We oftentimes hide the parts of ourselves we’re ashamed of…even from our partners.
My favorite things to hide?
I used to be embarrassed to admit that I’m a survivor of incest, that I’m mildly addicted to work and to food (as a way to avoid my feelings), and that I actually don’t really like shopping.
What about what our partner hides?
People hide because they don’t feel safe — they fear abandonment, ridicule, and judgment.
It’s up to us to share with our potential partner and up to our potential partner to share with us…but it’s also up to us to help them feel safe enough to share.
Can you stay curious with your partner instead of freaking out?
Can you help to calm and co-regulate your and their nervous system, instead of protecting yourself in fight/flight/freeze?
Do you attract partners who have the same sort of pattern, and your nervous system hasn’t gotten the lesson on how to stay safe with them?
Let me give you an example.
Someone wrote to me about dating alcoholics. Saying she keeps attracting men with:
“…previous alcoholism. I gave one sober guy a chance, then I found out he was lying about his sobriety, personal transformation, et cetera. I also just went out with another guy who’s 30 years sober. I trust his story, but worry about the underlying issues that made him that way in the future.”
Worrying about underlying issues feels like walking on eggshells…always trying to see if they’re telling the truth. Doesn’t sound very fun.
I too can find myself distracted by someone’s shadow, worried what it means for my safety.
But attempting to anticipate someone’s behavior is not only draining, it takes us away from the good stuff.
And the good stuff is the stuff we can actually work through…OUR SHADOW.
Do you find yourself spending lots of time helping others, concerned for others, worrying about others, obsessing over their and your future?
What are you avoiding by placing all that energy outside of yourself?
Is it easier for you to be with a partner who has some sort of addiction or problem, because then you get to focus on him, and not have to focus on yourself?
I mean this with love. I’m not judging you.
But what I find is that when we attract partners who have a history of alcoholism or an unknown / shadow-side we’re obsessed with, we get into caretaking mode.
Being attracted to people that need our help can be a diversion from us working on our own stuff.
How could we possibly notice our own shadow when we’re focused on theirs?
It takes healthy boundaries and a sense of self to really stand solid in your own strength, and trust that whoever we’re with is empowered.
He doesn’t need you to heal him, he doesn’t need you to help him.
Don’t date someone’s potential and don’t fix someone, because that just doesn’t work.
And don’t soothe, smother, or mother them either.
All you have to do is get curious and take care of your own nervous system in a way that makes it safe for him to take care of himself.
In the example about alcoholism, curiosity might look like:
What have you found to be the most challenging part of your journey? What have you learned from it? Who are you today because of it?
See if you can understand a little bit more about why he’s made the choices he’s made, and how this may or not be in other areas of his life…
Asking, “Is there anything else that you get a rush from? Where do you get your sense of adventure from? Where do you get your sense of social connection?”
We avoid the things that hurt. But don’t do that with a potential partner. Really get to know him or her. Stay connected with them as they share. Do some deep breaths if you need to, but don’t smother what they’re saying with “I’m sorry you poor thing.”
Being a woman on a journey of love is one of the most vulnerable, courageous, self-transforming things you can do for yourself and the planet.
It will take you right into your shadow, and his.
But you can do it with grace and love. I’ve seen dozens and dozens of women do just that and you’re just as amazing.
You CAN handle it. Because you can ALWAYS walk away when you realize the only person you have to care for — the only shadow you have to dance with — is your own.
If you want to learn tools for changing the types of men you attract, for healing your own shadow, and for improving communication, I’d love to talk. Pick out a time here at www.violetlange.com/apply for a free Love Breakthrough session today.