#565 – Journey Of Attachment: I Want To Have an Authentic Relationship With Someone
In your sphere of relationships—partner, friend, colleague, family, acquaintance, etc.—how do you show up? Are you trying to fit in, be liked or be respected? Do you want to be thought of as nice, smart, strong, reliable and/or helpful? And to achieve those objectives, do you act differently with different people? You might perform the way you think somebody wants you to without even realizing it. Yes, perform. When you are playing a role that is focused on how you want to be perceived instead of who you truly are, you’re performing. And it not only depletes you of energy, it also robs your relationships of intimacy because you are not being your authentic self.
So why work so hard to be a chameleon? Most people behave according to someone else’s expectations (real or assumed) to avoid abandonment. If you show up as the perfect friend, co-worker, lover, son/daughter, etc., you’ll preserve the relationship. But the consequences are many. In this week’s podcast you’ll see how much you sacrifice by being a chameleon, and that relationships are far more intuitive than you think. I’ll walk you through a reframing exercise that focuses on the purpose of your relationships so you can experience how it feels to show up as YOU.
Wisdom Nugget (#wisdomnugget)
Valuing yourself means what’s NOT okay IS okay, and sharing it with the world.
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Hey, I’m here, and you’re watching. This is my podcast number 565 and of course I always have a working title because I am not the one who goes through and creates the summaries. I create my outline and somebody else looks through it and they’re like, “There’s a better title here, Tracy.” So, the working title is I Want To Have An Authentic Relationship With Someone. Okay?
For most of us, we don’t even know what the hell that actually means. Do we? We talk about, “I want an authentic relationship,” here. But what is that? And we somehow will equate it with some kind of fantasy or some kind of idea that’s ideal, not normal, not real. But ideal, that doesn’t exist, that is probably perfect in a way that there is no sense of perfection. I think most things, unfortunately, in life, we’re looking for the unicorn. I’ll be doing a podcast on how we look for the unicorn, and it can keep us from being in the moment. In this case, it’s a little bit different. I was thinking the main topic idea here is that many of us enter our relationships as chameleons, be abso-fricking-lutely do. Whether it’s a friendship or family or a love-mate or whoever it happens to be, your school teacher, your boss, whatever.
And we tend to show up how we think somebody else wants us to. And I don’t really believe that most of us are consciously aware that we’re trying to be someone else or trying to please someone else. I think most of us, we’re kind of confused as to what that actually means. Anyway, that’s something that I want to talk about today. Because the first thing I used to think of when I thought of the other person was, “What do I need to be, to be liked? Or to keep the peace?” That would always be where I was coming from with someone. It wasn’t like I was coming from a place of, “How do I feel? Where do I want to be connected?” It was, “What is someone else going to want from me?” And of course, a lot of that’s set by my own expectations. And everybody out there, of course, your own expectations.
So, it was like this sense of responsibility, but it wasn’t really a responsibility. It was a sense of not knowing, and that could be frustrating. So, I’d always go to these default ways of talking to people or having relationships with people. A lot of times I would draw a blank with my whole focus skewed to not losing the relationship. It was so much more, “I can’t lose this relationship. If I lose this relationship, then that’s a problem.” And yet, I don’t even know how it was a problem, it was the fear of having that problem. The fear of having that be my reality. That is what freaked me out. It was a sense of trying to figure out what makes that person tick and answer to what they need. It’s kind of like when you’re on a sales call and you’re trying to figure out what is the benefit here? What do they need? What’s going to help them? What’s going to be beneficial to them?
The whole focus means, unfortunately when it’s on another person like that and it’s really coming from fear, it’s so much more about that lack of value in yourself. Yeah. To start with, let’s open this up, right? Sometimes when I do these podcasts, I do get the feeling that some of you may be thinking, “Wow, is something really wrong with me? Am I really this screwed up?” Because some of the titles speak to that, right? But I try to look at this as things that we’re normally not talking about, or if we are, we’re talking about it in a way as if we’re broken and we need to be fixed. It’s not that you’re broken or need to be fixed, it’s that you have a perspective that works against you. And you are your own worst enemy with it. You are the unkind one to yourself, who basically teaches other people how to treat you when you have problems with how somebody treats you.
A lot of times we get stuck acting in these ways because we’re not consciously aware of this, and that’s where we get stuck. Especially when it comes to relationships with other people. You may find yourself in the drama triangle in your relationships. You might be the victim, you might be the persecutor, you might be the rescuer. And that’s really who you may be showing up as. What the problem with this is, is it’s not a happy place to live. How you basically have a relationship with someone, anyone, it really may be very exhausting. You may not know, “Why don’t I want to go out to dinner with so-and-so tonight?” Or, “Why don’t I want to talk to my mom?” Or, “Why don’t I want to do this?” And it’s because all this performing is exhausting. All of this trying to figure out how do I hold onto this relationship? Or not have a fight? Or whatever it is I fear. Because it’s some kind of loss. “What can I do?” It’s exhausting to live up to these roles that you create.
And I say roles because if you’re a chameleon, you got more than one role. That’s a bummer because you probably don’t realize why the hell you created it in the first place. But you learn these things in childhood by participating in whatever dynamics are going on in your home, and then perhaps you bring the same dynamic out to other people. If you’re not bringing it out to other people as far as let’s say you’re the victim in your house because you didn’t have any rights, you’re a little kid and you’re just being told, “Hey, this is what you’re going to do.” Right? Or not. Then you may be in that position outside of your home too. Or maybe you’re the opposite. Maybe you’re like, “Well, I’m the victim there, I’m going to be the persecutor everywhere else.” Not that you make a conscious decision of this. This is my whole point though.
You don’t consciously go, “I’m going to be a victim.” Or, “I’m going to be a rescuer.” Nobody does that. You find strategies that work or seem to work, where people give you attention, or maybe it even seems like you’re getting love, you’re getting what you’re used to. If you had a parent that was a persecutor and the other one was a victim, and then maybe you rescued the victim. Or maybe the persecutor turned into the rescuer. Maybe your dad turned into the rescuer. Whatever it was, okay? There’s so many different ways I can describe the triangle. But it’s not even about the triangle so much as it’s about these roles that are created unconsciously. Because you’re just used to it, so it’s familiar. So, you just go out into the world and you know what’s familiar to you. Therefore, you are a chameleon.
With some people, maybe you’re the, “I’m going to tell everybody what to do. I’m going to be the dictator here.” And then you go home and you’re the victim or you’re rescuer, or whatever. Okay? You are taking on a position. A position that you feel is going to get you love or attention, or not at least have people abandon you. The thing is, as an adult, you do have a choice. And as a kid, you overcompensated and maybe you became a chameleon. Maybe you were wonderful at your after-school job and maybe you sucked in school. Maybe you went home and you didn’t get any validation, and the only place you did get validation was at your job. It’s like who knows? I mean, everybody’s different. But who knows what the origination of it was. It’s more than likely from whatever the dynamics were in your house and watching them, and being a part of them.
So, you figured out how to please some people, how to push other people away. You learned how to work hard because obviously if you’re not being yourself, you’re working your ass off trying to be someone else to please other people. You may have some self-awareness about this, or a lot of self-awareness about it. It may be that you think other people are toxic to you or people have mistreated you, and the thing is, is that we set that up too. We say, “Okay,” to certain things. And we keep saying, “Okay,” to certain things. Then you got to look at, well how authentic am I really? Probably not all that authentic. Or as much as you would want to be.
The thing you got to look at is what are you able to be? Are you able to be you? And the real you. And build relationships from there, that have meaning to you and do not feel like you’re working your ass off at a job that you need a vacation from. Yeah. Right? And one that you learn to resent. For me, I was great at rescuing, and I was great at being a victim. Yeah. I also probably was a persecutor in certain roles that I had. I would say that I was probably the persecutor more when I was at work because I was so critical of other people, and it came from me being critical of myself. This wasn’t just like, “I’m going to be critical of you.” It was, I was critical of me. So, in being critical period, that created the problem. And it came from this lack of self-love and self-acceptance of myself.
When I was younger and I never felt like I fit in with the in-crowd, nor was I trying to fit in with the in-crowd, yet I would be in the in-crowd at times just kind of falling into it. And then I would end up falling out of it because I didn’t really fit. When I was in high school, I think I just was friends with everybody. I mean, I had some friends, but most of my friends went to a different high school. And also, there was this feeling of not going, “Oh, this is my group,” or what have you. It was, I was just friends with different people. And my senior year was really a lot of fun because it was like everybody was in the in-crowd at that point.
Anyways, the whole point being, I didn’t know how to have these relationships. I didn’t even know. I kept thinking, “Oh, I got to act different. I got to be funnier. Oh, I’ve got to help people. I’ve got to rescue them more. I’ve got to be like Dear Abby or something.” Literally. I did not know how to be anything other than Tracy the guru or Tracy the rescuer or Tracy the one who was working her ass off to show she was likable, or at least funny and smart. But not too smart, didn’t want to be too smart. It felt like I wanted to hide out a lot from friends for a long time. And it seemed too much work, because what I thought I had to do and the friendships which survived all of that crap basically were the ones where it came down to me being able to be me and it was okay. I wasn’t having to show up and act in certain ways where people would be like, “Tracy, what should I do?” I thought that that was a relationship, “What should I do?” “Oh, let me talk about all your problems.” That was so familiar.
I’m actually feeling it right now, that was so familiar to be with people and feel that sensation of nothingness from me and being engaged in their problems, and then feeling crappy and empty inside because I’m so engaged in their issues and trying to solve their problems because that’s what I thought I was worth. I didn’t think there was anything inside of me that was worth it. Seriously. I’d just show up and be like, “What can I do for you? How can I help you? Can I make your life better?” I don’t do this shit in my personal life at all, by the way. My work does not extend to my friendships, it doesn’t extend to my relationship with my husband, it doesn’t extend to any relationship I have with anybody in my personal life.
Because I would never fucking do that again. Excuse me. But I wouldn’t. I would never do this again. Because I don’t want to live someone else’s life for them. In terms of my personal life, I want to go and live my life and have my experiences. Not go, “Oh, let’s go and have dinner and just talk about your crap.” That’s how I lived. I lived for so long that way. Anyways, I felt like I was easily disposable, and that’s why. And if people weren’t looking for me to tell them what to do, then they would just go, “Well, I don’t want anything to do with Tracy.”
Why is this a problem? Well, it’s a problem because anything which causes you to sit and worry about how you appear or who you spend your time with or how you feel when you spend time with somebody, it’s like you are laboring under a false impression. You’re laboring under this impression that you have to work so hard and that relationships are so hard. And they’re work, but they’re not this kind of work. This was the kind of work you need, like I said, a vacation from. The one where you believe if you don’t live up to someone else’s expectations or that … And these are ones you’ve created, by the way … that you’re going to be abandoned in some way. The fear of abandonment is scary shit. Most of it is, again, unconscious. It’s not like you’re consciously going, “I don’t want to be abandoned. I don’t want to be abandoned.” Most of us don’t run around like chickens with our heads cut off saying, “I don’t want to be abandoned.”
The fear of abandonment is scary. And it can have you performing like a seal in the circus. The issue with performing is that it makes your relationships devoid of intimacy. And I can say intimacy is, again, work, but not this kind of work. Not to try to figure out who you need to be and where you need to be or how you need to approach it or what you need to look like or what you need to dress like or whatever. And having a relationship is far more intuitive than most of us think. Here’s the other thing, if it’s a problem for you, which if you’re listening to this, I’m going to guarantee it’s probably a problem. You have experience and you may be trying to avoid by acting how you do.
If I have a past experience that was negative, I’m not going to want to repeat it. This is how most of us think. Yet, you’re maybe not going to repeat it. But you’ve got to give things an opportunity to be authentic, to be real, to let them play out. And if things play out the same way, they play out the same way. It really doesn’t matter. But we can get really tied up in this. We can get really caught up in how we think things need to be. There is only one way, and it’s like this little tiny bubble box you live in, like there’s only one way to be. Instead of, “Oh, I could be me.” So, you feel like you’re in kindergarten with your relationships, since you’ve never learned anything more on how to actually have intimacy.
This is not a forever thing, and that you now at this point, you can do something about it by listening to this going, “Hey, wait a minute. You know what? I can have intimacy, I can be really me, the real me. It may be that some of the people in my life may not be in my life. But how much work am I willing to put into relationships? And what is the value of them if I’m not valuing myself in them?” This is all the problem. What’s your wisdom nugget? The little #WisdomNugget. Value yourself means what’s not okay, is okay, and share it with the world. That’s pretty much what I got to say about that. Be not okay. It’s okay. Be whatever you are. It’s okay. Who the fuck’s standards are we living by? You’ve got to be able to give it to yourself and realize you’re okay. Because you are.
All right, so what’s the solution? First off, I want you to look at the purpose of a certain relationship, just pick a relationship to start with. Don’t think of all your relationships, just pick one that comes to mind. Okay? You can use this for a starting point, and then you can use it on your other relationships. I’m just saying, you don’t need to crowd them all in. Because I guarantee, you’re probably different in a variety of relationships. All right, here we go. You want to look at these relationship … this relationship, sorry … and you want to look at the purpose of the relationship. Whether it’s friendship, love, companionship, you’re work buddies, maybe you workout together, maybe you have kids and you’re in the same social circles or you’re in certain organizations through the school, or sports, or what have you. Look at the purpose.
Notice when you look at the purpose, how does it feel? You can close your eyes and do this whole thing. How does it feel in my body? I’m going to close my eyes, I’m going to think of this relationship and its purpose. Okay? What does that feel like to me? Do I feel connected? Do I feel disconnected? If you feel connected, you’re going to feel a sense of warmth. If you’re disconnected, you’re going to feel distraction. You’re going to think about other things besides this, and you’re going to find yourself, “What’s for dinner?” Or whatever. Now, I want you to focus on that relationship, whatever that is, going away. How are you going to feel? Do you feel sadness? Relieved? Anxious? What do you feel? Pay attention to what you feel. Because this is what matters, is what do you feel?
When you feel it, I want you to notice the meaning you attach to it. What’s the meaning? Because we always attach meaning to things. We always attach meaning to things that don’t even have meaning a lot of the time. But what meaning are you giving to it? That’s another thing, okay? That’s that. And now, you take that answer about how you felt when you thought about this relationship going away, and I want you to look at the last time you talked to that person, whether it was five minutes ago, five years ago, a day ago. Whatever, it doesn’t matter. I want to ask you, how did you feel in that last conversation? Did you feel close? Did you feel numb? Did you feel like you were trying to hold on? What were you feeling? You want to know what you were feeling. Because the more you know what you were feeling, the more I would say you’re connected to yourself.
And then you’re going, “Oh shit, when I talked to George yesterday, I did feel disconnected and I felt like I was in a hurry to get off the phone and I wanted to get away from them, but I didn’t want them to be mad at me. I wanted them to be happy with me. So, I ended up staying on with George for so long. And we just talked about George and his problems. And I thought to myself as he was talking, I was distracted and I was numb and I was not close. I was really just trying to hold on and keep the peace.” Wow, that’s something, right? Let’s say that’s something you noticed, as an example. And then you got to look at how hard you were working. How draining was that? What did you do when you got off the phone with George? Did you need a nap? Look at where you were fearful, you were ambivalent, you were checked out. Look at how you were. These are all awareness points. I’m just sharing with you awareness. Okay?
Now take that conversation and reframe it with you being you, not blaming or being on the drama triangle or anything requiring inauthenticity. How does it feel? Do you feel more in control? Like if you were on the phone with George and you go, “You know what, George? I would love to hear you talk, but I have to go because I need to go cook dinner.” Or, “You know what, George? I love talking to you, but what I think I want to do is, I’d like to bring up some other topics to talk about. How do you feel about that?” And then George could say, “Oh God, no.” Or George could go, “Oh, cool, whatever.” And then you do it. You didn’t actually call George out and go, “Fuck, we’re always talking about you, George.” You know? No. It’s that you’re actually taking care of yourself and not being a chameleon when you’re being authentic like that.
How do you feel when you’re reframing it? You got to pay attention. Do I feel relaxed? Do I feel more in control of myself? Pay attention to your body and see if you can actually feel it. And in that conversation that you’re reframing, look at your words and actions matching. No more cognitive dissonance, right? Right. Okay. What did I do? Well, I would say that I became real. As I’m real, and I share how I feel, right or wrong, and it’s not about right or wrong anyways. Feelings are not about right or wrong, feelings are just about sharing them and not expecting others to change or do something about that. Okay? That’s not other people’s responsibility, nor is it your responsibility to do that with other people either.
My relationships are different from one another, but I’m not different in them. I’m me. And it means some relationships still evolve. And I don’t try to be someone else or do something else or try to win their attention or their affection. I just invest in being me. And I have more meaningful conversations and I also don’t have conversations with some in other words. I realize how my energy is, and if we disagree about a topic, I’m not going to try to convince them. I don’t need to change them. I just need to be clear about me and where I am, and share from there. So, if it’s like I feel this way about a topic, I’m going to say I feel this way about a topic. I don’t need to agree with you, you don’t need to agree with me, we’re cool. I’m not going to not talk to you anymore or what have you. But I may not talk about this topic anymore. If it’s not something that we can even have a conversation about.
That definitely happened with all of the political BS that we’ve been going through over the last whatever, however long. My lifetime, I don’t know. It’s just the point of I’m not here to convince other people of anything. Even in doing my podcast, I’m not here to convince you. It’s either something that you resonate with and you’re like, “You know what? I can apply this stuff so I can have a sense of wellbeing.” Cool, that’s what I do by being me. And I really started to understand myself better and I understood other people better and I understood how much we operate from these beliefs that we don’t even know are running the show. And that’s the sad part.
Because the more, let’s say that you’re not aware of how your beliefs run this show, the more pain you’re actually in and the more you blame the world and everything in it. My marriage is a place where I share all sorts of stuff and I’m never anyone but me, I’m all of me. And the same for my husband. It’s not always easy, but pretending or trying to forget my feelings or want him to forget his own, that doesn’t work. It feels like crap to try and do that. It’s amazing how we make ourselves feel like crap, but we do. Because we learned this stuff. We didn’t just … We weren’t born and it’s like, “Oh wow, I know how to have dysfunctional communication. I know that I’ve got to come and perform so people will talk to me and love me and give me attention.” That’s not what it was at all.
Okay. So, wisdom nugget, value yourself means what’s not okay, is okay. And share it with the world, as long as you’re not an ax murderer we’re good. All right, so universal right. You have the universal right to be a chameleon, which means a victim to your own fear of loss. You could keep acting in ways which do not serve you and feel bad, you are free to be in pain or you’re free to open yourself to real intimacy with others. Now’s the wrap up. Wrapping this up, you can look at your fear around loss that has you performing or you can start to match those words and actions. There’s a tribe for each of us. And it may surprise you to find yours. And that at the same time, is how it works. The more you are yourself, watch who and ho you attract others. Watch your confidence grow and watch how you are a magnet for things that are really good.
Because you have an opening. And when you have an opening, things can come through it. I just noticed that there was dog toys on the floor everywhere behind me. Anyways, my puppy was up here. Yeah, so I just wrapped it up, right? Yeah, I did. Sorry, got a little lost on the outline. All right, so I’ve got two related podcasts. Number 275, Journey Of Attachment, I’m so amazing, why won’t anybody love me? Yes. And number 238, When a Relationship Ends And You Feel Like The Bad Guy. Because I’ve heard that.
You have any interest in different topics, you can write, and it’s Podcast@TracyCrossley.com and we’ll take those into consideration for future shows. Of course if you are looking for help, you can email Happiness@TracyCrossley.com for a discovery session. We always have our $99 course going, which is April, this is April, starts in April. I think April fifth, I don’t even know, isn’t that horrible? I don’t get into the calendar, they just say, “Tracy, show up here.” “Okay, I’m here.” So, you can get a discovery session though, to hear other programs. But we do have the $99 program, which is awesome. It’s just a short 30 day course on Facebook and it’s in a Facebook group, and that’s how we’re doing it until we have our own platform, which we’re working on. Anyways guys, you all take care. I will see you next time. Bye bye.
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