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6 Ways How You Can Deal With Negative People

6 Ways How You Can Deal With Negative People

Do you have friends who always complain about everything? Or do you know the perfect drama queen who always runs from one catastrophe into the other? Or the poor victim who always ends up in the dark corner left alone?

During my life, I have met many negative people, it all started with close family members. To give you some examples: The partner of my late grandfather was a woman who always saw the negative. Once, we watched an inspiring story about a former athlete who had rebuilt his life after an accident with spinal cord injury. He was a role model for strength and positive attitude. She watched the report without a word. When it had finished, she said: Why haven’t the doctors let him die after this accident? I sat next to her and didn’t know what to say. Every phrase she said reflected her negative perception of the world. I tried my best to cheer her up and change her perspective. Needless to say that it wasn’t successful. I left our conversations feeling exhausted and tired.

We all face short periods of negativity in our life, however, a person who transmits constant pessimism can drag you down.

What can you do to avoid this?

These six tactics will help you to decrease the impact of negative people in your life.

  • Be aware of the negativity and acknowledge its influence.
    The negativity of another person will influence you dependent on your level of sensitivity. I am highly sensitive and take on negativity like a sponge. I tried to tell myself many years that it wouldn’t influence me and it was wrong. True is that it always did until I learned to set boundaries. What happens if you are around negative people? How do you feel after you have been together with them? How is your level of energy afterwards? Be aware of the impact the negativity has on yourself and acknowledge it.
  • Set clear limits.
    If you acknowledge the negativity, you can react in a way that is compassionate towards yourself. We want to be kind, and this means that we are kind to others while being kind to ourselves. You should manage your energy level well. Limit the duration you are together with a negative person, see them or talk to them less frequent. How often do you want to be around with them? How long do you want to stay with them? Always keep in mind that you can’t change the negative attitude of another person. They have to decide that they want to change. You can only take care of yourself and your energy, and avoid to getting drowned by their negativity.
  • Clear yourself energetically.
    I experienced a fast recovery from negativity when I learned to clear myself energetically. How can you do this? If you have been together with a negative person, do a short visualization afterwards. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Imagine that you stand in a shower with white light. The light washes away any negativity from your body into the earth. Visualize dark or grey shadows that slowly sink into the earth. Continue with your visualization until the white light fills your complete body. Thank the light for its help. Feel free to change the visualization in a way that it feels right for you. Just listen to your intuition.
  • Explore the other person’s world.
    A very compassionate strategy you can use is to explore the other person’s world. Which stories are hidden behind the negative attitude? What are the hidden desires that haven’t been fulfilled yet? Strive to understand them. Explore their world with love and compassion. Listen to them, don’t judge them and don’t try to find a solution. Mirror them what you understood. Reflect the pain or the resentment you may perceive.
  • Acknowledge the difference.
    Another way to deal with negativity is to acknowledge the difference. There is no need that we all have the same opinion. That’s not possible. So just say, I think we see life very differently. I want to celebrate it. I want to enjoy it fully. You can’t control what they will do and you can’t convince them to follow you. You can just stay true to yourself.
  • You always have a choice.
    We are all adults. We can choose with whom we are spending our time. We are also responsible for the energy we send into the world. If the negativity of a person persists for years and there is no change, you don’t have any obligation to spend your time with them. You can’t change them. Practice compassion towards yourself. Is it compassionate to continue this relationship? Stop finding excuses for the other person’s behaviour. Everybody went through some crisis. I am sure you also had bad times in your life. Each of us is responsible how we deal with negative experiences and what attitude we choose towards life. Your time is limited and valuable. You have the choice to walk away from the relationship. You can choose whether you spend it with positive or negative people. With whom do you want to spend your time?

 

Dating Frustration? Find some refreshing perspectives on finding a healthy relationship!

Dating advice

Do you know this frustration when you date people, and it always goes wrong? Here is the story of a good friend of mine and some dating advice that will give you some new thoughts about dating.

My friend is a beautiful woman with long blond hair and wonderful blue eyes. Some years ago she went through a painful relationship that ended in a difficult divorce. She has close friends but does not have a family to protect her in difficult times, so having a relationship was really important for her and she started for a loving relationship with a wonderful man.
First, she met a guy from Scotland while he was visiting the city. He went back to Scotland. My friend faced all her fears to give their relationship a chance, and she went through some hard months until she was ready to open up for him. She made it, but he gave up after six months because of his fears.
Then, she became acquainted with the second man, listened to his problems and was curious to understand him, open to accept him as he was. Again, she trusted him and faced her fears. It failed because he withdrew.
A few weeks later, she got to know the third man. The beginning was perfect, he wanted to see her and spent a lot of time with her. After some weeks, he was not sure what he wanted. She accepted his doubts and gave him freedom to sort out what he wanted. After two repetitions, she let him go.
In the beginning, she simply felt desperately sad when it did not work out, yet she used every attempt to connect more deeply with herself, defining what she wanted and needed. When the third attempt didn’t work out, she went to her doctor by some coincidence and he looked into her blue eyes and said: “You are just too nice.” She was angry about this comment, later she saw the truth of it.

As a result, she started to take good care for herself and acknowledged that life is more than just having a relationship. There are so many facets in addition to having a healthy relationship. She established new goals for her life and re-connected with a long forgotten dream and started a two-year training to be able to follow the career of her dreams. She created her own happiness inside herself. She has defined clearly what relationship and partner she wants. This guides her to take the right choices and helps her to set limits. She has increased self-esteem and each day she loves and embraces herself more.
She moves forward with her life while she never gives up on her dream to have a healthy and loving relationship.

Finding the right partner is not a simple dating “game”. You will meet people who are not ready to give you what you want or they simply can’t. That’s not about you; it’s about them. You can’t change the other person. You can only focus on what you want, have healthy boundaries and take good care for yourself. In the end, you are not looking for anybody, but for a good partner to share your life with. You are worthy with or without a partner. You deserve to be loved, honored and respected.
Happiness or fulfillment does not depend on having a relationship or not. You can find it inside yourself. So, if you meet a partner who is not ready to give you what you need or want, move on. Don’t allow desperation to control you. A good partner for you is already out there and you both will meet when it is the right time. Meanwhile enjoy your life as a single, enjoy your freedom, explore new hobbies, do all that you always wanted to do.
Connect with yourself. Explore your spirituality. Start your personal growth process. What are your passions? What are your dreams? What are your strengths? What makes you special? Your life is precious. Being a single is a phase of your life that has many benefits, being in a relationship has others. Embrace this phase of your life and make it the best phase ever.

What are your experiences with dating?

I’d love to hear from you. Just leave a comment below.

Do you want to read more? Check the post What does your soul yearn for?

What If A Separation Is Not The End…?

Are you currently struggling with a separation? 

We as human beings have a need for love and most of us dream of a loving and intimate relationship. At least, I always did. However, my relationships ended with break-ups. In the beginning, I considered them as a sign of failure and blamed myself. Now I know that I needed these relationships and their endings. They motivated me to heal and change myself so that I was prepared for the relationship I want. Why did I need this preparation? I grew up in a dysfunctional family, and I only knew manipulative relationship patterns. Furthermore, I had learned misleading concepts about love, e.g. I considered pleasing my partner while neglecting my needs as loving behavior. The negative patterns of my childhood were deeply anchored in my subconscious, and I repeated them in my romantic relationships. With each break-up, I became aware of some of these patterns until they were finally healed. If your dream of a healthy relationship has not yet become true, it does not mean that it is not meant for you. It is only a sign that you should do some healing work before it can become true. If you don’t change anything, it is likely that you have the same outcome as before. Here are three easy changes that served me well:

Focus on what you want

I am sure that you have learned a lot about all the things that you don’t want to have in your relationship. At least, I had a long list in my mind. However, I didn’t define what I really wanted, and I attracted all that I did not want because I focused on it. Change your focus today and stop thinking about what you do not want. Instead, focus your thoughts on what you want and describe the relationship of your dreams. To prepare this, you may take a paper and draw two columns. On one side, write down all things you don’t want in your relationship, on the other side, turn it around into something you want. Allow yourself to dream big!

Commit to what you want

If you have defined what you want, you now have to take the next step: look at your description and define all the points that are show-stopper. Show-stoppers are these topics that are so important to you that you can’t live without them. Just to give you a personal example: I love cats – I have three of them – and I need a partner who also loves animals and appreciates living together with them. A partner who is allergic to cats is simply not possible. If you are clear about your show-stoppers, use them to make a conscious choice whether you want a relationship with a person. The clue is that you have to have the courage to say “no” to somebody who does not meet your show-stopper criteria.

Improve your self-compassion and self-esteem

You are the most important person in your life, independent from your (ex-)partner, your family or your friends. The relationship with yourself is the longest and most important relationship you will ever have in your life. The more you respect and value yourself, the more you will attract respectful and loving relationships into your life. A good level of self-esteem is the basis for a healthy relationship because it allows you to be honest and authentic. In a relationship, you should love your partner while you love yourself. This will also support you in setting healthy boundaries and in respecting your needs.

To increase your self-esteem, stop judging yourself and stop comparing yourself with others. You are unique and special. Instead, be aware of the qualities you have. What is making you special? Explore your strengths and be aware of them. Don’t criticize yourself, instead look at yourself through the eyes of loving grandparents who loves you and wants the best for you, What would they say about you? What advice would they give you? What would they wish you?
Failures are part of your growth process, and I am sure that you can make a valuable learning out of them. If there are parts of you that you do not appreciate, think about how you can change them so that you like them more. Explore them, they are there for a reason, and they want to tell you something. Ask yourself, What is the kindest thing I can do for myself in this situation?, and then act accordingly. Always keep in mind that you can’t change the past, but you can grow and become the person you want to be.

Which action do you want to take today?

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post The greatest secret for a fulfilling relationship.

How hidden family dynamics may affect your health

Many people have difficult and painful family stories, perhaps with unresolved trauma. At least mine had them. Thanks to the constellations, I have found explanations and new perspectives and they helped me find peace. These family dynamics can cause diseases? It seems hard to believe and it is so. I saw touching examples during a workshop of Stephan Hausner in Barcelona, a German facilitator who uses family constellations in the area of healthcare. I was impressed by his respectful way to treat his clients and his ability to create an environment with the group that was free of judgment and his way to treat painful and difficult situations with love. After this impressive experience, I was glad about having had the opportunity to do an interview with him to present his valuable work:

What is a family constellation?

This is not an easy question. If you ask different facilitators, there will be as many different answers as people who you’ve asked. Actually, I do not use the term “family constellation” so often, I have replaced it by “systemic constellation” because my work is in the first step about families, but also beyond families. The constellations dig up how the traumas of our ancestors to whom we are bound by destiny, survive and influence the lives of descendants. Bert Hellinger opened the way for this method. My image of a constellation is that, among other things, it makes visible an internal process. I use this work frequently in a medical context because this corresponds to my experience.

How did you discover family constellations for your work?

I am working for 25 years as a homeopath and my original interest was the traditional Chinese medicine and the ancient Greek medicine. Both are medicines that try to discover what is in disorder in the body through a diagnostic system and try to restore order by putting an appropriate stimulus. I devoted myself to homeopathy for a long time and the constant search to reduce the treatment processes and to understand the disease and healing phenomena led me to a conference where I met Bert Hellinger and discovered his work. When I heard him talking about the order in family systems it was easy for me to connect these ideas with the understanding of health of traditional medicines, in the way that a disorder in the family system may create difficulties in daily life and working with constellations is the chosen method to reveal it.

Working with constellations means that I have the possibility to constellate a system of relationships with representatives physically in a room and then something happens that no one can really explain until now: the representatives feel like the real people. It still cannot be explained why this is so, but it is proven again and again that it is so and you can work with the dynamics and movements that appear there. So you can see unhealthy links in a family system and which connections are healthy. Through the therapeutic process it is possible to restore order in the system again so that the unhealthy links can turn into healthy connections.

What is systemic medicine?

For me, one of the most important observations of working with constellations with diseases is that a disease is not a personal phenomenon. Many diseases can only be understood when they are observed in a broader context. Systemic medicine means for me that there are diseases that must be understood by extending the system and through this larger system new spaces can be opened so that healing movements can emerge.

What fascinates you?

I consider working with constellations as especially suitable if good methods of treatment have not yet shown the expected success. I often meet patients who are in the hands of good doctors. However, they do not get better. Many times this is a sign that family dynamics are working behind this disease. I collaborate with a homeopathic pediatrician for many years, and if she does not achieve the desired effects with the children, she sends their parents to make a constellation with me. After the parents made a constellation, it happens many times that the homeopathic remedy that before has not worked suddenly starts working. What fascinates me above all is that this work addresses the power of self-healing of the patients and ideally it is a medical activity without the use of medication. Actually, it is a form of relational medicine.

What are diseases that often have an origin in the family dynamics?

I think that a disease always has multifactorial aspects. Multifactorial means that there is a physical, emotional and spiritual component and probably also a family component. Basically you can work for all diseases with a constellation, but it is not necessarily useful for all. Constellations are useful for chronic diseases such as autoimmune diseases, allergies, cancers, and when good treatments do not show the desired effect.

What is the potential of the constellations for the patient?

For me, it is essential to recognize that a disease is not a personal phenomenon of the sick person, but that many diseases can only be understood and treated if they are considered in a broader context, such as the family. In this way parents can alleviate their children. One of the most common dynamic in a constellation with diseases is to show that children are willing to carry a lot out of love for their parents, i.e. all the unresolved traumas that are still living in the family.

What are the limits?

One limit that is valid for all medical treatment is that the work can only be as good as the person who is doing it. It is not only about technique, but also about attitude and about body work which, in my opinion, is not adequately taken into consideration in constellations. My advantage is that I’ve been working with kinesiology for years. So I can feel in the client’s body if his body goes with what he expresses and what he says or not.

Another observation we make is that constellations are often about contents that were excluded and many symptoms remember contents that were excluded from one’s own biography or the family story. Deep down of the exclusion is an excessive demand in a traumatic situation in which you did not have sufficient resources to address this issue in a good way. The exclusion is a form of self-protection to survive. The experience is that these unresolved contents do not keep quiet, but are shown in the body or sometimes enter in later generations as children or grandchildren and show up as symptoms. In this aspect, an important limit is the customer himself: to what extent is it possible for the customer to open his heart to what he lives in the constellation. Finally, it is an integration process. You also have to say that it is a step-by-step procedure and an approach to that what was formerly experienced as dramatic and traumatic. It is about the freeing of the force that was tied up to the trauma and, ideally, this what was tied up will later become a special resource.

What role do you have as facilitator in the constellation?

When I got in touch with the constellations I was already firmly convinced that in cases where healing takes place, it is in the end self-healing. If you get to this point as a doctor, one has to ask himself, what can I actually do for the client? Perhaps, you succeed in creating an environment in which the forces of self-healing take effect perfectly. That was already my desire before and when I encountered the constellations, I realized that it is a good way to create this atmosphere of self-healing with a group. In the end, everything in the constellation is perception and attitude. The facilitator must be able to create an environment with the group where everyone feels that he can open up and that nobody will judge you for what has been brought to light. This is a great responsibility of the facilitator. You also have to master the technique, you need a good perception and at the same time you should be with both feet on the ground. I would like to add something here. In my opinion, the working with constellation has one problem: you can constellate everything and there will always appear something. And sometimes the movements of the representatives can induce traumatic processes that later over-strain the client again and re-traumatize him. The facilitator should be trained to have a constant contact and a constant attention with the client, so that he can prepare everything that is showing up in the constellation for the client so that the client can integrate the important things. So, on one hand, the facilitator prepares the field as a gardener and promotes the growth processes, on the other side he acts as a mediator between the events of the constellation and the client so that the client can make a proper integration process.

Is there an experience that has impressed you in particular?

I want to share a case of a 35-year old man who was suffering of high blood pressure for three years. When I asked if something happened in his life three years ago, he said that the company where he was working suddenly went bankrupt and he had to find a new job, he confessed that he felt like “they had taken his life. ”
I asked if anything had happened in his relationship with his father. The patient was reluctant and said, “when I was 17, my father left my mother!” I asked if he was angry with him, “yes, because I had to take his position.” To not go into detail of his anger I chose to change to the objective level, “Often the hidden family dynamic of patients with hypertension is a love that is or has to be repressed.” The patient was moved by statement: “I always loved my father, but I felt that I was not allowed to because he had done so much damage to my mother. “At this point, I asked the patient to choose three representatives for his father, his mother and himself. The patient positioned his representative next to his mother and the father’s representative a little apart of both. When I asked the representatives to follow their impulses, the representative of the father turned his back to his wife and to his son resignedly. The impression was that he had no chance with his wife. The representative of the mother said it was too much and that her son was too close. She made a clear step back and felt noticeably better with the greater distance. The representative of the patient, however, followed immediately. The representative of the mother breathed again heavily when her son was at her side and took several steps back. When the son wanted to follow her, she gave him a serious look to make it clear that she did not want him to follow. Her family history revealed that the mother lost her father when she was five years old and with this loss on her history she found it hard to get tied up with her family and to allow closeness.

I turned to the patient and asked, who was always responsible for the difficulties in the relationship of your parents? He immediately answered: “My father!” I gave him time to reflect and I asked again: And what do you see reflected in the constellation? The patient replied, my mother. I asked the patient to look to his father and say, “Dear father, I’m sorry, I was not free!” He cried when he repeated the phrase. The father’s representative approached the patient instantly and embraced him. The patient cried in the arms of his father and held his hand to his heart. Again and again he said: It hurts a lot. The representative of his father grabbed him and said: “It’s good, everything is fine”, the representative of the mother was relieved watching at the child in the arms of his father. She looked at them both benevolently. At the end of the course, the man said: “As much as my heart ached in the arms of my father, something is resolved. Now I feel a lightness that I have never known before”.

This case shows an impressive change of perspective. Initially, the father was guilty and responsible for all the suffering and during the constellation the patient could see that it was related to the mother because she had lost her father so early. 

How I can know that it might be good for me to make a constellation?

There are several possibilities. You can read my book Even if it costs me my life, it is written as a journey and if you’re free to open the heart to the written processes, you activate processes in yourself and you can recognize where you are in a similar situation and what steps could be a solution for you. It was my desire to write this book as self-help book. There are many examples so that everyone can learn from the difficulties of others and, above all, find processes to solve problems. Ideally you participate as an observer in a group of constellations and examine these processes in greater detail from a safe distance and allow yourself to be moved. This will produce one or another question that will be important to you and for your own growth process.

Is there a healing attitude? If so, what is it?

In many cases it is about excluded content that is part of one’s own biography or the family history. My impression is that you can already start to establish changes in attitude if you open up to these taboo subjects, these difficult issues that are traumatic or heavy, benevolently from a safe distance and recognize them as realities. Finally, it is about accepting what happened with the consequences it had. Many diseases arise when someone holds on to a reality that is different from what reality really was, and if this fight against reality ends new spaces will open up in which healing processes can take place.

What role do you wish for constellations in the healthcare environment?

I think it’s a great tragedy today that you can write a clinical history for years or decades in a so-called “developed” country without anyone raising the question of what really happened in the family. Anyone can probably understand that the death of the mother during the own birth produces an emotion of incredible guilt in one’s life that can manifest in emerging of an illness or symptoms. My wish would be that a kind of “critical mass” is achieved so that a disease is no longer seen as a personal phenomenon, but perhaps as family dynamics, and above all that a form of “health education” comes into the schools to teach the children the importance that a disease can have on family systems and what would be the necessary treatment. Right now I am collecting keywords that are related to health in my opinion. The words that come into my mind spontaneously are identity, authenticity, connection and presence. For me, it would be revolutionary if these concepts were present in classrooms in relation to the appearance of diseases and perhaps also to the prevention of disease.

Is there anything you would like to add?

It is my great desire that the work of the constellations in the area of “Health and Disease” occupies its place and that the possibilities can be explored and the limits are recognized and that it has its place in therapy. I also want to thank Bert Hellinger for opening the way for this method.

Many thanks to Stephan Hausner for this interview!

The hidden dynamics in my family influenced my relationships and my way to look at the world in a way that did not serve me well. Looking at these hidden influences liberated me from any negative influence and transformed my life. What do you know about the hidden dynamics in your family?

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post How to Become a Modern Heroine.

Why Does The Heart Go Through So Much Heartbreak?

Some weeks ago, a client asked me this question: Why does the heart go through so much trauma and heartbreak?

It remembered me of the times when I asked this question myself. My heart had experienced heartbreak, hurt and pain, and this question made me feel hopeless and deeply frustrated in the past. I did not see a feasible way to get out of this pain, and it accompanied me for many years, even though in different forms. In my childhood, my family relationships were full of suffering and, as an adult, my romantic relationships seemed to be a repetition of, at least, part of the hurt and pain. I asked myself, Why does the heart go through so much suffering? many times, but it did not lead to a solution. One day, I saw that I was asking the wrong question, and I started to ask myself, What can I do so that I can let go of trauma, shock, hurt and pain so that I will attract a healthy relationship? And suddenly, I saw new perspectives, and I found out that I had the power to heal my heart and get out of this painful circle.

Here are my recommendations so that you can let go of pain, trauma, shock and suffering and create a healthy relationship:

Connect to your dreams.

Most everyone wants a healthy, depth-of-their-heart true love relationship. Yet, many of us have deep wounds that need to be healed to experience this. Use the power of your dreams to motivate you to heal yourself and your heart so that you can attract the relationship you want. You deserve a healthy relationship, and you have the power to create it. See your past pain and suffering as a blessing because it showed you all that you do not want and transform it into joy and happiness by defining what you really want. It does not matter what happened in your past, you can now create the relationship you really want. Imagine how would be your life in a healthy, depth-of-your heart true love relationship? Imagine how would you feel if you really have attracted it? Never give up on your dream and use its power to motivate you on your healing journey.

Create a loving relationship with yourself
.

Learn to love, honor and respect yourself. This way, you will develop a healthy self-esteem, which is vital to a healthy relationship. Loving yourself is an inner process. It allows you to be authentic and speak your truth, to say “no” when you want to say “no” and to leave a relationship that violates your boundaries. It also supports you to enjoy life as a single person until the intimate love relationship that you desire becomes real. Be loving with yourself because the relationship with yourself is the most important one you will have in your life and the way you treat yourself can influence the way how your partner treats you.

Become a complete person.

Heal your childhood wounds and other negative experiences of your past and become complete. Learn to be aware of your needs and start to fulfill them by yourself. You are now an adult and able to fulfill your needs by yourself. This means that you are independent, and you can consciously choose the relationships that you want to have. And it empowers you to decline relationships that produce suffering. You may not be able to avoid short-term pain but you protect yourself from further long-term suffering.

Learn about new realities.

Your reality is shaped by your experiences. What type of relationships did you experience as a child? I only had painful experiences, and I thought that all relationships were struggle and suffering. As an adult, I learned that there are other realities. Healthy relationships do exist and creating them isn’t a mystery. Behaviors and attitudes that nourish a positive, joyful relationship can be learned. Look for positive relationships in your family or in your circle of friends. Look for stories about positive role models and create your picture of a healthy relationship and say no to relationships that do not comply with your picture.

Always remember that you are the most important person in your life, and you deserve to be loved, honored and respected, by yourself and your partner. If you have a loving relationship with yourself, this will protect you from staying in relationships that produce continuous suffering and it will give you the strength to leave these relationships. This way, you open the door so that better opportunities can arrive.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the post Do you know your worth?

What Are the Limits of Love in A Relationship?

Toxic Relationships

“I don´t need to own to love. I don´t want to be the owner of the person I love. I neither want to conquer nor take: love is not an act of war. Saying she is mine is treating the other like a thing, as if it were a matter of buying and selling. I don´t possess you, I enjoy you while you are around in my life; and that means a lot.”

Walter Riso, Psychologist & Writer

This phrase describes well how a relationship should be like. Yet, there are also these types of relationships that are painful, difficult, confusing and incomprehensible. Maybe you have seen them in your family, in the circle of your friends, at work or maybe you have experienced them yourself. As an observer, a separation seems to be the only wise solution and you wonder why the couple stays together. If you are involved in toxic relationships you may feel like Don Quijote fighting with the windmills: powerless, guilty, without energy and maybe even embarrassed when you talk to friends about your relationship. Love has turned into continuous suffering and fighting even though you saw all through rose-colored glasses at the beginning.

Why do toxic relationships exist?

Lack of Healthy Role Models

Many people miss a healthy image of a relationship because they grew up in dysfunctional families. They have never learned how a healthy relationship should look like. They lack of positive role-models and they do not know how to behave in a relationship in a healthy way. As a consequence, they repeat as adults what they have learned during their childhood. However, you do not have to continue this cycle. You can break it. As an adult, you can choose to heal your childhood wounds and your past to generate new experiences. This way, you can experience relationships that give you support, positive energy and well-being.

Unhealthy Beliefs about Love

Some people have idealized thoughts about love. Beliefs like “love is limitless” or “true love is unconditional” make it difficult to set clear limits or leave the relationship if necessary.  Society or your own family may tell you that you have failed when you get separated. Or, that you cannot separate because of the children. My parents were divorced and, as a child, I was grateful that they had been divorced. These beliefs are often deeply buried in our subconscious mind and make a separation a very difficult decision due to fear, guilt and shame. In reality, you should say, “no” to a relationship when it affects your dignity, your identity or your happiness. You should leave your partner if their behaviour breaks with your values and principles. A healthy relationship signifies that you love your partner while you love, value and respect yourself.

Obstacles to love

Another limit of a relationship is that your partner doesn’t love you. It is not necessary to continue with the relationship, but you must face reality and to learn how to give up. Love is the foundation of a healthy relationship. A relationship is unhealthy if you cannot grow or if you cannot follow your dreams. A relationship should give you and your partner the freedom to grow.

Any form of violence

Physical and sexual violence clearly breaks the limits of love. Love doesn’t justify violence. There is nothing to argue about. Despite the evident signs like maybe a bruise in your face, physical violence leaves a mark in the soul that requires profound healing. A very subtle boundary is emotional violence or manipulation. It is hard to notice but has the same devastating impact on our soul as physical or sexual violence. Manipulation destroys in a hardly perceptible manner the self-esteem, the well-being, the happiness and the identity of the victim. In a toxic relationship, the victim and the aggressor are in a dangerous cycle of control and power and may even switch roles from time to time.

What are the signs of toxic relationships?

Here are some of them:

  • Your partner makes you feel inferior, guilty or humiliated. They repeatedly insult you by telling you phrases like You’re insane, You’re ugly, You’re stupid or You’re fat.
  • They try to isolate you from your family or your friends. They control whatever you do or whom you talk to. They try to tell you where to go and use  jealousy to justify their unhealthy behaviour.
  • They use threats by mentioning suicide or separation or they frighten you by falsely reporting you to the police. They provoke fear through looks, gestures or by destroying objects.

What makes toxic relationships so complex?

All these behaviors break with the limits of love in a relationship. Often, the aggressor would minimize or deny the abuse, in occasions they make even their partner feel responsible for the abusive attitude. Sometimes, the aggressor looks like a charming person to other people and only shows their  abusive behaviour in the relationship. This makes it difficult for the victim to ask for help since no one else understands it. The affected person loses self-esteem until they start believing that there is really something wrong with their personality.  That is the point when the victim is convinced that their partner is right, and develops a false image of themselves. The affected person lives in fear and experiences a strong feeling of guilt and self-hatred. The victim also faces difficulties to giving up a toxic relationship due to a strong emotional dependence.

How can you change the situation?

Even though it seems difficult, you can learn a lot out of these situations: you can learn to set healthy boundaries, to stand up for yourself and to clearly say no to these toxic relationships and walk away while facing the pain of separation. This pain is a useful suffering because it opens a path towards a healthy life. You don’t have to make the road alone, you can and you should ask for professional help that supports you in facing the fear of loneliness, in healing the traumatic experience, in learning to set up healthy boundaries, in regaining self-esteem and dignity and in learning how a healthy and mature relationship looks like. This is an inner process that can guide you to freedom, happiness and connecting deeply with your essence. The beauty that life has to offer is worth to take this step.

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What If You Fear Relationships…?

Sometimes we learned difficult and hurtful lessons in life and as result, we fear relationships and deep connections. Let me tell you my story:

We were at a wonderful market, surrounded by booths selling colorful things from all over the world, the air filled with the smell of exotic food. I looked at the man at my side. I had achieved all I had dreamed of. The first date with this charming man – Spanish, good looking and humorous. It seemed so wonderful, like a dream. Instead I felt horrible, awkward and caged. I noticed this solid wall around me all the time. It put an unbearable pressure on myself. When we went home, he tried to give me a kiss – and then it happened. I heard myself saying, This will never work out, cold and sharp – the voice of my fear. I pushed him away and just tried to get out of the situation. I felt this fear inside, dark, deep and ice-cold – telling me, just to get out of here… otherwise I would die. My inner child had taken over control and was projecting all its anger and fears from its childhood to this man. I was powerless and unable to stop it. And inside my heart was crying.

We continued with a difficult relationship for one year, splitting off and starting again, never really being able to communicate with each other. I was his mirror and he was mine. Finally, I bought a book about fear of relationships. I wanted to understand our dynamics and how I could deal better with this. And I found a picture of myself I did not like to see – I had the same fear of relationships I had seen in my partner. It made me feel small, like a loser. I had never wanted to be influenced in such a strong way by my experiences in my childhood. And I was. I felt like a failure, ashamed of myself. I started working with myself and my inner child. For the following two years I focussed on changing this picture of myself. I did not dare to have a new date again because I was too afraid to return into my old habits.

And then, there came this man who I had not noticed in the beginning. By some lucky circumstances I could not avoid seeing him again. He was tall, brown-haired, attractive. In the past, my inner child always feared tall men for its experience in the childhood and this time it was o.k. My inner voice told me that it was time to go for a coffee again. So I dared to ask him for a coffee.

And I had dinner with him on a Saturday evening. Later that evening we went for a walk through the city. We just talked about ourselves. I felt well, relaxed and connected to myself. I said what I really wanted to say. I just was who I am. When we said good-bye I was able to give him a hug and to say him thank you for the nice evening. That evening I had not run away for the first time in my life and I had achieved something important for me. And I knew I could repeat it anytime I wanted to.

My fear has transformed me, now I work actively on my relationships, looking at every situation with the perspective What can I learn from it? It helps me to be authentic and not to play any games. And even though love has its limits if there is any kind of abuse or mistreatment, I now see a relationship as something very precious that should not be thrown away easily and deserves the constant effort to learn and work on one self to stay together. If I leave my partner and look for a new one without learning what I should learn from the situation I will face the same problem – only with a different actor. I would just waste my time and would have to do the learning I could do now at a later stage. My fear helps me to stay curious and creative in finding the best way to relate to someone. In the end, we all want to connect to other persons and connecting to others should give us positive energy and a lot of fun.

Stories are powerful to heal our lives. We are all human and have our scars, wounds and mistakes. Important is how we deal with them and what we make out of them. A long time I saw my fear of relationships as my “biggest” mistake and I was not able to forgive myself. By writing the story the wound and sense of failure got a new definition and a different description. This time it was written from a loving and compassionate point of view. This is the true healing.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Do you want to read more? Check the article How to Be a Modern Heroine.

A Wolf’s Separation

Once upon a time, there was a majestic wolf who lived happily and content with his female companion and their offspring in a green forest out of fir trees. The wolf was a loyal companion and a loving father. He took care of his pack so that they had a good meal and a safe home. He anticipated every wish of his pack.

One day, there was a terrible thunderstorm and nothing was as it had been before. The wolf and the she-wolf decided to go their own ways, separated from each other. For the wolf, his pack was his all in the world and he lost everything he ever had. He felt torn into pieces and his heart was broken. He felt guilty for not having it done better. His eyes lost the radiance and his coat the brilliance.

In a deeply black, rainy night the wolf ran into the woods. He did not know which direction to take. He just ran, ran and ran until he collapsed exhausted. Lying on the ground, he suddenly felt a gentle touch on his wet coat. Painfully, he raised his head and saw a tall bear. He thought, A bear, my God, a bear. He saw the imminent death in front of him and did not know whether he should greet him or be frightened. He was too weak to run away.

The gray bear lifted up the wolf lovingly and gently and carried him into a warm cave with an infinite amount of mirrors. The wolf stood up carefully and asked the bear, What is it?

The bear replied, That is you. Each mirror is a part of you and you’re more than all the mirrors.

The wolf looked at the overwhelming amount of mirrors and saw that in one, he was played with his children and in the other he hunted prey. Then he saw his beloved she-wolf in a mirror that was no longer his companion. When he saw her tears came up into his eyes and panic overwhelmed him. What would he do without her?

The bear touched softly his shoulder and said, She will always be in your heart. She has given you your pack. The wound is now so deep that words cannot describe it. And, one day this pain will pass by, too. If you do not see it now, you will then know that it is good as it is.

The wolf bowed his head slightly disbelieving and the bear said: Look over your left shoulder. The wolf turned around and saw a brown saddlebag on his back that was very heavy. What is it? he asked. The bear answered, These are your negative experiences. Now look at your right shoulder. The wolf turned around and saw a saddlebag that was made out of colorful and bright cloth. The bear continued, …and that is all that you have learned from it. At that moment, the wolf felt how the load on his back became balanced and lighter.

Then he saw a new mirror in which he saw another wolf, this one had a wonderful gray mane, a kind smile and a special sparkle in his eyes. This wolf looked calm and peaceful in the world, as if nothing could shock him. Astonished he asked the bear, Who is he? The bear smiled softly and said, He is you. You have all the power and strength to overcome this crisis. You’re more than just a companion and you are more than the people who surround you. Even if it’s painful, sometimes a part of us has to die so that we find ourselves. Never forget how many stars you have inside yourself. Never forget how valuable you are as an individual. I give you this stone as a reminder.

He gave the wolf a beautiful, gleaming green stone and the wolf put the stone into his heart and bowed in gratitude.

He left the cave and his head was now upright and his step powerful. When he entered in the forest again, he felt how the stone completed his heart. The rain was now over, and he looked up at the sky and saw the moon and the stars. That moment he knew that he would find his way.

I look forward to reading your comments below!

Are you interested in reading more about this theme? Check the article What if a Separation is not the end…?