Do you stay too long in a relationship that is not good for you?

Artwork by Katie M. Berggren

Have you ever been in a situation like the one described below?

You’ve just met a man; you really like him and feel attracted. You might even feel a sense of immediate connection as if you have met a kindred soul. Your conversations are interesting and he makes you laugh. He gives you his undivided attention, calls and checks up on you a lot. You really feel that he likes you. Soon your relationship moves into the bedroom and everything in there is wonderful, too. You can’t believe your luck and feel a long forgotten sweetness of being in love. You can’t help it and start imagining your future together… A Little Girl in you who has been starved of love and attention is getting awakened. She is getting the kind of “food” she always wanted. It feels amazing and she wishes it would never end. And because this Little Girl is so attached to this satisfaction, she makes your ears deaf to the little unsettling things you hear sometimes from your new beloved and your eyes blind to the things you see him doing from time to time: that crude comment he makes about his friend’s partner, that snorty reply to a phone call from a colleague, a cynicism in his voice when he talks about people who can’t go anywhere because of their children, a judgement he made about your close friend; you might not want to see that he is overdoing it with the alcohol, or may be you are trying not to make a big deal out of it when he makes fun of your attachment to your pet or criticises the way you dress – all these little things…

Later on, you might have discovered that every little thing that you have chosen to keep on a periphery of your attention was the “tip of an iceberg”, a “symptom” of a much bigger problem – the one that eventually brought your relationship to ashes leaving you feeling heartbroken, disappointed and emotionally drained. The Little Girl inside you just got another confirmation that she was right to believe that she is “not good enough”, that there is a shortage of love and care in the world, that she is alone and that life is hard and unfair…

Do you know the Little Girl inside of you well enough? How old is she? Are you aware of what she needs and what she is longing for? Are you able to take care of her, to comfort her, to make her feel loved and seen, so she wouldn’t be sabotaging your adult-self’s life by making you numb, deaf and blind to things that are not good for you and by making you stay for far too long in love relationships that are not worthy of pursuing?..

Below are just a few manifestations of how our wounded Little Girl can unknowingly keep us away from the love we want:

  • When we choose emotionally unavailable men
  • When we choose immature partners, become like mothers to them and then blame them for not returning our love
  • When we find ourselves in a co-dependant relationship with a narcissist
  • When we start drowning ourselves in work, over-intellectualising, becoming too critical, demanding, controlling and competitive
  • When we restrict our authentic self-expression and suppress our body’s energy

If we are not aware of the Little Girl in us, who is starved of love, thirsty for attention or scared of being hurt, she will be controlling our life making our adult self feel out of control, frustrated, unhappy, emotionally drained and disappointed.

This is not our fault but the truth is that our Little Girl’s heart is a bottomless well that cannot be filled by anyone else but us. Bringing our deep attention and love to our Little Girl is an act of self-love and one of the most important steps towards our freedom and the kind of life and relationship we truly desire. We can be creative and each of us can find her own way of connecting with the Little Girl living inside of us.

The good news is that, despite our Little Girl’s interference, our intuition is always available to us. I am talking about that quiet voice within that carries no emotion and can know the truth, even when we don’t want to know it. Remember all those little things that we have chosen not to notice? That was the voice of our intuition. That voice is our true ally because it knows what is good for us. If we practice listening to it regularly and act upon it without waiting for our mind to “catch up” with it we can start living our life and build our relationships with much more grace and deliberation.

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