Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 24 The Relationship Bank

October 15, 2017

By Paula O’Sullivan

Relationship Bank

Photo courtesy of pexels.com

I wish I’d been aware of the concept of a relationship bank account in my early years of relationships, it would have saved everyone concerned so much pain.

It was after reading Steven Covey’s book, ‘The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People’ that I raised my awareness. I had been accused on many occasions over the years of ‘keeping score’, but in all honesty, I could see that things weren’t balanced. I was giving way more in my relationships and feeling more than a tad resentful. But there isn’t any blame in my mind now, I see that I didn’t have the confidence or the sense of worthiness to actually ask for what I wanted. I was caught up in my childhood conditioning of how I thought things were meant to be, based on the ways I saw relationships playing out around me. See my article ‘It’s a Generational Thing – Part 20’.

Healthy relationships aim to meet each other’s needs. If you consider the concept of ‘Evolve or Die’, all things must continue to grow, or they die. Ideas evolve or grow into plans and actions, or else they die as unfulfilled wishes. In the same way, relationships and friendships evolve with the building of trust, honesty, communication, clear expectations, integrity, little kindnesses, courtesies, and sincerity. A healthy relationship is about giving and receiving. If we don’t have these little things, we can develop anger, resentment, bitterness, mistrust and conflict. We must put more deposits into the relationship bank to enable it to flourish, and aim to make fewer withdrawals. If you’re wondering why you would bother, then ask yourself why you are staying in that relationship to begin with. Check out my article called ‘Meeting Your Unmet Needs – Part 22’.

So how do we make a deposit? How do we make our relationships better and happier? How do we evolve?

Understanding

It’s really essential that we try to understand the other person’s point of view. Most of us are trying to get our view understood first. We are all reacting based on our own experiences, which may be different from another person’s. If we ask questions to find out how the other person feels, we will maybe understand their perspective and perhaps see how our actions may or may not have contributed. Most of us have a basic need to be listened to, to feel that what we are expressing is valid. You’ll make a serious withdrawal if you invalidate what someone says they are feeling, because it’s real for them. Sometimes we have subconscious scripts playing in our minds based on how unworthy we feel etc. and this can colour our perceptions, but if you want your relationship to blossom, it’s worth taking the time to listen to each other and try to understand where they might be coming from.

Expectations

Most of our thoughts and feelings of hurt and frustration happen when someone’s behaviour doesn’t meet our expectations. The most difficult thing for most of us, is to actually ask the other person what they expect from us, and to tell them what we expect from them. We prefer to mind read instead – it’s much less confrontational – there’s much less chance of being rejected! But this can drive you batshit crazy, because you start making up a lot of stories in your head, which may not be the full truth of the situation at all! When expectations aren’t met, people fall out, become distant, argue a lot and sometimes have affairs and or leave.

Here’s a rather open-minded question based on a perspective I reached from my own personal experiences with this. If you’re not meeting someone’s needs and they have an affair, who’s cheating who? Just something to ponder on.

Keeping your promises

Do what you say you will do. Say what you mean, and mean what you say, if you want to keep a healthy relationship balance. This will build trust, and trust is hugely important. It’s also very imperative that you keep your promises to yourself also, otherwise, you’ll probably spend the rest of your life mentally beating yourself up, and metaphysically you’ll start attracting those people who will emotionally abuse you. I know, because this is what happened to me until I changed things.

Appreciation

Mutual appreciation, admiration and gratitude are real relationship builders. It’s the little daily genuine compliments, concern, kindnesses, courtesies, the wanting the very best for the other, that creates a healthy relationship balance.

 Honesty

Admit and apologize sincerely when you fuck up. We all do it at some stage, we’re busy, we’re careless, we have our pride, we don’t ask for what we want. If you break the trust you have between you, it’s like smashing a plate and glueing it back together. The cracks will still be there, you’ve weakened your relationship, and you’ve made a withdrawal. If you were depositing regularly your relationship might survive this, if you weren’t, it may not.

Part 25 – Victim or Victor – Dropping the Stories.

Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Life Coach / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com

 

 

 

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Climbing Out of the Abyss – Part 22

June 29, 2017

Meeting Your Unmet Needs

By Paula O’Sullivan

Needs

Photo courtesy of http://www.pexels.com

‘We’re only as needy, as our unmet needs’ –John Bowlby (Quote)

Identifying the difference between our needs and our wants, can be the beginning of a very beautiful friendship, with ourselves and others.

Most of us have some very basic common needs, including the need to be loved, accepted, respected, touched, seen, connected, and heard, to feel safe and to feel special.

What happens to us if these basic needs have not been met, either in our early childhood experiences or later on as life progresses?

Well, we’ll go looking to get them met. Everyone you meet, is trying to get their needs met, in some way, shape or form. Knowing this can help us to understand others better. But what about ourselves?

If we don’t know exactly what our needs are, then we might get addicted to something, or find ourselves repeatedly experiencing relationships or situations that cause us deeper pain, in an attempt to cover up our distress or unease. We’ll feel we need to have ‘something’ in our lives to compensate for the loss we feel inside, at not getting our needs met. This can also trigger a deep depression, disconnection and feelings of abandonment and un-worthiness.

And there’s no guarantee that even if you can identify your needs, that someone or something else will actually satisfy that for you. It’s a huge burden to put on someone to expect them to meet all your needs. And even with alcohol, drugs, sex, pornography etc. You’ll still feel the void after the bottle is empty, the high has subsided, the sex is over, the movies or pictures cease to stimulate you. You’ll have to constantly ‘Chase the Dragon, as they say, for your next high. And in between those highs, it can get very low indeed.

If you don’t find out what you really want, and learn to ask for it in a healthy way, you’ll end up attracting others who also share some similar unmet needs. Yes I know, you’re probably thinking, now wouldn’t that be nice, but I can tell you, it can get real dysfunctional!

What’s the difference between a need and a want then?

A ‘Need’ is something you feel you have to have (or you’ll die)

A ‘Want’ is something you would like to have (you won’t die if you don’t get it)

Psychologically, not feeling loved, can make us die a little inside. In some cases where babies weren’t touched or stroked in the early days, they actually died. Those that didn’t die, grew up pre- disposed to depression, anxiety, violence, addictions etc. and were averse to feeling love or being touched. (Psychology experts will tell you that if you didn’t bond with someone in childhood, that you won’t be able to bond with anyone later on, but you can change this, it wasn’t easy, but I did!) So in a way these things are needs for our healthy functioning, and for our soul too.

But what if, in all the searching, what if in all the wrong relationships, you still didn’t meet anyone who really loved you, cared for you, heard you etc.? What then?

Like I said, most people find ways to cope, to compensate, and that’s ok, we’re all doing the best we can to keep surviving, but if all this is causing you mental and emotional pain, I’d like to tell you, it doesn’t have to be that way.

We cannot change anything until we become aware of it. So we need to ask ourselves what do we want, and what do we need, for to create a healthy balance in our lives? And then we need to find the courage to begin asking for that.

More importantly though, because as I said you may not get what you ask for, is to learn how to meet some of your own needs.

No this isn’t an easy task, there’s no quick fix, it’s a process, which needs to be practiced and tested out over periods of time.

You may have to explore issues like your Self Esteem (part 7) or your Core Beliefs (part 13) or being Addicted (part 19) among others.

In my early childhood, I didn’t feel loved, accepted, respected, heard, touched, seen or connected. I had very low self- esteem and a general feeling of unworthiness. This affected my whole life up until I was 44! It affected my career choices and my relationships.

The need to be loved kept me tied to many mental, emotional and physically abusive situations. I survived them, but my soul suffered from all of this. I never found love in those relationships. I found sex, which I thought was love, but it wasn’t, and it certainly wasn’t a good enough reason for me to stay so long with those experiences, but hey, that’s what expecting others to meet your unmet needs can do for you.

When I was 44, I began an amazing journey into meeting my own needs, and that has changed everything for me.

It began with learning to actually LOVE MYSELF. That meant dealing with the negative Self Talk (part 5). It began with recognizing that I just wanted people to be nice to me, because I’m actually a nice person, and more importantly, I needed ME to be nice to ME!

Once this process started, I began to ask myself better questions.

  • If I loved myself, what would be different? How would I talk to myself if I loved myself? What kind of friends or relationships would I tolerate if I loved myself? (I’ve distanced myself from people who are just plain unaware, if they’re not honouring and respecting themselves, they are not going to be able to honour and respect me. If they are destroying themselves, they’re not going to be in a position to celebrate my blossoming, now are they?)
  • What way would I treat my body if I loved myself? (I stopped drinking alcohol, I chose my foods more carefully, I rest when I need to rest, I meditate and exercise daily) If no one wanted to listen to me, how could I get my voice or thoughts heard? (I started to journal, then blog, then that turned into a book, now I’ve several books in the making, there’s always someone out there who might be interested in what you’ve learnt)
  • How could I meet my own sexual needs in a safe way? (Ha, ha, use your imagination for that one!) How could I experience touch? (I got massages and Reiki and began to feel more comfortable with hugging, free hug anyone?)
  • How could I feel more connected? (Spiritual practices of meditation, mindfulness (part 6) and reading inspirational books, helped me see that I am already connected to everything, it was only my thoughts and feelings that made me think otherwise)
  • How could I feel seen? (I started making videos! I started to put myself out there to help people also)
  • How could I feel respected? (Once I started to respect myself, I found I attracted more people who did respect me, and could easily distance myself from those who don’t, what they think of me doesn’t matter, I know my worth now !)
  • How could I feel safe? (By not allowing my needs to override my wants and get me into potentially dangerous situations, which they did in the past!)

This began the most loving relationship I’ve ever had! I’m 100% there for me. I buy myself flowers and gifts. I don’t criticize myself anymore, I know I’m doing the best I can in any moment. I do review my performance at the end of each day, I do seek to improve myself as I deem necessary. I’m in the process of honouring my higher ideals. I love, accept and respect myself, enough to walk away from anyone or anything that is not honouring my higher ideals. This hasn’t been easy, because I’m human, and I keep getting tested, I’m not fully there yet, I’m not even sure there is a ‘there’ to get to, but hey I’m in a process ! I’ve identified my essential needs, and I’ve also divided some of those into wants. I’m not needy now. I won’t accept any old kind of relationship anymore. I might want intimacy, and companionship but I’m happy with myself, I don’t need it, there’s a difference, I can be more choosy now. There’s great freedom in that!

Part 23 – Divided Mind – Taming the Ego

Paula is an Author / Hypnotherapist / Reiki Healer / Life Coach / Artist / Photographer, in Blessington Co. Wicklow. www.i-want-a-better-life.ie / paulaosullivan1@gmail.com / Phone 086 0848398 All her articles to date are on her blog www.paulaosullivan@wordpress.com

 


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