how these unconscious fears sabotage relationships

Intimate relationships are the most challenging – and potentially the most rewarding – task of living. And, one of the reasons for this is because our past wounds and fears are often reopened in them.

We often enter into intimate relationships from a place of fear or lack.

Protect me.
Nurture me.
Complete me.
Meet my needs.
Heal my wounds.
Make my life work.
Love me the right way.

If we are not careful, our burdensome expectations can overwhelm our most important relationships with baggage they are not meant to carry.

We all have a desire for wholeness and fulfillment that can never be satisfied by another. This is the nature of life and is not due to come deficit in the person who cannot fill this need.

If we leave a relationship from a wounded place, from a place of fear, then we are likely to recreate what we tried to escape.

There are two basic fears that emerge from childhood that sabotage our relationships.

Fear of overwhelm

Fear of overwhelm comes from feeling small in a world that is big and powerful.

From this we develop coping strategies like becoming over-accommodating to the needs, desires, and will of others. We avoid the messiness of life and we become passive.

Fear of abandonment

Fear of abandonment comes from feeling like we were not treated with tenderness and care.

From this we develop coping strategies like trying to gain control of others, avoiding intimacy and vulnerable situations, desperately searching for reassurance, trying to create connection with force, and developing patterns of co-dependency.

Of all the difficulties we face in life, the greatest obstacles to overcome will be ones we don’t know are there.

Jung said, “Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

Here are some strategies for starting the process to explore how unconscious fears may be sabotaging your life.

  1. Make the unconscious conscious – what patterns keep showing up in your relationships?
  2. Heal the wounds you uncover – what does the hurt part of you need?
  3. Develop a new way of being – what would it look like and feel like to respond in a new way?

This is tender and challenging work, remember to be gentle with yourself and with the person you are in relationship with. We often attract people who share similar or complimentary wounds and patterns. Re-read the two basic fears with them in mind. Anything sound familiar?

If we see the person we are in relationship with as being under the influence of fear, we are less likely to see them as insensitive monsters, and we are more likely to disengage from harmful cycles of conflict.

Try looking for the frightened child within them {and you} and move towards love and acceptance.

I will not judge you.
I will not attack you.
I will not blame you.
I will speak my truth with love.
I will take responsibility for my experience.

It’s fear that divides us and love helps us stay connected.