How I believed it was UP TO ME to Fix Problems in RelationshipsBy Darlene Ouimet
I used to have a pattern (like a default way of responding) where I would give a lot more attention to the people who ‘fought me’ and told me I was wrong, compared to the way that I responded to people who agreed with me and validated my thoughts. I noticed that I actually tried harder and put more effort into relationship with people who didn’t accept me! This was my relational style with my family and friends when I lived in the dysfunctional relationship system of having to try harder all the time just to be accepted in the group and it took me awhile to recognize how much more energy that I gave to people who were fighting me and even how much more attracted that I was to people who looked down on me! I had this weird attachment to ‘proving my worth’ proving that my opinion was valid. I was also so steeped in and accustomed to “trying harder” that I didn’t even know there was anything unbalanced about doing it.
Even when I started Emerging from Broken I noticed that I did it here too but the way this behaviour presented itself then was that I was more affected by the negative people and I would give them more ‘energy’. (Giving them more energy often meant thinking about their negative and judgemental comments and letting it drag me down way more than the hundreds of thankful and positive comments telling me that I was making a positive difference and letting those impact me for good.) For instance, I could get 50 thank you notes in a week and just one complaint or argument about what I was saying sent me off. I would engage with people who ‘told me off’ as though what they said was about me was true, instead of remembering that what they said was about them and their beliefs. I noticed that I wanted to work very hard to convince those judgemental people that they were wrong ‘about me’. I would spend so much energy thinking about ‘why’ that person was upset with me and how I had communicated in such a way that they had misunderstood me. I finally realized that this was also a part of my belief system ~ and it stemmed from the belief that I had to try harder and the false belief I had, that the success of any relationship was always up to me. I had come to understand this as one of my default modes; in certain situations I ‘defaulted’ to certain feelings, reactions and behaviours. Once I realized the belief system this was rooted in, I was able to break the default mode reaction.
It was important for me to change this belief system and begin to view things from a more truthful grid of understanding. In order for me to make this change at the root where it actually originated, I had to understand how the root got so firmly planted in the first place.
There were several things operating under the surface when it came to the way I tried so much harder with people who were not actually that nice to me;
1) I was caught up in a cycle of having to prove my worth. I had done that my whole life, I had been taught and trained to do that and it was very familiar and even comfortable for to me to try harder. I was used to it and it had been a part of my survival mode since childhood. This cycle had to be broken.
2) I didn’t know that relationship was a two-way street or that I deserved equal value and respect. I didn’t even understand that I was on the same playing field with the person who had set themself ‘above me’.
3) I was comfortable carrying the burden of the entire relationship. I didn’t know anything different and because I had so long been convinced that the problem was ME, I was stuck in this pattern of having to be the one to fix whatever was lacking in the relationship.
4) Since I had long ago given up hope that anyone else would change, (it is not safe for children to believe the parents will change or to try to change them so in childhood it is natural for the child to try harder to ‘be good enough’ or ‘not upset the adults for fear of what might happen; this is part of a child’s survival mode’ and a huge part of victim mentality that needs to be changed in adulthood.) I believed that I had to be the one to change and it was automatic for me to accept that. This childhood survival mode may have been necessary in childhood, but in adulthood it was a lie I had to break though before I could change that automatic response.
5) I believed that if I stuck up for myself that I would be ‘just like the abusers and controllers” in my life who were “never wrong”. I related ‘arguing’ and defending myself with being ‘just like them’. It seemed more comfortable for me to accept that it ‘must be me’.
6) My default mode had always been that I was forced to prove my worth and that somehow only the people ‘who convinced me that they had more worth’ than me, mattered. I got these people mixed up with everyone who didn’t accept me because the ‘lack of their acceptance’ was the same as the controlling people who made demands of me all my life and it kicked me into approval gear.
It was very important for me to see the TRUTH about people who insisted that I was the one that was wrong in order for me to break this cycle and re-wire my default mode of assuming responsibility for fixing relationships and blaming myself for the difficulties in them;
1) I had to learn that I didn’t need proof. I had to learn to stop trying to prove that I was ‘right’ and learn to believe myself that I was right. I am not lying about anything and I am not making anything up. I know that and that has to be enough. I didn’t need everyone to agree with me.
2) When people don’t agree with me, it does not prove that I am wrong. It just means that they don’t agree with me.
3) There is a way to actually SEE the truth about the actions of others; Talking about the way to actually see the truth is what I devote my time in this website to. Busting through the defences of abusive and controlling people and how they have brainwashed other people is what got me started on the path to freedom and wholeness.
4) What other people say is about them. It is a reflection of what THEY believe and is not a reflection of me. Their judgements are about them, their lives, and their fears and very often about their denial.
5) I had to discover and embrace MY OWN WORTH; I had re-define my value and accept it as the real truth about me.
I had to see where I was so stuck in trying harder and ‘proving my worth’ that I never considered that perhaps relationship should be a two way street. My mother was really good at communicating the rules of relationship when it came to what was expected of me, but the truth is that she didn’t live by them herself. I had to realize that not everything is up to me; the success or failure of relationship does not depend ONLY on one person and all healthy relationship, regardless of the title one person holds, (father, mother, teacher, police officer, lawyer, grandparent, doctor, judge etc.) is based on mutual respect and equal value.
Please share your thoughts with me about the subject of feeling or believing that if there is a problem in the relationship, it must have something to do with me. Feel free to share anything else this post may have triggered. Looking forward to the conversation!
Exposing Truth one snapshot at a time;
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Related posts: Giving and Receiving in a Healthy Relationship
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