Do you have any relationships in your life that feel like they drain the life out of you?
In my therapy practice over the decades, I’ve noticed a painful pattern among clients (primarily female) of staying in relationships that long ago ceased being fulfilling, fun, or healthy. This pattern was not exclusive to romantic connections, it existed in certain relationships across the board including friends, family, co-workers, childhood friends, and more.
So why is it so challenging to give ourselves permission to end or modify relationships? What’s the work that needs to be done internally before we can renegotiate or release connections that we’ve outgrown?
Today I’m sharing how you can re-evaluate your relationships and regain some bandwidth for the things and the people that matter most.
If you feel guilty even thinking about changing or ending the relationships you know are weighing you down, this episode is for you. I’m hoping what I have to share will help you reframe any guilt you might feel so you can finally let go of what (and who) needs to go!
In my twenties, I had this deeply ingrained loyalty with people that, in hindsight, probably didn’t deserve it. I was young and hadn’t learned how to be discerning in my relationships. I was an equal opportunity codependent.
It took concentrated time in therapy for me to realize I had been recreating my family of origin in these other relationships. I felt compelled to help everyone by overgiving, overfunctioning, and covertly trying to control or “fix” people.
Are you an equal opportunity codependent (like I used to be)? An unhealthy helper (also formerly me)? If you are nodding your head yes, please know there are psychological and historical reasons for getting stuck in exhausting and unfulfilling relationships. And this behavioral pattern can be changed.
Your time, your presence, and your energy are valuable. At this point in life, what’s more important than who you’re spending your time with and how you’re spending it?
So why do we stay in problematic relationships even though we are exhausted by these people? It’s like not realizing we have the right to have a self-determined VIP section in our lives.
There are so many reasons why you might be hanging in there with someone who really shouldn’t make it past your velvet rope, but here are a few to think about:
- misplaced loyalty
- family culture
- fear of rejection
- confrontation avoidance
- fear of hurting the other person’s feelings
- not wanting to be seen as mean
So we stay. But staying in these relationships can build SO much resentment towards the other person. AND, when it comes right down to it, you’re not really being honest with yourself OR with the other person if you’re just tolerating them and the truth is, you’ve outgrown them in some way and it’s time to talk true or move on.
In order to live our most joy-filled, peaceful, and satisfying lives, we need to live by our deepest truths.
Here’s a truth bomb for you:
Friendship and love relationships are voluntary.
Sometimes we have relationships that feel less optional, like family for example. The truth is, you always have choices, no matter who it is. YOU get to be the person who calls the shots when it comes to who is in your life on a consistent basis.
In this week’s downloadable guide, I’m walking you through the process of taking a relationship inventory to create an accurate picture of who you’re prioritizing and how you feel after spending time with them. Here’s where you can grab it.
I’m hoping this will expand the lens you’re looking at relationships through to create more bandwidth for your real VIPs.
After you do your relationship inventory, drop me a comment here or connect with me over on Instagram @terricole because I would love to know what you discovered and what action steps you’re going to take.
If this episode inspired you, please share it with the people in your world. I hope you have an amazing week and as always take care of you.