Stop sabotaging relationships for fear of rejection!
For a relationship to be balanced, partners must be able to love and trust themselves first. They need to feel needed and valued for the support they give. If you have been disappointed in the past, the prospect of needing someone can be daunting. Depending on your partner, you may be scared but unaware of the source. Achieving interdependence in a relationship is possible, but it takes time and intent. Love is uncertain. It is inherently risky because your partner might leave you immediately, betray you, or stop loving you.
To be honest, an unconscious fear of rejection can lead you to sabotaging a relationship or staying in a self-destructive relationship for too long – even though you may not be aware of it. Relationship Expert Margaret Paul, Ph.D. writes, “As people dress at their common level of wound or health, an unavailable person’s fear of engagement likely reflects your fear of engagement.” For many, fear of intimacy can lead to a relationship being tested by a Choosing a partner who is wrong for you or playing it safe by distancing yourself.
The vast majority of the 320+ women I interviewed for my book Daughters of Divorce describe themselves as independent, steadfast, loyal, and conscientious. You are hardworking, trustworthy and independent – and proud of these qualities. They may feel confident and autonomous – confident that they can take care of themselves while others cannot. The truth is that, despite many wonderful qualities, most of these women are lacking in self-confidence and are prone to questioning their own judgment.
I sat down with Katie for coffee one afternoon. As a beautiful, sociable and lively twenty year old, she has found herself in a relationship with a man from whom she simply cannot tear herself away. “I always knew I was who I am because of my father,” says Katie. I found their honesty refreshing and asked more. Her story, like so many other women, reflects the basic problem of trust. One of her deepest childhood memories was waiting for her father to visit, and he rarely contacted her. As an adult, Katie understood that her father was immature and unable to be a responsible parent.
Taking a more realistic view of her past has helped Katie overcome her fear of rejection. She knows that her father’s absence had nothing to do with her in her life. Objectively, she knows. But in the past she doubted herself. “I always felt inadequate,” she says. “I felt like I was with people I could only get so close to.” In their current relationship, however, she expects to be treated with respect by her boyfriend, Brian. With both having trust issues, their early romance was defined by persistent arguments that are never resolved. But by consulting with an experienced therapist, they work on trust issues and Katie boldly deals with her fear of rejection.
The psychologist and author Dr. Lisa Firestone explains, “Nothing hurts like a close relationship. Most of all, our relationships evoke old feelings from our past. In fact, our brains are flooded with the same neurochemical in both situations. “She assumes that our early attachment style influences which partners we choose and which dynamics emerge in our relationships. For example, having a secure attachment style will create the conditions for healthy relationships, while someone who has an anxious, busy style may fear their partner’s rejection.
7 ways to overcome fear of rejection
1. Be aware of your story – which goes back to childhood.
For example, if you are a people lover, you may be drawn to partners who you want to fix or fix. Learn more about how your parents’ unhealthy patterns have affected your partner choices.
2. Accept your share of the momentum.
For example, if you experience suspicion, try to find out how much your feelings are based on the present and how much are based on the past. It is natural for a person to consider their style preferred and to be convinced that their partner needs to change – and neglect to see their role in the fight.
3. Practice being vulnerable in small steps
By expressing your thoughts, feelings, and desires clearly and respectfully. Try not to walk on eggshells or shovel negative feelings under the rug, because if left untreated, it can lead to resentment.
4. Let go of the victim and positive things will happen.
When you see yourself as a victim, your actions are confirming a negative view of yourself. Instead, focus on the strengths that have helped you so far in life. Don’t worry about previous decisions made by partners, learn from them.
5. Develop realistic expectations for intimate relationships.
You could focus on your dream of what a relationship should be, rather than reality as it is – which leads to disappointment. There is no such thing as a soul mate or perfect partner. When your partner lets you down, don’t always assume that a competence error is intentional – sometimes people just make a mistake.
6. Take the time to get to know a new partner before making a commitment.
Make sure you have dated someone for at least two years and are in your late 20s at least before making a lifetime commitment to reducing the chances of divorce. Ask yourself: Do I share common values and beliefs with him or her? Find destructive properties in some partners that you are attracted to. To find a good match, you may need to select a new “Type” in the future.
7. Develop a resilient mindset.
All relationships have their ups and downs and it is important to have a resilient mindset as a good relationship requires the effort of both partners.
With time and patience, you can write a new narrative for your life. This includes taking the time to choose partners who are trustworthy and willing to work on an engaging relationship if you so choose. Learn to let go of self-criticism about past relationships. Since low self-esteem can be a major drawback to achieving successful intimate relationships, a priority should be working on your insecurities so that you don’t unconsciously sabotage relationships that could bring you happiness.
In conclusion, you don’t have to let your past dictate the decisions you make today. Use positive intentions such as “I am able to build loving, trusting relationships.” Recognize the novelty each day and believe that you have the power to make positive things happen. You have the opportunity to learn from your experiences and build the kind of relationships you have missed in the past. Remember to be gentle with yourself and others on your journey.
Terry is a licensed therapist, college professor, and author of the award-winning book, Daughters of Divorce, which is available in audio and softcover formats. Follow her on Twitter, Facebook and movepastdivorce.com.
More from Terry
8 Ways To Avoid Relationship Sabotage
5 ways to overcome your breakup
This article previously appeared on HuffingtonPost.com