Tag Archives: Emotional Unavailability

Bullied as a Child: How Can I Trust in Intimate Relationships?

Dear JoyDiva,

As a child, from ages 6-12, I was bullied first physically and then mentally.  My parents never openly advocated for me, and teachers turned a blind eye.  As a result, I advocated for myself, and have learned to be strong in that sense.

However, as I grow older, my childhood haunts me.  I feel like I will be left holding all the bags at any moment.  I have issues with trust and intimacy, and this wrecks havoc for relationships that I am in.  I question all the good things that come to me because I was told by everyone that I did not deserve it.  I feel hardwired to think this way, and it feels terrible.  I feel that it would be irresponsible to find someone who could handle all of this baggage, so I desperately try to solve my own problems.  However, this drives a wedge between my partners and myself as I will seem moody and distant simply because I cannot express my feelings in a constructive way.

What can I do to get rid of this ‘baggage’ that prevents me from becoming intimate with another person?

Thank you for your time.

The Bullied & The Beautiful

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dear, “The Bullied & The Beautiful,”

Thank you for your heartfelt note. I’m going to do my best to give you something concrete to work with through what I offer here, and at the same time, it is clear to me that these thought patterns that feel “hardwired” to you at this point are going to take time and TLC to re-wire, and the most effective way to get clear on and release the blocks and blind-spots keeping you from deeper intimacy is for you to partner with a coach or therapist to help. I can absolutely help you unpack that emotional baggage and support you in taking the scary and ultimately, rewarding steps on the path to trust. I can help you gain the confidence to ask for what you want, believe you are worthy of having what you want, and to open up your emotional world to someone and allow yourself to be supported.

Some resources: I highly recommend the Work of Byron Katie as a simple set of tools to help you question the thoughts and stories that are creating your suffering and open you up to your life NOW, rather than being led by your past. Another experience that could be quite powerful for you might be to participate in the Landmark Forum—the experiential learning there would also support you in the breakthroughs your are wanting. Psychodrama group therapy could be a powerful experience to help you process, re-frame and let go. Brené Brown’s latest book, Daring Greatly would also be a helpful resource in helping you strengthen your shame resilience so that you can open yourself to being vulnerable in all of your relationships.

The work that I encourage you to start moving through is to start differentiating between what happened in your past and the stories that you created around those experiences that are now shaping your future. The past is truly in the past. As painful as it was, it is now over, gone, never to be as it was. Even the terrible, nasty things that people said to you are in the past, over and done with. What is living NOW is the story you created, the meaning  that you added to those experiences in your life. Stories like, “I don’t deserve to be loved.” “I can’t trust anyone but myself.” “Love isn’t safe.” “If I’m vulnerable you will hurt me.” “I’m a victim and you are the perpetrator,” “I will be left holding all of the bags at any moment.” As a small child, you couldn’t help but buy into these stories. You were doing the best that you could to protect yourself and survive. As scary as it is as an adult, you don’t ACTUALLY need these stories to protect you, anymore, and the most powerful place to be is in the heart of your vulnerability, rather than gripped by the fear that these thoughts of mistrust create for you.

And if you were to go back and get really clear on what actually happened in your past, (ie. My classmate called me fat, ugly and stupid) and then the story you may have created around what happened (ie. My classmate hates me, she said that because there’s something wrong with me, everyone hates me, I really AM fat, ugly and stupid, people think I’m undeserving of love, etc.)…the more you separate out the story from what happened, the more you will be able to take responsibility for the meaning you added to those experiences, and set yourself free. The wonderful thing about life is that all kinds of stuff happens, and WE get to be the ones who make meaning of it. At any time you can choose to shift your reality based on how you are choosing to perceive it. At anytime, you could choose to open up your heart and know that no matter what the other person does or does not do, you will never leave you, you will always be there to love and support you. (another one of my posts that has great wisdom in it for you: https://askthejoydiva.com/2012/01/18/why-is-it-so-hard-to-accept-that-my-boyfriend-loves-me/)

So, my love, like I said above, this kind of letting go and thought-shifting may not happen over night and will best be addressed via the support of a professional to hold up the mirror and help you with this process of differentiation. You most certainly do not have to do this growth work on your own, and truth-be-told, as someone who has also built quite a wall of self-reliance through the years due to former abuse and bullying—it doesn’t really work to do that kind of growth work on your own.

I’m always here if you should want to take your healing to the next level and you don’t want to go it alone.

Much love to you. dear heart.

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

Advertisements

My Boyfriend No Longer Appreciates Me…What Should I Do?

Hi Melissa,

 I am currently dating a guy for 3.5 years and he lives with me in my mothers house.  He pays rent and splits the  bills 50/50 with me.  I worry that he doesn’t know the difference between being in love with someone and loving them.  He doesn’t really ever seem to do anything spontaneous and kinda takes a back seat to things. Like planning and doing things for me.  It’s simple and yet complicated because we live together.  I used to feel so appreciated by him and that he would do anything and help me in anyway, but he has started to change.  He doesn’t realize that he barely gives me any affectionate anymore.  He has gotten a new job and we both are very busy, but I continuously feel like I wish he would do more.  The problem is ..well… I love him and we have been friends and dated in high school.  He is 25 and I am 26.  I think this is when we should be passionate about each other and go wild with each other still and go out and he just seems so comfortable with things the way they are and I’m not.  I have the best time with him, we joke and laugh and are so happy with each other when it’s just us.  But I feel like he doesn’t show me off or just never wants to do anything.

I feel like he should realize how lucky he is that I got him to stay at my mom’s house with me and how lucky he is, but he never seems to show it.

Joanne

—————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Dear Joanne,

Hello, Lovely. I hear that you want to feel pursued and fully cherished, and I love that. You absolutely deserve to have that experience in all arenas of your life! I hear that your boyfriend is not behaving in ways toward you that feed your experience of feeling cherished. I also see that you are giving your power away every time you believe that it’s his job to pursue and cherish you rather than your own job. You cannot control his actions, and there is no advice that I can give you that will make him love you the way you want him to, that will make him be in love with you the way that you want him to be. What I can help you with is to gently nudge you back in the direction of the relationship that is in your control: the one that you have with yourself. I can definitely help you fall in love with yourself again, and when you do that, whether or not he’s in love with you and in the way that you want him to be is just not going to matter to you nearly as much.

In fact, it’s possible that once you start focusing on how to give yourself the love that you are longing for, once you start pursuing your own passions, your own life with your whole being, you may actually find yourself appreciating what he does offer in his own way—you might actually recognize that his love has been enough the whole time. You might also discover that when you remove the focus from him and put it on yourself that he may feel less pressure to be who you want him to be and start pursuing you more. You may also discover that he’s not a right fit, that you continue to feel unsatisfied in your relationship and need to walk away, and that will be ok, too. Whatever the outcome, the answer lies fully in your turning your focus back to you. While you’ve been focusing all of your precious energy on all of the ways that your boyfriend is not being who you want him to be, you have flat out been ignoring you, and isn’t that sorta kinda what you’re accusing him of doing? Yeppers. It’s not his loving attention and presence that you are so needing, its yours.

Here’s your assignment: I want you to do a little journaling about your dream life. How are you spending your time in your dream life—both professionally and recreationally? How does money flow in? What kind of people are you spending time with in your dream life? How do they treat you and how do you treat them? What are you experiencing in your relationships that makes them so fulfilling? What qualities are present in your dream partner and how do those qualities make you feel? Where are you living, etc, etc? Really have fun with this and explore to your hearts content. Next, I want you to take a look at where your life is right now and ask yourself: What are three things you could do right away to bring you closer to this reality, three small steps that would make you feel more alive? This, my dear, is the beginning of a beautiful path of pursuing yourself as the irresistibly lovable, worthy-of-your-precious-time-and-attention, woman that you are. Do this simple assignment and you will already feel loved up in the way that you are longing for—I guarantee it. (And then, keep taking those juicy action steps, and keep on taking them…:)

Your next assignment: Share your dream life scenario with your boyfriend, and if you haven’t already, communicate with him what you’ve written to me. Communicating honestly from your heart in all of your relationships is the most powerful way that you can cherish yourself and build the necessary intimacy that makes relationships thrive. Does he know what you want? Have you fully communicated what you want, owning that you deserve it? You cannot control his response, and you only sell yourself, him and the relationship short by withholding what is true in your heart for fear of losing the relationship. By keeping silent, you lose yourself. By communicating from your heart, you can create the opportunity for both of you to discover more about yourselves and your relationship. You can create the opening for him to step up and pursue you the way you want to be pursued. He may not want to do that—by communicating honestly with him, you give both of you the opportunity to see that truth and to know whether it’s time to continue forward in your relationship or to move on.

Your sweet soul is just screaming for your attention—she’s feeling pretty darn abandoned in your focused pursuit of your relationship with your boyfriend. She longs to feel desired and cherished and recognized as the irresistible love kitten that she is. 🙂 You can give that to her by shifting your focus from what is outside of your control and bringing it back to the calling of your own heart. Make plans with yourself. Spontaneously surprise yourself by taking a step outside of your comfort zone and seeing how capable that you are. Take a step that your future self will thank you for, and then appreciate yourself for it. Speak your truth. Get wild and passionate about your life  and who you are and show yourself off—these are all simple ways that you can give yourself all that you are longing for, and let me tell you, when you start radiating that love from the inside out, there is nothing that compares to the completeness and joy of that experience. Plus, you will be so irresistible to everyone around you that that they’ll start to form a line outside your door. 😉

Thanks for sharing this with me–I’m honored to support you in your shining.

Much love to you and your boyfriend,

:)Melissa A.K.A the JoyDiva

©2013 Melissa Simonson

How Do I Know When I’ve Found the Right Guy?

Dear Melissa,

I have been through my fair share of unhealthy relationships in the past. I have spent the last few years healing and doing some really excellent self-care which I have really enjoyed. Now that I have been feeling like I am ready for a relationship of substance and mutual honor and respect, I still find myself drawn to guys who are emotionally unavailable. I find myself developing crushes on guys who are already deeply involved in their own romantic relationships, or guys that I really don’t know very well. I have had some guy friends of mine who have been very kind, and warm hearted who have shown an interest in me and I have run for the hills. I think part of me has been unnerved by the earnest attention, scared of compromising the friendship, and also hearing that perfectionist inside me that says “Oh, you can find someone better.” While I am coming to know that there is a really great guy out there for me, I want to be sure that I know how to recognize him when I meet him and not get so caught up in someone unavailable that I miss him.

Any words of advice?

Seeking Something Real

———————————————————————————————————
Dear “Seeking Something Real,”

I want to honor you for all of your excellent self-care. That is wonderful and I’m so glad that you’ve enjoyed yourself!

First off, I want to invite you to explore a question: What is it that you get out of your crushes on unavailable men? Explore how it makes you feel when you get their attention, when you talk to them, when you experience them enjoying your attention. At some point along the way to crushville, you start putting love outside of yourself, and you are putting these other guys on pedestals along with that love, which even if you’ve been rocking out with your bad self up until that point, very quickly puts you on a lower, lesser tier. From that vantage point as you look up at these shiny, unavailable men, you find yourself thinking how cool it would be if they would extend their love down to you. If they thought you were awesome, given how awesome that they are in your mind, what would that say about you? (I don’t know many women who haven’t gone to this place at one point or another on the path to love.) I can feel your strength and sense of self in all that you say above, and I can also feel the part of you that harbors a desire for approval in your romantic relationships.

Who do you become and how do you feel when you are secretly wanting these other guys to be in love with you? Who would you be, how would you act around them if you did not believe on some level that you need their approval? In what ways are you needing to give yourself approval?

With regard to your male friends developing crushes on you and your “running for the hills”–you are not messed up. Just because a guy is kind and warm-hearted doesn’t make him the right guy for YOU. You are not striking me as someone who believes herself undeserving of love. (If you do, let me know, and we can address that.) You strike me as someone who just wants to feel passion in her relationships and it happens to be that those particular men that you mention, despite their warmth and kindness, have not ignited that passion within you. What has your heart been telling you? Passion isn’t something that you have to talk yourself into–it will let you know when it peaks its fiery head. When it’s truly a right fit, or even just right for now, you won’t want to run for the hills…unless he’s coming with you. 🙂

Dive in! Get messy–it’s okay to want it all, my dear, and it’s ok to experiment until you find it. You are not asking too much to want kindness, emotional availability and a whole lot of other sexy stuff thrown in for extra fun. The only perfectionism I see here is toward yourself–it’s ok that you haven’t “gotten it right” yet. Things are complicated enough without adding the pressure of “this better be the right one” into the mix. Relationships are the playground for all of the juicy learning we’re here to do in our lives–just think of all of the fun you’d be missing out on if you “got it right” already?! 😉 Keep practicing that good self-care. Explore the ways that you are still seeking approval in your relationships and how you can give that approval to yourself, get a little bit messy, and above all, trust yourself. You’ve got this thing down girl–it’s only a matter of time.

Much love,

:)Melissa A.K.A. The JoyDiva

©2012 Melissa Simonson