Break your unhealthy patterns for good!
I grew up desperately seeking love, kindness and guidance from parents who were unable to meet my emotional needs. It is not pleasant to admit that, but it is true. It is also true that I transferred that desperate neediness as a young adult into relationships with men who couldn't meet my emotional needs either. I've often said, "Men have been a big disappointment to me." That is true too. After not being able to endure the pain of those disappointing experiences, I began to wake up to the common denominator in those relationships — me. What was it about me that kept me thinking I was getting the pizza I ordered only to keep having the wrong one delivered?
I dug deep into the depths of my heart and soul and found a treasure buried there. I've learned many things I hope will be helpful to others in these difficulties and I'd like to share some of my findings with you.
- You are not responsible for other people's behaviors; you are only responsible for your own. As children, we think we are the center of the universe and that our actions affect how everyone else feels. It doesn't help when adults tell children that they make them feel a certain way. For instance, one of my mother's famous sayings was, "You kids are going to make me go crazy." I have yet to counsel a child or adult who does not blame him or her self for the behavior of the people who hurt them. The double whammy of this is that you are trying to solve a puzzle you can't (the other person) and not solving the one you can (yourself).
- Change happens when we reconnect with our hearts and our inner intuition. It's obvious to see how my confusion at that young time in my life guided my decisions. As I look back on that, I feel sad for the seventeen-year-old girl I was. My relationship with my family was so fractured, but I still sought it out with a different person.
- We can't walk a mile in someone else's shoes, but we don't have to judge their path. When we understand our own journey, we realize judging another's is foolish. As I accept myself, I feel angry yet understanding for how we continue to treat others. I just know that it isn't sustainable. Women stay in abusive relationships for complex reasons. But as a culture we continue to judge them, condemn them, and find reasons to not help them. Woman judge themselves harshly too. I know how much I was judging myself from those same beliefs. It was not helpful. We are better than this. Each women needs to come to her own conclusions. However, how much more quickly would I have come to my conclusions if I had a compassionate caring counselor, coach or friends to help me realize my value and worth as a human being? I eventually began to get there and it gave me the courage and strength to leave. But that was only the beginning of my journey.
If you have wondered "Why do I keep ending up with the same kind of people?" then I hope some of what I have shared will help you see you are not alone and there is hope. That young and insecure girl is still part of me, but I have outgrown her beliefs and have created more powerful and sustainable ones. I appreciate her experiences because I have gained so much from them and have used them to help others. Instead of feeling angry with her, I can now embrace that part of my humanity and reconnect to my heart and soul. And so can you.