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  • Writer's pictureSimon North

Relationships and Survival Issues

Paradoxically, the relationships we make can be both the source of the greatest joy of our lives but also cause the biggest amount of pain and suffering.

Forming intimate relationships often follows the same pattern. We tend to adhere to our cultural conditioning rather than listing to our hearts. Then during the period of getting to know the surface of someones personality, misjudgements can be made.

In this early stage we can be blinded by strong emotional attachment towards the other person. It’s also possible to allow our psyche to objectify this person which may mean seeing them as a hero in our life story. “This wonderful person is going to save me.”

It’s common to seek aspects in the other person that we may be lacking in our own personality or life experiences. This maybe okay to a certain degree, but can easily become unbalanced when needs go unmet once the relationship has deepened.

It’s rare to explore these basic needs early in getting to know someone intimately. Yet, it’s a very simple question to ask someone you are getting close to. Perhaps just as scarce is doing enough self enquiry to find out what are truly your own needs?

Above all, the first thing we are seeking in a relationship is safety. Feeling secure enough to be yourself and providing the same platform for the other person.

The root of this basic need is found in our survival instincts as we cannot thrive when we feel unsafe.

The first place we look to find the nurturing feeling of being secure is at home with our parents. Sadly, this is often the place where things can start to go wrong for us, particularly if one parent is suffering or struggling with life.

Welcome to the world of survival issues, caused mainly by feeling separated or even isolated from our parents whilst growing up. For many of us, coping and handling these survival issues makes us form unhelpful patterns and even belief systems which we carry into our adult relationships.

Anxiety, low mood, incessant worrying and depression is driven by fear linked to individual survival issues. These can arise as feeling unsafe, disconnected, disoriented: that you don’t belong anywhere or can’t fit into social surroundings.

In severe cases, survival issues can make us become hyper-vigilant; a false sense we can’t trust our environment. This is often the case when people are also profoundly disconnected from the natural world.

When safety is perceived as being absent, anxiety can come into play as a protective measure. Trust is diminished as this anxiety builds and starts to feed from itself.

Developing unhealthy patterns from survival issues can end up becoming a dominant factor for living in the modern world. The common way this is expressed is through development of phobias. Many of these involve further withdrawal from natural places.

My personal example is neediness. Knowing there is a feeling of being unsafe but looking outwards to find another person to meet this basic need. It’s a common strategy but one that’s particularly problematic in close relationships.


Solutions rely on bringing awareness internally to what is driving the feelings of being unsafe. Understanding these feelings and then being brave enough to reveal them to someone else is a way to help overcome them. A relationship can then take on a greater significance in our lives as it becomes part of a self-healing process.


My work as a VortexHealing practitioner brings regular contact with people suffering from survival issues. There are a number of ways to help clear these issues and bring greater clarity and awareness.




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