October 31, 2016

To the Givers: It’s Time to Toughen Up.


We all get a chance to play certain roles in life—especially within our romantic relationships.

Relating is a dance of polarity in which we step from shadow to light, from the hurt one to the hurting, the cheater to the cheated upon.

It’s all about learning how to truly understand and empathise with others through the power of personal experience.

It would be impossible for us to understand what it’s like to be cheated on, for example, if we have never cheated on someone we love—or to understand what it’s like to be left, abandoned with our hearts torn open, bleeding, while our lover waltzes off saying they need to “find themselves”—or to understand how it feels when we’ve been the one walking away needing to get a sense of self back, leaving our partners in a messy heap.

The universe has seemingly been restructuring relationships of late, and there have been, many, many splits. Many changes. Many hearts broken.

In all of these, there seems to be a common complaint: I gave him / her everything, and they didn’t take care of my needs in return, and now I am sick of it. I’m leaving.”  There is a lot of anger.

This is victim behavior, guys and dolls. Take it from someone who has been there, who has given their all to a partner who walked away, with head high in martyrhood, offended, angry, resentful. Who silently suffered for months, years, hoping for a smidgen of the same treatment for myself.

I never breathed a word of these needs in the beginning of the relationship. I hoped that somewhere along the line, they would guess that I was suffering, intuit at last what my soul was craving and suddenly give it to me. I crawled deeper inside myself, venturing out every now and again to whisper plaintively that I needed extra attention, or space, or time to travel, or whatever. Terrified my needs were not going to get met, for whatever reason.

Time and time again we have witnessed people like me, in this situation, doing the same thing, bashing their heads against the same wall. We watch them suddenly throwing up boundaries when they can’t take it anymore, when they’re sick of being the doormat, sick of feeling disempowered.

We’ve watched (and maybe even, hopefully, been) the partner on the receiving end—bewildered, shocked, in disbelief that their once meek and mild other half has suddenly become so…hardcore. When they’ve just upped and left, while our own hearts are still wide open, beaming light and connection and thinking everything was fine.

We see these lovers on the receiving end of our newfound need for (insert need here) who have become used to how we were and how we acted when we entered the relationship. And, depending on the lover, they’ve likely abused our “givingness” more than once, whilst we seethed in silent anger to our friends and family.

Darlings, kind souls, if we don’t toughen up, if we don’t learn exactly what our needs are and how to assert them, then we’re always going to be disappointed and taken advantage of. It’ll be likely that we’ll devour empath and narcissist articles and violently nod our heads in agreement, nursing our wounds and building a picture of ourselves as a modern day romance saint.

We will, loves, fall into the victim thinking that is so prevalent today—especially amongst women, who naturally give and give.

We’ll enter relationships all bright eyed and bushy tailed, ready to lay down our life, our everything, for this perfect partner. And we will. We’ll give it all away.

And when we’ve realized we’ve lost ourselves, we’ll pull back in horror. We’ll leave. And the cycle will repeat itself until we’ve learned to ask for what we need and then honour that—right in the beginning. Yes, the beginning—the hardest part to ask, right? The part of a relationship where we’re all warm and fuzzy and it’s just perfect. Where we’re most at risk of losing that special person.

But truly, there is no riskier time to do this than toward the end of the relationship. Prevention is better than cure. We stand the chance of truly losing our love if we ignore our needs in the beginning.

We need to be strong. We truly need to assert what it is that we want and need, and not be afraid to do it. We need to hold ourselves up and speak our truth. We need not be shrinking, resentful violets.

We need to realize that our lovers cannot be blamed for not meeting these needs if we don’t make them a reality. If we don’t set and enforce boundaries. That it is ultimately unfair to our partners and exes. It was never their fault. Perhaps they learned early on, how to assert their needs and perhaps they’ve been stronger in doing that—or perhaps they’re truly not conscious and need to be gently reminded that we are people, too. They are not automatically “bad” people, in our rage.

Far be it from us to be victims. Far be it from us to throw up walls where there were never walls before, hurting everyone in the process, and usually too late in the story to have them do any good. Far be it from us to cheat when we are tired of the cycle and need an exit point.

Let us be courageous. Let us live, walk, and talk the truth. Let us stop hurting ourselves and the ones we love, who have likely only gone along with the standards set right in the beginning. Let us work together to co-create balanced relationships where give and take is truly equal—that no one partner is weighing the partnership down and being the only presence that matters.

We all need to participate in this show, fully, heart bared and arms wide.




Author: Margarita Stoffberg

Image: Flickr/simpleinsomnia

Editor: Travis May

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