When we don’t get our needs met in our love relationships we can act out and even sabotage our union without meaning to.
I’ve heard this story all too often in my office. Strong, successful women unraveling amidst an emotional conflict with their partner and then when the dust settles, to add ‘insult to injury’, they end up feeling horrible about themselves and focusing on that.
Can you relate to this? I used to fall into this pattern alot!
Even the most conscious and evolved woman can fall into this pattern. It’s like she is potent, powerful and capable in all areas of her life. But when it comes to her intimate relationship, she feels like she turns into a different person during a conflict and can’t recognize herself because her behaviour with her man doesn’t match who she knows herself to be.
She secretly loathes herself for resorting to name-calling, yelling, demanding, manipulating, threatening, using control tactics or giving him the cold shoulder while expecting him to read her mind.
Of course, none of these tactics actually work. So she either amps up the voltage to reinforce them or she blames herself and turns up the volume on her negative SELF talk.
Then, the more he pushes away from her ‘overly emotional’ behaviour, the more she panics and the more controlling she becomes and thus the vicious cycle expands.
Deep down, she doesn’t feel good about herself because of the way she’s acted, and what she’s said and done.
Afterall, she does love the guy.
Over time, she loses more of herself and questions the strength of the relationship: “Should I stay? Should I go?” It’s all coming apart at the seams.
When she’s in her neutral power zone, she tells herself she will never go there with him again. She even believes it because she’s feeling grounded again and, when she’s in this state, she can’t imagine losing it again. But she isn’t addressing the real problem, so the cycle just repeats over and over, again and again.
This is the downward spiral I see so many talented women I work with succumb to.
Secretly she’s hiding this ‘shameful’ part of herself. It’s her own self talk that’s labeled it this way. Secretly she’s carrying a very heavy burden. Hiding is a heavy energy.
She knows those ‘strategies’ don’t work and they just create more disconnection but she can’t stop the momentum once her buttons get pushed.
Can you relate? Haven’t we all done this at some point? Does this mean we are crazy? That there is something wrong with us?
This is one of the most misunderstood aspects of relationship dynamics and of being human. What’s happening deep down in situations like this is that our
emotional needs are not being met and we are being triggered. Emotional needs are like what food & water is to our physical bodies– sustenance.
We take care of our physical needs, financial needs, spiritual needs but our emotional needs OFTEN get swept under the table and not given proper care.
Here’s the thing: projecting, acting out, hiding, personalizing, magnifying, and overgeneralizing… are all ways that our inner wounded little girl is showing us that we are hurt.
It’s crucial to understand this. To NOT make ourselves the brunt of our own negative backlash because that doesn’t solve the problem and only causes more separation within the relationship anyway. Then you’re left with a broken relationship and a broken self! Who needs that??? Says no one!
Here’s the other thing. Not getting our emotional needs met can be just as damaging as not getting our physical needs met. Couples wait an average of six years to get help. By then there is always a huge buildup of unmet needs that create A LOT of pain to sift through.
There are two parts to this equation. One is to determine whether the need is masking an unhealed wound, and the other part is to examine HOW we are asking for those needs to be met.
We are not ‘needy’ because we have needs. We can act needy when we ASK for those needs to be met in a negative & unhealthy way. And we are hurt because we are being triggered by past memories when those same needs were not met back then.
An example of a client of mine who needs her partner to reassure her constantly that she is a priority to him. She finds all kinds of overt and covert ways of ‘asking’ him to show this to her. Outwardly, it may seem like she is ‘clingy’ but what’s actually going on deep down is that she has developed an anxious attachment style due to feeling abandonment as a child and this unhealed wound from her past keeps popping back up.
She’s desperately trying to control the experience of ‘feeling abandoned’ so it never happens again without realizing the pressure and tension that is being created and how it’s suffocating & unconsciously sabotaging her relationship.
When we own what happened in OUR past and heal the wounds that we bring to the relationship from OUR past, we lighten up the pressure on our relationship. We create space for more aliveness, for more love to flow and …wait for it…getting our real needs met.
This client had the courage to do the deep dive to address this. So, her gnarly, old, desperate need has turned into a more healthy request. That energy is vastly different from the constant demand for reassurance that she previously required from her partner.
Doing a deep dive and healing our emotional wounds while learning healthy ways to get our needs met is what I work on with all my clients.
Separation only creates more separation when left unchecked. Physical separation is not the only damaging kind. Emotional separation can often feel even worse and trigger a survival mechanism in our brains. All the brain knows is that ‘we are in danger’. The danger signal means that our ‘reasoning’ gets put on the back burner and we go into fight, flight, or freeze mode.
The sad outcome is that we are not only separating from our partner but we are also separating from our highest self.
And without looking into the deeper cause behind the outburst, we are just keeping this negative spiral alive, damaging not only our relationship but our self-esteem.
Pressure creates tension. Self-assuredness creates connection, trust, and emotional safety.
My NEW 6 week program, Live your Best Love is designed to deepen your relationship with your partner starting with healing & deepening your relationship with yourself.
If you recognize that this area of your life needs some attention and you don’t know where or how to begin, and you’d like to show up more secure in your relationship, DM me and we can see if you’re a good fit for the program.