Are you looking for love for all the wrong reasons?
Do you find your efforts to feel loved, actually push love away? Have you found that the more you want love, the more you feel unloved? Are you an empathetic lover who takes care of the needs of others at the expense of your self? Why does searching for love make you a vulnerable target for narcissistic abuse? Do you wonder why you attract abuse or unavailable partners in your life? Do you lose yourself in your relationships by revolving your whole life around your partner?
You cannot feel real love, if you’re not giving to yourself first. Many of us make the mistake of wanting love so badly that we will do anything for it; which does not allow a partner to know the real you. Chasing them does not allow them to chase you. If you’re trying so hard to impress or please someone, then you are not allowing yourself to flourish. Giving up yourself or sacrificing your ‘self’, works against feeling happy and does not allow others to get drawn to you. Instead fitting in with them, means you’re always meeting their needs, not yours. The end road can lead to resentment or a lifeless relationship.
The actual truth is that you will not get the love you want if you’re not loving yourself, first. Real love is not obtained by choosing partners because you are longing to feel loved or wanted. You cannot get your needs met by hoping that someone else will met them for you. If you love who you are, as a person, the chances are you will get the love you want. If you can define your needs and know your ‘self, than you will have better chances of finding a partner who suits your needs, rather than choosing to settle for relationships because you are afraid to be alone or feel unworthy.
How do you avoid choosing the wrong relationships?
Many of us are on a quest for love in order to escape from feelings of loneliness or worthlessness. Could you be searching for the love that you didn’t receive? Is your yearning for love driving toxic men directly toward you? As empaths many of us give everything of ourselves in order to feel loved or worthy. Are you searching for love to feel good about yourself because deep down you feel bad about yourself?
Many individuals attract partners for all the wrong reasons, often finding men who will make them feel good and wanted temporarily, while ignoring their bad behavior or red flags. For many, holding onto the fantasy of getting their unmet needs met in love, can actually blind them from seeing signs of abuse. Seeking others in order to feel good about yourself doesn’t actually change how you feel about yourself. In fact, you will feel worse about yourself, if you choose a partner who does not treat you right. The more we need others to make us feel good about ourselves, the more we make ourselves vulnerable to how others treats us, rather than seeking relationships that meet our own needs.
Real love is when we do not need others to make us feel good about ourselves, because we have learned to love ourselves. Real love comes from choosing partners based on the qualities that enhance ourselves, not take from us.
In order to obtain real love, one must let go of the fantasy of finding love, based on unmet needs or feeling good about oneself. Instead you can focus on loving yourself rather than feeling loved. Therefore, avoiding feelings of worthlessness or feeling unloved shouldn’t be the basis in which you seek love.
Real love comes from letting go of the blinding fantasy of being loved. Love shouldn’t be about seeking a partner in order to make you feel worthy or wanted. In reality, no one can change how you feel about yourself; self-love has to come from within yourself. Real love occurs once you grow as a whole person, to have a strong sense of self, so that you can choose the right partner for you, not based on fulfilling your unmet needs. Real love means you can set boundaries or limits on how you want to be treated.
Why do we ignore the bad aspects of a relationship and stay stuck?
In the hope of feeling loved, the child forgets about the hurt from their parents, by feeling bad about themselves instead. As adults, they continue to defend against bad feelings by trying to feel good or loved. By idealising and maintaining a positive view of the abusive partner, they can ignore the abuse in the hope of feeling loved. Many hold onto the parent who hurt them by seeking abusive or unavailable partners in order to remain attached to them.
James Masterson used the term abandonment depression for when you let go of needing the internal-parental object by letting go of the reunion fantasy of them. This creates a feeling of abandonment from the loved object when you let go of attaching to them. This allows you to free yourself from holding onto partners who represent past attachment figures. Real love can occur once you give up on needing the past parental-object, rather than trying to recapture them again and again in your relationships. Many stay stuck in unhealthy relationships because they cannot let go and face the abandonment depression feelings.
In my work as a therapist, I find that many of my clients stay stuck in unhealthy relationships, as a way to stay attached to their parent in the hope of feeling loved. The outcome is re-living past wounds rather than actually receiving the love they want.
Nancy Carbone is a Counselor and Couples Therapist. She specializes in the treatment of personality disorders from the Psychoanalytic International Masterson Institute in New York. You can visit her at www.counsellingservicemelbourne.com.au , http://www.counsellinginperth.com.au/ and Facebook.