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How to Sabotage Your Relationships by Not Owning Your Stuff

If you’re wondering why your relationships often go awry or seem more difficult than they should be, perhaps it’s time to consider your role.  “I have a role?” you ask.  Yes, you just might.  The baggage you’ve been carrying could be weighing you AND your relationships down.

There are many ways that your stuff can get in the way of how you relate to people.  What is your narrative about yourself and how others will treat you?  Your value?  This story plays out as an underlying belief system in which you filter how you see the world.  You might be unconsciously scanning your environment for evidence to support your story.  What if your story is inaccurate?

Here are some possible ways you might be sabotaging your relationships by not owning your stuff:

  • You have rigid expectations of how others are with with you and can be easily disappointed, leading you to cut off from people –>
    • Underlying Belief:  People will let me down.
  • You are a people pleaser to avoid conflict but you carry resentment for doing more than your share or being taken advantage of –>
    • Underlying Belief:  People will reject or abandon me unless I make them happy.
  • You struggle to let intimate partners in too close to you yet desperately want connection. –>
    • Underlying Belief:  I am unlovable …or… Intimate relationships can’t be trusted.
  • There is a big difference between how your portray yourself to others and how you feel.  –>
    • Underlying Belief:  I am not ok…or…There is something wrong with me.

Belief systems such as the ones above can develop from painful experiences or messages received from the important people in your life about connection, love, safety and your value.  This can reflect itself in unhealthy relationship patterns.  You might even be attracting partners who reinforce your negative story!

If you’ve never worked through your painful experiences, you can inadvertently sabotage your relationships with your narrative.  You might ASSUME that things happen a certain way and these expectations can either make it be so (self fulfilling prophecy) or make it hard to believe someone’s intentions.  This can also ultimately lead to a self fulfilling prophecy when the partner who never gains trust finally leaves because it’s too painful to stay!

If you take ownership of your wounds and the strategies in which you developed to defend against further pain, your world view can actually shift.  Self-love, fulfilling relationships and a sense of peace become possible.

How to unwind out of a painful past

If you can do the following three things, you have a great chance of lightening your load and break out of unhealthy patterns.

  1. Identify your issues.
  2. Understand the source of the problem.
  3. Resolve the issues with deeper level change.

This can be done by finding a local therapist to help, processing with a trusted friend or diving into the world of self help if you’re more of a “Do-It-Yourself” type.  Check out my mini guide, Break Your Unhealthy Relationship Patterns for a step in the right direction.

What you’re trying to avoid is inadvertently sabotaging your relationships with unresolved emotional issues.  This deeper kind of work is the ultimate act of self-care for YOU and your relationships, potentially with life long impact.

Be well.

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT

Lisa Brookes Kift, MFT is the creator of LoveAndLifeToolbox.com with tools for emotional and relationship health and is the author of Therapy-At-Home Workbooks® for individuals and couples. She is a frequent consultant for the media having appeared in CNN.com, HuffingtonPost.com, MensHealth.com and others. Lisa has a private practice in Marin County, CA and offers online therapy to residents of California.

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