My client said, “I told my boyfriend how I’m working on myself, but I didn’t want to tell him I hired a relationship coach to support me.”
I asked, “Why?”
She said, “Because it just feels like something that’s personal and private.”
I said, “I don’t think that’s why. There’s something more to it.”
Often you will have a cover story, and not even know it. And this cover story keeps you from diving into yourself and into the emotions that are actually underneath; because it’s scary.
I knew “It’s something personal,” was a cover story.
I asked, “It seems you’re scared of telling him, do you know why?”
She said, “He has a lot going on right now and I don’t want to burden him.”
Another cover story.
Then she said, “I also don’t want to be judged for doing this for myself.”
Now we were getting somewhere.
I said, “If your boyfriend is someone you could see yourself marrying, then you want to be transparent.
You don’t want to hide your deepest feelings and emotions from him, because that will just result in you feeling disconnected, and keep you from true intimacy.
It also keeps the two of you from really knowing how to support one another. And it keeps you from truly trusting him to be there for you.”
She totally resonated with that. She said, “Yes, sometimes I feel we aren’t that intimate and I couldn’t understand why.“
She then asked, “Why am I so scared of him judging me? I know he will most likely be supportive.”
I said, “Because it’s so much deeper. It stems from your relationship with your parents, and how they interacted with you and how you translated your interactions with them.
You’ve told me that your dad was really critical of you, and you spent a lot of time trying to be someone that he was proud of. That’s what’s coming up in these situations too.
If you open up, your fear is you will be told you’re wrong or you should do it differently, and that feels painful.
So, it’s safer emotionally not to say anything so you can avoid the pain, even though logically, you know your boyfriend will probably be supportive.”
She was blown away; she had no idea that the two things were connected.
She then made a bunch of connections for herself.
She spent so much time in her relationship trying to be the kind of person that he liked. Often, not even aware of when she was doing this. Then, she would get frustrated and angry over little things.
And she realized this was also connected to not expressing herself, and allowing herself to be authentic and trusting.
She then jumped to asking me… “In the past I’ve jumped from relationship to relationship. Why have I done that? I’ve googled it and experts have said it’s a love addiction or it’s because your commitment phobic.”
I think she knew there was a similar connection there.
I said, “It’s the same reason.
You’ve been conditioned to adapt to the person you’re with, given your relationship with your dad, and because you wouldn’t allow yourself to be vulnerable and express what’s really inside of you, you kept jumping from relationship to relationship hoping that your partner would pull that out of you.
Meanwhile, nobody can pull that out of you. It’s something you become aware of and feel courageous enough to reveal.”
I asked her if that resonated with her. If that felt like truth for her.
She took a moment and said, “It absolutely feels true. I just never knew how all of this tied together, or how my relationship to my dad was impacting me even now.
I see how much I’ve hid from having to feel the pain from my past.”
I said yes, “It’s what most of us do.
But the only way to not have the pain come through and unknowingly sabotage what we desire most is to become aware of it, feel it, and move through it.”
So, now it’s your turn.
Can you identify a pattern in relationships that keeps coming up for you? Can you dive deeper into that pattern to understand where it might be coming from when you think about your relationship to your mom or dad? Let me know in the comments below.
Identifying this for yourself is the first step.