Soul mate relationship to cruelty. How can that be?

Have you ever experienced feeling like you were in a beautiful loving relationship with a deep soul connection, constantly showered with love and affection by your partner and then suddenly that same person treats you in such a cruel and callous way you never thought imaginable?

Scientific research proves that the same brain chemicals are triggered during the courtship and falling in love stages as when we take hard illegal drugs. So in some ways, we can all be addicted to love and the mating game. It is a basic human need to bond which ensures our survival as a species. However, research on some convicted murderers also now shows that certain people have a larger reward centre in the brain and a smaller amygdala (where the stress response lies), allowing them to take dangerous risks for a larger reward.  Perhaps it’s similar in addictive personalities? This unusual development of the brain is caused by trauma experienced in childhood.

No matter how loving you may believe your childhood was, we all have trauma, even from the birth experience alone and we develop coping mechanisms. Since not feeling loved and cared for as a child could literally mean death, many of us often resort to people pleasing to get the love we need to survive and if not healed, these strategies continue into adulthood, affecting our relationships, especially our intimate ones, when we are most likely to be once again as vulnerable as we were as children. We also develop many unsupportive core beliefs in childhood, such as believing we are not good enough, unlovable and can’t cope.  If we feel loved and nurtured as a child we are more likely to grow up knowing our value and are able to bond in healthy loving intimate relationships. However, if that is not the case, our job as conscious adults is to learn to give ourselves that crucial love and develop our self-worth, otherwise we will continuously be seeking validation of our worth from other people and in doing so we are not being true to ourselves or others and may even lie, manipulate, blame or minimise, to justify our behaviour, stepping into the role of either perpetrator or victim, as we act out our childhood wounds.

Could this partly explain why someone might have the capacity to be so extremely loving to their partner and then suddenly cruel and cold, as soon as they are assured of the next big dopamine hit gained through winning over another romantic partner, in their constant pursuit of validation from as many people as possible? They may even have been living a double life all along, like a fraudster, wooing you and others into trusting them with your heart, while pretending that they have opened theirs to you too. A good fraudster is like a wolf dressed in lamb’s clothing.

So, is the constant pursuit of external validation an addiction when found in a grown up? Osho teaches that when an adult constantly seeks validation from the opposite sex, they are stuck emotionally in their early teens.  

We all want validation to a certain extent. The danger is if we totally depend on it, making it our drug, which we are capable of doing almost anything to get.  And if we never own and take responsibility for our stuff and instead deflect it on our partner, we will be stuck in that karmic cycle of continually hurting others and ourselves, never getting our real human needs met, to love and be loved.

So can it really have been love if your partner so suddenly behaves in a way that completely disregards your feelings, your value and your well-being? Is it even helpful to ask this question?

Perhaps a better question is to ask if you or your partner are capable of being alone with yourself or do you always need company or to constantly be busy, maybe in order to avoid facing those parts of yourself that you judge as bad or completely deny (the shadow)? However, if we can never be authentic as we are scared we will not be loved if others see parts of ourselves we do not approve of, we cannot open our heart fully, which takes vulnerability and without vulnerability, there can be no true deep connection and intimacy, which is what all human beings yearn for, whether we know it or not.

In order for us to truly love and accept another we have to learn to truly love and accept all parts of ourselves and ironically it is not by beating ourselves up about our mistakes and less desirable behaviours or qualities that help us to change but rather accepting and loving those unloved parts of ourselves that naturally frees us to become better versions of ourselves. Without integrity and authenticity both with ourselves and others, how can we build trust and without trust, what kind of relationships can we have?

"Lack of integrity leads to an inability to love." (Jordan Peterson).

Another possible explanation and sign to watch out for is if you or your partner rarely ever experience different emotions, as this likely signals a closed heart, closed to protect them from the fear of pain, which we all do at times. But this can in turn enable them to cause a lot of pain without even being fully aware of the damage they are causing, both to others and themselves. And on top of this, is it preferable to live as authentically as possible with an open heart in order to be capable of deep love and connection, swimming in the beauty of life, even at the risk of deep pain? Or is it better to use up our energy trying to hide who we are, terrified someone will really see us, even though deep down that is what we most yearn for?

We can’t choose which emotions to feel. We are either brave enough to feel them all and really be alive or to close our heart and live a neutral mediocre life. Which do you choose?

Please feel free to comment below, ask any questions you might have and share if any of this resonates with you. Let’s engage on this vital topic.

8 comments

It really touched my heart. Thank you❤️🙏

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This is brilliant Sarah, thanks for sharing. I identify and agree xx

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What a fantastic article. Explains things so clearly. It makes me thing there could be a magazine called “Tantra Today” with articles like this in it. You could also send this to magazines like Cosmopolitan. Thanks so much 

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So good to read your thoughts on this. Thank you, Sarah. I’m curious about the bit on questioning, with hindsight, whether it was love or not. And is it even helpful to ask the question? I guess I’m feeling inevitability of hope, joy and pain as we open to love.

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Calissa Palmer

I adored reading this, and have had the experience of being with someone, and then at the end of the connection to be with a complete stranger, emotionally cold unlike anything I had seen during the relationship. It feels good to see this subject tackled. I also valued the accountability as adults that is invited into our choices, and experiences. It demonstrates autonomy, and that we are in choice. Great blog post, Sarah, I sit with bated breath to read more. In the interim why not share this on Medium, your writing deserves an international audience. https://medium.com/creators 

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Thank you so much for your writing, I think if more people understood it is brain chemicals that drive all our ‘unconscious’ actions, the world would be a kinder place. We would be able to forgive ourselves and others more easily because we would realise unwelcome behaviour is coming from that chemical addiction you talk about.  Understanding this empowers us (perpetrator AND victim) to seek appropriate support like coaching to help us firstly recognise what is going on and then give us the tools we need to elicit positive change in our lives. 🙏🏼

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A great insight into what can happen if trauma is left untreated and how it can hurt those around you. Look forward to reading more from you. 

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A heartfelt article and beautiful stream of consciousness. Thank you for sharing Sarah.

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