For many one of the deepest desires is to be wanted, sought after, and pursued. And this is pretty natural, it feels good to have someone interested in us. What happens though when you are shadowed by a childhood past of being left/betrayed? The basic concept of needing to give actual space for someone to “miss you” becomes a foreign premise. It all rationally makes sense, but emotionally the fears of not “right there” are so great that over compensation occurs.
The want to be missed but there is no time or space given to the person you care about to experience those emotions. The fear is just too great that the loved will leave, not show up, or not notice turn into a mode of clinging. This process pushes away the very person you are afraid will leave. Self fulfilling prophecies are a bitch. We may not want to recreate the very pattern that harmed us, but until we learn another way, recreation in hopes of something different is the only way the mind naturally knows how to act.
And this is where I hear the sighs across from me in session. Yes yes, we _know_ all this. But no one seems to know how to do it. So not true, we all know how give space, not chase, and not stranglehold relationships. That really isn’t the issue. You don’t smoother with words, feelings, thoughts, and actions. We could pick apart the semantics (a favorite past-time of mine) but the truth is… YOU know how to give space. Let’s all be honest.
The troubling spot is in dealing with the feelings of fear, anxiety, and hurt that come to the surface when we do give space. Having to sit with the very pain that you experienced is almost unthinkable. Why would you do that to yourself? I mean isn’t that the point? You don’t want to feel that… why on earth would you seek it out?
Well, our psychology is tricky that way. We have worked so hard to avoid the fear that we have lost the ability to feel it at all in healthy ways. Any moment apart, difficult conversations, or non-focus can feel like impending emotional doom. Hence, the overreaction occurs. The reality is it is okay to feel some fear about giving space if you come from a background of hurt. It is natural to be worried about your loved one not loving you back in the way you want and need. Your system should feel this way because it happened. It is a deeply important step to realize that the fear isn’t going to go away by avoiding it and recreating the past templates. The fear is there for a reason and you CAN handle it.
It won’t feel good or easy to sit with all those feelings when all you want to do is call, check in, figure things out, look ahead, fixate, or set up situations in hopes of touching base. (Take it from one who knows.) But how else are you going to learn what anxiety and hurt is real versus just the past coming up to haunt you? If you don’t give yourself the chance to see if you can really handle feeling scared how will you ever change this pattern?
Let us know forget, that the main goal here is being sought after. So it is time to circle back on all this fear…. if you want to be pursued you have to actually allow for the very thing you are terrified of….. space. There has to come a point where you are willing to trust that you can deal with your own fear AND that you trust the one you love to come forward and seek you out. Trust building exercise at its finest… for you internally and your partner externally. You are so certain they will leave, then see if it happens.
At the very worst, all this fear and hurt you were afraid of happens but you have taught yourself the signals of what that is really like and not just a ghost. You become more present. Yes, then the person you wanted is gone, but is that the person you really wanted anyway? I mean if your big fear is going to come true with this person, wouldn’t you rather know ahead of time? The alternative is to smoother them have them leave… you recreate the pattern, feel like crap, and haven’t taught yourself anything. Seriously… if you are going to have all these feelings shouldnt’ they be based in reality anyway rather than just imagined?
And the best case is that you begin to handle your feelings, note what is real, get more in tune with yourself… oh yeah also you get to see that the person you love is actually there, will take interest, and seek you out. Wow, that might feel amazing. That might be enough to try to risk all this change…. and you get the added bonus of learning to trust yourself and the other person in the relationship. It is a win-win-win (pop culture reference added for emphasis sake) situation!
Go ahead… try something really risky AND rewarding… Isn’t it about time you got something for all this fear, anxiety, and hurt? Yeah, I thought out…. smile!