Relationships And Our Emotional Needs

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LoveI have often asked myself this question – “How come some people manage to get it right the first time and stay married to their one and only spouse, while others of us end up broken hearted, divorced or separated numerous times because it just doesn’t work out?”  This is a great article by Leann Middlemass that I totally related to…

Why do so many relationships end in hurt and alienation?

As children our four most basic needs are provided by our parents or caregivers – the need for food, clothing, somewhere to live and our emotional needs (to be loved and accepted).

As we become older we normally take on the responsibility for feeding, clothing and housing ourselves.  But what of the fourth?

Who meets our emotional needs? Parents or caregivers normally provide our introduction to meeting our emotional needs when we are younger.  They normally love us unconditionally, they encourage us to walk and talk and envelope us in the warmth of their love, and as children we thrive on their every word of encouragement.

But just when does the parent’s role end and the responsibility for our own self nurturing begin.

For most of us, self nurturing is a skill have we have yet to master.

It’s therefore not unusual for some people to spend their whole lifetime looking for someone to continue to meet these needs.

We’ve all experienced, or know of people who do crazy things just to hear words of encouragement

I’ve come across it time and time again whereby people will do ridiculous work hours just so someone pats them on the back with the nurturing words “good work”.

I believe this is where relationships come into play.

If we have not yet learnt to master our needs, we’ll tend to look for someone that will fulfill the role.

On a subconscious level you’ll start to look for Mr or Miss right who has a specific set of characteristic traits.

How often have you heard the expression “Oh, I’ve yet to meet that someone special.” What they are really saying is they’ve put their feelers out but energetically have yet to hook up with the right person to compliment (meaning to match) their unmet needs.

Now this is not wrong.  But here’s where it can get tricky.

As the relationship progresses you are still relying on the other person to meet these needs. And as we know most people are really only interested in meeting their own needs first, not someone else’s.

On an unconscious level you are expecting your significant other to both know and meet these needs. When they remain unmet (and this is where pain and suffering come in) we equate it to being rejected.

The hurt from these unmet needs can lead to resentment, subsequent blaming, and continues to the point where one or both can no longer stand the pain and the demise of the relationship ensues.

This kind of relationship is called the “expectation model“, where we expect someone else to meet our needs.

But relationships don’t have to end badly if we know and understand that we and we alone are responsible for meeting our inner needs.

The “responsibility model” is where you provide the necessary tools to meet your own needs.

This occurs by asking the other person for their help, instead of expecting it, and allowing them to say “no” and be ok about it.

I don’t know how many times I have stood next to my Husband and expected him to give me a hug (just like my parents did when I was younger) only to be disappointed  when he walked away without doing so. I used to get angry (expectation model.)

Now whenever we are near I’ll ask him if he can give me a surprise hug in the next hour (responsibility model) of which he does. Because he is not under the “you never hug me” (expectation model) I now get them regularly 🙂

The basis of the responsibility model is having an understanding that your partner is not responsible for meeting your needs, making you happy or filling your emptiness.

I am not suggesting you ask your partner for all that you need.  Just keep in mind that when you believe that “he should do this ” or “she should do that” you could be heading for trouble.

The second part of the responsibility model is to be open about your feelings. Giving dirty looks or huffs and gruff doesn’t convey your message very well.

Unfortunately your significant other is not a mind reader. How are they supposed to know what you need if you do not ask?

As children we are taught from a very young age that showing our emotions is wrong.

 “Stop complaining”, “stop whining”, and, “I’m sick of hearing about so and so”, has prevented us from asking for what we really want and need in life.

Learning to express your desires is going to take time and practice as with any new skill.

Just remember, when you deny a feeling you are also systematically destroying that feeling. If you are having trouble being loving how can you receive love.

The difficulty you will encounter is to learn to express all of your feelings, not just some.

To ensure, when expressing them, that you do not make the other person feel guilty, start with “I feel”,  rather than,”You make me feel (guilty)”.

And remember, the only person you can change in your relationship is you.

The definition of insanity is trying to change the other person to be who you want them to be.

Leann MiddlemassLeann Middlemass has been married for nearly 20 years in a loving and stable relationship with her Husband Darren.  They have a 14 year old daughter.

In 2009 a series of personal events triggered what she calls her “dark days” – a time when her emotional pain and suffering spiraled so out of control she simply shut down.  Trapped in her own emotional upheaval, she was at a loss as to see a way out.

Fortunately a great teacher entered her life and showed her how to release the emotional baggage she had been carrying around since childhood and the cause of most of her suffering.

As the chains of restraint diminished, her authentic self started to shine through bringing with it the inner happiness she had long searched for.  She now teaches others simple ways to find inner peace through her workshops and trainings.

So, if you’re stressed, feeling unhappy or would simply like to learn how to run your life at a slower pace then visit her website – with a little knowledge you truly can be the master your own destiny.

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