Without limits, relationships are just dysfunctional symbiosis

As long as we do not start to get out of the illusion of the symbiotic couple, we do not have access to the other, we know him very little and we see only what we project in his or her image – in fact personal contents and beliefs. Not rarely end we up in disappointment and are we disappointed because we have the impression that we are talking about another person over the years. But we did not have the necessary awareness to know him/her – often the less pleasant, desirable parts were ignored, denied, preferring to stay in idealization, to shape a man or a woman as we would rather prefer than make contact with the real, authentic human being.

The stage of non-differentiation and symbiosis is specific to the mother-child relationship, and often the couple’s relationship regresses us to this point in the symbolic reparation attempt of what was missing in our primary relationship. Thus we seek validation, acceptance, responsiveness, we expect the other to guess our deepest desires and come to meet them. Paradoxically, it happens that exactly what we ask of the other is impossible, because similarly he enters into a relationship with his early wounds. It is often unavailable to give us what we need, because those parts we want to bring to life now have been repressed. Our relationship with him mirrors them, which is often painful but at the same time a good opportunity for healing and development for him as well.

When you accept that the other is a different person, that you do not form a whole altogether, with same needs and desires – which may only meet at certain times – then you begin to understand that you can not be the master of his desires and feelings – you give him freedom and you give yourself freedom. Furthermore, if you choose to adapt to his needs, it is because you do it consciously. Obviously, reciprocity is valid and the myth of “no expectations” remains just a myth, being very difficult to offer unconditionally. And when I talk about the offer, I am referring to the willingness to grow and develop in the relationship. As long as I understand and am responsive to my partner’s need, I expect him/her to show at least a similar availability. And not only do I wait but I also express what I want, being prepared to receive answers that do not fully satisfy me, but not trying to apply manipulative strategies.

Relationships are often a field of maneuver for manipulative strategies, who keep the partners in a dysfunctional dynamic – on the one hand we are talking about one of them who wants with all his heart to control the other (for various reasons, very often unconscious: because of fear of abandonment, need for validation, etc.) and another who fails to escape influence. For both it is stagnation, an impossibility to evolve. Even the one, who controls, although he seems to be at an advantage, highly depends on this dynamic that he maintains. In fact, he is not the only one – the manipulator and the victim enter a game in which they periodically reverse their roles and “feed” this interaction, which is not beneficial at all, for both.

It is difficult for people to set limits because it means that they know who they are, what they can do, what they want, how much they are willing to accept and especially have the willingness to face the conditions they go through alone. When I set boundaries for you, I validate myself and you simultaneously: we are two distinct, mature beings, able to understand, tolerate and accept the differences between us and build a relationship based on them.


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