“The task we must set for ourselves is not to feel secure, but to be able to tolerate insecurity.” – Erich Fromm
For those of you that read my prior post on Insecurity in Relationships on Tiny Buddha this is a follow up. For those who haven’t, here is the link:Why You Feel Anxious in Relationships and How To Stop
I’m going to share something really painful right now. After 7 months of what I thought was a great relationship my boyfriend has suddenly decided to stop talking to me. It’s been over a week now and not a word. Having him disappear is the one thing I told him I was petrified would happen and here it is.
He says nothing is wrong and that he is just working (granted he is on a non-combat deployment), but let’s be honest. We both know this isn’t true and he obviously needs some space and/or doesn’t want to talk to me for some reason. I have spent the past few weeks trying to figure out what I could have done wrong, analyzing my every text and every feeling and although I can’t come up with a concrete answer, I do have to admit that my insecurity may have played a part.
I fully admit that although I never initiated contact with him I was probably expecting him to meet too many of my needs and I was looking to the relationship to “make me feel better” although I didn’t even realize it at the time.
Has he broken up with me? I have no idea. Should I move on? I have no idea. All I know is that this came at a pivotal point in my life. I left my job in the hopes of making a living as a writer and life coach. I fractured my foot and haven’t been able to exercise or get out as I normally would. I am living in a new city where I have few friends and suddenly and unexpectedly I have lost my partner.
The only thing I do know is that I cannot continue to live an insecure life and I cannot continue to lack self-worth and put aside my own needs for the comfort of others because I feel innately guilty about asking for what I need.
My job has always been to put my own needs aside so everyone else can be comfortable. I have never asked for what I needed (emotions were not allowed in my house) and I have never allowed myself to feel the true pain and loss of my childhood, although I thought I had.
I’m guessing you can relate.
But, What Does It All Mean?
When you get to a pain threshold you know you have to change. Frankly, why continue to live an unfulfilled, empty, soulless life? Who wants to live like that? Actually, this is not really living, it is merely existing. This is not to say everything has been bad and awful. The past seven months have been amazing, despite my inner struggles.
Maybe my boyfriend came into my life to bring me to the point where more change was inevitable. Maybe he has served his purpose and his time is done. I do not know. Maybe he has disappeared and I will have to come to terms with yet another person not keeping their word. Maybe, but maybe not. Maybe I can try to trust and believe in the universe.
All weekend I tried to not think about him or us or the relationship. That didn’t work so well. I knew that energetically if I kept focusing on him he would feel pressure and it would keep him even further from me, but my habits run deep and every day without a message from him sent me deeper and deeper into feelings of emptiness and lethargy.
I tried to convince myself to think positively. Fail. I tried to disassociate from my feelings. Fail. I tried to just believe something new. Fail. I am not stupid and my brain knows when you are trying to fool it. I can’t just pretend things, no matter how hard I try.
What this means is that in order for my brain to change the way it thinks it has to change from the inside out and not the other way around. I have to face those limiting beliefs, those subconscious fears those “protective” mechanisms and let them go.
Living in a prison of your own mind is a fate worse than death.
So, here I was again at another transition point where it became change or death. Continued suffering was no longer an option. I knew that regardless of whether my boyfriend and I stay together I have to change my thoughts and change my life. But, I didn’t know where to start.
So, like anyone who is searching for answers I took to google. I took a brief course from Marisa Peer which was very insightful. She believes that our world exists mainly as a reflection of two things: 1) the pictures in our heads and 2) the words we use. I tend to agree.
If we think our world looks empty and our words remind us of that then that is what we will get-more emptiness. Although I agreed with her and her position and although she believes you can change these words and pictures fairly easily – I was not so convinced.
I knew I needed someone to help me to change. But, I could not spend one more day TALKING about my stupid problems and issues. I have talked them to death. They have been forever my constant companions and frankly I’m sick of them.
So, I found a therapist who specializes in RTT-Rapid Transformational Therapy which was originally developed by Marisa Peer. This type of therapy combines CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), Hypnosis (or deep relaxation) and Neuro Linguistic Programming. You can find a link to my therapist at NoBSTherapy
The first hour we discussed background issues, my family, my boyfriend, the molestation. The usual stuff. Then I laid down on the couch (I know, very Freudian) and she put me into a more relaxed state where I could access more of my subconscious beliefs and thoughts.
The thing is, even if your mind thinks it has let go, your body hasn’t and as long as you hold onto the emotion in your body your pain will not leave you. The memories stay living inside you hidden and waiting to come out.
When you get into a more relaxed state you are able to connect with your body memories and then tell the negative feelings that they are no longer welcome. Doing this in a conscious state never results in any change because your brain is hardwired to think and act a certain way in order to protect itself.
If you want to change the way you think you have to change your hard-wiring. Just know that consciously your brain will attempt to reject change at all costs. Your brain thinks it’s doing you a favor, even though you know in truth it’s ruining your life and on some level you want to believe it. You want to believe your brain is doing right by you even though you suspect it has an ulterior motive.
So, I laid on the couch and we ran through episodes from my childhood which came to the surface randomly. We processed scenes and images that were coupled with feelings and emotions. I cried and cried. I felt like I was really back there in that space. I was no longer the adult trying to convince myself to believe something. I was the child experiencing the experience.
I was able to take back my power and stop giving it away. I was able to feel the pain and sadness that comes with the truth of an abusive childhood. Know that parents don’t need to be overly abusive to create long term negative effects on your life.
In my house the underlying message was that you don’t talk about your feelings because you are not allowed to have them and you most certainly were not allowed to have needs other than food, shelter and clothing. No one would consider this abusive. Frankly, it isn’t. But, it still diminishes the child. It still sends a message that the child’s needs and wants are not important so naturally as an adult you will act in a way that is congruent with this until you decide to change. You will continue to expect nothing more than food, shelter and clothing. You get what you ask for and what you expect.
Once I faced these facts and in my suggestive state I decided I would no longer let someone else dictate the terms of my life, my desires and my future and I started to feel lighter. The depression had lifted. The oppressive nothingness was gone. I felt 10 pounds lighter, energetically.
When I woke up this morning my thoughts drifted to my boyfriend. But, instead of focusing on him and on us I can shift my focus more easily to myself. Not always and not 100 percent yet, but I’m getting better.
The more you can focus on yourself, who you are, what you want and where you are going irrespective of your relationship the happier you will be. No one person can be everything to you and no one person can fulfill all your dreams, hopes and desires.
It sounds stupid and cliché, but you really do have to learn to love yourself first. I thought I had. I was wrong. So, here I am starting day by day and taking baby steps along my path to a new life and a new future. Will it be with him? I don’t know.
Can you predict the outcome of a relationship or make something happen that isn’t meant to be? Nope. The only person you can control is yourself. The only person you can change is yourself. The question is, what are you going to do about it?