Real talk. (But, I mean, really, when it is not real talk for me.) So, let's say more like serious vulnerability talk. For quite some time now I’ve had trust issues. I actually didn’t even realize I had them until my first real adult relationship, and I think it’s significant to say, my first true love. They say that relationships are where your deepest insecurities are unveiled because that very person you’re crazy about was meant to trigger all your childhood wounds “in the most painful way so that you can heal them. [And] when you heal yourself, you will no longer be triggered by them.” [Source: article below]
I really do subscribe to that theory. Because after all, I am aware of the quantum field, metaphysics, whatever you want to call it, and that you attract the same level of frequency of thought and being you put out there.
I think my last relationship, like mentioned before, was about unearthing these insecurities that I didn’t know existed within me. Opening me up like a vault and letting all the skeletons out to see the light of day. That didn’t go over so well. It was painful, embarrassing, and made me wonder why I didn’t have it together. It made me doubt my self-worth and my ability to be self-sufficient and independent. I was extremely worried that my then-boyfriend would not accept me if I had all these faults and insecurities about me especially when I didn’t have a grip on them. Those are whole other issues I won’t get into now. For the most part I’ve worked through a lot of my unhealthy beliefs that I became aware of. Beliefs pertaining to things like to perfectionism, and the big one: need equaling love. (Boy, was that a big one. I’m still working through it although I have to say I’ve made some pretty great progress.)
But, the biggest one I still have yet to make in the same significant amount of progress is my ability to trust when it comes to romantic relationships. It used to be that I couldn’t trust anybody. But, meeting my best friend really helped me to re-build my perception of what it means to be a true friend. We had our little bumps in the road, but we were always able to work it out, talk things through, and really establish this knowing that we’d be there for each other with all the good things as well as the idiosyncrasies and quirks.
But, I guess it’s a lot harder for me to translate that trust into men, specifically men who I’m in a relationship with. I’ve mentioned before that my current dating life is going pretty great. And recently, we’ve made it official that we’re “boyfriend/girlfriend.” He confided in me and I felt the same in that we honestly didn’t know the rules to all this (we’re both pretty individualistic people), but I felt like it was time to put some labels on it, especially since it was getting awkward to keep repeating to people “the guy I’m seeing” instead of the short and definitive “boyfriend.” It was really exciting, and really sweet.
But, the moment the deal was done, already I was freaking out inside. Because up until now boyfriend equaled broken trust and heartache. Boyfriend equaled getting way too attached without even wanting to admit it and waiting by the phone for the message he said he would have sent an hour ago. (To be fair, my previous serious boyfriend is a really great person, and compatibility issues were probably the biggest deciding factor for our ultimate breakup.) And because I can’t help but seem to be attracted to men who have great passions in life that are completely and understandably time-consuming, I have to exercise that much more patience - which for the most part I can do. As an introvert, I really love my space, and need a lot of time to myself. And, as much as I wanted to solidify this great thing that’s unfolding, it also makes me super nervous. I don’t want the great thing to end! I want it to keep going! I want to not have to think about it beyond pure happiness and bliss and that float-y feeling! And I guess in my mind, boyfriend equals death to those things.
Not surprising, since my parents’ relationship was always a little strained. I also once had a guy beg me to be in a relationship with him, otherwise threatening to kill himself, only to have him dump me a few weeks later the day before Valentine’s Day. On Valentine’s Day he then proceeded to show up to school with a very expensive necklace and chocolates for my friend who he had a crush on the entire time. Oh sweet high school memories. I also have a distinct memory in Kindergarten playing with a boy and a girl – the girl being my best friend at the time – and by the end somehow I was on the floor and the boy had his foot on my stomach in a gesture of squashing me, and by the looks of their reactions they found it to be funny. I, however, did not. Okay, now looking back I’m a little surprised that I’m not a little more hostile toward men. Haha. No, but, really. Serious stuff.
My point is this. We all have our triggers that were caused by some traumatic experiences whether as a child or as an adult. As much as it may hurt initially, it’s good to dig deep, reflect, point them out, and become aware of them as they are the roots and causes of the insecurities that seemingly come out of nowhere.
In my case, for instance, a trigger happens when I text my boyfriend and I don't hear back soon after. Even if the messages might not necessarily require a response. And, despite the fact that my boyfriend, through all his actions, has shown nothing but care, respect, and a sincere willingness to be in this with me, because the insecurity still exists, the trigger goes off. I start thinking up wild, crazy scenarios, thinking this is it. It's over. When in actuality he's passed out from working 17 hours at the hospital.
Triggers come from insecurities or past hurts. And, you're more in a position of power to do something about them when you know where they're coming from. From there you are in a much better place to have a healthy discussion about it with your significant other. And, after talking about it with him and giving it some time, I slowly start to realize that that particular trigger has been dismantled. It's a really cool feeling. But, it's important to note, most of the work you have to do on your own, especially since it regards your deepest experiences.
Awareness is half the battle. The other half from there is learning from these past hurts. In order to move past it, I figure out what I can gain from these experiences to help build a healthier romantic relationship in the present. And what better time than when I’m beginning a pretty great one? Because as much as I don’t like to admit it, romantic relationships – whether during or after – is the time you grow the most. Honestly, as a person who likes to think of herself as completely self-sufficient, it’s a hard thing to accept. But, I do realize it’s a great opportunity to grow.
So I'm going to let relationships be what they are: wake-up calls to yourself. And, when a trigger happens, and I start panicking, I'll remember that that panic more likely than not comes from my own perceptions rather than anything grounded in actual reality.
The article mentioned above can be found here.