Sometimes, this happens because we change or the other person changes and the two ‘halves’ just don’t fit together as a good whole anymore. Other times, the person hasn’t changed at all - but we suddenly wake up and realize that what we thought was normal, OK, or standard behavior from the
other person actually really wasn’t at all, and was doing us a lot of damage all along.
Whatever the reason for the relationship going sour, or being revealed as being negative, there’s always a lot of fall-out to deal with. On the one hand, there are still tender feelings, warm memories and some sort of hope that the warmth and kindness that either truly was there, or that was erroneously believed to be there, can be recaptured. On the other hand, there’s often a pressing need for us to now protect us from this negative person, and the negative vibes they’re sending our way, as much as possible.
Trying to keep these competing interests satisfied can drive even the most stable person a little insane, especially when you the relationship in question concerns close family members.
That’s where the following visualization exercise comes in very handy, as it enables us to express and ‘protect’ our warm feelings, while at the same time being able to come to terms with, and if necessary complete distance ourselves from, the now negative and damaging relationship.
So without any further ado, here it is:
- Imagine the person that you are currently having difficulties or troubles with, at a time when you still had warm feelings towards them.
- Once you have that picture of the other person in your head, enclose it in a rose-coloured glass sphere.
- Send the picture of the person in the sphere all your love and warm wishes.
- When you’re done, send that rose-coloured sphere back to God, somehow. (When I do this visualization, I usually like to toss it back up to Heaven). Have in mind that your past love for that person is being ‘stored’ in Heaven, and hasn’t been wasted or lost.
- Now, bring to mind a picture or image of the person as you currently view them. (The person may appear very angry, demented or cold. Or if you’re more of a ‘pictorial thinker’, they may appear to look physically strange or disturbing, in some way. However they show up, don’t censor yourself - this is what you really think about them, at this stage in your relationship.)
- Ask yourself: “Do I really want to have a relationship with this person, or be around them?”
- If the answer is ‘no’, think of some way of getting them out of your headspace. (My personal favorite is to dunk them in a mikva, and watch them dissolve. Other people like to enclose them in boxes, steel balls and send them to outer space, or back to God. Again, let your imagination come up with the suitable method for you, and don’t censor yourself.)
- If the answer is ‘yes’, continue the visualization by seeing what needs to change in the relationship, in order for that to happen. Discuss the situation with the ‘other person’ in your head. Say whatever you feel you need to say. Take whatever action is appropriate to defend yourself, or change things around.
- When you’re ready, open your eyes.
As with all visualisations, you can learn a great deal about what’s really going on with your relationships by doing this. If things are really over, this exercise can help you to clear up any related lingering and conflicting sub-conscious issues, and deal with your feelings appropriately.
If you get stuck at any time, ask God, or one of your favorite spiritual figures, like Rebbe Nachman, for example, for help.