Are you living your best life? Or are you loving the same, not-good-for-you people over and over? Then why crawl when you were born to fly?
Our relations with other people depend on a whole host of things. How we are brought up is just one of many examples. Often times, especially when we are teens and or young adults, we aren’t very good at seeing the red flags. Similarly, I’m certain that many of us don’t see the green ones either.
Sure, there are those who are more perceptive than others, but often, “knowing what we want” has to be learned. And like anything else we learn, there are bound to be some growing pains. Worst still, are the horrendously painful lessons.
Like enduring an abusive relationship, for instance. While they are tremendously difficult to get out of, they can be of value. Especially down the road. Unfortunately, however, many who suffer trauma as a result, have tremendous trust issues to overcome. And that makes sense – and that’s why it’s hard to leave.
Trust issues can be deep-rooted
Some can trace their distrust all the way back to childhood. Say they experience physical or emotional abuse at the hands of an adult they trusted. What are the consequences of that into adulthood? Well, at such a formative age, abuse can become all one knows, so many end up perpetually self-destructing.
One may often run from one abuser to another, not trusting in themselves to break free from “the same person.” Fundamentally however, it’s not the person you are dating, it’s the abuse you come to know as, you.
Have you ever said to yourself, “I always seem to end up with the same person, no matter how hard I try?” Well, there may be good reason for that. And it’s because you are dating the same person in a sense. We call it a cycle and you’re not to blame. While you may not be to blame, I have a saying. It is “while you may not be to blame for your trauma, you have no excuse not to try and make your life better.”
The good news, however, is that if you’re one who finds themselves in this cycle, you can use it to your advantage.
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Say you end up with the same ole abusive type. Write out all the past relationships you’ve had and write out their similarities. See if a pattern emerges. If so, it can show you want not to do. Please, don’t look at it as you’re constantly failing, rather; understand that you lack the tools you need to break the chain.
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For example, abuse would count as physical/emotional abuse (yelling, silent treatment, guilt trips). When you lump these together, you can then start to see a pattern of “the wrong, same-type person”.
Below is a sample of how to write it out.
Is it my abuse/trust issues fueling my choices in the same relationships over and over?
What can I do about it?
- Write out your relationship abused history. (physical/emotional abuse yelling, silent treatment, guilt trips). from every person you’ve dated.
- Try to recall your reaction to them (anger, defensiveness, fear, crying). this can help gauge your how happy and fulfilled you were while in these relationships.
- Were/are your physical and emotional needs being met?
- Try to figure out whether you were mostly happy, somewhat happy, or sadder and angry in present/past relations. Hardly happy, mostly sad and angry, is there a pattern within my own life choices?
- Are your other relationships met with similar challenges? I.e., Friendships, controversy with co-workers, and feeling like you’re being constantly criticized by your boss for simply doing their job
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- If you do find that you are indeed in this cycle, the first thing is to seek out a good therapist.
- Second, you’re not to blame, you didn’t realize that your behaviour was maladaptive, therefore, all you can do is change it. You have discovered a pathway for a better you! It’s to be celebrated!
- Getting into therapy with a mental health professional can help you discover your worth and give you tools to minimize the undesirable behaviour.
- Take risk – practice what you learn in therapy. It’s uncomfortable and it’s hard, but the payoff is life-changing.
- A qualified relationship coach may be helpful to help steer you towards healthier people.
- Remember, you deserve a healthy kinship that meets your needs. You absolutely can have what it is you need.
- Reinvent yourself. In a state where we have expected little, we often don’t take care of ourselves. But now’s the time! Your happiness comes first, so define who you are on your terms. Are you super creative, but the relations you’ve been in made your passion seem stupid? Again, now’s the time to give yourself permission to create. Often, we are that little boy or girl or teen that we were yelled at for being so eager to take things apart, paint or draw, sing to the ceiling. Whatever gives birth to the “real” you!
- While it can be majorly difficult to do, setting boundaries, it’s important. Equally important is learning to set boundaries with yourself. Starting to see the same behaviours in a potential new partner? Say “Stop!” and ask yourself, “Is this person good for me?” If the answer is no, then it’s time to let go. We need to remember that trauma and distrust can also build into people pleasers. After all, we just want them to stop yelling or devaluing our opinions. I want you to know that your passions, your goals, and how you feel, it all matters.
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Finally, if you feel like you were a person running around in the wrong-sized shoes all your life, you probably are. You need to set your feet (yourself) free! Its okay to purge yourself of your old life, shed your skin, if you will. In other words, why crawl when you were born to fly? All you need is to find your way!
It’s not the person you are dating, it’s the abuse you come to know as, you.Jonathan Arenburg
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