This week’s question comes from Andrea:
Hi Orna and Matthew,
I really love your advice for women who are getting over their divorce. I was finally able to get out of an unhealthy marriage when I discovered my voice and started asking for what I wanted. It turns out he didn’t like that.
I’ve been doing a lot of work on myself and I’ve discovered my pattern but I don’t know what to do from here.
I have a tendency to be a rescuer in my relationships. Because of this I become more involved in my partner’s life and I lose myself and what I’m about. Could you please suggest something I can do to avoid this in the future?
Thank you for your insight!
We applaud you for discovering this pattern in yourself and in your intimate relationships. Many women have a similar pattern, but struggle to identify it – that is always the first step. You cannot change what you’re not aware of.
You cannot sacrifice your needs and expect a relationship to last.
Wants are negotiable but your needs are not. So, how do you know the difference?
A simple test is to check-in with how you feel when you give in or give up something in your relationship. If you feel angry and resentful about giving up something then you are sacrificing a need. If you can give something up and not think about it again, that is a want.
Unfortunately, the tricky part is that anger and resentment doesn’t always show up right away when you make a sacrifice. It can be very insidious and subtle, revealing itself over time when you acquiesce to your partner over and over again.
Discovering what you are really angry and resentful about can require some deeper introspection to get to the root of the issue.
As you discovered in your marriage, sacrificing your needs is the role you played in dooming this relationship. Whatever higher power you believe in – God, The Universe, Moses, Allah, Jesus – will not support you in saying that your needs don’t count or matter.
When you sacrifice your needs you are saying to your higher power that you don’t count or matter – and we know that your conscious self knows this is not True. You, like everyone else on this planet, were born as the physical embodiment of the energy of love. Love is your birthright.
Sacrificing your needs is saying that you don’t deserve the love you desire.
The key to avoiding this pattern in the future is to know in your heart that you deserve love; to know with every fiber of your being that, You Are Worth Loving and act accordingly. You need not do something in an attempt to earn love.
Ultimately, we don’t “get” love from another person – we share love with them.
To undo this strategy of yours the first step is for you to show up authentically at the very beginning; ask for what you want and need right away. Don’t wait until you are already beginning to feel that old anger and resentment.
We would guess that you developed this strategy in your family of origin and that you put it in place so you could feel loved and safe. When we see this pattern in a client we know that there was someone in your childhood – your father, mother, sibling, etc. – who required their needs to be the most important thing in the family.
This shows up when a parent is an addict, depressed, or sick. It shows up when a sibling has special needs that are a bigger problem than everyone else’s. It can show up when a child has to step up and act like an adult when she is still a child.
Ultimately, to get rid of this pattern for good, you’ll want to do the work of transforming your childhood wounds and developing new strategies in your intimate relationships. This is not a simple behavioral change. It requires a willingness to transform.
We’ve designed all of our programs to work through the three phases of transformation:
- Identify and transform your blocks to love.
- Stepping into your authentic self and master the tools for lasting love.
- Creating the vision for your True Soul Partnership and manifesting it into your life.
Our online program, The Science of Creating Love™, guides you through all three phases of the transformation. A lemon ripening on a tree does not go from hard and solid green to soft, yellow and ripe in an instant. It happens over a condensed period of time.
A transformation in your approach to intimate relationship works the same way. When you put in concerted effort over a condensed period of time you can transform an old story about heartbreak into a lasting love story.
This program is delivered to your inbox once a week over 7 weeks and guides you through releasing the past (and present heartache) all the way to creating your ideal relationship. You can read more about The Science of Creating Love™ here.
We are here to be your guides to love.
Love and Abundance,