Investigating Your Relationships
When you investigate any relationship, you really investigate yourself. Everyone you have a relationship with is a projection of you, a reflection of you, and in some ways, a creation by you. Now, we don’t say that to be flippant and to avoid discussing any sense of another person’s contribution to the experience; we say that because as you continue to dive deeply into this notion of who you are, it becomes very clear that others are who you think they are, and you learn about you in relation to them, not about anyone else.
All that you really have for information about another person are your thoughts and feelings that occur in the moment, attempting to describe the nature of that relationship. All that is available to investigate is who you perceive you are in that moment, and everything about the other person is pure speculation. This speculation is often not very accurate or useful. It tends to be based on historical information rather than present experience. It is totally subjective, biased, and full of expectations and assumptions.
Usually your initial sense of someone is related to the role that person plays in your life and your ideas about other people who play that role. This is totally normal. You have an idea about what landlords are like, so you see your landlord through the schema you have that describes landlords. Your mother is supposed to be whatever you have developed as an idea of mothers, and so on. This is true for even the most intimate relationships. You evaluate how well the other person plays the role you have ascribed to him or her and lose touch with a bigger view; hence, you lose touch with the bigger sense of you. Everyone plays a million roles throughout a lifetime but is seen by others with just a few defined roles. Assumptions and expectations are a product of the way you evaluate how someone else plays a role in your life. “You are supposed to do ‘this’ and be like ‘this’” is the most common assumption we are speaking of. Assuming anything about another is unsatisfying for everyone. Both people in a relationship engage in this, so it is impossible to make anyone the cause of it. If you think someone is assuming things about you, you might note whether you have evaluated them according to a role you believe they are supposed to play in your life.