Relationships. Where are you standing on yours?
Is it based on an equal give and take or are you just feeding something that is not feeding you? Or the other way around?
If it's not balanced: is a situation of exploitation. Material or personal exploitation.
Let’s face it: love might be unconditional, but relationships are not.
Besides, it is not just about love relationships: equal give and take are applicable to your relationship with or at work.
Are your relationships helping you to reach your goals? Are you supporting the purposes of the people that are your relationships?
The ideal is to have an equal give and take. And many things aren’t always tangible.
So how can you tell, if it’s equal give and take?
Your compass will be your personal definition of fairness and what you believe you deserve.
Your definition of fairness
How can you tell if you’re putting too much into a relationship without equal give and take?
In a work sphere, you have a remuneration that is traded in exchange for your working hours/projects. But even there it might be an imbalance: you might not see your work somewhat acknowledged, or recognized.
You might be helping the company reach its goals and the company, or who represents it, couldn’t care less about your own goals.
In personal relationships, whether friendships or love relationships: the “accountability” may be more complex because we can only see in the long run, if there’s balance or not.
Because what’s at stake is not remuneration, but things that, most of the time, are not tangible: time, respect, consideration, small attention, the genuine interest in the other person's feelings and emotional states, are the practical contributes to the daily life of the relationship.
Times come when one is in need of more attention than the other, but both have to contribute to the balance of the relationship: even if it’s not in the same way.
What you think you deserve
Deep down, it's a matter of self-love, your perception of yourself, and what you believe you deserve.
If you think you deserve love: that's what you'll look for (and find).
If you think, on a subconscious level, that you deserve to be exploited, materially or emotionally: that's what you'll accept, because that's what you feel or believe you deserve.
It has everything to do with the value you think you have: your self-perception.
And you can change your perception of yourself.
Note that the opposite can also happen: you may not know how to receive.
It may be possible that you don't accept being helped because you are used to being the giver yourself: and you get overloaded with the whole weight of the relationship.
You only know how to give: you do not know how to receive. Be it gifts, be it affection, be it help, be it recognition: you don't know how to receive.
And in this case, there is also an imbalance in the give and take
In the trap a toxic relationship? Don’t just blame the other: the 1st person you have to address is yourself
Healthy relationships don’t just fall from the sky: they are built.
Who said you don’t deserve one? You do deserve. But you have to put in the work on yourself, to become what you want to attract.
Toxic or enmeshed relationships are constituted by someone who feeds something that doesn’t feed you.
It's like you have a giant tapeworm in your intestines: you're eating well but still, you are anemic.
The trap: narcissistic toxic relationship
And the narcissist will make you think that you are the one who’s not giving enough: they just can’t get enough, nothing is ever enough.
A narcissist's partner dismantles him/herself to please, but nothing is enough for a narcissist. They don't know when to stop the abuse, the energy-sucking: you will have to be the one to do it (to cut it off).
Narcissists don’t just pick random prey to feed off: they choose a giver. A giver of vital energy, attention, money, youth, ideas: whatever you have that they think they can use to feed their ego.
Is rarely based-on respect or love. I may look like love, but it isn't.
So if you fell into a trap of a toxic relationship: don’t just go and place yourself on the victim’s bench, saying “poor me”, what a devil I encountered… Is of little use.
Instead, you have to look at yourself and analyze what makes you so appealing to a narcissistic person, work on that – the help of a therapist would be ideal, but normally starts with defining boundaries, awareness of the self, self-respect, and self-love.
And then, cut the source that’s feeding that toxic relationship. It takes two for a relationship: to start, to maintain, to make it worse, to improve it, to make it toxic, to make it healthy.
How to Recognize an enmeshed/toxic relationship
Normally the people involved in dysfunctional relationships struggle to perceive how imbalanced it is.
Is also very common too that at least one of the counterparts is an addict or narcissist.
Here are the indicators of an enmeshed or toxic relationship:
Narcissit or addict makes usre that he/she is the central figure. Is all about their needs, wants, and demands. All must be around his/her figure.
Identity loss. The partner tends to lose a sense of self and may give up her/his own happiness to try please the partner that is too demanding.
In order to prevent arguments, struggles, outbursts, or any negative reaction from the toxic/addict, the partner gets used to hiding their own feelings: he/she avoids expressing themselves.
Taking full responsibility for the relationship.
The relationship is a burden that only one person carries: only one is responsible for taking care of and making life easier for the other. Is very often that the partner becomes the caregiver and starts acting like a parent of the narcissist/addict partner.
It takes two to make a dysfunctional relationship.
In case you’ve identified some signals, consider the hypothesis of talking to a therapist to help you heal from the abusive relationship: emotionally, mentally, and eventually physically recovery.
Be Brave. And aim for healthy relationships
Just because you've been through rough waters, it doesn't mean you don’t deserve better waves.
And that sense of worthiness comes from one place only: from yourself.
Yes: you are enough.
And no: you don’t have to be perfect.
But you can always get better: most of all for yourself.
To prevent from going around in circles in the same pattern of (dysfunctional?) relationships.
Work on yourself: you’ll improve the relationships you have and/or the ones coming your way.
In any healthy relationship, the involved ones navigate between being the supporter and being supported. As a Portuguese popular saying says:
One hand washes the other, and both wash the face.
Here are some tips to improve our relationships:
# Learn to say “no”. Including to yourself.
Before doing a favor: think. If you can do the favor if the person is a taker who is just taking advantage of you if the person would do the same for you. Think.
The answer might be no. No one ever died for listening to a no: not adults, nor children.
And you have to learn to say no to yourself to: and restrain your impulses to react, without analyzing.
Take deep breaths when you feel that you are about to react in a disproportional way.
Taking a deep breath is not just a force of expression: it is to bring more oxygen to the brain and enabling it to function better.
# Communicate: say what you mean.
Learn to speak what you want, and feel safe anyway. Safe that your body is secure, confident that you know how to deal with the answer.
Communicate. If some attitude hurts your feelings. Communicate if you care for the other person.
Communicate to define boundaries. Communicate if you don’t like how you are being treated: and act accordingly.
Speak up. Stand for yourself.
Getting Better Every Day
Hey! I'm Eunice Veloso and you'll find more about me on my About Page
Antoine Lavoisier, 1789
The Law of the Conservation of Mass