Survival is an instinct that all living beings share. This instinct is the driving force in looking for innovative ways of providing safety and security. When survival is threatened, our body-mind reacts with fear and anxiety leading to psychological activation of our bodily organs like palpitation, stomach cramp, shakes and tremors etc.

When a child grows they gradually build their sense of safety and security by learning skills to cope effectively with the environment. What helps in establishing such a growth is positive experiences and a secure attachment with the care taker. Negative experiences are better tolerated without impediment of learning in a setting where a secure attachment to a caretaker exists. A child tends to withdraw from unpleasant experiences and thus avoid painful situations at the expense of learning skills to overcome this. As the child grows to adulthood and the complexities of life create unpleasant experiences that are perceived to threaten survival, the adult may gravitate to an individual seeking a relationship where safety is assured. This may result in an extended stay at home, or find a partner who has similar needs. This forms the basis of a co-dependent relationship.

Such a partnership usually creates an up and down relationship based on individual partner needs. When a need is met it brings happiness and when it is not, it can generate anger and hostility. In such a relationship partners lean on each other, but growth seldom occurs. Security forms the basis of the relationship, despite the ups and downs, each is afraid to leave the other for fear of risking survival.

Each individual needs to work on attaining self-sufficiency, so that each can meet their own needs and form a relationship which is based on sharing things, common to both.

Issues in Relationships

Relationships develop through our childhood and adolescent years through our exposures at home, school, cultural and religious organizations. At home we interact with our parents and siblings and at school with our teachers and peers. We share emotions with each other, communicate on feelings, understand boundaries in a given relationship. Positive experiences in a relationship build trust and friendship with others and thus create our social network. The peer relationship at school contributes a lot to the development of our ability to make friends and keep them. The social religions and cultural environments one was exposed to may sometimes play a role in identifying groups that one tend to drift towards. Several elements come to play in the development of relationships, one major element is inability to play the appropriate role. Expectation of the way a certain role is played is dependent on ones cultural back round. Other elements are ones value system, beliefs, and emotions. People get drawn to each other because of certain similarities between them. But in an intimate relationship dissimilarities also need to be evaluated. To form a satisfactory relationship and to be able to sustain it, one must acquire the ability to effectively address the dissimilarities.

Your Personality – Role Relation

Personalities develop as we continue to interact with our environment we inherit fifty percent of a personality characteristic from our genetic background. The other fifty percent is acquired through environmental experiences.

The way our personality shapes us effects the functioning of our inner world like expectations, perceptions, attitudes, thoughts and self-esteem. Some personality structures have more vulnerability to illness. If an obsessional personality for example: are very rigid, highly conscientious and places high expectations of self and others. This personality makes up __________ susceptible to higher level of anxiety and depression compared to non-obsessional personalities. People with avoidant personality disorder tend to defer problems and thus develop fewer skills to deal with life situations. People with paranoid personality continue to have this perception that they are not served right and tend to be suspicious and litigious.

Personality disorders are not considered a disease but the characteristics of personality do significantly influence our behavior and functioning in society. Understanding how each of us operate and what guides us to behave in a certain way may help better adjust both of our inner world and the outer world. (job, family, social)

Our personality structure can significantly affect the way we play our roles in life. Our roles are varied and changes frequently, as we continue to perform our responsibilities we can be a father, mother, son, daughter, employer, employee and find ourselves playing different roles at different times of the day. We have to be fairly adjustable to make these changes quickly and appropriately. Relationships can be strained if we are not able to roll with the dice. Certain personality structures have difficulties in shifting from one role to another and play a role approximately. A good example of this was portrayed in the movie Sound of Music, where a retired army general found it difficult to adjust to the role of a father with his five or six children. He brought his military style discipline to the family and was unable to play the affectionate role of the father. Many corporate executives also display similar difficulties in shifting their roles and start treating family members as employees, ordering things to be done like he would at work rather than sharing love and affection with them.