pain

Growing up, we deal with a lot of pain. And we learn that we need to avoid pain at all costs, because it overwhelms us. Many of our parents treated us like we weren’t good enough, like we had to be perfect, to perform, that their love was conditional on how we looked or how many A’s we got or how popular we were. We absorbed all of that, and we started to treat ourselves the way we were treated by our parents or caregivers or church.


We perpetuate the abuse, and then wonder why we feel so bad. Why we feel so much pain. We don’t know what to do with it. We don’t know how to manage it. But that pain is telling you something about yourself.


The people who should have taught us how to handle this pain may in fact have been the ones hurting us. We learn to disconnect, dissociate from our feelings. We learn to think that feelings are weakness. We learn to think that we were bad when we were feeling our feelings. We’re supposed to just be okay all the time. With the inner bonding process, people learn to reconnect with their feelings and to interpret what their feelings are telling them.


They learn how to embrace themselves with compassion, to take responsibility to move closer to our feelings, to move with an intention to learn. We all want to receive love and avoid pain.


Love yourself in every area of your life

The 6 Inner steps of bonding helps you learn what it means to love yourself physically, emotionally, spiritually, within relationships, organizationally, and financially. You learn what it means to show up for yourself, and that creates a sense of fullness and peace inside. You develop new neural pathways in your higher brain, your prefrontal cortex. You become a loving adult who naturally relies on your higher brain.


Parent your inner child

We need to approach our feelings as a loving adult. Your inner child needs to trust you, so you need to be open and compassionate and to really listen. We have to learn to reconnect with our intuition and to honor our feelings rather than squash them. This is what inner bonding is about. Learning to trust your inner guidance. We become our own guru. We access really amazing information.


Our goal can’t be to avoid pain–that makes our frequency too low. We can’t come at it from a perspective of protection, avoidance, and control. We access it only when we’re open to learning about what it means to love ourselves, and to identify our false beliefs.


Find your purpose

As you practice inner bonding, you get in touch with why you’re on the planet, with what brings you joy to offer the world. We’re here to evolve in our ability to love ourselves and love others, and we’re here to offer our love to the world in our own unique way. We have so many gifts that have been squashed down and judged, and this process really reconnects you to those gifts. When people tap into that, it brings enormous joy.


Learn more about the Inner Bonding Process here.


Dr. Margaret Paul is a bestselling author and co-creator of the powerful Inner Bonding® self-healing process, and the related SelfQuest® self-healing online program – recommended by actress Lindsay Wagner and singer Alanis Morissette. She has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including Oprah. Margaret holds a PhD in psychology, is a relationship expert, public speaker, consultant and artist. She has successfully worked with thousands and taught classes and seminars for over 50 years.


Interested in learning more about Ayurveda and the programs at the Art of Living Retreat Center? Check out our annual catalog here!


Yoga Retreat Catalog for NC

TAGS: health , in house , inner bonding , margaret paul , self love , self-care , spirituality , wellness

Learn more about our 2018 retreats and offerings!


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