Updated: Jul 11, 2022
Many people prevent themselves from heading into a relationship to protect themselves from pain. From hurt. They don’t want to be ‘let down’. I understand the pain of being let down. For my 40th birthday last year my husband didn’t buy or do anything for me. After the first initial days of rage and upset we sat down and I explained in greater depth a core wounding of mine which is ‘not being considered and thought of’, I also explained to him the love languages - one of my highest scoring in the quiz is gifts, so as you can imagine the pain felt was quite deep. So from my own experience of let down, here is how I came to reframe it and change my own behaviour….
When we are let down by people it is because of our expectations of what should happen and how they should ‘just know’ what we need. This comes from our inner-child who craves unconditional love and wants to be understood and cared for. Our inner-child never got to fully have their needs met when they were younger. No one, ever, except yourself is able to meet all of your needs. It is not the role of other people and they just aren’t able to do that. Part of the path is learning to meet our own needs and this can be done in various ways:
Communication - we need to be clear with people about what we want and what our expectations are. How clear are you expressing what you want to your partner in a way they can receive? Maybe there is an element of fear of fully expressing yourself in case they don’t feel the same? The vulnerability of asking for what we want and need can prevent us from fully communicating due to fear of rejection in some way.
Boundaries - are you expressing how you do want to be treated and what you won’t accept? Placing boundaries is a clear signal to others about how we value ourselves.
Self-worth - when we value ourselves and have self-love we just innately know that we are our own best anchor. No one can be that for us. No one can offer us the security we want. That security can come and go at any time. My husband and I have discussed the possibility that going to an ethically/consensually non-monogamous relationship could potentially break our marriage if we met someone else that we wanted to live with. But we understand that we cannot be in the way of another’s happiness. It’s a risk we are taking to live our lives fully. Ensuring our cup of self-worth is full will allow us to always check in with ourselves that what we want we have, and how we want to be treated is happening.
I am currently reading about tantra at the moment and really find the approach interesting as the VITA coaching method is based upon the principles of tantra. One of the biggest things we can possibly know, realise and accept into our hearts is that we cannot make decisions now in the present for the fear of what may happen in the future. Pain is inevitable. We cannot bypass it. It will arrive at some point. As humans we walk around making decisions on our lives in a way that will reduce the risk of experiencing pain, which means we don’t go into a relationship with our hearts fully open because of the potential heart break, we don’t start that business we wanted to in case we fail, we don’t let those toxic friends go for fear of being alone… so we stay stuck. This all happens at a subconscious level. Our ego (Freud and Jung) keeps us making the same mistakes and patterns and traumas that we are used to, because that wounding is in some way ‘safe’. Knowing how we are going to be hurt and be treated is easier to deal with than the unknown pain. It’s a subconscious programming we have. In the journey to healing, awareness is key. What I find interesting is when a date says to me ‘I’m surprised I like you as you are different to the women I normally go for’. Those women that they normally go for are the subconscious, the pattern, the ‘known pain’.
Many people stay in the situation they are in because they want 'stability' if you do the same then I invite you to really assess what that actually means. There is no such thing as stability. Life is constantly in flux, it’s how we manage our reactions to everything that is important. How are we perceiving what happens to us? Is it triggering some core wound? How are we going to learn from that core wound and make a different decision next time? I posted yesterday about my core wound of ‘being chosen’, and how I was ready to break the cycle if my date didn’t turn up/cancel - are you willing to, where necessary, to break the cycle? Or are you going to return to the same patterns as before, because that hurt is easier to deal with, it’s ‘safe’ and ‘known’.
So many people fear of really allowing themselves to feel. But if we are looking for a truly deep connection, to open our hearts, it’s the vulnerability that will take us there. Nothing else can. I understand that not everyone can let go in that way. So my invitation is to learn to surrender. Not letting go in matters of the heart is preventing you from fully feeling. Again, it’s about exploring the patterns.
I am aware in my ethical/consensual non-monogamy journey that there’s a strong possibility of falling in love, of having my heart broken in some way, but for me, I am at a place now where I can see the pain differently because if it doesn’t come from there, it will come from somewhere else, so I may as well lean in and fully experience the love - because isn’t that what the universe wants? To experience it all? I believe in the tantric view of the world, we are created by the universe to be a reflection of itself, to experience everything and that’s for me what life is for.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at email@example.com.