roadA couple of years ago, I received an email from Baggage Reclaim reader RES thanking me for writing this site, and letting me know that in spite of the painful revelations that resulted from reading, she was ready to take a break from relationships (something I recommend to help you gain perspective as distance from situations gives you objectivity) and deal with her own issues whilst she worked on loving and being at peace with herself.

Late last year, another email arrived that was in stark contrast to the previous. After a year out which she describes as “the most difficult period of my life”, she had met someone who was also in stark contrast to who she’d been previously involved and is now engaged. Very happy and enjoying her life, I’m delighted not only that she has met someone and is enjoying a healthy, mutually fulfilling relationship, but that she’s also found herself.

Like me, he is not the man she thought she’d be with (we both thought we’d be with our warped image of relationships), but he’s infinitely more because in the time that she took out, she reshaped her image of relationships, and she’s happy. If for whatever reason, something were to change in the future, she also now knows that she has the ability to make herself happy.

She still stops by the site and a number of readers asked her to share some of her wise words and RES shared some of her painful assumptions and beliefs that she’d had about herself and relationships and takes you through the shift in her thinking – this is RES having an honest conversation with herself so that she can have a better relationship both with others and herself – being authentic in authentic relationships.

At the start of her journey, where she was reeling from the hurt of spending the previous 7 years (5 years with an assclown and 2 years with a Mr Unavailable) in dubious relationships, her assumptions and beliefs were (I’ve bracketed my comments]:

1. Relationships are painful. They always end, and there is always pain. I go into relationships waiting/expecting them to end. I wait/expect pain. [This belief ensures you choose partners that reflect this belief – neither of you is heavily invested even if you think you are. Having no faith in relationships is effectively starting out with a heavy level of distrust.]

2. I don’t ask questions because I am afraid that the answers will be too painful. [This doesn’t change the facts plus when we fail to ask questions, we make assumptions and see meaning where there is no meaning – we make it up as we go along.]

3. I need to be validated by others to be happy with myself. [This means you can’t trust your own judgement or be happy in your own skin by yourself.]

4. When people you love hurt you, you forgive them and love them anyway. [Boundaries are required in your relationships especially if you are loving unconditionally without basis and without love for yourself.]

5. I want him because seeking validation from emotionally unavailable men is normal. I loved my grandfather. I wanted him to be happy with me; to be proud of me. He was incapable to giving me what I needed. My father, for the years he was alive was aloof/involved in his work. He was busy and dealing with his own cancer. He didn’t validate me either. [Recreating a familiar pattern and hoping to squash the pain of old hurts by righting the wrongs of your past with your relationships and then inadvertently creating more pain.]

6. If I love him enough then he will validate me. I would conquer my need and defeat it. But is this really true? [No. By the time you’re done trying to get validation, you have even more insecurities than you started out with.]

7. I loved my grandfather. I loved him very much. I still do. I wanted both my grandfather and my father to love me. To show me they loved me. To tell me that I was loved. They didn’t. They couldn’t. I need “Mr. Unavailable” to validate me. This is what loving someone is supposed to be like. This is how relationships work. You love, and wait and hope for love in return. Relationships are about waiting for validation. ‘Holding out’ for love. This is normal for me. [Recognition of the pattern]

As RES worked her way through her assumptions and decided to challenge them, she said to herself:

“Ask yourself, why does anyone need to validate you? I forgave my father, and my grandfather. That’s a start, but it is just a start. What is required now is that I give to myself what I’ve sought from emotionally unavailable men.”

In shifting her mindset by deciding to let go of the hurt she felt about her father and grandfather and instead focus on what she can deal with now and nurturing herself, she accepted some painful truths about her own part in her relationships, which let her get real, and she used them to shift her mindset and create new beliefs:

1. I’m romanticizing something that was making me very uncomfortable and that wasn’t fulfilling on many levels. [It’s important to look at the bigger picture and not just the pockets of ‘good times’. It’s also important to look at what aspects are being fulfilled versus what’s not.]

2. If I’d felt that he was investing in a relationship, I would have been more open to/with him. He didn’t, so I clammed up. That can only last for so long. [It’s also recognising that often the signal to be interested and to try harder for validation comes from knowing they’re not investing and trying to get them to.]

3. However, I knew his history, and I chose to discount/ignore it. [History is very indicative, especially when they’re still maintaining similar behaviour.]

4. I wasn’t comfortable, and I wasn’t happy.

5. I was attracted to him. I had chemistry with him. But I was not comfortable. [It’s important to acknowledge the difference – sometimes we’re attracted to things that don’t actually feel good because they fit our pattern.]

6. He is the center of his world, and that will not change. [Me, me, me, it’s all about me – people like this don’t empathise or consider the impact of their actions. You’re fighting for head space.]

7. I was always second guessing myself because I was never emotionally secure in this relationship. I had to explain and excuse why he wasn’t investing in the relationship. [Never make excuses for someone else’s lack of investment – you’ll create excuses to continue investing]

8. If I’d ‘won’ him over, it couldn’t have lasted. [Recognising that the prize isn’t actually a prize]

9. I have to ask myself why I would continue to want to be in relationship with someone who did not make me a priority. [Being in a relationship requires you to make one another a priority]

10. I am mourning a relationship that didn’t exist. [Permission to let go]

11. Dating a man is not the same thing as having a relationship with one. [Major reality check – these guys can have you feel like you’re permanently dating]

12. Relationships shouldn’t be painful. They shouldn’t be one-sided. I deserve to be loved for who I am.

13. I am beautiful regardless of my age. I am beautiful at every age.

14. I will validate me.

15. I am not perfect. I am human. There are flaws. But overall, I am a decent, compassionate, caring person who is worthy of being loved for who I am.

Your thoughts? Can you see the importance of addressing your core beliefs and tying them into your pattern of relationships?

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites