What I Learned This Week: Why You Can’t Let Go Of Certain People

If there are certain people who you know are not healthy for you, but you cannot walk away from them, they have something that you think you need and won’t be able to get anywhere else.

Over and over again, I meet with counseling clients who remain in unhealthy, even abusive, situations, and don’t really know why they can’t walk away.  Since they don’t know, they have actually made up reasons in their heads, rationalized why they must  stay with this person.  But the bottom line truth is that you have come to believe the lie that this person has something to offer you which you cannot live without, despite the hell you have to live through in order to enjoy an hour or two of happiness with them.

The most prevalent issue that I repeatedly hear is “when things are good, I feel loved in a way that I’ve never felt before, and it’s better than I’ve ever known.”  When I ask how often they get to experience that heady loved feeling, the answer is invariably for a very limited time.  The bad and hurtful behavior long outlasts the good and loving behavior, but the possibility of experiencing this type of “love” keeps you attached to someone who is incapable of maintaining this “love” for any length of time.

When I ask how they feel about leaving this person, I see panic rise up, which is a sign that the counselee is stricken with fear at the thought of losing this “love”, as if they might die inside without it.  This is mainly due to one of three reasons:

  • They NEED this love because it PROVES that they are LOVABLE. They believe they have not been loved and fear that they are innately unlovable, and that if they lose this person, no one will ever love them again. There is a very good chance that their “loved one” has even used this knowledge about them against them, attempting to manipulate them by telling them that no one else would ever want them the way they are.
  • They NEED this love because it provides a natural HIGH that they believe they cannot live without.  It is like a hit on a drug that makes you euphoric; you are addicted to it, and don’t want to go through the withdrawal pains that will happen if you disconnect from the supplier.  This is extremely true of people with addictive tendencies, and especially dry substance abusers.  The dull routine of mundane, every day life is too boring for them, and since they are used to manufacturing a high on demand by using substances, this boredom is basically intolerable to them.  They “need” this “hit” of “love”.
  • They NEED this relationship (not necessarily this “love”) because they have an unresolved emotional memory inside of them. They have arranged this relationship situation just as it is so they can bring up and repeatedly feel this unresolved emotion over and over again. They spend most of their time submerging this emotion, but really need to feel it again.  That is why you sometimes have the urge to listen to sad music or watch a sad movie that you know will make you cry (if the submerged feeling is sadness).  If the feeling is anger, then you will create a situation where you can express your rage over and over again.  If it is fear or helplessness, you will arrange a situation where you are afraid or feel like a victim, so you will allow that emotion to rise to the surface so you can feel it again.

If I ask people what they “need” from this person, they normally say “I don’t know”, and if the truth was told, they don’t really want to know.  That is because, if they know, they won’t get to keep re-living this situation of their own choosing.  It will all stop, and they will have to face issues they have been avoiding.   They are torn, because intellectually they know this is bad for them, but emotionally, it is like they are under hypnosis and cannot change their behavior to save their life (literally, in some cases).  You absolutely cannot think your way out of an emotional problem.

All three of these examples come back to the same thing – an unresolved emotion connected to a memory.  The only way to get free from it is to go back and resolve the emotion stuck to the memory.  Once that happens, your urgent and panicked “need” subsides, and you are free to make rational and spiritual choices for yourself.

You can do this two ways – log in and either go through the Life Patterns course on the membership site, or contact me for a one-on-one session.   You don’t have to live in limbo, or be stuck in a pattern from which you want to be free.  And you WON’T be miserable without this thing you believe you “need” – instead, there will be joy, peace and righteousness in your life.

Your sister in Christ,