Women and How We Dim Ourselves in Relationships
Aside from the subtitle of this blog, let me be clear that women are not the only gender to display this behavior. Men sometimes “fake it” too. We fake it by not bringing our true selves to our intimate relationships.
I would venture a guess that to most people who know me, would say I am confident, sure, decisive, solution oriented and I make shit happen. Some would say I even have “big balls”. And while this is true in many areas of my life, when it comes to intimate relationships – I am a total wimp, and it’s my own doing – not anything someone causes me to be or do. I give my total attention to the status of the man I’m with. It sounds like this…
“Is HE happy?”, “Does HE love me?”, “Like me?”, “Is he angry at me?”, Basically who do I need to be and how do I need to act in order to keep the relationship in place. I end up chasing him, and abandoning me.
Most often, I am convinced that I am “too much”, I need to tone myself down to make this relationship comfortable for him, or he will leave me. This is obviously some serious insecurity and I used to think I was the only woman in the world that had these thoughts, felt this way, but I’m finding that most of us struggle with this on some level. If not in our intimate relationships – in some other area of our lives we abandon ourselves to please someone else.
No one made me do any of this. I created the whole entire idea that I needed to dim myself to make the man in my life comfortable. While I have been actually been told that I was “too much” in some ways, this was not really about me but about the person saying it feeling that they couldn’t be enough for me. Of course, I didn’t figure that out for a few decades.
So what happens then, is that we find ourselves in relationships that seems “off”, not quite right, or downright not good for us. This happens because we have not been fully ourselves. Our partner never got to see the real person we are, they only see who we were trying to be to make the relationship continue. We are so busy being who we perceive or THINK the other person wants us to be that we forget who we really are. I mean, surely I need to wear this mask because he won’t be interested in the real me. Right?
My theory is that we learn this from watching our parent’s relationship in some way. I’m a firm believer that our children don’t learn to treat themselves by how we treat them, but how we treat ourselves. We are teaching by example more than by our words. So if for no other reason – if you can become aware of this pattern and return to yourself, you can change the generations that come after you as well as make your life a whole more fulfilling and fun.
For me, I can only list one relationship where I didn’t do this acting job that I usually do and that was due to a firm foundation of friendship without the intent to be more than that. The base of trust that I could be who I really am was built and this made that particular relationship much more real and it showed me what is possible when I am my real authentic self.
Currently, I am working really hard to be “Full Force Sandy” with Don. I believe this is the lesson of my relationship with him possibly. He’s really never seen who the real me is in our relationship because of my chasing him and abandoning myself for over 20+ years of our relationship. So far he’s hanging in there and listening to my honesty about what I’m going through, what has happened, and how I feel. I’m not sugar coating ANY of it for him, so I’m sure it’s not easy for him to hear much of what I tell him.
I’m clear that Don can “opt out” of being in a relationship with me at any time, and I can do the same with him. If he decides he really doesn’t care much for the real me, that’s o.k. and actually it’s a GIFT!! Because I’m o.k. with me and if me being the real me is not a match to his frequency that would be really good to know and let each of us find those who ARE on our frequencies.
But really, isn’t “opting out” an option in any relationship, at any time? So why not be who you are, stay true to yourself, love yourself, be kind and compassionate to others and to yourself and let the chips fall where they may from there. Something sort of snapped in me a couple of years ago when my brother Larry died. I decided to WAKE THE HELL UP! And stop living so afraid in my relationships. I have been on this quest to stay awake ever since and I have learned a lot about myself to say the least.
This focus on trying to be who I think someone else wants or needs me to be is really about insecurity and also about a focus on OUTCOMES. Trying to control the end game, how the relationship behaves. This has messed me up over and over again. I seem to think I need to know the answer, how will it end?, will it end? How will it look?, PREPARE!!! CONTROL!!!
Outcome focus is a great asset in business, not so much in relationships! With the volume up too high on finding solutions and outcomes you don’t really hear what’s true. If we can focus on the now, stay present and let go of wanting a guarantee (because there are NONE!), then we can fully show up for another person and for ourselves.
Guys – listen up, because I am going to tell you what every woman wants, more than anything possibly… she wants your PRESENCE. Fully being in the moment and feeling her. Ladies, men want this from us as well and when we are focused on the outcome of the relationship, we are not present. When we are not being our true selves, we are not present in the relationship because we are focused on FEAR.
Presence comes from REAL love. When you find your true presence, it’s the strength to BE there because you’re not trying to PROTECT yourself. It’s you in your true state. Being fully you without guarding your heart.
Byron Katie says people go to India to find a guru, but you don’t have to. You’re living with one. Your partner will show you everything you need for your freedom. The person you are with holds the lesson you most need to learn to move forward. What's the lesson of your relationship?
Sandy Edie Hansen
I use this space to "Chat" about things I am working through and learning in my life currently. Join me!