What if I told you that the very nature of an intimate relationship creates the perfect conditions for you to experience conflict and negative feelings? In other words, there's nothing like the vulnerability and intimacy of a close relationship to bring out the very worst in you and your partner!
That's because the experience of being so closely involved with someone offers the opportunity to be completely known. You're naked, in every sense of the word. This person will get to know everything about you.
When you're just getting to know someone, you're on your best behavior. You're putting your best foot forward. But you can only keep that going for so long. Sooner or later, your "best foot forward" slips into the real you with all your quirks and patterns...and you know it.
Your partner knows it, too. At the beginning of your relationship, you're both secretly wondering, "When he or she finds out this about me--when they know the real me--will they still love me and want me?"
As your relationship progresses and you become closer, this fear of being "found out" actually becomes more intense, which can create an underlying discomfort within you.
Instead of settling into the relationship and feeling secure, your subconscious invokes a series of "tests" to find out if, indeed, your partner really and truly loves you. Sadly, these tests can actually create the very outcome you don't want, which is why I say that love often triggers the very actions that destroy a relationship. Let's look at some of these actions...
Destructive Action #1: Fault-Finding
When you first meet your partner, you think to yourself "Where have you been all my life?" As time goes on, you start finding little annoying habits and huge character flaws in your mate and then you start to wonder how you'll ever be able to live with them.
Did you fall in love with your partner's spontaneity...but now you can't stand that he or she won't plan anything beyond this weekend?
"Going with the flow was fun then," you tell yourself, "But it's just not practical over the long haul!"
When we're afraid of not being truly loved for who we are, we often become critical of our partners.
Why? Because it's much easier to pick out what's wrong in someone else than to own what needs loving attention in ourselves.
Destructive Action #2: Picking Fights
Provoking upset is one of the more obvious ways partners test each other. You're trying to see how far you can push each other and still maintain a connection.
Here's an example: you've spent a great day together--the kind where you felt really in tune with each other--when all of a sudden you catch a glimpse of a dirty spot in the kitchen (they made breakfast for you this morning), and you can't help but point it out.
From one minute to the next, the entire mood of the day changes. They feel criticized and retreat. The bigger problem is that a relationship can only withstand so much negative interaction. A pattern of constant fighting and making up inevitably takes its toll, leaving both of you feeling even less secure with each other.
Destructive Action #3: Pulling Away/Pushing For More
All of us enter into relationships with two opposing fears: the need to be close, and the need to develop and express our individuality.
In a relationship, partners often push each other's boundaries on both ends of the spectrum: one partner wants more time together, while the other seems to get wrapped up in things outside the relationship. The more one pushes, the more the other pulls away.
In either case, each person is testing to see how far they can go without completely pushing away the other. If they can't find a comfortable balance, the smothering/distancing behaviors can dangerously drain away positive feelings.
If you're not aware of how certain fears are operating under the surface for you, you'll continue to repeat destructive patterns from relationship to relationship. You'll think you keep choosing the wrong partner or are somehow doomed to remain unhappy in love.
That's why I’m a coach; to help you identify how hidden fears and beliefs are undermining your relationships and causing you unnecessary struggle.
You will develop such self confidence, that the need to find fault in your partner will disappear.
You will experience such inner peace, that the need to pick fights with your partner will evaporate.
And you will unleash a reservoir of creative potential, so that you're able to be fully in a relationship while maintaining your individuality.
Contact me HERE to get started.
The fear of rejection makes sense. If we’ve had a steady diet of shame, blame, and criticism, we learned that the world is not a safe place. Something within us mobilizes to protect our tender heart from further stings and insults.
But this mechanism doesn’t discriminate. Our defensive structure not only safeguards us from the prospect of rejection, but also from acceptance and welcoming. It's a scanning antenna that, in working to protect us from danger, often gives false readings.
You may be operating with a fear of acceptance if you tend to avoid emotional engagement in relationships.
In addition to fearing rejection, you might be distant because you don’t trust that any connection or acceptance will last.
If you’re ambivalent about relationships, some part of you wants connection, but it frightens another part. You might be prone to fear and pull away at the first sign of discomfort. Overcoming the fear of acceptance may mean exploring blocks to receiving and examining core beliefs that keep us stuck.
This will involve a radical change in your self-image. Viewing yourself more positively, and the potential to love and receive love more hopefully, means that your life will change.
And change is often scary.
It also can be scary to accept ourselves. Practicing acceptance, embracing ourselves as we are, means not judging ourselves but rather honoring the full range of our feelings and desires. It can be scary to open up to our human hurts and sorrows and accept that it's all simply a part of being human.
When we move toward self-acceptance and we realize that we're a vulnerable creature, just like everyone else. Our shame begins to heal as we notice when it's operating and then bring gentleness and kindness to ourselves.
If you feel that learning to accept love and loving yourself is something you need help with, Please reach out to me HERE to set up a call. I'm here for you.
Self -help gurus say things like, “You cannot be responsible for someone else’s feelings, only your own”.
Still, your whole life, all you’ve heard is how good or bad you’re making someone else feel.
Not to mention, in your own experience, how good or bad other people have been able to make YOU feel!
We’re taught that caring about someone means you make them have good feelings. It’s completely baked into the emotional model we’re taught as children into adulthood. And we’re even taught that when a person doesn’t change their behavior based on what other people think and feel, they’re bad people.
Here’s the mind-blowing part, believing you are the cause of other people’s feelings, doesn’t make you a kinder, nicer person.
It actually makes you way less kind to yourself and others. When you believe you cause someone else’s feelings, that means you can’t feel ok about yourself unless they think and feel the way you want them to. And THAT means you immediately become totally enmeshed in trying to control and manage their feelings. So you start resenting that they are upset with you, and you get invested in them changing those thoughts and feelings so you can stop feeling bad about yourself. It just becomes a shell game, where you’re both trying to change the other so you can feel better.
How is that truly caring about someone else’s feelings? It’s not. You’re caring about your own feelings and trying to manage the other person to change your own emotions. You’re using them to feel better about yourself. That’s the opposite of true kindness.
True kindness is when you can have compassion for someone else’s suffering, even if you know their thoughts are creating it. It’s when you take responsibility for yourself, but not for them, and when you allow them to think and feel however they want, without making it mean anything about you.
When you take emotional responsibility for yourself but not for them, you are so much more present and so much kinder. It may not be what they perceive as kindness, but it will feel much more like kindness for you, which is all you can control.
If you would like to finally understand how to be in a reciprocal relationship that is fun and joyful, without constant jockeying for control, or emotional abandonment, contact me HERE and we can set up a strategy session this week.
Is a collection of Micah's views regarding men's skills in relationship and their ability to tap into their masculine frame.