Yesterday I was talking about letting go of relationships that are toxic when you’ve tried everything else, and today it seems logical to talk about patterns. Anyone can fall into an unhealthy relationship once, or twice, or maybe even three times – staying in them is the thing. In the beginning, hormones take over and create quite a haze. Dating is fun and easy and light.
When you live with someone, then you start to see underneath the surface, and even then it takes time. But if you have a trail of long-term, unhealthy relationships behind you, it’s very likely you’re playing out some old history. It’s tempting to point to the story of how other people have hurt you or disappointed you, but if it’s a pattern, it’s time to figure out why you’re co-creating situations that are going to cause you heartache. Why you keep setting yourself up to be disrespected, emotionally abused, taken for granted, or fill-in-the-blank. If you want to heal in a deep way, the story of your participation is the one to examine. Blame won’t get you anywhere, and neither will martyrdom. There’s no power in that stuff.
Carl Jung has a quote about this I reference frequently: “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.” The pull of this stuff is ferocious. If you’re trying to rewrite history, you’re doing it because you’re trying to heal the deepest wound you’ve got. In order to revise what’s happened, you need to set up similar circumstances. You need to pick a person who’s going to tap that old, deep stuff for you. You won’t know you’re doing this, of course, until you’re deep into the relationship, and maybe not even then. But I’ll bet you the dynamic feels familiar and you feel “hooked.”
Then you get to make yourself sick and crazy trying to manipulate the situation so you can have your happy ending. This kind of manipulation can look like love, as in, I’ll give you everything I’ve got and be generous in ways that sacrifice my own needs, wants and feelings so you’ll love me. Or you won’t leave, or reject me, or cheat, or whatever it is you’re trying to solve. That’s not love, that’s manipulation poorly dressed up to look like love. Look at your actions carefully. If you’re giving because you want to get something in return, figure out what that something is. That’s your wound. Hold it up to the light and examine it. Own it. Get busy healing it so it doesn’t own you anymore. I’m not saying you don’t actually love the other person. It’s totally possible real love has sprung up in a quagmire of pain. It’s also possible you can make something beautiful happen. You won’t solve the original wound, though. That’s work you have to do on your own. That’s yours.
I recognize this stuff can be incredibly painful, uncomfortable, and confrontational. The good news is, when you take responsibility for your life and the choices you make, you take your power back. There are many things in life you cannot control – most things, in fact – but you can decide where to direct your energy. Where to place your heart. What kind of behavior you’re going to accept. What kind of person and partner and friend you’re going to be. How honest you’re going to get with yourself. I’d go all the way on all that stuff. That’s where the joy is in life. In your ability to live it, to show up with your heart wide open. To value your own specialness as much as anyone else’s. To give of yourself freely, without fear. Set up circumstances where you can do that so you love your life and you love yourself, and you can give love to everyone in your orbit. That’s a happy, meaningful life. Go get it.
Sending you love,