“There are two things you should never waste your time on: things that don’t matter and people who think that you don’t matter.” ~Ziad K. Abdelnour
“What is wrong with me?” I asked myself. Weeping in the darkness of the night. “Why doesn’t he love me?”
I’d tried to fold myself in all the ways I could to be loved and accepted, but it was never enough. I found myself repeating patterns of chasing men who just didn’t want me. Different men, same cry at night.
They ran off more often, so I was losing my self-worth.
They made me addicted. They were my addiction. They were men in pain and needed someone to love them. So that they could find the love of their lives, I was there to help them. It was finally the time I found the love of my dreams and had been searching for all my life.
Men that I couldn’t find were always my choice. These men could have been addicted, involved in other relationships or not ready to be in a relationship. The more they didn’t want the relationship, the harder I would chase.
My anxiety would keep me up at night and I’d obsess about them all day. It was so easy to get caught up in trying to win their love that I neglected to care for myself.
It was beyond my boundaries. I would tolerate any form of bad behavior. Although it would hurt my heart, they might just pull away for a while, and then notice and turn towards me. So the pull-push cycle would resume.
This pattern destroyed what little self-love I had and made me feel worthless. I felt nothing. There was something fundamentally wrong.
This was where my happiness and everything were tied. As I grew older, it became more difficult and it became clearer that there was something wrong. Friends were becoming married and having kids, while I was still trying to move forward. However, I was still pondering about my latest obsession.
My friends were even mad at me! No matter what they said to me, it wouldn’t stop me chasing a fantasy. When they stopped listening, I rang a psychic line multiple times a day for validation that the man I wanted was ‘the one.’ So not only did my self-worth disappear but my bank balance with it.
It was tiring, and it brought me down to my knees during my mid-thirties.
Then, something clicked. If I was open to being contacted by someone interested in me and available and wanting to progress, then I’d feel trapped and believe there wasn’t chemistry. If someone expressed an interest in me but wasn’t available to meet my needs, that would be a sign of their true love.
This made me feel really bad about myself. But, I knew I needed to get out of my rut and have loving, healthy romantic relationships.
Louise Hay’s book, You Can Heal Your Life! inspired me to make a change in my belief system.
Below are the five issues I worked on to get better relationships.
1. A daily practice of self-care has been a part of my life.
It became obvious that although I was able to love people and others, I did not know how to love myself. To help myself love others, I started to incorporate some self-love practices into my daily life.
Listening to affirmations from Spotify, I read them aloud to myself as I looked in the mirror. To start my journey, I used meditation and took hot baths. It was a constant quest to find new ways for me to love myself. Along with developing a self care practice, I invested money in support, such as therapy, to get better.
2. I began doing inner child work.
I went back to my earlier story through meditation and discovered that younger-me was always chasing after my dad’s unavailable love. To be there for him. The goal was to get him to see that I am enough. To find his validation and his connection because he wasn’t available due to childhood trauma. This inner child in me had learned that I wasn’t loved.
To a picture of myself as a younger woman, I started to affirm her. “You are loveable,” “You are enough,” “You are worthy.” I would literally talk to her and ask her how she felt and what she needed. She would love to be with me and I’d play with them.
I explored my inner child’s story and learned lots about attachment theory. I realized that I had disorganized attachment from my father’s inconsistency, and that this was not my fault but just part of my old programming. It was possible to fix this, the good news is! Healing Your Attachment Wounds by Diane Poole Heller was a book that really helped.
When I recognized why I sought love from men who couldn’t give it to me, that ache for unavailable love lessened.
3. Clear intentions were set.
I grew up on my dad’s little crumbs of love. Because I felt hungry for love and attention it made me feel depressed. Later in life, however, I accepted them from anyone who was interested. Even if they weren’t the right fit for me. It was an amazing feeling!
When I realized this, I compiled a list of what I didn’t want. What brought me suffering and unhappy childhood memories was what I focused on. I felt unsafe around things like these. These were my red flags. These were my red flags.
I became conscious about what I didn’t want so I wouldn’t blindly go into a relationship that made me feel unsafe again.
Also, I compiled a list with things that I liked. Did want—must-haves like kindness and safety.
4. I broke up with unavailable men
This was an uncomfortable decision and it was difficult. I took a step back from my ‘drug.’ I even unfollowed people on social media to allow myself space to heal. Sometimes my bad days would bring me to the phone, but eventually I stopped using.
For support, I read books and listened to podcasts. To keep my focus, I even ran a marathon. Doreen Virtue’s Father Therapy and Pia Mellody’s Facing Love Addiction helped me understand my patterns. I found communities that allowed me to share my experience without being judged.
I learned how to stop numbing the pain from my past with these unhealthy relationships by learning how to soothe myself and let my wounds heal.
5. Ich dated myself.
My focus was on me learning how to love and be loved. I stopped dating. Three days of travel in Italy was my way to start. My books were with me, I went on solo tours, and wrote about it. I regularly spent time with myself and even found new hobbies. Prior to this, I was so attached to these men, that it made me feel like I could not please them. WasThis is my hobby.
To have fun, I discovered ways to be happy in my own company. I felt complete and fulfilled on my own. I went to restaurants for me and gave myself gifts. I was the person that I had always wanted to be. I am validated, open-minded, patient, kind and funny!
In time I met an emotionally open man, who was all I had hoped for. He was not like any other partner. I feel secure every day and he allows me to keep the most important relationships in my life. He is the one who loves me.
You can identify with this behavior by choosing emotional unavailable partners. Just notice it. This behavior isn’t you. You are just trying to be safe. Accept this and realize that you have the power to make changes and discover your healthy partner.
Manpreet Johal Bernie
Manpreet is the creator of a podcast called Heart’s Happiness, coach, and mentor who helps people make peace with their past and rewrite their story by learning how to love themselves and their own inner child. Download her FREE masterclass on Manifesting Happiness here. Join her signature course Take Back Your Power to transform your relationship patterns. More details on products and services can be found on her website and Instagram.
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Tiny Buddha published the post How I Stop Chasing Men Who Hurt me and Found Healthy Love.