Think about relationships that you have with significant people in your life, what is the first word that comes to mind when you think of the people involved? Is the word a reaction to how you feel about relationship or a descriptor of how interaction occurs between people? Something to consider is whether others, in your world of relationships, would see your relationships in the same way that your mental image picture them. If we are honest at this point, the reality is that everyone has problems at certain times in relationships and all families experience a certain level of malfunction at times. One of the reasons is that we are feeling/emotive people and, at times, our feelings distort perception of things occurring which results responses to perception that are charged with emotion and misinformation. The result is reaction, unreasonable behaviors, conflict, and relationships that are fracture by misinformation, feelings out of control, and inappropriate responses.
Consider this question: Is it reasonable to believe someone who tells you that they love you, while at the same time that person in hateful, vindictive, and spiteful ways at the same time. Obviously, behavior that is inconsistent with what a person tells to you is a strong indicator that something is out of sync in the relationship. Unbalanced relationships are plagued with behavioral cues that tells the informed observer that this behavior indicates that relationships are unbalanced and lack appropriate boundaries. This is especially true when there is love espoused, while at the same time the person is demonstrating toxic, damaging, or abusive behaviors toward the person who is the object of their love-hate relationship. Many instances of this can be seen among couples who engage in extra-marital affairs, i.e., this is a commonly demonstrated behavior. The conundrum is that there is a professed love professed for the spouse, while a toxic behavior occurs toward the spouse, as well as, the overall relationship. I think that everyone would agree that this constitutes an unhealthy and unbalanced relationship. The idea that a person can love one person and at the same time engage in a clandestine relationship suggests that there is a conflict of how emotions are understood and what love really means within a relationship. Consequently, the person who confesses love and fails to demonstrate values consistent with love is action on a faulty presumption of how love is characterized between two people in a relationship. Another way of understanding the unbalanced conflict of rational thinking about love is in filial relationships. A question comes to the surface here: Can I love someone while secretly harboring resentment toward them, holding on to unforgiveness while at the same time, acting out passive- aggressive anger toward a friend or relative? Quite often, people communicate that they are angry without ever saying it. What it reveals is an unhealthy pattern of relating to other when emotional conflicts occur. It is abundantly clear is that relationships do get unbalanced, but if individuals want to have reasonable ways in life to manage the conflicting emotions felt and and potential for unhealthy patterns of relating; it means having healthy boundaries and effective ways to manage the unmanageable problem of unbalanced emotional responses must become a priority.
Crisis should bring people together and not keep them apart.
During changes in life stages and the unexpected stressors that are a part of life change many feelings come to the surface and individuals are often exposed to the possibility of facing conflicting emotions. While struggling with what to do and managing unbalanced relationship issues that result from very normal life issues, people are face with real life choices that are at times very difficult. For example, many who have lost a loved one deal with emptiness, grief over the loss, as well as feelings of isolation, which bring to the surface unrealized emotional expectations for themselves and others For others, the season of change brings issues to the surface, which has been placed, on hold in the file of unresolved issues and unanswered questions. Others are facing reassignment from military duty, the effects of the economy, loss of jobs– homes, which bring to the surface the emotional pain that people are experiencing because of the conditions of life being experienced.
An emotional crisis is an opportunity to add positive value and resolution to relationships.
I remember a story that my dad used to tell about two brothers who had become angry at one another early on in life and had avoided each other, through most of life—both being unwilling to take a step toward reconciliation. As the story goes, one of the brothers became deathly ill, was placed in the hospital—the other brother went to see him and because of the grave nature of the illness and the possibility of the brother dying, they agreed to bury the hatchet. After talking and renewing the relationship, it was time to leave. The brother who was sick, the patient in the hospital, said to departing brother; “by the way, if I live the feud is still on.” Unfortunately, many people cannot break away from the self-defeating behavior that creates a no win situation and feeds off of the feud, the conflict, and an inability to ever reconcile life in a healthy way.
Balancing relationships is about making the right choices for you.
The lived experience for many people is one fueled by conflicts that are unresolved and in fact, may never be solved. Divorce, broken families, a family member in prison, poverty, child abuse, homelessness, and sickness are all deeply felt issues –the source of painful experiences that are a source for emotional conflict during the seasons of life. At a time in life when conflicting emotions are magnified by natural events, it is a perfect time for imbalance to erupt or a time to balance something that feels out of balance by making a choice to act on the felt experience of hopelessness. If we can wrap our head around the fact that even though life is very difficult that there is still hope to balance unbalanced relationships and embrace life with a hope that elevates life and those around us. I do not know what you are experiencing in life, but if we can focus our thoughts Christ, who is our hope ; then the peace that He can bring to life can bring balance to seems so out of balance in our experience of life. Unfortunately, many people’s attention will focus around unbalanced relationships, what has been lost, or what is wrong with others and life. Fortunately, hope for balance in the midst of conflict is possible through trusting in Savior who is larger than life and greater than problems. When Christ comes to our life, it is not to abandon us in the moment of conflict or to magnify our failures; it is a happens to magnify the power of Christ to bring freedom from a life without a balanced hope in the experiences of life. A relationship with Christ is a reminder that He gives us the opportunity, motive, and place to a be peacemaker.
Indeed, people can have the language right, the ritual right, but the reality is that our audio needs to match our video. However, the crisis that we experience is what reveals who we are going to trust when life gets out of kilter. An important thing to consider is whether our relationship with Christ is having an impact on the way we handle unbalanced relationships and experiences. Is what we are saying –experiencing on the inside having a significant impact upon the lived experience of life? It is good sometimes to just be confessional and stop denying what we feel because pushing down emotions, conflicts, and unresolved pain only pushes issues to the surface when stress is placed upon life. The act of denying the reality of an internal condition guarantees an undesirable future prospect of artificial existence that will be characterized by the appearance of functionality. Unfortunately, life will be expressed and may look good on the outside, but the inner dialogue of pain, frustration, and unbalanced emotions will influence life and relationships.
Exercising your options to make good choices starts with individual choice.
What is a person to do about the conflicting emotions and unbalanced relationships in life? First, understand that there is only one person that you can change—the person that you see in the mirror each day. Next, realize that it is not your responsibility to fix other people, change them, and you are not responsible for what others do or life they create. Also, recognize that much of what people feel about disappointments in life stems from faulty expectations and misplaced trust. Then, allowing people the grace to be who they are and work it out individually, releases others into God’s care to be who they are while still loving them– even though you may not agree. Accepting others disappointing acts is not ratifying what has been done in a passive form of acceptance, it is allowing others to be free to choose what they do– placing responsibility for behaviors on the person making the choice. Finally,say it, “I am not responsible, and it is not my fault”.
Is it possible to love someone and hate what they do, be in love with one person and maintain loyalty and admiration for others? The answer depends upon you and how life is balanced within boundaries to manage the unmanageable things in life. Remember, we are not responsible for what others choose to do and it is not our fault. One of the sources of balance comes in how a person thinks about life. For linear, black and white, everything fits in the box—literal, concrete thinkers, this will not compute because it requires thinking about life outside of the box: “most of the time your brain is involved in just one of three activities: distraction, reaction, or following well-worn pattern” (Tim Hurson). In the Bible it says, “As a man thinketh in his heart so is he”. Are you following a well-worn pattern in life or are you interested in balancing how you feel about your relationships in life: Change your thoughts and change your life.