How Do I Help My Subconscious Calm Down in the Midst of a Difficult Relationship?

I read your articles about soul subconscious communication and they fascinate me. I have a complex question, my soul has been incredibly harsh to my subconscious body and conscious, trying to make them do the moral thing in cases where subconscious was absolutely overwhelmed with trauma and a super high level of inner stress. Right now that I could make them communicate better my soul is much more understanding but the subconscious is furious and is determined to do the wrong thing just to regain its resources or regain lost efforts. How do I help curb that? Does that automatically imply I will regress spiritually if I do an immoral thing and who determines that all moral behaviours seen by society are actually based on truth? How do I genuinely help my subconscious instead of band aiding?

To answer your question, we first need to talk about your current situation. Realize that recovering from severe trauma often requires major changes to how you’re living your life. The fact that you are currently in an intimate relationship with someone who you feel extremely threatened by and do not trust at all is going to really hamper your ability to recover.

Suppose you tell a soldier to calm down and relax when he has live ammunition flying over his head on a battlefield. How is he going to respond to your advice? He’s going to ignore it, and the fact that you would even suggest he could relax in such a dangerous situation will make him lose all respect for your ability to offer useful advice.

This soldier example demonstrates how your subconscious feels about you trying to “help it heal” while you simultaneously insist that it remain in close proximity with someone who it considers to be a major threat to your well-being. You really can’t get anywhere useful when you’re being this hypocritical, so if you are serious about helping your mind calm down, you need to ditch this relationship.

Now I understand that there are financial issues. Whenever I have clients in a position like yours who are afraid of ending things due to finances, I tell them that it’s time to think outside of the box. If you were suddenly forced to live on your own, you would discover that you have a lot more resources, pluck, and determination than you think you do right now. Putting finances over your personal health is never the right choice. Given your description of how you currently feel in this relationship, I would advise you against riding it out in hopes that you can one day learn to trust this guy again, because that’s probably not possible at this point.

I am very pro-marriage, and I am a firm believer that a strong marriage is absolutely worth fighting and sacrificing for. As long as both partners sincerely want the relationship to be saved, it is often quite possible to salvage damaged marriages. But I’m also realistic and I don’t believe in promoting false hopes. There are different ways for relationships to be shattered. When grief breaks a marriage (often due to the death of a child or a severe injury), it is possible to salvage it if both couples are willing to try. When distance breaks a marriage (often due to one partner being always gone or emotionally shutdown), it is possible to salvage it. When finances break a marriage (often due to a immense financial strain), it is possible to salvage it. But when trust is the thing that is lost, it is often impossible to salvage the relationship. This is because trust is the very foundation of an intimate relationship, and once it is lost, there is nothing left to rebuild the house on.

Now in cases where one partner has intentionally abused or cheated on the other, it must be considered that that partner could be psychologically incapable of participating in a functional relationship right now. Intimate relationships don’t work for everyone. Some kinds of trauma cause people to feel far too threatened to be as vulnerable, compromising, and emotionally available as they need to be to get a healthy intimate relationship off the ground. Other kinds of trauma cause people to become obsessed with a need to keep changing their relationship partners. In this second case, it is psychologically impossible for such people to remain sexually or emotionally faithful to one person. They will have affairs–not just one, but an endless string, because their subconsciouses are demanding that they do in order to resolve an urgent internal crisis which they are likely not going to talk about.

Once trust is lost, it is guaranteed that both partners will start looking around at other options. You can’t prevent this from happening. This is something your subconscious will push for regardless of how much your soul cares about “doing the right thing.” When I’m talking to people with strong moral codes who find themselves tempted to wander because they are so miserable in their current relationships, my advice is this: end it. If you don’t leave, you will end up cheating either emotionally, physically or both, and this will result in you ending up with a major spiritual crisis on top of all of your psychological misery.

It’s very easy in these situations to lose sight of what the ethical choice really is. When you remain in an intimate relationship and pretend to care about someone who you inwardly despise, you are not doing right by that person. You’re deceiving them on one of the most important issues there is, and once that becomes your default position, you can no longer claim the moral high ground by saying “but he wronged me in the past.” Suppose he did. That does not justify you treating him like dirt today. God calls us to treat others as we would want to be treated. Do you want a man to falsely lead you on about how he feels about you? Of course not. What makes betrayal so shattering in romantic relationship is realizing we have been falsely led on by someone and intentionally deceived about how they perceive us. Betrayal like that is one of the most painful experiences humans can have, and often we think we’re innocent of doing the same kind of thing when we just sit there inwardly seething after they hurt us. But once you know that you have gone from loving a man to hating him, and once you know that it’s really not possible for him to re-earn your trust because you can’t or won’t let go of the past (and realize that “forgive and forget” is usually not a realistic option in these cases), then the only honourable thing to do is to be honest about where you’re at and end the relationship. Intimate relationships are built on trust and you cannot be an honourable partner if you are intentionally deceiving your man about your interest in him, regardless of how you are justifying it in your head. Since your soul obviously cares about doing right, you need to be true to yourself and treat him right by owning up to what your position is and leaving. Sure, it’s easy to fall back on the financial argument, but if you two are really financially bound to each other right now, you can still downgrade your status to being housemates and stop sharing a bed (assuming that you are). Remaining in the stage of boyfriend/girlfriend at this point is forcing you to behave immorally by pretending to still be this guy’s ally when you are really viewing him like your enemy, and that is going to increasingly upset your soul, which is obviously going to work against the healing you are looking for.

To realistically assess the future of a relationship after your partner has deeply wounded you, you need to take an honest look at why he behaved the way that he did. Sometimes we provoke our partners into abusing us. Other times they lash out from their own woundedness. If we provoked it, we need to take responsibility for our part in the problem and not just claim the victim status. If someone is lashing out due to their own pain, and that pain has not been resolved, then it is likely they will repeat the abusive behaviour.

There is always a logical reason why abuse occurs in relationships. Identifying what that logic is in your case is important because it can help you realize if you are lying to yourself about this relationship being salvageable. There are many people who cannot be in relationships with each other because their individual issues form into a toxic combination. If you are bringing out the worst in your man, or vice versa, then this relationship is probably a bad match.

The key thing you need to understand is that abuse doesn’t magically stop on its own. It only stops if changes are made to the problems which caused it to occur in the first place. As long as those problems remain ignored or unaddressed, partners are likely to keep repeating the same negative patterns. So don’t misinterpret a pause in bad treatment to mean the root issue has been fixed. Abuse in relationships often occurs in a cyclical pattern of behaviours which includes rest breaks and periods of nicer treatment. But until the core issues are properly addressed, the negative pattern will continue to repeat itself.

Currently you’re with a partner who makes your subconscious feel extremely unsafe. If you do the honourable thing by ending this relationship, you not only protect your soul from the moral crisis of you having an affair, but you will also help your subconscious calm down by getting it out of a situation it doesn’t like. You can’t expect your subconscious to come down off of red alert when you are forcing it to remain close to a person who it feels has severely injured you in any way (mentally, physically, or spiritually). And bear in mind that if you’re having sex with this man (which is usually implied by the title of “partner”), you are allowing someone who your subconscious views as an enemy to have access to your most closely guarded body zones. To put it simply, your subconscious is really getting shafted in this situation, and if you really want to help it, you need to do more than talk to it internally. You need to make major changes to your environment and give it real evidence that you are taking its concerns seriously.

I do not refrain from warning people when I feel they are heading down a wrong road. When people ask me for advice, I take their request very seriously and try to offer them the best guidance I can. I believe counsellors have a moral obligation to consider the well-being of their clients as being far more important than their own popularity. The things we need to hear aren’t always the things we want to hear, but in the end someone who is being straight with you is far more beneficial than someone who is just telling you what they think you’ll want to hear.

Now all of that said, it’s fantastic that you are really digging in to the subject of your own internal mechanics and trying to help yourself recover from trauma. This is a process that takes time, so you need to be patient with yourself.

Recovering from psychological trauma is a multistep process. First, the soul needs to become educated about what the problem is, as traumatized subconsciouses are usually being very secretive and withholding a lot of essential information. To get the communication flowing, the soul needs to work on improving its personal dynamic with the subconscious. It sounds like you are making some very good progress here. Your soul has been able to recognize that has a history of being a major jerk to your subconscious. This is a very common problem, but souls aren’t always willing to take their share of the blame here. The fact that your soul is trying to become a better partner to your subconscious is excellent.

Now psychological trauma is caused when your subconscious forms devastating beliefs about who you are and how you can hope to relate to other people in the future. Ten people can go through the exact same experience and end up drawing ten different sets of beliefs. To help your own mind, you need to understand what specific beliefs are currently troubling it. It is those beliefs that cause psychological panic and a desperate need to try to find solutions through experimental behaviours. When humans do really nasty things to each other, there are often traumatised minds involved who are desperately seeking solutions.

It’s important to realize that it was real life experiences that caused your mind to form its devastating beliefs. To reverse those beliefs, you will need to collect new real life experiences. Simply trying to reason with your mind won’t be enough. Reasoning is a good and necessary first step, but your mind feels that its current theories are based on hard evidence, and to get your mind to adjust those theories, you need to provide it new evidence that will force it to re-evaluate its logic.

Let’s use an example to make this more clear. A very common traumatic belief that is formed after sexual assault is “I have no control over how other people engage with my body.” It is impossible for a subconscious to relax once a belief like this is formed, because this belief prevents you from ever feeling safe. Natasha was raped when she was a young teenager. Now she’s an adult who is terrified of being physically touched. Natasha’s belief that she cannot control what happens to her body is blocking her from being able to pursue any romantic relationships. She really wants to meet a man, get married, and start a family, but when she thinks about doing those things in real life, all she can think about is all of the touching that will be required and this freaks her out. Then Natasha meets Frank, who is a very kind and classy man. The two hit it off right away, but it doesn’t take long for Frank to realize Natasha has major issues with any kind of physical contact. At this point, Natasha has a choice: she can either step up her efforts to help her mind get over its trauma, or she can lose out on what seems to be a wonderful relationship.

Suppose Natasha wants to try to overcome her fears. How does she go about doing this? What her mind needs is hard evidence that it can have some say over how other people touch her body. Let’s assume Frank really loves Natasha and wants to help her with this issue. Natasha is now in the perfect position to do some major healing because she has a partner who is willing to help her collect real life experiences of effectively protecting her body space. If I was counselling this couple, I’d have them start with a simple power reclaiming exercise in which they both sit down on a couch together, then Frank reaches over and rests his hand on Natasha’s knee. She then picks up his hand and moves it off of her. They pause for a moment to appreciate what just happened, then they do it again. As they continue this exercise, Natasha tries different forms of intervention. Sometimes she removes Frank’s hand after it is already resting on her leg. Sometimes she intercepts his hand mid-air and pushes it away. Sometimes she uses a verbal phrase to tell him that she doesn’t want to be touched right now. As Natasha does these things, she starts collecting real evidence that she can have a say over how and when she is touched. She also learns how to be nice in her boundary drawing efforts. She doesn’t slap Frank’s hand away; she removes it gently. There are plenty of ways to deal with major fears without using hostility. Often couples who are dealing with touch traumas just need some practical pointers to get them started, but the more the traumatised partner experiences themselves drawing boundaries and having those boundaries respected, the more pressured their minds will feel to revise their traumatic beliefs.

Your subconscious wants to do a good job of protecting you, so it is willing to revise its beliefs when it feels that new evidence is proving some of its current beliefs to be wrong. But in cases of trauma, that evidence usually needs to come in a behavioural form at some point because until your mind sees proof that A doesn’t always lead to B, it will continue to act on the assumption that A always results in B, with B being some very upsetting, painful, awful, damaging thing.

Due to Natasha’s rape trauma, her mind has formed a belief that any form of physical touch (A) will very likely lead to severe emotional and physical injury (B). But the more Natasha works with Frank on therapeutic exercises, the more proof her mind collects that A doesn’t always lead to B. As this countering evidence mounts up, Natasha’s mind begins to feel like its A=B formula is no longer a reliable guideline. Since it wants to accurately predict when Natasha is in danger, it will begin to revise its beliefs to align with the new information it is acquiring.

You don’t always need the help of another person to collect the kind of experience I’m talking about. You can effectively counter some traumatic beliefs all on your own by engaging in the right kinds of behaviours. What kinds of activities will be helpful depends on what the belief is. In Natasha’s case, she needed another person to help her counter her fear about other people touching her. Because Natasha was especially terrified of intimate touch, her real life intimate partner is the only appropriate choice to help her compile evidence that intimate touch can be a safe, positive experience.

Since you realize that you are dealing with your own severe trauma, this is a good time to do some honest reflecting about what your specific traumatic beliefs are. If you have touch trauma, realize that it takes special equipping for a man to be able to help you in that area. It’s not fair to view a man as a jerk simply because he doesn’t have the resources or understanding to deal with severe trauma issues. Helping a traumatised spouse is very draining for the non-traumatised spouse, and it takes a lot of effort on both sides to keep the relationship alive while the traumatised spouse is making a bunch of special requests. But that said, some kinds of trauma will prevent you from being able to function with a partner who isn’t equipped to help you because their normal, reasonable behaviour is frequently triggering fears in you. When this is the case, it’s no one’s fault, but the relationship needs to end because it’s a bad match.

Through no fault of their own, severely traumatized partners are high maintenance partners. Trauma impairs our judgment, it causes us to expect the worst, and it causes us to overreact in conflict situations, as well as create a lot of unnecessary problems. To be fair in a relationship, we need to be willing to own up to how much baggage we are hauling into the equation and consider how all of those extra issues are impacting our partner. Often in these cases it’s easy to downplay how hard we are to relate to while we focus on faults that we see (and work very hard to see) in our partners. Here again we need to consider what it means to do right by someone. It’s not fair to stay with someone just so we can use them to fix our own problems. The give and take in relationships must be equally balanced for the relationship to remain healthy.

Regarding to your own spiritual pursuits: what happens between you and God is personal and private. You certainly do not owe anyone a report of how you are attempting to progress in your own spiritual journey. But that said, the fact that you don’t feel comfortable talking with your partner about one of your main interests in life says a lot about how negatively you view him. Be clear on what I’m saying here: I am not saying you are unreasonable to view him this way, because I don’t know enough about the circumstances to comment on that aspect of it. But however you got here, your mind obviously feels it is reasonable to view him as your enemy, and the intensity of its fear needs to be respected.

Regarding immoral behaviours: remember that your subconscious uses a very different definition of right and wrong than your soul does (see The Different Priorities of Your Four Elements (Chart)). Once your soul becomes interested in pleasing God, it is His moral code which your soul needs to focus on, but it is unreasonable to expect your subconscious to share this focus. Your subconscious is focused on reducing stress, getting your needs met, and protecting you from harm. The more desperate your subconscious feels, the more likely it is to experiment with solutions that will be harmful to yourself and others. Once you can hear your subconscious seriously considering new, negative ways that it can try to pursue its personal goals, that’s giving you a picture of where you are going to end up unless you do something to significantly reduce your current stress load. When you can see that you are voluntarily staying in a situation that is extremely upsetting to your subconscious, leaving that situation will likely give you the kind of stress relief you need.

Now is your society’s moral code perfect? No, because there is no such thing as a perfect human society. But realize that groups need different rules than individuals. Hurling objects when you’re angry is fine when you’re alone, but it’s not fine when you’re around other people, because you are putting them in danger. Reckless driving is a problem not because it’s morally wrong to drive at high speeds, but because it’s morally wrong to drive so fast that you make a public road unsafe for others to use.

Realize that there is no limit to how far your subconscious will go to try to help itself if it continues to feel this desperate. Since none of its methods will solve the root problem, it will keep escalating its efforts and trying methods that are increasingly harmful until you end up in a far worse crisis than you’re in right now. The only smart move here is to take the warning signs seriously and act. Your mind can only put up with stress for so long before it will become unglued. Why go there when you can do something major to help it today? Yes, it will be difficult and awkward at first. But the long-term payoffs of removing yourself from a situation that your mind isn’t able to tolerate are well worth the temporary hassle.

The language you used to describe your current dilemma paints a picture of a mind that is past being willing to negotiate. It wants and needs real change to occur, and it is already making it clear what it plans to do if you don’t respect its needs. Realize that not all minds give these kinds of pre-warnings, so you are fortunate to have this opportunity to do something constructive before you wake up one day and realize you’ve done something terrible that you can’t undo. Since so much of your mind’s current angst, rage, and fear is focusing on this relationship you’re in, ending that relationship is probably going to be the only way to bring your psychological stress levels down enough for your soul to keeping having some influence over your behaviour. Keep pushing yourself, and your mind is going to override your soul, then you’ll end up with brand new problems in addition to still feeling trapped in a relationship that you hate.

Regarding your question about defining moral behaviours: God is the final Authority here. If He tells you something is wrong, but your culture says it’s fine, He is the One you need to listen to, because He is the One you are judged by. Of course by the time you’re looking for ways to justify doing things that you already know you shouldn’t be doing, it’s usually a case of your soul sensing that it’s losing its influence and trying to find a way to not be so distressed by whatever crisis is heading your way. The key here is to realize that the crisis can still be averted because you have some major options here that you can utilize. This isn’t a captive situation in which choice is severely limited; this is a voluntary relationship, so don’t downplay your options here.

Will you regress spiritually if your soul decides to back up your mind while your mind starts engaging in a bunch of immoral activities? Yes, you will. The issue here is not that your mind is overriding your system, it’s that your soul is choosing to back it up when it knows better. God is the One who gave your mind the ability to override your system in crisis situations, and this setup really benefits you in many kinds of emergency situations. God doesn’t judge your soul by how much influence it has over your behaviour; He judges it by how your soul responds to Him. If God tells you that it’s wrong to do X, He wants your soul to sincerely agree with His judgment and sincerely want to behave accordingly. But suppose your soul says, “I don’t care what You think anymore. My mind wants this and that’s good enough for me because I get to make up my own rules. I am the only authority I care about pleasing.” Here you are scoffing at God’s Authority and elevating yourself as a higher authority than He is. It is your rotten attitude towards God that is the problem here, not what’s happening between your mind and soul.

Until God gives us an “aha” moment that something we’re thinking about doing is morally wrong, He doesn’t expect us to act on that information. But in your case, it’s clear you have already received conviction from God, and this puts your soul in a difficult bind. Once God weighs in on a situation, your soul is forced to respond to what He’s said. You either respond with genuine respect or you blow Him off. It doesn’t matter what your society says, because God trumps your society, so trying to find some other party who will support what you want to do is a waste of time. If God has already told you not to go there, you need to ask Him to help you do what needs to be done to stay on the right path.

Now there are times when we spiral down into disasters and there truly is no option to pull up before the crash occurs. It’s vital to remember that God is very easy to succeed with and He meets us where we are at, even when we’re in a royal mess. But before you go down in flames, the focus should be on avoiding the crash by using the options God is giving you. If there are no options, then God doesn’t expect you to not crash, but crashes always hurt, so you don’t want to volunteer for one that God is giving you the option to skip by making wiser choices. Messes that we bring on ourselves by refusing to follow God’s leading are a lot less beneficial to us than the messes God forces upon us, so if your goal is to mature, you want to avoid unnecessary problems.

The bottom line here is that your subconscious isn’t going to be in a cooperative mood as long your soul is forcing it to stay in a situation that it knows you could leave. It sounds to me like your soul is trying to use some pretty weak moral arguments for why you should try to stick out this relationship while your subconscious wants out now. It’s up to your soul to decide what its next move will be. There’s only one choice that is going to result in your subconscious calming down enough to continue the work of recovery.

This post was written in response to Student.