1. Recognize the benefits of trusting others, and building some meaningful relationships. If you never let others get close to you, then you’re likely to feel lonely and empty inside.
2. Remember that one person doesn’t have to meet your needs. We can trust different people with aspects of ourselves. Doing that can feel less risky, and a lot less scary.
3. Look at the actions of other people before you decide if you can trust them or not. If they are kind to others and they seem reliable, then it’s likely they will treat you in that same way, too. However, be wary of people who are mean or critical, or who talk about others, or are unpredictable.
4. Give trust slowly – let others prove themselves – and if they seem trustworthy then start to trust them more. Share a few small things before you share some bigger things.
5. Trust yourself to cope if someone lets you down. We’ve all been disappointed and betrayed by other people. Have the confidence to know that you will manage, and survive!!
6. Don’t pressurise yourself to give more than you are able. It is hard to trust others if you’re feeling insecure, or if you’ve been hurt by others, or if trust is threatening. Decide to take it slowly and be patient with yourself.
- Desperately holding on to other people, places or things in an attempt to find meaning and purpose in your life.
- Letting others do so much for you that it prevents you from developing your own sense of personal autonomy, independence, responsibility and accountability.
- Being unwilling to let go of others so that you can find your own direction in life.
- Refusing to formulate your own goals and dreams in case they don’t match those of the people you are dependent on.
- Having a feeling of emptiness and worthlessness; feeling you “need to be needed” in order to be loved; or having your whole identity wrapped up in someone else.
- Thinking sympathy and pity are the same thing as love.
- Having a desperate need for approval; desperately fearing rejection and abandonment by the person you are dependent on; being clingy, possessive and jealous.
- Lacking a belief in your own competency and ability to cope on your own.
- Feeling stuck and immobilised because of a fear of failure, or the fear of making the wrong decision.
- Having a fear of loneliness – which causes you to cling desperately to someone – even when you should let them go.
Overdependency is a control issue because:
- You are handing control of your life and happiness over to someone else.
- When you become too dependent on someone, you give them the power to control you.
- People who are overdependent frequently use manipulation and other subversive control techniques to “hook” others into taking care of them – so that they can rescue, fix or save you. Alternatively, they may use intimidation, threats and coercion.
- · They use the same hooks to prevent the person from detaching and walking away (For example, by threatening suicide)
- · They may use the mask of “helplessness” to get others to take care of them, and do things for them.
- · When forming close relationships, they deliberately look “fixers,” “caretakers” and “rescuers” – that is, they seek out people who are likely to assume responsibility for their wellbeing.
Freedom from overdependency:
- First, recognise what is going on and be honest with yourself about your patterns and tendencies.
- Second, recognise that you are a separate person from your partner (or family member). Thus, it’s up to you to assume responsibility for your own choices, decisions and actions (or lack of choosing, deciding and acting). In the same way, stop assume responsibility for, or try to control, the choices and behaviors of others. Don’t speak and act for them, don’t tell them what to do (or how to do it) or redo what they’ve done (as it isn’t the way you would have done it.)
- · Notice your negative feelings – anxiety, fear, and even terror – and learn to face and manage these. This is one of the most powerful things you can do!
- · Next, notice how critical you become when others don’t do things your way, or meet the standards that you set for them. Also, notice how you act in response to these feelings. Do you jump in, try to fix, get angry, pout, withdraw sexually and emotionally? It’s time to get rid of those unhealthy behaviours as they’re part of the pattern of dependency.
- · Consciously work on your self-esteem. Don’t look to others to make you happy, or to feel you have worth and significance. Healthy self-esteem comes from the inside out.
- · Recognise the value of boundaries – and know where you end and another begins. Learn to establish and enforce your boundaries, and accept that others can choose for themselves – so don’t manipulate to try and get your way.
- Stop blaming others for making you upset. We have control of how we think and feel. You’re not a helpless victim – you can choose how you will live, and what you will accept in your relationships.
- · Don’t take the flack for, or defend others’ behaviour. Allow them let them to feel the consequences of their actions. Stop defending and enabling them.
- · Get professional help. Being dependent in relationships often has its roots in our early childhood experiences. You may some need help to unravel that, and better understand why you act the way you do.
We all want our close relationships to work – and it’s not just a matter of chance or luck. The 6 steps below are designed to assist you in creating successful relationships:
1. Make quality time a priority. You need to carve out some time just for you – without other friends or people around. It’s a time to exclusively focus on each other, and remember the things you both love and enjoy.
2. You both need to feel secure and comfortable. You need to be able to be open and real about the things you enjoy - and the things that bother you. You also need to be able to compromise at times, and to give for the sake of the relationship.
3. Learn how to balance independence and dependence. Remember to share how much you need each other and the ways the other person enriches your life. At the same, don’t be clingy or expect your partner to meet all your needs, or simply be a clone of you. That is, we all need to be free to be our unique selves, and to have other interests and friends as well.
4. Be attentive, listen well, and show an interest in your partner – and the kinds of things that interest him or her. Also, respect their need for silence and some time on their own. This demonstrates respect and true concern for them.
5. Be affirming and warm. Make a conscious effort to make your partner smile, and to send the message that you think that they are great. For at times we all feel bad about some aspect of ourselves - and it can really make a difference if our partner’s on our side.
6. Learn to love (or tolerate!) their little quirks. Those cute little quirks that seemed appealing at first can annoy your later on, and be a source of contention. But all of us have irritating traits and habits, so learn to ignore them as they’re really not important!
There are few things worse than a broken heart. You desperately want to be free of the pain, and to pick up the pieces and get on with life again. The following suggestions can help you with this.
1) Remember that healing is a long slow process - Breaking up is painful and unleashes strong emotions - anger, hurt, confusion, sadness, loss and emptiness … You may also find you suffer from insomnia, have dreams about your ex and lose all interest in life. If you can hang on in this tough time, and accept the pain it brings, you will find that it will speed up your recovery. So allow yourself to grieve – and don’t expect too much at first – but know that these emotions will pass in time.
2) Accept some relationships are not meant to last – It’s a fact of life that we all want different things, and we’re not always suited to the person we’re dating. It’s not that you’re a failure or an awful person. It’s actually quite normal – even though it feels so sad.
3) Reflect on what you’ve learnt from the relationship – We learn about ourselves and our personality … what we like and don’t like … what we won’t tolerate … and what really matters in relationships. Take the time to process this important information so you grow through your experience … and become more self-aware.
4. Rediscover who you are as a person in your own right – Too often we lose sight of who we are deep down insight - when we’re part of a couple, or a close relationship. But once we’re on our own again, we rediscover who we are – and remember all the dreams and the wishes we once had.
5. Use this time to invest in your interests and passions - Once you start to remember all the things you once enjoyed, and what makes you happy and makes you feel fulfilled, you can start to formulate and work towards new goals. For though it’s good to be in relationships, there’s so much more to us, and so much more to life, than being with one person, and doing things with them
After walking through these steps you will find that you are stronger, and you’ll start to rediscover your true value and worth … and you’ll know that you’ll survive this … and you’ll enjoy life again.
1. Don’t rush things. Take the time to really get to know each other.
2. Focus on positivity rather than negativity. Getting angry quickly or being harsh and critical will undermine and ruin even strong relationships. In contrast, being kind and gentle will help develop love.
3. Appreciate the little things the other person does. Don’t overlook their efforts; don’t just expect their help.
4. Enjoy the ways you’re different – and not clones of one another. It makes things interesting (and creates healthy space).
5. Don’t get into a rut so that you’re bored when you’re together. Keeping doing something different, or keep trying something new.
6. Learn how to be listener, someone who’s understanding, and helps their partner open up and share what’s bothering them.
7. Be loyal and committed, so trust can be established - that helps you both feel safe, and it will grow a strong, deep love.
There are a lot of myths around relationships. We look at some of the more common ones below.
1. You and your partner should see eye to eye – Since each individual is totally unique, with separate histories and life experiences, it’s normal for you both to have different points of view. Also, you want to be with someone who adds some extra spice, and has a different outlook, or slant, on life. You don’t just want a partner who’s a clone of you. Thus, value and appreciate your differences.
2. Romance is at the heart of a great relationship – Of course, romance is important and makes things come alive. But this isn’t Hollywood – we live in the real world. And though early love is great and can leave us in a spin it always, always fades, and eases off over time. But the good news is … it then turn to mature love – which is a richer, more stable and secure form of love.
3. You and your partner should like the same things – Because we’re individuals we all like different things – and there’s nothing wrong with that – we can do them with our friends. If you try to force your partner to like what you enjoy it will only lead to conflict and arguments.
4. Couples rarely argue in a great relationship – Burying your feelings and hiding what you think could indicate an unhealthy relationship. All healthy couples argue and disagree at times. It means you can be real, and your relationship is strong. However, be careful what you say – don’t just launch a full attack. You can’t take back your words … What’s been said can’t be unsaid!
5. My partner must be perfect (or very close to perfect) – There’s no living person who will ever reach that mark. Don’t focus on their flaws or things that irritate you. We all have imperfections and are difficult at times. Instead, remember what you liked, and the fun times you have shared.
(Note: If your partner is abusive then that changes everything. You need to walk away from the relationship today.)
1. Dishonesty: He or she repeatedly lies to you about where they were, what they were doing, who they were with etc.
2. Lack of support for you: He or she is always looking for support from you but gives very little back in return. You are the one who makes the most if the effort, and does the most of the work in the relationship.
3. Cheating: Any affair is a cause to question your relationship. Repeated affairs should be a deal breaker.
4. Condescension: If your partner frequently acts superior, condescendingly or rudely toward you … or criticises and puts you down in front of others … or deliberately tries to make you feel worthless and inadequate … then this is a toxic relationship. It’s time to say goodbye and walk away.
5. Volatile mood swings. Don’t hang around with someone who can suddenly turn nasty, or who likes to rant, rave and dump their feelings on you. While everyone is subject to some mood swings at times, don’t spend time with people whose emotions dominate.
6. Violence: Any violent relationship is a destructive and dangerous relationship. Love and violence should never co-exist.
7. The feelings have changed. Sometimes we just notice that we’ve changed and grown apart – and we don’t feel as if we love that person anymore. If romance has past its due-date, and we don’t have much in common, then it’s time to do the right things by you both, and walk away.