I have moved swiftly from the break up, the five steps to help you through, to who to avoid whilst dating but what about the bit in between. The following update is a jumbled string of sentences that don’t amount to much. This is the moving on process, what I refer to as the 'relationship recovery' process.
A best friend recommended a therapy centre. She’d known me from childhood and was justifiably concerned that I would live my life in a constant state of highs and lows. I was almost insulted at first but being trusting of her I phoned and went.
The first trip was an assessment from the director of the centre and his conclusion was; stick to the recommended alcohol levels and other than that I was fundamentally fine. My inner self was stable, my family background was very loving and I was successful in almost all areas of my life. But, and there’s always a but, I wanted to have a successful long term relationship and for whatever reason I kept choosing the wrong people so this is what my therapy would be focussed on.
To get the most out of my sessions I decided on some objectives: to feel inner calm, strength and to really understand myself. Have you ever stood somewhere and felt total, true inner calm, even if only for a moment. Where the world seems to stop, you can hear a pin drop and clarity overwhelms you. You are in tune with the surroundings and yourself, inside and out and the world becomes an amazing place. That degree of awareness can't last, we still have to work, read the news, face our fears and live our daily lives. However, there is a lessened inner calm and strength that we can carry around daily, I just needed to find it!
A friend went to Australia on a spontaneous trip following a break up from her long term girlfriend. The plan went as far as buying a flight, packing a rucksack and turning up at the airport. When arriving in Australia the spontaneity was not as exciting and the ‘oh shit’ set in. She was alone, uncomfortable and miles away from her life. It soon changed and the following months were fantastic. It was on this trip she experienced the feeling of true inner calm. Whilst walking around Uluru with the sun rising, all the guilt, insecurity and failures disappeared and being her was ok, inner calm took over. Yes, that was me but that story is so corny I cringe and have to pretend it was a ‘friend’.
The extremity is; I have often had an unexplained emotion, a knot in my stomach that overwhelms me and is followed by heightened anxiety and panic that I find hard to deal with. I overreact becoming irrational and impatient; this often results in disastrous decision making. I have associated this feeling with love, anger and anxiety however I now understand these feelings are that of the fear of rejection. This is the text book psychotherapy I have previously tried to deny, how can my failures in relationships be an output of a very loving, stable childhood? But it is and of course this fear originates from what I believed to be insignificant childhood incidents and emotions filtered from people around me. Childhood incidents are not solely responsible for my adult behaviour, I am an adult and I make my own decisions, but they are intrinsically connected.
We all have a fear, however, some do not associate their fears with the emotions they feel. Anxiety is a perfect example. Next time you feel irrationally anxious, what are you actually scared of? Is it a fear of rejection, loss, failure, abandonment that is heightened by the situation you are in? Anxiety is an emotion attached to the fear not the other way around. If you feel anxious or out of control about a situation maybe ask yourself why?
There are certain events and relationships I should have walked away from but I stayed to avoid others and myself experiencing that sense of rejection. I will always be faced with people, situations and emotions that make me feel out of control, uncomfortable, irrational, high or low but if I learn why I may feel this way then I can step back and choose how I react. You know what, this clarity, self awareness and inner calm only costs me £40 a week!