Why sound like you’re offering me a choice, when you’re going to do what you want anyway?
Standards, boundaries, rules…whatever we wanna call them. Ever notice when we are trying to uphold some new ways of being, allowing and saying okay to certain things, that a backlash occurs?
Our relationships where we’ve been a doormat, accommodating or not having a strong sense of sticking to what feels good to us, all of a sudden are put to the test.
We have someone who wants us to do it their way, for their good, but try to dress it up, as though there is a choice in there for us, when there’s none!
It happens. This person is used to getting their way, once we have shown some vulnerability. Let’s say Joe Shmoe (or Julie Shmoe) has turned up on our doorstep. They pledge their undying love, saying things will be different and proposing a future filled with candy hearts and chocolate boxes! We still have feelings for this person, we’re hearing words we wanted to for so long, but we look to the past, when it was more like we received an empty box of chocolates. We look to how we’ve grown, we’ve set some standards in our life and we’re really starting to embrace them. There’s some self-esteem, some confidence, some self-love and all sorts of other self-caring goodies there….and it is all at risk.
Risk is good when it is related to taking a chance on being open, vulnerable, changing the stale status quo, etc. But what about when it comes to something that has been a proven disaster, which has more than likely not changed?
If this Joe or Julie, shows up in the same way–pleading their undying love that they have 20 other times in the past, do we really think, anything besides their words have changed? And if they have changed, how do we proceed? It’s a tough one, but if we look at the giving and receiving part of the past….how much of a flow was it? How many blockades stood in the way? So, when the puppy dog eyes are offering a new proposal…and we cave in, saying, “Okay, I feel the same way too.” What happens next? If Joe or Julie are the same, we can be assured that they’ll now not be in fear of losing us….no. They’re back in the driver’s seat. And when we approach them to discuss how things will proceed, they can sound like we have a choice, but in actuality we don’t. They are still doing what they want anyway, which means running over our boundaries and having a relationship based solely on their terms. All the work we have put in, we can see it being overtaken by anxiety. We don’t know what to do, but depending on how strongly we feel about how we want our life to look, we will try to hang onto our self-respect and please this runaway partner. I speak to both men and women who experience partners such as this in their lives. It’s a hit and run, once they know they have us back where they want us, they bring out the big guns and aim it at us, knowing in the past they would get it their way.
The key in a situation where we are threatened with losing our esteem for ourselves, is to take a step back.
Stop all action, all momentum, all words and go within.
Spend as much time as is necessary there.
Getting clear on how our lives look, what we truly want and may feel we don’t deserve (a really great relationship with someone who respects our boundaries in a positive and loving way) is pivotal to understanding why we lose our power to this person who wants to give us no choice. We can love someone, but we don’t have to make a choice to lose ourselves. We don’t have to give up on us, to not be alone or to keep someone around who can’t give us what we need. We can maintain and observe. We can watch and learn. When we feel educated enough, we can make a decision, which feels right, “to us.”