I never thought I would be working in the area of healing and creating relationships. It has always been a weak point for me. Brought up as a single child with no siblings, not many friends and not much contact with the outside world for a long time, relationships have not really been my forte.
It has been health and career. I would always obsess about career, career path and about what I would be doing. Relationships were never really my concern until I found my relationship with my mother becoming sour.
Me and her have been best friends until I started feeling a little bound and having to answer to her all the time. One of my good friends told me not to repeat the mistakes that she did by putting her life on the back burner and giving priority to the needs of her mother. I resonated with her and understood to some extent why I was feeling the strain in my relationship with my mother – I needed time for myself and some space, she needed my attention and boundaries is a concept that she doesn’t readily understand.
Hence began my journey into the world of understanding and healing relationships. It is true that your closest relationships can teach you the most about yourself. In my case, it was my mother and my ex. Sometimes we sabotage our own relationships because of issues within us that we are unaware of or can’t handle positively.
Gradually I discovered some important things in relationships like self esteem, capability of being alone, capacity for delayed gratification, have a well-rounded life – work, friends, hobbies etc. – so that you are not at the mercy of one poor soul who chose to be with you.
If your self-esteem is low, you will need your partner to give you that special attention more often than not to make you feel better or good about yourself. This will not allow you to see your partner as an individual with his or her own needs but as an instrument to fulfill your glaring needs of attention and feeling good/worthy/deserving.
It is not easy to understand or accept that you have low self-esteem – some behaviour pointers may be
- Needing to talk to someone urgently most of the time,
- Being like an exposed wound that can be hurt very easily at the drop of a hat
- Wanting or needing to feel important or significant more often
- Throwing tantrums or giving silent treatment when this doesn’t happen
- Indulging in self pity too often
- Thinking of self as a victim in most situations and blaming others for what happened/happens/is happening.
If you feel extremely uncomfortable being alone, then most likely your relationships are doing one job – saving you from being alone. On the surface nothing seems wrong with this. But delve deeper and you will realize some of the most toxic, unbalanced or difficult relationships are because you can’t be alone and you compromise by being into a relationship.
It’s a double bind – you don’t want to be alone so you are into this relationship; you feel utterly alone even being into this relationship. It sometimes even feels like you have sold your soul and given your life to sustain or keep the other person from leaving you so that you don’t have to be alone again. It’s the root for relationships that have compromise (Its very different from adjustment) as its foundations. It is also a breeding ground for attracting people who feed off others’ time, energy, resources and basically everything.
Capacity For Delayed Gratification
It means that if your needs are not met immediately, you are willing to wait and not rush into things or become anxious/excited about getting your needs met. Why is this important? Imagine this – If you want to speak to your beloved and they are busy in an important meeting, you call them up and they cancel the call or let it ring without answering it. Would you wait for them to be free and call you back or would they come back to their office with a 100 missed calls on mobile, 50 messages left with the secretary and another 100 missed calls on their landline connection from you?
If you tend to go into a panic and start yelling or pouting if things are not done or given to you at the moment you asked, you have problem with delayed gratification. Internally in your mind, it becomes a matter of life and death. For the other person, it may seem like they are walking on eggshells around you not knowing when another eruption might happen leading to increased anxiety and stress levels.
Having A Life Of Your Own
Do you have a well-rounded life with friends, work, hobbies and things that you like to do on your own? If not, if you like to make your partner the center of your universe, you will want them to treat you the same. It can be extremely suffocating for the other person who may have some life of his/her own.
If you have been doing or indulging in some or many of these behaviours, you may be sabotaging your own relationships and peace of life.
How Do You Overcome This?
First step to come to grips with the situation is own up – accept that you have a problem. If you are attracting the wrong kind of people, perhaps you have been a perfect receptor for such people to be attracted to you.
Take responsibility for your life. You are creating it right now and you can change the script anytime you want.
Real change doesn’t happen by focusing on changing the behaviours. It happens by healing the underlying reasons for the behaviours to occur. The reasons are called core issues, which require some deeper inner work. To give you a hint, core issues are usually from the childhood due to some lack in the parenting. Some of the ways of healing and doing the inner work is by using tools like EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique), Journey method and Inner Child Work.
When the core issues are healed, behaviours automatically shift; you would not entertain anyone who is not good for you. Gradually, you will start attracting the right kind of people with whom having healthy relationships is possible.