The house was too quiet; it was always too quite whenever the kids were gone. The thought of only herself for company was a familiar terror. She shouldn’t really blame the kids; she wasn’t good company. In desperation, she flung open the cabinet and decided to bake cookies. When the kids got home, the smell would entice them into the kitchen, and maybe they’d stay. If they didn’t, the cookies would still be there.
Do you ever feel that way? Terrified of being alone? Worries alone is how you’ll end up? Worries that the people you love will abandon you? This fear of being alone, abandoned, and rejected is a familiar fear for those who find themselves dependent on relationships. The pain of that fear creates a tremendous motivation to be in and stay in relationships. Clinging to relationships, then, is the symptom of dependency, but the cause if fear — fear of being alone, fear of self.
How you feel about yourself affects all of your other relationships. Some of you may not be used to the idea that you have a distinct relationship with yourself, but you do. You have a personality and a will; you have a perspective on life that is lived out in how you think, speak, feel, and act. Every day you interact with yourself, verbal or otherwise; you make judgements about yourself and see life from the prism of your own worldview. You are a force in your world, whether you choose to acknowledge it or not.
You have a relationship with yourself, and how you view that relationship matters. Some people will understand this relationship with self from a positive position in which self is acknowledged and appreciated. This positive identity is internalized and accepted: “I like myself, I forgive myself, and I understand myself.”
Others will understand this relationship with self from a negative position, sometimes distancing from self through the use of second person: “Why did you do that and how could you be so stupid?” For these people, self is not a source of strength and comfort but a source of fear and concern. When self is the enemy, each day is a battlefield and involves fighting with self, trying to be with self as little as possible, finding ways to distract and create distance from self.
When your relationship with self is suspect, your relationships with others become suspect, and they have shaky foundations. The shakier those relationships are, the more time, energy, and effort need to be placed into shoring them up and attempting to control them. the more those relationships are controlled, the more prone they are to disappoint. The more those relationships disappoint, the greater the need to replace them with new relationships.
This is the cycle of relationship dependency and why it is not enough to try to fix the other person or to find the “right” person. The relationship that must be repaired first is with self.
If you are struggling and feeling depressed over your relationship with yourself, The Center • A Place of HOPE is here to help change your journey from negative to positive. To speak confidentially with a specialist today, call 1-888-747-5592.