WHO’S REALLY PUSHING YOUR BUTTONS?
The people who trigger our fear, guilt, shame, anger and frustration resemble our early caregivers. If your primary caregiver often ignored you or your needs and acted like your purpose was to make their life easier, it’s likely that you still attract people with a narcissistic personality. Even if you have a loving partner, you may attract professional colleagues who are self-centered and take advantage of you.
If you grew up with a critical, controlling adult or sibling, right now, you may be craving freedom from someone who seems as inflexible as a 26-inch-thick steel door in a bank vault. This person consistently and sternly informs you that you don’t measure up to their demands and expectations. Your inner critic probably chatters nonstop.
On the other hand, if you endured a childhood in which you struggled to please someone who had a Jekyll and Hyde personality, your challenge was different. One minute they hugged you, exclaiming, “You are so special. I love you so much!” You never had time to integrate that message because they soon invalidated you with hurtful messages like, “Why can’t you do things the right way?”
Because children need to feel safe and adults are their key to survival, you may have tried to gain safety by trying to please people who were a bottomless pit of neediness or people who were so unpredictable they couldn’t be pleased. If you constantly labored to be labeled “acceptable,” it’s likely that you haven’t yet discovered Your Authentic Self. You probably don’t yet know what YOU need and require in a relationship.
WHY DO YOU REPEAT YOUR OLD PATTERN?
Please don’t judge yourself harshly for placing yourself in the middle of challenges similar to what you faced as a child. You love yourself so much that you truly want to outgrow your past. You’re longing to let go of the inner conflicts and circumstances that trigger your inner critic to deflate your confidence and self-esteem.
You are no longer a child. As an adult, you want to act thoughtfully and effectively instead of reacting to other people’s insensitive behavior with self-doubt, self-judgment or feelings of insecurity. You want to calm your inner critic.
The extraordinarily aggravating behaviors of other people . . . actions that tempt all of us to lash out in anger or run away in fright . . . are gifts in disguise. Each painful situation that ignites our fight-or-flight response is more precious than a backpack stuffed with bars of gold.
Every challenging relationship dance is precisely and perfectly choreographed for our personal growth. We are the producer and director of our dramas. Why do we co-create every painful relationship scenario, personal and professional? It’s because we yearn to more fully love and accept ourselves, every single bulge, wrinkle and wart. Relationships are a key component of the core curriculum of The School of Life. They are not an elective.