Humans are hard wired for relationships. From cradle to grave we instinctually seek closeness with those near to us. Relationships are our ecological niche and a necessary component for healthy development. Effectively depending on others provides us with the support we need to take risks and grow. When this type of bond is lacking, we are left with an unmet need for a secure relationship. This unmet need will come alive and impact other relationships until we find or build a secure relationship.
There are two factors to consider when addressing unmet needs:
1. Relationships don’t have to be perfect to meet our needs. Sometimes we have to learn to more effectively depend on those around us.
2. Not all relationships are going to be capable of providing us with what we need. Sometimes we have to honor the limitations of others and seek support elsewhere.
Discerning what is possible in an existing relationship:
Get clear about what is lacking by taking an honest look at the dynamic. Do you feel unloved, not good enough, unimportant and if so what triggers this?
How might you contribute to what is lacking? Have you shared your concerns in a non- blaming and compassionate way? Have you tried to work through this together as a team? Do they even know how you feel or what they do that leaves you feeling this way?
If you’re encountering continued hurt, defensiveness, blame, or dismissiveness, it might be time to take a step back and reconsider what’s possible. You can still love from a distance even if it means things will never change. This is especially difficult when it’s family but remember i’s ok to protect who has access to your heart.
* The information provided is for self-enrichment and not intended to replace any necessary mental health treatment.
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Jonathan Dixon, LMFT
Alpha Omega Team