Some people are fortunate to have the discernment required in connecting with others. Many, despite their intelligence, self-sufficiency, and well-meaning hearts find themselves in unhealthy relationships. I see it happening often. Learning the hard way is a healing process, but I can offer a few warning signs.
Red flags have been waved and ignored.
We witness behavior that raises an eyebrow, things we don’t ordinarily condone. It could be cruel, inappropriate, abusive, or manipulative behavior, derogatory remarks, infidelity, and lack of boundaries or respect for boundaries. Sometimes a person admits to being a jerk, a bastard, or a bitch, and our first instinct is to contradict and thereby comfort them. Sometimes we think because a person can be sweet and charming to us, we are the exception, the chosen one who will make it all better. We’re not.
Someone is on a pedestal.
Your perception of this person goes from one extreme to another. He or she walks on water or is a monster. You have defined who they are—essentially, a paragon of the ideal. You decided beforehand how they should behave and respond. It’s not reality based, and it’s not love. It is obsession—a persistent and disturbing preoccupation with an unreasonable idea or feeling. What you’re feeling has nothing to do with that person. You can’t love someone you don’t see. They are no more than a channel for what you need. An obsession is an addiction. It distorts our perception and impairs judgment. It comes with denial and control patterns that become manipulation. There is no direct communication about needs and desires. Resentments build and fester then erupt into anger. When reality kicks in, it is a long tumble for that person up on the pedestal to the ground. Unrealistic expectations create devastating disappointment.
Unnecessary risks are taken.
You are willing to compromise yourself and your well-being when you don’t have to and sometimes the safety and well-being of others. You may rush headlong into a physical relationship with little knowledge and a good measure of denial instead of awareness, education, and caution.
Principles are compromised.
There is unwilling compliance to avoid wrath and rejection. You find yourself continually compromising your principles and lowering your standards.
You don’t recognize yourself.
You have an unbalanced self-esteem. You feel the other person could not possibly want to live without you. At the same time, you don’t like who you are in this situation or relationship. You don’t like who you are becoming or the way you feel, act or think. You were never this whiny, this jealous, this possessive, this hurt, this confused. You sometimes feel like a basket case.
The relationship impedes your progress.
The relationship distracts you from your goals or seems to have replaced them. It happens in new relationships, but if you are unable to get back on track or have abandoned your dreams entirely, it’s a problem.
You are often confused.
You don’t know what to believe because your judgment and perception remain clouded.
It’s stressing you out.
Eating and sleeping patterns may have changed. You are not properly taking care of business or yourself. You may feel more paranoid, more OCD, more anxious. People have a lot to work through in relationships. Stress is normal, but constant stress that renders your life unmanageable is not.
You feel like you are in bondage.
You try to fight it. You want to be free of this person. At the same time, you want nothing and no one to come between you. You may isolate to have more time to focus on your obsession. When what you want is dangled before you, you can’t resist. When deprived of it, you are sick—mentally, emotionally, sometimes physically. You may feel you cannot be honest about this relationship or situation with anyone including yourself. You continue to want the same thing from this individual not realizing that after a while, you don’t enjoy it, and maybe you never did, yet you still need it. The moments of comfort and bliss are fleeting. A feeling of emptiness prevails. It causes agonizing pain for you. You may feel as if you are in bondage because you are. At times, you can’t stand up for yourself because you are somehow at a disadvantage, at the mercy of your obsession.
This unhealthy connection can exist in friendships as well or in relationships with family members.
It helps to determine what the addiction is for you in this case. What is the payoff? What is the issue that has made you so vulnerable?
Love is good, but to feel comfortable loving and receiving love in return, we must know we deserve it. We must know we are worthy. Getting to that place opens another door in the journey of our recovery from past trauma and emotional abuse. Beyond it, more beauty awaits, and more joy.
© Copyright May 24, 2015 by Kyrian Lyndon at kyrianlyndon.com.