“Some relationships have to and should end. If you keep seeing your relationships not working out as abandonment, aside from each person having what is closer to a parental role in your life, you’re too busy trying to hold onto them at all costs and make them fulfil what you feel is their obligation to take care of you and never leave, that you miss some very obvious reasons as to why the relationship isn’t healthy and shouldn’t be forced to continue.” The Dreamer and the Fantasy Relationship, from the chapter Letting Go Of Abandonment.
When we’re willing to hold onto someone at all costs, even if that means losing ourselves, we’d rather have them on some terms rather than none. We decide that they’re the only way that we can be happy. We act as if they’re our oxygen supply. The very person who’s contributing to our deep unhappiness is at the same time regarded as the primary or even sole source of our happiness.
It’s the ‘crumbs is better than no crumbs’ mentality.
Unfortunately when we don’t treat ourselves with love, care, trust, and respect, and in fact starve ourselves of these, any ‘ole person can come along and pretty much say and do very little. And it will still look like more than anything that we’re doing. Of course, it’s out of context. A crumb only looks like a lot when we’re used to little or don’t believe that we deserve more. It’s still crumbs though.
Whether someone is shady or not, it’s never good or healthy for us to expect that they will come along and parent us. It’s our job to be our primary carer.
The fact that a parent inadequately parented us isn’t a reflection of our worth, our right to be here on this planet, or our future options.
We deserve to be nurtured, loved, cared for, respected, and trusted.
We deserve to have a healthy, happy start in life, it’s just that this doesn’t always happen.
Of course, parents should stay, and they should take care of us when we’re children because it’s what they’re supposed to do. But, as I can attest to, this is far from being the case. It broke my little heart, and I carried the burden of what I perceived to be my failure and fault well into adulthood. I missed and yearned for what I thought I and my childhood could have been. But the passage of time and some big lessons showed me that actually, even if my father was around, there’s nothing to say that life would have turned out so different.
Despite those painful experiences, we don’t have to give up on us. We can opt to live our life differently. At least we have lives to make our mark on. Some children don’t make it.
Even if our parents are still around, trying to make them parent us, fix our adult lives, provide all of our security and give us our identity and purpose is unhealthy.
Hell, they may be struggling to do these things for themselves!
It’s not that they’re not our parents and it’s not that they couldn’t do with making some changes. But… there comes a time when we have to ask why we’re putting so much energy into trying to have Childhood Mark:2. We could be getting on with the business of living our own life. It’s not that they’re not our parents, but it’s no longer their job to parent us because we’re grown-ups and we can do this ourselves.
Adulthood is about unlearning all of the unproductive stuff and harmful stuff that we’ve picked up along the way. We get to figure out how to live our lives happily and authentically as us.
It’s our job to create personal security. We have to reclaim who we are, live our values, and make ‘mistakes’ (read: have experiences) along the way to gain clarity about what does and doesn’t work for us. We’ve also got to pay attention to where we’re making strides. There’s little opportunity for this when we effectively latch on to someone to be sheltered from ourselves and life.
It’s too much to expect romantic partners to do for us what we’re not prepared to do for ourselves. And it’s most definitely too much to expect them to fill voids created by our parents.
We want an external solution to our internal issues. We want to be directed and told who we are, when that’s our responsibility. It assigns too much power to these people. In deferring to them as being critically important to our survival, we create helplessness and take up a child role in our very adult relationships. This is particularly scary when we don’t know them and/or they’re abusive.
When they leave, or they don’t meet our hopes and expectations, it feels excruciating. This is especially because it confirms our worst fears and beliefs. In our quest to hold on, we might do things that greatly diminish our sense of self because we keep trying to please in the hopes that they’ll fill our voids and in turn, meet our needs, expectations, and desires.
When we look to others to parent us, we invariably end up with a hotchpotch of one or both our parents. We’re trying to right the wrongs of the past. This results in us living in the past and playing our child role in an adult setting with disastrous or certainly very painful results.
We cannot assign romantic partners (or anyone else for that matter), parental obligations. Each and every time we do, it makes us excessively emotionally reliant on these people. Yep, codependency. We abandon ourselves while being blinded to how toxic the involvement and our expectations are.
We have an obligation to us because we are our primary caregiver. Even if someone comes along, we still have that obligation, regardless. When we stop stepping up for us and behave like someone handing over the keys and saying ‘Here. They’re yours. Do what you like, make whatever changes you need but just don’t leave’, we’re giving people the blueprints to screw us over. The shady ones will grab ’em with both hands.
It’s you who has an obligation to you to look out for you, to be you, to represent. You’ve got to take of your needs, expectations, desires, feelings, and opinions. Whatever you expect of others must be what you’re already being and doing for yourself. Once you do this, you approach relationships from a healthy place of desire, instead of needing a saviour for your survival. A person will add to your life not be your life or your surrogate parent .
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