While some people can maintain their sense of self in a relationship, there are others who are unable to do this. As a result, their experiences are going to be radically different, and this could be how they have been for most of their life.
A Big Difference
When one is able to maintain their sense of self, it will give them the chance to meet their own needs. Along with this, there will also be able to meet the other person’s needs, and this means the relationship will be in balance.
However, when one is unable to maintain their sense of self, there is going to be less chance of their needs being met. Instead, they could find that they end up being focused on the other persons needs, and the relationship will then be out of balance.
In the first example, one is going to be in touch with their needs, and in the second example, they might be out of touch with their needs. Being aware of their needs will be one part; the other part will be feeling comfortable enough to reveal them.
When one is focused on the other persons needs, they might be aware of their own needs from time to time, but it might not matter. This is primarily because they are unlikely feel comfortable enough to reveal them to the other person.
When one accepts themselves, they are likely to feel comfortable with their own needs, and this will allow them to receive. Therefore, they are not going to believe that something ‘bad’ will happen by opening up.
Yet, when one doesn’t accept themselves, it is going to be a challenge for them to open up. If they were to do this, they may believe that something ‘bad’ would take place.
It could then be said that they are more concerned about pleasing the other person than they are about pleasing themselves. Now, be aware of the other persons needs is not bad per se; but if one is completely out of touch with their own needs, it is going to cause them to suffer.
When this happens, it will not be a case of one fulfilling the other persons needs from time to time; they will always be fulfilling their needs. Through being out of touch with their own needs, they could feel as though they are doing the right thing.
One could then be seen as someone who is ‘selfless’, and as long as the other person is happy, that could be enough. Their point of focus is then on the on the other person, and they are not aware of what is taking place within them.
This is not to say they will always be happy, as there could be moments where they feel down. They could end up coming across as passive aggressive, and this can be because they dont feel comfortable opening up about what is going on.
On one side, pleasing the other person could be what feels right, and on the other side, it is also going to cause them to feel uncomfortable. It can then be strange for them to understand why this would cause them to feel uncomfortable; especially when it allows them to be accepted by the other person.
This doesn’t mean the relationship will be healthy though, as it could mean that the other person takes advantage of them. But if one is primarily focused on being accepted, they might overlook that is taking place.
Regardless of how they are treated by the other person, this is likely to be what is normal, and while it would be easy to blame the other person; this is not something that is out of their control. Based on how they are experiencing life, they could believe that they have no control over what is happening.
In order for them to see life differently, it will be important for them to experience an internal shift. Unless this takes place, they will expect the other person to change, and this could cause them to feel like a victim.
Sense of Self
If they were to take a step back and to think about what is happening, they might come to see that they lose themselves when they are with the other person. They are then no longer an individual; they are simply an extension of someone else.
One could then say that the other person’s behaviour is the reason why this happens; but if this is something that has happened before, there is going to be more to it. At a deeper level, this could be what feels safe, and unless this changes, their life is unlikely to change.
When one can maintain their sense of self in a relationship, it is likely to be a sign that they feel safe in their body. Yet when one doesn’t feel safe in their body, it is going to cause them to leave their body, and their attention is then going to be in their mind.
As a result, it will be normal for them to be focused on the other person, and this is because they will be out of touch with the needs and feelings that are in their body. If they had boundaries, they wouldn’t need to experience life in this way.
On one hand, boundaries allow one to say yes and no, and on the other, they allow them to feel safe in their body. It’s the difference between wearing clothes and being completely naked in public.
When one wears clothes, they are likely to feel protected; whereas when they don’t, they are likely to feel exposed. Energetically, they are going to be wide open, and it is then going to be normal for them to merge with others.
Why Is This?
If one doesn’t have boundaries, it can be a sign that they were not allowed to develop them during their early years. This could mean that they experienced some kind of abuse, and this means their personal space wouldn’t have been respected.
While this is something that can happen through being physically abused; it can also take place through experiencing emotional abuse. When this happens, one may have had a caregiver who got too close to them.
To move beyond this challenge, it might be important for them to be supported by a therapist and/or a support group. This can be a time where one will be processing trapped emotions, as well as dealing with trauma.
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Oliver JR Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.