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HSP: How do you break the cycle of secure relationships?

Getting too involved with a person with an unhealthy lifestyle makes you forget about yourself and your own needs. Highly sensitive people have a high tolerance for dealing with difficult or awkward people. If an insensitive person goes to extremes, the alarm bells do not go off with them.
When someone is having a hard time, our subconscious thoughts immediately tell us to have a life jacket, first aid kit and night goggles at hand.

Highly sensitive people don’t really want difficult relationships. They would prefer to avoid them, but still feel compelled to help. We unconsciously believe that we can then guide someone to a higher level, to a healthier life.

But what always happens is that they bring us down. No matter how strong, confident and healthy we are. We also end up feeling just as weak, depressed, and worried as they feel. So when you feel despair or angry, your partner blames you for their own negative feelings.

And he critics six you for asking too much of him, or he tries to make you feel bad about yourself. Then you believe that. And that’s why it’s not only difficult to leave. Your self-confidence is also decreasing, making it increasingly difficult to stand up for yourself.

In their book Attached – Identify Your Attachment Style and Find Your Perfect Match ,  authors Amir Levine and Rachel Heller explain. When experiencing stress, our brains are tuned to seeking support from our partner. Even if the stress is self-inflicted, we are biologically driven to seek their emotional or psychological support. That means there is nothing wrong with that.

click on the picture for more information about this book in English

If the partner can’t reassure us, the brain will still give us signals to achieve the interconnectedness we need. If we fail to feel this connection, we become increasingly needy and anxious. The person with an unhealthy lifestyle will then act out of anger, selfishness, defensive or evasive ways, while the person with a healthy lifestyle will become increasingly insecure and depressed. This creates a downward cycle of unlimited needs, insecurity and unhappiness.

According to authors Levine and Heller, we are built to become emotionally dependent on our partners. That is what relationships are for, to mutually support, understand, comfort and reassure each other. Especially during difficult times. We never intended to endure all our trials of life alone. But this dependence means that the partner’s feelings, mood and behavior also affect you. If you live with someone who is, for example, narcissistic, you can’t expect to ignore their antics and only cater to your own needs. That’s not how it works.

Knowing that a relationship with someone else is about the ability to be mutually supportive means that getting involved with someone with an unhealthy and insecure lifestyle will require you to put your own needs into the background.

So, here are a few tips for loving like a sensitive person. And to make sure your relationship is what it’s meant to be. Namely promoting everyone’s personal growth, providing a safe environment, in which you support each other emotionally and in which everyone can be themselves.

  • When you meet someone, ask yourself if he/she is able to support you emotionally. For example: he/she will be there for you if you’ve had a rough day. Are you well taken care of, with understanding and a hug, if you need this?
  • Someone who is constantly not there for you will stir up your concerns and fears. If you feel anxious in a relationship, it is a sign of insecurity.
  • Someone who can emotionally support and reassure you is good for you.
  • Don’t expect anyone to read your mind. You are the one to tell your partner what you need and what you feel. Be clear.
  • If your partner becomes angry or defensive and you feel angry and confused as a result, get up and leave. Take some time to be alone. Wait until you calm down, then think about how to move forward so you don’t react in fear.
  • As hard as it is, you have to put yourself first. So, while you can feel compassion and concern for the struggles and insecurities of others, it is important not to join them in that struggle. Stay focused on what you need and be willing to move to a better place.


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