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Have you heard people say that you’re responsible for what appears in your life? That you have created it? If you are currently in a bad marriage and suffering because of a partner’s narcissism, addictions, and abuse, let’s say, you may want to argue back that this most certainly is not the case. After all, you undoubtedly always envisioned yourself married to a loving and caring man. So why would you have created the nightmare you now live?

Well, you might not have consciously created it as you might create a house, deciding beforehand on a design, and then seeing to it that the architect and others involved in its construction adhered to the blueprints. Indeed, that would be conscious design. You, however, have been creating your life unconsciously.

Of course, you aren’t the only one doing this. Many of us are creating things all the time unconsciously. We do this through choices that we make that we’re hardly aware of. They’re habitual or programmed from our pasts. We don’t actively choose them.

Our lives improve when we become more aware and do things consciously, however. That’s when we make better choices. And after we start making better choices, we’re more apt to see conditions appear in our lives that we truly desire. As long as we’re living unconsciously, though, we tend to encounter more negative or painful things. In fact, oftentimes we experience pain and hurt that grows even worse over time.

Some people accept the pain, just as you might be accepting the pain of a spouse’s emotional abuse and verbal abuse. Or, perhaps you’re accepting the negative consequences of his addictions. But tell me, are you doing this because you believe you have no choice? For example, you may believe in the sanctity of marriage and thus, for you, divorce is out of the question.

Do you realize you have made a choice based upon a belief? You could change your belief and indeed, more choices would suddenly be opened up to you. However, if you consciously decide that you want to hold to this belief—to essentially let it define you, your life, and how you live, there is certainly nothing wrong with that. Can you see, though, that this outcome, in this case where you feel compelled to live with a man with his narcissism, addictions, and abusive, is the result of a conscious choice that is founded upon a belief? Thus, you have created the need to remain in the marriage whereas someone who has no problem with divorce might make the choice to leave instead.

The good news here, or with this last example, is that you made a conscious choice versus you just continued to accept a partner’s narcissism, addictions, and abuse because you were in denial regarding what was really going on in the relationship—what was making it a bad marriage. When you make a conscious choice based upon a conscious belief, it is easier to cope with whatever the situation demands that you must. You might still find the situation challenging or emotionally painful, but it probably won’t be as much so as the same situation would prove to be for the individual who remained unaware—who continued to live unconsciously instead.

It is important to realize that you may have been programmed by your past to be attracted to a certain type of man—and not necessarily the loving and kind man you always envisioned having as your partner, either. Because you were unconscious or unaware of what was driving you, when you felt that magnetic attraction, you believed you’d actually found true love. But of course, you merely had met someone who fit with what you were programmed to seek out because of hurts from the past. And again, this was likely diametrically opposed to what the healthier side of you truly wanted for yourself.

What you might want to think about as the wounded inner child does not make the same choices that your conscious self would make. It tends to pick someone who has the worst traits of your parents or primary caregivers. But then, it wants to try and rectify the past—to get right this time what wasn’t right before. But since the past is past, this can’t happen, certainly. In fact, after the romantic haze has cleared, scenes reminiscent of the past are typically replicated in the current relationship. And really, why wouldn't they be since the partner likely has the same or similar attributes to what caused those past wounds?

Decide to Live Your Life Consciously

Your life’s mission, should you elect to accept it, is to become more aware and start living as consciously as possible. In other words, don’t settle for going along with the programming from your past. Don’t just do what is habitual. After all, most of this is not in your best interest. Sure, those behaviors might have helped you survive as a child in what was a dysfunctional family. But pursued in adulthood, they’ll likely only keep you experiencing dysfunction in your life. You don’t want that.

Some people believe that to live life more consciously, they must follow their emotions—that their emotions should be their guide. And indeed, your emotions sometimes can lend guidance. Again, let’s assume that you’re married to a man displaying narcissism, addictions, and abusive behaviors. As a result, you’re apt to experience a great deal of emotional pain. You may well become depressed—and depression hurts, too. Then, to distract yourself from all the pain you’re feeling, you may turn to alcohol or pain medications for relief. You ignore the fact that the emotional pain might be present for a reason—that you should be listening to it. However, you have to understand that not all emotional reactions are caused by, or consistent with, what’s happening in the present. They might be triggered by a similarity to incidents in the pasts that the brain has spotted.

If you come from a dysfunctional background and have a tendency to be reactive to things that are happening in your present, you don’t want to necessarily act based upon your emotions. You want to stop and listen to them, but then to consciously evaluate if what you’re feeling inclined to do is a smart idea or not. Your emotional response might prove to be irrational in the context of today’s events. But of course, you want to take rational actions instead that are in your best interest—and in the best interest of others, too. That is what making good conscious choices should be about.