Julie is sure that her boyfriend is mad at her. Or that he doesn't think she's as hot as he did when they started dating. Or that he is more attracted to other (thinner) women. Or that he is going to break up with her because he's so angry about something she said or did or possibly because of that other thinner, sexier woman in his life.
When Julie asks her boyfriend if he's mad at her, he gets annoyed. When they are out together, she spends most of her time looking at all of the other women at the restaurant, party or bar and watching her boyfriend to see if he's checking them out. At the end of the evening, she feels even more alone and distant from him than before.
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If it seems to you that Julie is insecure, jealous and maybe even a little paranoid, think again. She might have no proof that there actually is something “off” about her relationship or that her boyfriend is angry or distracted, but this isn't stopping her from continuing the stories.
Every single one of us tells ourselves stories all of the time.
We see or hear things that we don't fully understand. We get triggered and re-live a past experience that may have been slightly similar to this one. We wake up in the morning feeling self-conscious and vulnerable...
And we tell ourselves stories. If you're honest with yourself, you can probably recognize your own habit of telling yourself stories.
There may be a lot of accuracy to the stories you tell yourself. On the other hand, there might be very little that's accurate about your stories. The tales that you spin and develop in your mind could be based mostly (or solely) on things that happened in your life years ago or they may be your worst fears.
The point is, when you tell yourself stories and they strengthen and grow, you're bound to act and speak to your partner as if the stories were true. This is where problems crop up between you and your love. In fact, it's your inflated, exaggerated, skewed, partial or untrue stories that can literally sink your relationship.
Notice what your stories are.
Pay closer attention to the stories you tell yourself. For the moment, don't try to do anything other than recognize it when you're operating from a story you've told yourself.
Whether you are assuming that your partner won't want to go out this weekend or you're guessing at what he or she is thinking, notice it when you're telling yourself a story. The more aware you are of this habit, the easier it will be to catch inaccurate information and prevent yourself from making regrettable, relationship-damaging mistakes.
You're likely to see some common themes come up in the stories you regularly tell yourself.
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These might be about being betrayed or abandoned by those you trust and love. They could be about being disrespected or taken advantage of. Get curious about what you tend to tell yourself-- about your partner, yourself or your relationship-- and see if this points to some unhealed, old emotional wounds.
What's behind your stories?