Pessimism and Relationships
“There’s Nobody Out There for Me!”
Many with whom I work struggle with unhappy intimate partnerships. Sometimes I am called upon to help them navigate through the tougher spots. My clients do hard work and are quite courageous in facing what they need to face. But it’s challenging for sure.
Sometimes my clients become jaded and pessimistic. They claim to find themselves time and time again in the same unhappy place, having “settled” for a partner who isn’t meeting their needs. Usually, by this point, they are quite frustrated, and some express the belief that there are “no good guys” or “no good women” out there anymore.
I sympathize with those who find themselves repeatedly in sub-optimal partnerships. Were I in their shoes, I could imagine that I might be a little frustrated and negative on the whole “relationships” thing myself.
The thing is, it’s just not true, the thing about there being “no good guys” or “no good women.” I know scores of people of good character who would be awesome as life partners. And they are available!
So, I don’t think it’s a lack of supply. I think it’s a lack of demand.
“But I Really Do Want a Good Guy/Lady!”
The tricky part is this. We all are the product of our past, which – for most (all?) of us – contains wounding. People hurt us, and we carry that in our minds and bodies. Too often we act out of these wounds and look for people who will help us live in the story that’s the most familiar to us. You know the one; the comfortable story. The story that we may not even realize we are living out. We were told as kids to be seen but not heard; we learned that what we had to say wasn’t valuable. We wanted to cry when we were sad, but they told us to “Stop crying, or I’ll give you something to cry about”; so we learned to ignore our feelings, even when we knew they were right. We were told to just “get over” our hurts, but nobody told us how, or made it safe to do so. We became afraid, turned inwards, and learned that all this was apparently “normal.”
Let me say clearly that it is not. It is not normal at all. This is called dysfunction, and it thrusts us into unhealthy patterns of living. It also quietly, sneakily urges us to choose unhealthy life partners, people who will continue the pattern of pain. This is called “Trauma Bonding,” and it is the basis of (far too) many relationships today.
So, we think we want a “good person” as a partner, but the truth is that, were we to find them, we would run, because they wouldn’t allow us to live in that old, familiar story. And we don’t even know we’re doing this. It all happens at the subconscious level. It’s based on what we’re used to, what we know. If we don’t know better, we can’t do better.
And so, what we (unbeknownst to us) “demand” is not a “good guy/woman,” we demand dysfunction. And we are so confused when it shows up, because we’re convinced that it wasn’t actually what we wanted.
“How do I Break Out of the Pattern?”
With time and work. Personal work. And it’s different for each of us, because we all bring a different set of issues to the table.
I can say this, however; the work begins with a move out of denial. Denial says “There’s no problem here!” Furthermore, it declares “The problem is them, not me!” And this interpretation of course makes sense, because, after all, it was they who treated us poorly, right? So you may think you’re not complicit. But, if you’re honest with yourself, ask yourself; did I allow them to treat me that way? Could I have shut it down? How much did you tolerate that you really could have just put a stop to, and said “No way, it stops here! We’re not going to do this anymore.”
It comes with discovering your value (and I can tell you that you have a TON of it!). Then, when you can see your worth, you’ll protect the valuable asset that’s you. You’ll do this by creating boundaries that will ensure only those who can see your value are allowed in.
I believe that the universe responds to what we intend. We attract what we intend, and we show our intentions by how we act. If you start acting in a way that shows you’re not going to “just settle” this time, then the universe will respond to that. Then you will be demanding someone worthy of you!
So, pessimism about relationships makes sense if we aren’t committed to changing our patterns. But if we are committed to the process, then we can become optimistic that there is someone out there who will value us for who we are. And, on the off chance there isn’t someone (yet?), we will understand that we are too worthy to just settle for anyone. We will be content being alone until Mr. or Mrs. “Right” shows up!
Who am I?
My name is Mike MacKinnon, and I am a Life Coach in Mississauga, Ontario. I offer in-person and online coaching services. Whether we meet for unstructured sessions, or if we work through my “10 Weeks to a New You” program, I am well-equipped to help you explore answers to life’s challenges. Maybe you struggle with relationships, or maybe something completely unrelated. Alternately you may have something positive happening in your life that you would like some perspective on. Whatever it is, if you think I can help, I invite you to reach out. Call/text at 647-677-6025, or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you!