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Why was I attracting one sided relationships and giving more than I received


“I used to be afraid that people would say, ‘Who does she think she is?’ Now I have the courage to stand up and say, “This is who I am.” ~Oprah Winfrey

In May of this year, I decided to take a personal development course, hoping to address some of my limiting beliefs and increase my confidence to achieve my professional goals.

The course turned out to be completely different than I thought it would be, and it blew my mind. In just three days, I changed the way most of my relationships functioned.

A week before the start of the course, I began to analyze my friendships, and one in particular caught my attention. I was starting to realize the triggers that made me question our connection and how healthy the relationship was. The resentment that had accumulated in me was gradually revealed, and I wanted to change something.

At first I became very harsh about the situation. I shut down and stopped reaching. I reasoned with my ego that it wasn’t my job to let people know what they should do, or what I think they should do, to make me feel worthy and appreciated. What can I say? Self-righteousness is a funny friend.

I had no plans to approach the situation between us, believing it was her fault because she wasn’t investing in our friendship and I was the only one doing the work.

On the first day of the course, the leader encouraged us to make amends with people we weren’t real with. Suddenly, my reasoning began to fall apart. I had to face the situation regardless of the outcome. It scared me.

Even though I resented the fact that I was neglecting myself and thus creating a relationship where I wasn’t valued or appreciated, it took me about three hours to let go of that and instead achieve modesty.

It was 7:15 PM when I dialed the number. I was nervous, my voice was shaking, and I kept reminding myself not to sound accusatory. When we started talking, I told her I needed to talk about something.

I went on to say that I did not feel that our friendship was a balance of give and take and that there was a significant amount of negativity.

After I expressed my concern, she said she didn’t quite understand. She asked for specific examples of what I didn’t like about our relationship, and I gave several times when I felt rejected and unappreciated.

She got defensive and after listening to me for a while said, “I don’t think I can give you what you’re asking for.”

Ai. Suddenly, I felt that familiar pit in my stomach that often occurred when someone rejected me. My value was at stake and I felt it with every ounce of my being.

I would like to tell you that this conversation ended with us solving the problem and strengthening our friendship. Unfortunately, this was not the case. I continued the course for another three days, sitting proudly in my self-righteous state.

When we don’t address our self-worth issues, we tend to neglect our needs for validation, love, and attention from others. Even though deep down we know our needs aren’t being met and we’re abandoning ourselves, we feed our ego by finding significance in being a great person.

To put things into perspective, here are the questions I’ve come up with: Who plays the bigger role in an unhealthy relationship? Is he a man who feels that everything depends on him, or a man who gives him the space to be so that he feels valued and needed? I conclude that both are equally responsible. Lack of self-esteem can come in many forms, and it was mine.

Two days after the course ended, I spoke to one of my friends, sharing what had happened and how hurt I felt by the whole situation.

She challenged my story by asking me, “Have you ever told her you needed help? Have you ever shown her that you are struggling and that you need her?’ Her questions interested me because deep down I was well aware that I often did not express my needs and difficulties to others.

Some of my favorite lines are “I got it” or “It is what it is.” Knowing what I know now, it might just work as a t-shirt slogan. But seriously, I rarely communicated my needs because I didn’t think they were as important as other people’s needs.

She then asked me, “Given that you are never open and vulnerable enough to let others be close to you, could you say that you were a fake friend?”

Another oops. Suddenly I was faced with how invalid I was. Getting people to believe I was Wonder Woman without needing help was a double-edged sword. This meant that I was denying my needs, while secretly feeling resentful and angry.

I realized that operating from an unhealthy place of unworthiness, trying to maintain the role of the bigger person, never meant helping others. I was trying to fill some void in my soul that I hadn’t healed.

If we believe for any reason that we are unworthy or inadequate, we will constantly seek validation from the outside world and use self-destructive behaviors to prove ourselves because our souls are starving.

If we don’t heal our childhood wounds and stop looking for validation of our achievements or other people, we will spiral into a toxic cycle of lack and inadequacy.

After a very honest and painful conversation with my friend, during which I sobbed like a four-year-old losing his most precious toy, I decided to reach out to her again. I was too scared to make an actual phone call, so I decided to send her a voicemail.

The purpose of the conversation was to be real about what was not real. I expressed the hurt I felt and how fake I had been in our friendship. I expressed my hurt and expressed that my ego still got in the way, but at least I was aware of it. I also told her that she wasn’t the only negative person in our friendship, and that my hurt created an equal amount of negativity and toxicity for both of us.

She responded by saying she accepted my message but needed to think about it. I haven’t heard from her since then.

While this may seem like a sad ending, I don’t see it that way. For the first time in my life, I stood up for myself and for what was important to me. Instead of denying my needs, I voiced them. I was aware of the missing boundaries and made them important. I acted from a point of view of dignity and self-love. Even though it meant I was losing friendships, at least I wasn’t losing myself like I often do.

As we work to heal and resolve trauma, we often overlook the importance of others in the healing process. If we want to recover from the past suffering caused by difficult relationships, we must create connections with people based on love, compassion and mutual support.

Although our recovery is personal, sometimes even isolated, much of our healing happens in partnership with others.

For example, let’s consider a scenario where our trust was broken and we were traumatized in order to trust again. It is difficult to cure this problem on your own. We must develop new relationships or mend old ones because trust is an important foundation of relationships. This is how we heal and gain the confidence to trust others again.

Moving forward, I know I will again face the challenge of helping others or being there for them from a codependent state of mind. However, this time I will be able to recognize it, stop and reevaluate my actions and investments in other people.

​​​​​​While breaking the limiting belief about my worth has been a challenge for me, I am gaining insight into what it is like to stand in my power and appreciate who I am. Knowing that I have the potential to feel worthy in a relationship, I can confidently say that I’m certainly not stopping now.

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