Bella wanted her partner to propose. They had been together for nearly a decade and he always managed to find an excuse. She was deeply disappointed. Her disappointment took the form of angry outbursts. She would try to be patient and make an effort to be kind and loving but when the hoped for proposal did not arrive, the tension would build up until she verbally attacked her partner in anger.
Bella wanted to be married and create a family. She dreamt about it frequently and she thought that it would come to pass. But the more she wanted it, the more distant her partner became. They had been fighting about getting married for five years. He always said they would get married and, at the same time, always found plenty of excuses to delay it.
Bella thought she deserved to be married and she thought it was unfair for her partner to avoid it. She agreed that her angry outbursts were not helping but she had no control. At times, she became so angry at the unfairness, she had to let it out.
She hated being treated unfairly but when we delved into her history, we discovered that she expected it.
Bella had been treated unfairly all through her childhood. Her older brother was somewhat disturbed and took all his aggression out on Bella. The only way she managed to get any support from her non-interfering parents was when she got angry herself and yelled and screamed. The pattern was set. Relief from unfairness only came from angry outbursts.
Bella was trapped in this pattern until she accessed these memories. She clearly saw the connection between her past trauma and her current reactions. It hit her so hard that she cried. She realised that she actually expected to be treated unfairly and had put up with her partner’s avoidance for years.
With this new understanding, she pulled back and considered her options. She still wanted to be married and have a family but, for the first time, she could see that having a supportive partner was vitally important. She also realised that she had plenty of time. She wasn’t yet thirty. She didn’t have to stay with her partner, although she loved him. She considered the possibility of moving on.
Knowing she had more options for meeting her desire for a family was a great relief. Bella had been stuck in a pattern of reactivity.
As soon as we are released from our reactive patterns, we have more choice.
She calmed down. She had more control and stopped badgering her partner. She could see how her anger had pushed him away.
Bella’s partner noticed this change in Bella and started to relax. Bella’s desperate and aggressive demand for marriage had scared him. When she was more relaxed, he became more willing to make plans.
Wanting something is fine. Wanting it desperately is not. Our desperate desires often hide underlying issues. These issues might be deep-seated feelings of emptiness, unworthiness or fears of inadequacy or loneliness. These feelings are triggered when we meet situations that remind us of traumatic experiences from the past.
Desperation is fueled by fear. Fear is a powerful emotion. If you believe you create your reality, then you need to release your fears, especially those from the past. Any compulsive behavior is founded on fear. And this fear is not going to create the reality you want.
Are you struggling with your defence mechanisms? North Brisbane Psychologists can help. Book an appointment today!