Love and connection are basic needs. We all need to feel seen, heard and understood in all meaningful relationships. While our relationships can feel joyful they can also feel confusing, overwhelming, and sometimes really hurtful. We explore this issue further in this podcast episode.
In this podcast, episode 2, I I talk with my former colleague Heidi Mehta about when relationships don’t feel okay, the signs that things might be unhealthy, and possible supports and solutions.
Is it really unhealthy or am I being sensitive?
It can be hard to know if we are being ‘overly sensitive’. We might feel confused and we might begin to doubt our own feelings or perspectives. Its not uncommon for people to feel resentful on the inside, but want to get along and meet the other person’s needs on the outside. We might feel like we have to be silent about our pain points, or if we speak up and ask for change, that we will lose what is good about the relationship or we will hurt their feelings or worsen their mental health or the situation will feel more stressful. We may desperately want to improve the relationship so we can get our needs met too and at the same time, the idea of expressing these feelings might make us feel really uncomfortable because of our past experiences with this person or other people. Talking about this with others can be really tough too. Sometimes, we feel alone in this struggle, in figuring out how to navigate the relationship, and sometimes we might worry about judgment from others.
The struggles, pains and self-doubt you feel is very common and not your fault. You can heal even though this is tough stuff.
Understanding what could be happening
Often, when we feel this confusion, there can be an unhealthy pattern or cycle happening. Like ‘being in a fog’ you might feel confused and lost and find it hard to see clearly. This is the FOG (fear, obligation, guilt) cycle where we experience fear followed by a sense of obligation to do what the other person wants and then we feel guilt if things don’t work out or if we say no (Term coined by Susan Forward in her book, Emotional Blackmail).
Want to know more about the FOG cycle? I’ve written more about this in a related article.
Your on the right track
By reading this far, you have already taken the first step! Know that the step you have taken today is one of courage. You don’t have to make a difficult decision about what to do about your relationships right now. But, you can begin to learn more and gain support.
You are also welcome to reach out to me for a free consult if you would like therapeutic support. If you are in a crises situation or in an emergency, please contact your local emergency services. In Ontario, Canada you can dial 211 to gain access to supports in your local or gain free support through Crisis Text Line.
Podcast on ‘when relationships don’t feel okay’
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