If we find ourselves… feeling trapped or clung to by our partner, we may want to consider how much we were intruded on as kids. Did we have a parent or caretaker who was overbearing and imposed on us for attention or reassurance? Are we now reacting (or overreacting) to our partner, because he or she is looking to us for similar qualities? While we aim to find partners who complement us in a positive way, we often wind up finding people whose opposing traits can rouse negative dynamics between us. For example, how many couples do we know, where one person does the talking, and the other stays quiet? While one person tells the stories and attracts attention, the other acts as a listener and falls into the background. We frequently choose people who fill out our personalities, then resent them for the very traits that make them our “other half.” Even when we choose partners who complement us positively, we run the risk of eventually distorting them or provoking them to become someone who we are less compatible with. This is often not the case when we first get involved with someone. In the beginning of a relationship, we naturally step out of our comfort zones, forcing ourselves outside our own heads and into an interaction with someone unfamiliar. The scenario of getting to know a stranger forces us to push ourselves, to be our best selves, and to treat the other person with respect and interest. As we get closer, our defenses start to arise. We start to feel more vulnerable, and influences from our past start to seep in. We must be wary in this stage of how we can distort our partners. We may start to insert hidden meaning into their words that suit a way we feel about ourselves. We may start to project qualities onto them or exaggerate characteristics they possess. Dr. Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/relationship-advice_b_824879.html
What you see is only half of what I am.
I have a hundred different faces,
a million different personalities.
Only a part of me is what I show you.
I display a fraction of my true self.
Everything is just a façade.
It’s not the truth of me.
You don’t know me.
You never will.
Every individual is diverse and complex and carries with them a unique set of baggage from their past that impacts and informs their close relationships. Given this complexity, one is often left to wonder, “Why do I keep choosing the same partner? Why, no matter how many new criteria I mentally create, do I keep winding up in a slightly varied version of the same, not-so-great relationship?” The answer for every person is to first look at ourselves. The experiences that make us who we are also influence who we look for in a partner. While most of us claim to be looking for true love, real compatibility and no drama, there are often unconscious influences — thoughts and behaviors leading us to just the opposite. One influential factor is that many of us seek partners who help us stay within our comfort zone, even if that zone turns out to not be all that desirable. People seek what is familiar. If our past were filled with feelings of rejection or inadequacy, we are likely to seek scenarios in which we feel the same way as adults. Often, we look for partners who reinforce existing views we have of ourselves. For example, if we had a parent who was not always emotionally available to us, or who was inconsistent in offering us warmth and affection, we may think of ourselves as unlovable on some level. When we look for a partner, we may be initially drawn to someone whose attention makes us feel good about ourselves. Eventually, we may start to notice that this person is resistant to getting close and can be disregarding. Even as we are tormented by feelings of rejection, we often fail to realize that the very reason we were so drawn to this person may be because we sensed that they support those all-to-familiar feelings of being inadequate and undeserving. Dr. Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/relationship-advice_b_824879.html
Humans have a knack
for choosing precisely
the things that are
worst for them.
J. K. Rowling
When a Codependent starts a romantic relationship they tend to put too many eggs in that one basket. They invest their whole lives in a guy/girl who ultimately turns out to be an addict, a betrayer, a little boy/girl, a rager, a controller, weak, lost, little, and otherwise not coming as originally advertised. Early on the Codependent is way too emotionally dependent way too quickly. Before too many years go by Codependents learn that the relationship they have arranged for themselves does not include a whole lot of goodies for them. Prince charming who put the full court press on to secure her generally is only interested in her these days to try to extract some sex from her. He is too busy and important to take the time and energy to really get to know her on an intimate and daily basis. That simply isn’t who he is. Codependents also tend to arrange their worlds so that they are financially dependent on a man. Mom is taking care of the kids so that Superman can go out and take over the world. In the mean time each year that passes by is another year that she is out of her career field, not developing her earning power and many times feeling not good enough because they aren’t earning their own money directly. Codependents have big hearts – too big. They rescue men, children, puppies, strangers, neighbors and friends. Their first thought is ‘what does my spouse or my kids need, what will work best for them’. They do not think about their own needs enough. A huge part of their Recovery process is learning to take good care of their own needs. Codependents get lost for decades in the meeting of others needs while ignoring what their own hearts were trying to say to them. Codependents many times don’t have much going on in the hobby department. They have no time devoted to what makes themselves happy. Their lives aren’t really about them. They are rest starved, fun starved and inspiration starved. They need to learn to be selfish in a healthy way. They are parched ground lacking in color and joy. http://www.familytreecounseling.com/marksblog/?s=When+a+Codependent+starts+a+romantic+relationship+
… it’s a lot easier to be lost than found.
It’s the reason we’re always searching,
and rarely discovered…
so many locks, not enough keys.
Men have emotions. Women need only adjust how they listen. Men express plenty of feelings; they just do it differently than women and there’s nothing wrong with that. You know how Eskimos supposedly have 4 dozen words for snow? It’s the same thing for women and feelings. They have over 4 dozen ways to describe happy, angry, sad… When a woman says, “men need to be more sensitive and in touch with their emotions,” I hear, “men need to be more like women.” Bad idea. If women want to be with men who can talk about their feelings and daily minutia just like their best girlfriend, then why don’t they just get together with their girlfriend? Men are more solution-focused while women are process-focused. There have been numerous studies (of questionable methodology) asserting that women use more words than men per day. Recent research finds such assertions are unfounded. Men and women actually use about the same number of words a day. It’s not a matter of women being more verbal; generally speaking, we’re equally verbal. Here’s the difference: women use words to process their feelings, often wallowing in emotions without reaching resolution. Men state their feelings and use words to achieve resolution. As a collective, women have told men that not talking about feelings as much as they do makes them inadequate. Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD http://shrink4men.wordpress.com/2009/01/14/men-have-emotions-women-dont-listen/
Love is misunderstood
to be an emotion; actually,
it is a state of awareness,
a way of being in the world,
a way of seeing oneself and others.
David R. Hawkins
One of the Ten Commandments of masculinity is “Thou shall not feel”.This kind of mind-heart disconnect begins when boys are in the early years of elementary school. You’ll see kindergarten and first-grade boys bringing stuffed animals from home to comfort them amid their fear of the social demands of school. They’ll even hold hands and put their arms around other boys and girls to show affection and express joy. By second grade, male indoctrination begins. Boys are sissies if they show fear, pain or heaven forbid the most taboo expression of all: crying. For girls, that shift never really happens. Girls have the license to continue a full range of emotional expressions that is, except for one; anger. Girls get angry, of course, but it is taboo for them to express it. It is not feminine to get or express anger. This is a commandment that has caused women a world of grief into their adult lives. Ironically, anger is one of the few acceptable emotions sanctioned for boys and men to publicly express. Adapted from the book “Code Switching: How to Talk so Men will Listen” by Audrey Nelson, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/he-speaks-she-speaks/201102/the-expressive-trap
what little things
“Why don’t men express their feelings?” Well, they do. Men just express their feelings differently. First of all, they have more control over their facial expressions, where most feelings are communicated. Women are what experts call high-expressers and externalizers, whereas men are low-expressers and internalizers. Men can substitute, neutralize or minimize their emotional expression through facial expressions. In contrast, women are an “open book.” Society conditions women to think they are the emotional gender. Women are taught a separate set of rules that allow a wider range of self-expression. Women aren’t as good at hiding their facial expressions… With men, it’s more of a guessing game. Self-expression isn’t purely learned. The different brains are also at work. According to Morgan Road in her book The Female Brain, “The areas of the brain that track emotion are larger and more sensitive in the female brain.” Men notice subtle signs of sadness in a face only 40 percent of the time, whereas women pick up on the signs 90 percent of the time, Road says. When you are expressive, people also know where you stand. This, in turn, increases their comfort level and feeling of familiarity. We are always suspect of the people we can’t seem to get to know. They won’t let us in, so what are they hiding? Adapted from the book “Code Switching: How to Talk so Men will Listen” by Audrey Nelson, Ph.D. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/he-speaks-she-speaks/201102/the-expressive-trap
They have the unique ability
to listen to one story
and understand another.
My wife and I were emotionally disconnected. Over the years I had become more and more reticent to tell my wife the truth about my heart. In part that was due to my own lack of awareness, and in part I didn’t want to deal with any upset it may cause. So, I told her what I thought she wanted to hear. This started out with small and gradually led to bigger things. I expected my wife to make me happy. I had believed that marriage was supposed to make me happy. I was very confused because I was not happy. And in fact, the more I tried to make my wife happy – the worse things got in our relationship and the more miserable we both were. I was like a blood-sucking leach trying to experience life through sucking it out of my wife. I thought (at the time) I was being virtuous – trying to make her happy. In reality I was very selfish as my motive was about me and not her. And she knew it. I had no boundaries. I grew up with three sisters and have always felt comfortable with women. I enjoyed connecting with women. I used to say that I was just being playful. … a mentor of mine told me that I was not being playful, but seductive. I was looking for affirmation and attention and had developed a skill to get it from women. I was bored. I was under-challenged in my job, my kids were not around, my wife was traveling for her job, and I was alone a lot. I had lots of “down” time with nothing to fill the void. I was (unconsciously) looking for something to fill the void. I believed that I would never cheat. I was the last person I thought would ever commit adultery. I knew what was right and wrong. I was strong and I could handle any and all temptation. I was Superman. NOT! My pride led me to believe that I could get close to kryptonite and not be destroyed. That was foolish. I was a fool. I was 100% responsible for my infidelity. It was my fault. These things did not “make me” do it. However, these were things that made me vulnerable to cheating on my wife. I am still weak – but now I know I am. And in light of that, I can make different choices and therefore guard against being vulnerable. http://affairrecovery.com/survivors/Jack/why-people-cheat
When would he realize
that it wasn’t his infidelity
I couldn’t bear,
but his cowardice?
From “Sarah’s Key”
by Tatiano de Rosnay