AVOIDANCE = REPEATING MISTAKES IN RELATIONSHIPS
Here is the thing about human emotions and behavior - when we avoid uncomfortable thoughts or feelings, we end up bringing about these very experiences that we so fear. When I am insecure about myself or my past relationships, when I do not address this insecurity and I avoid it, I remain insecure. Latent anxiety and fear persist, and then I experience the same or similar issues in my current relationships from my past relationships.
When we avoid our insecure and uncomfortable thoughts, without understanding/challenging/validating them, we repeat the same mistakes.
Don't want to do this anymore? GOOD FOR YOU! I am here to help you.
Instead of judging your feelings about someone and the issues you have with them, it is MUCH more productive to validate these feelings and explore what you are going to do about them.
Lets first understand why you avoid your feelings of dissatisfaction:
You think there is something wrong with with you for your relationship not being perfect.
You expect that you should have a perfect relationship
You think it’s your fault that your partner is not better or more compatible with you
You are insecure so you settle for inappropriate behavior because you don't think you can, or will do better.
You would rather be with someone and miserable than being alone
You think addressing your feelings will cause conflict
You fear conflict because you think it means that you did something wrong
Are these resonating?
Can you notice what all these thoughts have in common?
There is an underlying assumption throughout all of these thoughts, that I am not enough. That I will be miserable alone. That I will not get what I want because if this person does not love and respect me then who will. You assume that if you bring up something that is upsetting you to your partner he/she will not listen and your requests will go unanswered.
Why are we so quick to be so helpless and self victimized? Perhaps you have not received the love you want in the past, does that mean you won't ever receive it? Does that mean you are not worth it? If you believe you are not worth it, you will never get it. On the contrary, when we shift our mindset to be self compassionate and encouraging of who we are and what we want, we go from defensive to empowered. When I take on this new mindset and I realize that I am not satisfied in my relationships, then I don't blame myself or the other. Instead, I accept that this is not what I want, I ask for it, and if its not met, I go out and look for what I want. The behavior changes because the mindset has shifted.
I know this sounds easier said than done, but its really a tweak in your thoughts. Its about going from self-victimizing “I am not worth it, no one wants me, there is something wrong with me, if I were worth healthy love I would have it etc…” into “I have worth and its ok if this person does not see it - he/she might have come into my life to teach me something and now it time for them to depart. I have strengths, my strengths include…..”
Now - close your eyes. Take a deep breath, and repeat after me:
I AM VALID. MY NEEDS AND FEELINGS ARE VALID. IF I WANT TO GIVE MYSELF THE BEST OF ME, I AM GOING TO PRACTICE BEING DIRECT ABOUT WHAT I THINK AND FEEL. I WILL TALK TO MY PARTNER ABOUT WHAT MY ISSUES ARE AND GIVE HIM/HER THE CHANCE TO HEAR ME AND CONTRIBUTE TO CHANGING OUR DYNAMIC. IF THEY RESPOND IN A WAY THAT LEAVES ME FEELING INVALIDATED OR GUILTY OR AFRAID I WILL SET BOUNDARIES AND NOT USE THIS AS AN EXCUSE TO BLAME MYSELF. IF THIS HAPPENS ONGOING, I WILL END THIS RELATIONSHIP. THIS IS A WIN WIN FOR ME.
We cannot control others. We can only know what feels good or not to us and voice that to another person and ask them to hear us out and be open to change. If they are willing, we can then tell them how to change. If they don't want to, they will let you know. They will ignore you, shame you, or make you feel badly about offending them. In that case, use it as information about who you are dating rather than a reflection of your self worth, and use that information to inform your next step.