Have you ever found yourself in a relationship that you know is not good for you but you cannot find the strength to leave?
Sometimes we end up in relationships with partners that have profound issues such as an addiction, anger explosions, or self-harm. Somehow, when we end up in these relationships there is a belief that we have to help them heal. We believe that our love will change them: they will stop drinking, they will stop using drugs, they will stop having anger outbursts, they will stop hitting or insulting. Our love will do it all and we are somehow responsible for their recovery. The hope that things will someday change is what keeps us going.
In these relationships, it is easy to blame them. After all, they are the ones drinking, yelling, abusing… but what about us in this relationship? How did we end up in it? What happens inside of us that we stay in this relationship?
Many times feelings of guilt and fear stop us from making the decision of leaving regardless of what our gut tells us. These are important feelings to analyze since they might take us to what we need to work on ourselves.
Let’s take a look at the guilt
Probably the guilt comes in after you get mad or leave your partner for being drunk, or high, or being abusive. Probably they come back feeling sorry and being loving and that nice person you fell in love with. Then you see them so defenseless and how much they need you and you might feel guilty for having snapped or yelled at them or rejected them. What is that guilt doing? That guilt is probably telling you that it is not ok for you to express your emotions, to feel how you feel.
These deep beliefs about our feelings are not necessarily conscious. We are usually not aware of all we say to ourselves but they affect how we relate with others and with ourselves. This takes me to the other emotion we mentioned: fear. What might you be scared of? Probably to feel alone, to feel abandoned. Think about it, if my feelings don’t count, if it’s not ok to express myself probably there is a deeper belief about ourselves. Probably that belief would go something like: “I am not worthy” and if I am not worthy, well it is very likely that I will be abandoned and alone, so I need to hang on to what I have and not let go because I might not find anyone else.
Realizing all that goes inside of us is extremely helpful because it gives the control to us. When you are in a relationship where the other person seems to be acting out constantly, we usually feel out of control. We have the illusion that we dance to their rhythm, and that makes us feel even more vulnerable. We lose control of our actions, of our lives.
If you understand what is happening inside of you. If you realize that how you feel towards yourself is part of this unhealthy dynamic, you have the power to change it. You can work on yourself. You can heal wounds you need to heal. You can grow and be better from them. You can change your future. You can have control of your life.
Our gut is our inner wisdom and we need to learn to listen to it. Many times other emotions and beliefs get in the way and we feel confused. We act in a way that is not congruent with how we truly feel and that becomes a problem. Learning to listen to your gut is part of learning how to relate with yourself in a different way. In a caring way.
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