Today I thought it would be fun to talk about freedom from the patterns that bind some of us to really bad situations. There are lots of vampire people in the world, looking for happy people to suck the life out of! (more on this here). There are many people so insecure and worried about getting hurt that they have built walls so colossal that they don’t really engage in close relationships of any kind with anyone. And, if you are optimistic and open in your relationships and friendships, you may meet one of the two people above and feel that if you shower them with enough goodness you will “win” their love. For me and all my friends, clients and readers who have sent me stories of what happened when they put themselves in a position like this, today’s bit about emotional availability & emotional unavailability is for you!
My father was a very very very bad man where women were concerned (he had two wives at the same time, so yeah, bad bad man) , and so, when I was 22 and he gave me a very rare and singular piece of advice, I never forgot a single word of it. After all, who would know better than a bad person about how bad situations occur? I was – yes, you can laugh- dating a guy who was “getting divorced” . We all know how this story ends. But, I was 22 and had little expectation. I realized, though, that whenever we tried to talk about something meaningful he would shut down, and soon I would be hysterical. He would tell me I was emotionally unstable and needed to be calm. What was interesting is that over the course of my time with him I became emotionally unstable!
My father said, ” People will show you what they are willing to give you right away. That’s not gonna change. If you stay, don’t complain.”
Yeah. I stayed. It was the wrong choice. I thought “love conquered all.”
I love this definition of Emotionally Unavailable as it applies to relationships from the brilliant Urban Dictionary:
“Emotionally Unavailable: Partner who create barriers to intimacy and can make you feel unloved or unwanted. Emotionally Unavailable people find it hard to make time for friends and loved ones. Emotionally unavailable people are sometimes addicts; Whether the addiction is to work, drugs, food, television, exercise, a hobby or the Internet, it will take up a considerable amount of time and energy and leave little time for you. Always criticizes you. Full of excuses for why they cannot be there with you, do things with you, or be available to you for support, than they are emotionally unavailable. When you are emotionally unavailable, sharing feelings within the relationship is avoided and if you bring it up, you’re often mocked as being “hysterical”, “overly emotional” or just plain “silly.” If your partner has a private life (Secret Keeper) from which you are excluded, there are probably serious trust issues which undermine the emotional connection.”
Does this set off alarm bells in your head ? OK, well, if you find that refreshing, here is a beautiful bit from the brilliant blog Baggage Reclaim about spotting emotionally unavailable men (and yes, the exact same applies to ladies). If you suspect you are in such a position, THIS list will open your eyes.
Now, what if you are the emotionally unavailable one? What do you to to stop shutting people out of your life and repeating the same thing over and again? Therapist Neil Rosenthal wrote this really incisive piece in the first person as though he were talking to his partner about becoming more emotionally present himself. It’s fantastic.
To become a more emotionally available person, here’s what I will need to do:
1. Examine my feelings of not feeling worthy of a close, loving relationship. I need to challenge my assumption that if you really get to know me, you will eventually reject me. I have to discover and embrace why I am lovable, and why I am deserving of your love.
2. Tune into your feelings and needs, and be very careful that I don’t place my needs and wants above yours. I need to develop a greater level of empathy and compassion for your feelings, desires, needs and requests.
3. Act trustworthy, accountable and responsible. I can’t afford to permit myself to have a secret life, or someone else on the side, and I would have to offer you complete transparency (access to my computer, phone, text records, and so on) in order to clean up any trust issues that I generated in the past.
4. Make time for you. I would have to treat you (and our kids) as top priorities in my life, and I would make myself accessible and available to you.
5. Cease being volatile, losing my temper, acting mean-spirited or saying hurtful things to you. I would never again threaten to end the relationship if I didn’t get my way, or use anger in order to get my way.
6. Commit to letting you in, by sharing my inner dreams, hopes, fears, disappointments and emotions with you.
7. Finally, I would become a better listener, gain control over my addictions, commit to being more of a giver than a taker, and cease being so judgmental and critical of you and of myself.
The conclusion of this little talk about connecting to life and to others on an emotional level is that there is no easy conclusion! If you are on the receiving end of emotional unavailability, stay aware that it’s pretty certain to not change, at least not in my experience or in the countless words of advice I’ve received from a host of experts. The only thing that may change is that you’ll start feeling unloved, drained and perhaps a bit crazy if you try to perform for someone’s love. And if you are the unavailable one in your own life, it may help to realize that by building all these barriers to others you also build all these barriers to life. Is heartbreak so bad that it is worth living a smaller life to avoid it?
Love, live, and don’t make excuses for yourself or anyone else behaving badly. And if you need some feng shui to give you more obvious clues as to the state of “availability” of your love interest, THESE red flags should get you started!!!
And, if you want to dive in to your own personalized feng shui in a modern, practical way, Say hello to Feng Shui 101. Its the guide I made for you to create your own personalized feng shui at home, in the office, wherever you may be… in 8 weeks. It’s not filled with strict rules or what you “must” do. Its filled with information, questions, exercises and even videos and classes to help you confidently create amazing spaces with killer feng shui and live with more flow. Learn more about the 8-week feng shui adventure & grab your copy to get started right HERE… And, as always, please let me know what happens! xoxo Dana