Are you sabotaging your relationships?
Love, excitement, and companionship are what make intimate relationships worthwhile. You would think that everyone wants and feels deserving of such a beautiful thing as love. Still, surprisingly, knowingly or unknowingly, so many of us feel unworthy of pure, healthy, and wholesome love.
How you think, feel, and perceive yourself has a significant influence on your relationship attachment style. It is also known as your affective style, i.e. how you give and receive love. If you find yourself in distinct relationship patterns, your beliefs and perceptions about love and relationships are worth examining.
What is your relationship attachment style?
Do you feel secure in yourself and open to intimacy with others?
Are you the type that is stoically independent on the outside but craves love in the inside?
In the context of love and relationships, we all have different ways of responding to those with whom we are in intimate relationships. We might relate to others securely and healthily or in an anxious, self-sabotaging way.
At the core of how we relate to others is our feelings of worthiness or lack thereof. Simply put, if you feel that you are enough and worthy of love, you are highly likely to relate to others in a way that demonstrates that you are secure in yourself.
People who feel unworthy of love or that they are not enough will likely have an avoidant or anxious affective style. They will hide their insecurities which usually leads to a pattern of dysfunctional relationships.
To elaborate further, let’s touch a little bit on the various relationship attachment styles as proposed by psychologists.
Secure Affective Style
Dominant trait people with a stable affective style exhibit their ability to offer and receive love and intimacy authentically without holding back. They also constructively convey their emotions, therefore, ensuring that their needs are met. This is because they know they deserve for their needs to be met within the relationship and vice versa.
Because they feel worthy of love, they are also secure being with a companion. But they also feel secure being alone. They do not relate being alone to being undeserving of love or companionship. Essentially, they know what they want in a healthy, joyous relationship and are willing to wait it out.
More importantly, people with a secure attachment style have positive and healthy beliefs and perceptions of relationships. Their view of men and women is generally objective. They are therefore able to be vulnerable, authentic, and open without holding back due to limiting beliefs.
While these traits make them seem perfect, those with a secure attachment style have their flaws. They are as human as other affective styles.
Anxious Affective Style
While those with a secure affective style feel worthy of love and are capable of giving and receiving love healthily and maturely, those with an anxious attachment style do not always feel the same way.
Instead, they feel less secure about intimate relationships, and they tend to have real or imagined worries that end up sabotaging their relationships. Because they do not perceive themselves as being enough and deserving of love, they often end up in chaser-chasee relationship patterns where they are the ones who keep chasing down people as they strive for validation.
Anxious types may exhibit self-sabotaging behaviors such as obsessiveness, control, and jealousy. This is because they are unable to convey their needs within the relationship constructively. They tend to have unhealthy beliefs about relationships and generally perceive others and their intentions negatively. They might tend to have beliefs such as ‘all men are cheaters’ etc. Due to their insecurities, anxious types usually attract turbulent, dysfunctional relationships yet feel uncomfortable being alone.
Avoidant Affective Style
Do you know someone who seems exceptionally independent? They could not care less about coupling up or doing the ‘common things that common people do?’ Are you this type of person?
People with an avoidant affective style might, at face value, seem secure and confident in themselves. However, a closer look reveals deep insecurities that cause them to avoid real intimacy at all costs. They tend to push away otherwise great partners, and their desire for physical and emotional freedom might see them move from one relationship to another. They tend to have commitment issues in an intimate relationship but may be committed to other things, including material possession, work, and social life.
Some avoidant types might exhibit characteristics of anxious affective types, especially if they have experienced abuse, trauma, grief, or abandonment either as adults or children. These fearful-avoidant types, as they are known, are conflicted about their worthiness—they may desire intimacy. Still, they will, at the same time sabotage relationships just when things start moving to the next level, and they are required to demonstrate commitment.
Inner child experiences: The source of your affective style and beliefs about love
If love is indeed universally desirable, why do so many of us sabotage the many opportunities to give and receive love? The answer lies in our childhood experiences. Feeling unworthy of love and therefore, knowingly or unknowingly, destroying opportunities to give and receive it in healthy ways comes from our past experiences as children.
The shame, fear, guilt, and abandonment we may have experienced as children largely influences how we see and interpret the world as adults. Did you experience abandonment by a primary caregiver? That experience may have triggered the belief that you are unworthy of this person’s time and affection and that is why they left you. From then on, you will start to look for qualities about yourself that you think make you unworthy of affection or of other people’s time.
If the childhood belief that you are unworthy of attention and affection is not addressed, it will affect your adult relationship attachment styles and paint your beliefs about yourself, others, and relationships in general. You might exhibit an anxious attachment style and demonstrate qualities such as obsessiveness, neediness, and control to ensure that others do not abandon you in the same way your mother, father, or primary caregiver abandoned you.
Trauma, shame, or guilt arising from childhood experiences might also cause you to relate to others in a fearful-avoidant style. At the core, you might long for intimacy and commitment. Still, if you were made to feel guilty or shameful about showing or receiving affection as a child, you might find yourself pushing away opportunities to experience healthy intimacy and commitment. You might engage in a pattern of self-sabotaging behaviors that push away otherwise great partners. Or you might enter into unhealthy relationships with people who shame or guilt you. This may ‘prove’ to you what you feel you have always known—you are unworthy of receiving and giving affection, intimacy, and commitment.
Sabotaging Your Relationships: If you feel unworthy of love, you cannot receive it
Interestingly, your perception of yourself as unworthy and undeserving leads you to sabotage, destroy, and avoid the things that will serve your highest good. If you do not feel like you deserve it, you will find a way not to allow yourself to get it. It seems absurd that someone would sabotage a good thing, but the universe has a way of responding and giving to us precisely what we put out there.
If you feel undeserving of love and healthy intimate relationships, you will put out a matching vibrational frequency, and that will attract back to you unloving and unhealthy relationship patterns. Even if you do find yourself with a loving partner, your feelings of unworthiness will lead you to engage in actions that will eventually sabotage your relationships.
Releasing limiting beliefs, healing the inner child, and transforming your affective style
By now, you recognize your affective or relationship attachment style, and you also understand its origin. The good news is that even though the feelings of unworthiness are there with you, they are not the truth. They do not define your true self. As we’ve seen, these feelings, perceptions, and thoughts are a culmination of your childhood experiences; not of who you are. Understanding that your limiting beliefs are untrue is the first step toward healing your inner child. You can now adopt a healthy way of giving and receiving love.
Find a quiet place and transport yourself back to your childhood. What memories come to mind; what kind of experiences do you recall having? How did these experiences make you feel? Happy, loved, heard, and seen? Or, did they make you feel shame, guilt, and fear?
In your silence and meditative state, ask your inner child to remind you when you first felt undeserving and unworthy of love. It is OK if you do not receive the answers immediately. The answers will eventually come to you as you continue to practice inner child work.
Lastly, whether or not you receive the answers immediately, affirm your inner child. At this point, you also want to forgive yourself for holding on to perceptions and beliefs that do not serve you. Here are some ways you can affirm your inner child:
- I love you and believe in you
- I care for you, and I am here to guide you
- You are enough
- I am so glad you were born
- I am sorry
Customize your affirmations according to your personal and unique childhood experiences. Continue to practice inner child work and to release limiting beliefs until you adopt a secure relationship attachment style. The work might take a while, but it is worth it.
You are enough and deserving of love
For most of us, the feeling of unworthiness or of being undeserving is a subtle undercurrent. It isn’t an overt thought like ‘I do not deserve to be in a healthy relationship’. Instead, it is the sense at the back of our minds and deep down in our hearts that ‘I would only deserve a healthy relationship if ….’ This dash conveys that you are not enough right now to deserve a loving relationship. The real question though is when will you be enough if not now? Up until what point will you be enough to get the things you desire?
The concept of enough-ness is an important one. Doing the inner work to let go of limiting beliefs from childhood and healing your inner child is necessary. To open yourself up to love and intimacy, you need to feel that you are enough. People who think and know they are enough exhibit a secure relationship attachment style. They usually find themselves in loving and thriving relationships.
Enough-ness is, therefore, a worthwhile pursuit if you want to break free from negative relationship patterns. However, it is essential to distinguish between what being enough is and isn’t. Being enough does not mean that you have done all the work that needs to be done; that you are perfect. It does not mean that you do not need anything or anyone or that you are wholly self-sufficient.
Being enough means that you are not a mistake. You are here for a purpose, and indeed, you are right on purpose. It means you are enough with all imperfections. You are inherently worthy of all the good things. It is the case that you do not have to do more to be loved, validated, seen, heard, to be worthy, and acceptable. But, even though you are indeed enough just by being alive and being here, you can still work toward being more—more loving, more authentic, more joyful, more caring, more kind, more mindful.
Sabotaging Your Relationships
Intentional self-improvement doesn’t take away from your enough-ness; it adds to your wholesomeness. When you embrace your enough-ness, you will not look to just any relationship to make you feel complete. Sabotaging your relationships will be a thing of the past. You will not strive to be anything more than you are, hide behind masks, or repress your authentic self just to seek validation from another person. Being enough means knowing that you are worthy of authentic love and healthy intimacy and therefore, you do not mind being alone until your ideal partner manifests.
Hey would you mind letting me know which company you’re working with for your hosting? I’ve loaded your blog in 3 completely different internet browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot faster then most.
Thank you, I appreciate it!
Greetings! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading through your posts. Many thanks!
Hello Lillian, Thank you for taking the time to read my posts and leave a comment. I’m glad to hear that you’re enjoying the content. Please feel free to subscribe to the newsletter to get new post notifications in your email inbox. And follow the Facebook Page: Saudi Diva. Thanks!
Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this and the rest of the site is also very good.
Very rapidly you are going to be famous. Love this site. Is there anywhere I can see more pictures of just you or you have anywhere you sell signed photos of you? 🙂
Thank you for the encouraging words. You can follow me on Instagram – the account handle is available on this site.
I just wanted to send a small word in order to express gratitude to you for all the unique advice you are placing here. I feel quite happy to have seen your entire webpages and look forward to so many more pleasurable moments reading. Thank you once more for a lot of things.
Hi, thank you for this piece of in-depth post. My only question is, how can I love or help someone who’s dealing with issues mentioned in the post? Been looking high and Low for answers but to no avail. Any help would certainly be beneficial.
Hi Tim, I’m glad to know that you found this article insightful. You are not responsible for anyone else’s issues or blocks. Each person is walking a unique life path. What you can do is guide them to someone who can give the right support. This can be a certified life coach who is an expert in helping others release their limiting beliefs and blocks. Feeling unworthy is a limiting belief that hugely impacts all areas of one’s life. If you would like to know more about my life coaching services, check out this site and feel free to ask the person to follow my on IG where I offer free advice and support. This is my life coaching site (I offer online and in-person coaching for women only): https://www.soulcollectivecoaching.com