Incapable of really relating

When others bring their baggage from a previous relationship into their relationship with us, we will likely get some additional baggage out of their "acting out" ourselves. A "chain of pain" gets created. We're locked inside a hidden loop that insists that we will pass on this annoying incapability to really relate to another. In the process of handing a close encounter with others' baggage, we cope with the mistreatment in ways that will replicate it in other relationships. We don't realize this pattern is occurring. We're not doing it intentionally or consciously. We feel like we're possessed, damaged, or burdened by something in us we cannot change. When the urge comes over us to bring our baggage into a relationship, we're handling the immediate opportunity irrationally.

The way to break this cycle, that I'll explore in this post, conceptualizes what's missing in the relationship. Applying a lens of competency assessment to the interactions reveals the ways people are depriving each other and themselves. Here's a partial list of what gets handled incompetently by baggage brought into a relationship from a previous one:
  1. When we're really relating to someone, we give them "go messages" that tell them to discover what works in their world and experience. Our baggage gives others "stop messages" that tell them to submit to our presumed power over what they are thinking, feeling, seeing and choosing.
  2. When we're fascinated by other's uniqueness, we naturally explore how they see things differently and come from a different place than ourselves. Our baggage is threatened by differences and pretends to agree on everything (except sacred cows) as it keeps conversations superficial, manipulative and exploitative.
  3. When we're relating to others, they get the feeling from us of being understood, respected and validated. Our baggage dishes out misunderstanding, disrespect and invalidation to keep others feeling small, intimidated and inferior.
  4. When a relationship is working for us, we forgive others for what they did that may have hurt our feelings, set us back of bit or given us new questions about ourselves. Our baggage wants them to feel guilty for what they did to us and seeks revenge to show them who's in control.
  5. When we truly value a relationship, we give it room to breathe, space to grow and freedom to change on its own. Our baggage can only control others which as the effect of suffocating, confining and curtailing the so-called relationship.
  6. When we're benefiting immeasurably from a relationship, we naturally express gratitude and show appreciation to the other person. Our baggage is seething with resentment, frustration, disappointments and anger which erupts whenever we flip our lid.
  7. When we're confident in a relationship, we're in the other's corner and watching their back. Our baggage can only be insecure about a relationship and overcompensating by too much spending, talking, or time together.
The chain of pain can only persist when no one see it occurring. Once the pattern is recognized, a change is imminent. There's nothing to attack because the problem is defined as "what's missing" and what's "not getting done". The incompetence lens replaces the lens that identifies necessitated vengeance, intolerance and control. It becomes obvious the mistreatment received is not intentional, conscious or really relating. The baggage brought into the relationship from previous relationships is merely a chain of pain to be broken with this pattern recognition. Responding with no baggage to the onslaught of another's baggage starts a new trend of really relating to each other. The end of perpetual incompetence begins by relating to the other's baggage as incapable of either really relating or responding to overtures from someone else who is really relating.

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