Breaking Free of the Couple Identity
The 'couple identity' is something that is created when 2 people form a relationship out of the a feeling of not being whole. It creates an overlap, which means that part of a persons identity is dependent on the other person. They provide feelings which may have been hard to access before the relationship, such as safety and security, appreciation, passion and confidence. It happens to a greater or lesser extent with almost all people as they enter the 'honeymoon phase' and will be something they cling to throughout the relationship. However, it comes at a cost to personal sovereignty. It creates dependence, and dependence creates addiction. Consequently the ending or changing of a relationship can turn our worlds upside down and have a huge impact on our wellbeing.
You can find a detailed explanation of how identity is formed and what to do when you experience identity loss in my book 'Awakening through Change'. Here is a formula I created which shows how identity is formed:
Identity = (past conditioning + future desires) x intensity of emotion
What this means is we form a fixed identity around our need for reality to be a certain way. The more intense the emotion involved, the more fixed the identity is and the more dependent on it we become. Of course this is especially so in the formation of relationships. Thus the couple identity is so prevalent and so difficult to let go of.
For me, an aspect of the couple identity was formed after moving from England to Austria with my partner and child. Without a grasp on the language, culture and system and with a lack of friends and other contacts, I leaned heavily on my partner in the first year. The problem was that this became the 'norm'. Even after learning german and getting a job the pattern of dependency was there. It provided me with a sense of security, knowing that I had someone to look after me if I needed it. And so I didn't truly begin to let go of this until after the break-up when I realized how detrimental this was to my wellbeing and personal sovereignty.
Letting go - a perspective switch
So, how can we let go of this couple identity so that a break-up is more manageable, and so that we enter future relationships as more sovereign beings? It's all about switching perspective from an outside-in way of seeing reality to an inside-out way. What does this mean?
Because of how identity is formed during childhood and how we learn to interact with our environment (again, see my book), we tend to look to outside circumstances in order to fulfill inner needs. However, this creates dependency and leads to mental illness because reality is not stable. However, we can learn to switch this around until we see the outer world as an extension of our inner reality. And by doing this we get to know ourselves so deeply that we discover the feelings we seek are not coming from outside, but accessible from our innermost being.
It's all about breaking yourself down until you reach your essential self. Because, doing this you discover that this part of you is constant - it doesn't change, but rather witnesses the world around it. It's like the eye of the storm. You can do this through meditation, breath work and body work. Any form of conscious practice will bring you closer. And it is from this place where you arise. There will come impulses on how to be; passionate, creative, receptive, compassionate, or curious.
And from here you can find outlets to express these divine aspects of you. They can be expressed in all walks of life; the job you do, your hobbies and activities, in your family and with friends, and of course in relationships. The difference is that now you are not so dependent on another person or circumstance because you know with all your being that it doesn't change you at your core.