Over the past few days I’ve been pondering the whole subject of ‘unhooking’ yourself from the ‘hooks’, the stories you tell yourself about why you’re with someone, why you can’t let go of them, and even, why you miss them. As I explained,  we combine the hooks with the act of ‘picturing’ which is where you “take pieces of information that you hear or see (hooks), make assumptions about the person and correlate it to the rest of them, and as a result of this information and the resulting assumptions, adjust your picture of the potential of the relationship.It is the combination of hooks and picturing that we derive the potential for the relationship from.

I wanted to follow up these couple of posts and talk about ‘unhooking’ yourself and wrote oodles of stuff but still came back to wanting to find the simplest way possible to discuss it. Every day, here and on Facebook and on Twitter I hear from people who are holding onto illusions whether they’re in the relationship or out of it and often they know they are and yet…they’re still attached to these hooks.

When I was thinking about it on the Very Long Car Journey today (my baby niece got christened), I thought about hooks that I’ve had in previous relationships and the comments on the recent posts and I realised it was important to acknowledge something very important about hooks, picturing, and potential:

Some of the hooks are ‘true’ as in whatever it is does exist, you do or have experienced it, or the person is whatever it is that you think they are, and then some of the hooks are assumed or invented and this will have happened when you were picturing.

Even some of the ‘true’ hooks may be exaggerated or overweighted, as in you place a distorted amount of importance on them, almost compensating for the fact that in reality, there isn’t enough substance.

You also have to allow for the fact that many women in particular, are very good at taking crumbs, putting them through the low self-esteem oven, applying some rose tinted glasses, doing some picturing, and having an overblown loaf come out the other side.

For some of us, just getting the feeling of a relationship, some attention, some sex, basking in their status is enough to make us feel on top of the world. If you’ve been in the desert and not eaten for ages and someone offers you a cracker, it’ll feel like a five star meal…but it’s not. You can keep eating the crackers and seeing the mirage of a five star meal, but it wouldn’t change the fact that ultimately it’s a cracker. A crumb or crumbs are still crumbs.

Part of the reason why you’re still hooked on the hooks is that they’re a mix of fact and fiction and the two have become blurred – you don’t know where some things start and others begin.

You’re struggling to let go because even if it is flimsy, there is some truth in there…you just don’t know what it is. Just because there are grains of truth in something though, doesn’t make it actually true. You stick around because you hope that how you see things will reveal itself if you just wait around long enough. The pain that you experience is reality piercing the denial bubble. An example of how this happens:

When you experience an issue in the relationship, you try to solve real problems such as the fact that the relationship is not working, using assumptions that are tied to assumptions you’ve already made about qualities, characteristics, and values they possess.

This means that if you’re thinking about how to deal with the situation, when you think about how you think they should or will deal with it and how you will deal with it, you do this based on assumptions you’ve made about them and then formulate your response accordingly.

When you’re engaging with them and you try to get them to understand your point of view or to do whatever it is that you expect, still keeping with the assumptions means that it becomes a bit like you’re speaking Chinese and they’re speaking French and also at times it will seem like you’re talking about an entirely different person and entirely different relationship. You then feel frustrated, hurt, and confused. It’s getting conscious and reconciling the picture of how you see things with the actuality.

To start unhooking yourself you need to accept this:

You’re having a ‘relationship’, not with the person, but with the image of the relationship that you would like to have. You’re not relating to the person because if you were, you would realise that there is a disconnect between your perception of things and how things really are.

Healthy relationships with a chance of progressing require the two parties to relate to each other. When there are illusions and you’re focused on the ‘good points’ or on insubstantial stuff to the exclusion of seeing the bigger picture, it means that you’re actually relating with the images of the relationship and that person, not the actual person.

You can’t save a relationship if you’re not even trying to save a relationship that exists.

You can’t hold onto someone if you’re not even trying to hold onto a person that exists.

It’s not as easy as telling yourself that your relationship was a falsehood – you did experience something but you need to get real about what that something was and see what you’re left with. At least if you’re going to stay or work at a relationship, make sure you’re being real about it because otherwise you’re wasting time.

Take the relationship out of your head and put it down on paper. List all of the reasons why you love this person, why you want them, why you stay/stayed, why even if they’re gone you can’t let go of them and go through them one by one and ask yourself what is true, exaggerated, non-existent, or over-weighted. Remove what is untrue, reassess and re-describe anything that is exaggerated and overweighted, and acknowledge what you haven’t got out of the relationship. What did you think would happen (potential) in the relationship? What has actually happened and what is the difference between the two? The reality of your relationship – can you work with this?

How did you/do you want to feel in the relationship? These feelings are they based on them or on the image of the type of relationship you’d like to have?

It’s also good to compare the person with the positive and negative characteristics and qualities of people like your parents – you may be trying to recreate feelings with partners based on old patterns with them.

At the end of the day, whatever you have left, did you have a relationship with mutual love, care, trust, and respect with shared values and boundaries? If not, whatever is holding you there is a major sign that you may be focusing on very insubstantial things to the exclusion of what is needed for a healthy, sustainable relationship.

People have said to me: But what if the hook is true or is a value? For a start, it depends on what the hook is. Anything can be true but it doesn’t make it right for your relationship. Telling me it’s true he was a great lay, very important, kind to animals, wanted to get married is all well and good but if he was a great lay, very important, not that kind to you, and didn’t actually want to get married, there’s just no point in talking about it. They’re overvalued.

For me, unhooking myself was initially a daily act in denying myself the act of bullsh*tting me. Bad enough that someone else would lie to me, but to grieve the loss of my relationship so that I could move on, I made sure I had an honest conversation with myself and went on a bullsh*t diet.

It was tough at first, but every time I got nostalgic and felt the pull of the ‘experiences’ and ‘feelings’ that I had images of, I replaced them with a reality image. I didn’t just let myself run riot and get hijacked by my imagination – be accountable for everything that you think or imagine about this person and force yourself to see them and the relationship as they are. You deserve it…and so do they. If unhooking yourself means letting go of them and the relationship because the reality cannot work for you, at least you’re free to get into a real relationship rather than clutching at the straws of insubstantial hooks.

Your thoughts?

Check out my ebook on emotionally unavailable men and the women that love them, Mr Unavailable & The Fallback Girl as well as the No Contact Rule and more in my bookshop..

FavoriteLoadingAdd to favorites