This relationship just isn’t fun!

_MG_8169

This relationship just isn’t fun!

My adult daughter uttered that statement to me, as she was describing a text conversation with her ex-boyfriend. I thought about what she said, as much as she loved him and he still loved her, what he was doing at the moment was not fun.

She hit the magic word, “fun.”

Not to get in to the whole story, but he had been remiss in mentioning he was in a relationship when he reached out to her. He actually had reached out to her several times since their initial break up with words of love,  reminiscing about how amazing their relationship had been and missing her….and had actually seen her too.

My daughter was looking at the entire situation and his current relationship, which he had admitted he was settling for and exclaimed, it was not fun! Her whole perspective had changed. Sure, she remembered the great times, BUT to her, how he had changed was not appealing to her.

How many people are decisive in this way when it comes to their happiness? So many of us struggle to stay where it is not fun!

He was allowing his girlfriend to force him into sending messages to my daughter, because she clearly perceived her as a threat. Unfortunately, it’s a way to delude oneself into a sense of control. As most of us know, this is not fun, because she will be faced with the loss again at some point in the future. Remember folks, when we force our control on someone else, we are trying to hold onto something and not suffer a loss. And inevitably, we do lose, whether it is now or 20 years in the future.

Meanwhile, the awesome state of mind my daughter was holding is that she wanted nothing to do with the drama. Even with the barrage of text messages, which were meant to make her feel bad; she wasn’t taking it personally. Her only response at this point was one word, “okay.” No argument, just acknowledgement that his message was received.

I asked her if she felt like saying anything else. She said “no, I’ve stated things several times and he is going to do whatever he chooses to do,” she had let go. And she felt her ex wasn’t any fun anymore, that whatever fun there had been was gone.

Now, I am not placing judgment of right or wrong in this situation, just stating the obvious. What got me was the “fun.” How many of us get caught up in trying to win or have what we think we want, and there is no fun in it, only pain? Why do we want to hold onto someone when they clearly are not heart and soul in the relationship with us? Is this fun?

We can become so afraid of loss, that we act in ways, which constrict rather than expand. Love is expansive, attachment is to shrink. And a great indicator of where we are at between love and attachment is how much fun we’re having!

I receive emails everyday from people who are trying to let go of attachment to someone where there is not fun and pain is the overriding feeling, and they still hold on tightly. It is not that they are crazy or something is wrong with them, it is where they are placing a need for validation.

To also be clear, it is not that we need to have an expectation of fun as a  24/7 thing. In a healthy relationship, even when things are challenging, we can still be friends and have the goal of not allowing obstacles to destroy all the fun.

The need for validation, to fill an empty place in us or to be rescued can keep us in a relationship where fun is a rarity or completely missing, or it can keep us pining over someone we are no longer with…

And so, if we want to have fun in a relationship and on our own, we have to get clear in how we consistently support our own actions, which are not about fun.

Where do we control? Do we seek the answers inside or on the outside?

Do we want others to bend to our will, so we feel better?

These are questions to ask ourselves when our actions support our pain. Everyone deserves to have fun, in and out of a relationship…if you need help getting there, please let me know, info@tracycrossley.com

Power of Letting Go

how-to-get-over-break-up

Anyone heard the term “Conscious Uncoupling?”

The first time I heard the statement was from my original coaching mentor. She had been interviewed about the concept, which she had developed a program based on her own experience. It’s an interesting idea, in terms of how we can learn and grow through our separation from someone we love.

Most people either learn and grow through letting go, or become bitter and angry in the process. No matter what, we have a choice in where we direct our anger or hurt. In conscious uncoupling, depending on what definition someone subscribes to, we can keep a person in our life that we are now no longer with while we both evolve in a less dramatic (loving) fashion by recognizing our patterns that create toxic or unloving situations.

In my book this is not entirely letting go.

Meaning, all of that is fine and dandy, except the part about keeping the person we’ve just broken up with and no doubt have strong emotions for in our lives.

To let go in terms of it’s power is so much more than walking away, or shutting a door, or saying “I give up.”

The power in letting go is to turn toward a new paradigm for the self. To free up space, allow a flow where it was stopped, understand attachment vs. love, and to give oneself time to heal.

The danger in conscious uncoupling is to not give it the time, and also to not honor our own feelings.

I’ve watched it happen, where both parties agree to it, and show everyone they are still loving friends. Unfortunately, at the same time one or both of them are not really done, and are struggling to move on in one or both of their lives. Their behavior and actions on their own do not support the image that all is well. And if one moves onto a new relationship too soon, while the other is still pining for their old relationship—that is just asking for a plate full of pain.

This isn’t healthy and it’d be far less hurtful, respectful and loving to be authentic and state how it doesn’t actually work with the ex-mate to have a continuing presence (aside from kids with shared custody) in each other’s personal lives. Giving space and shifting focus away from the past (since this relationship is over) is to be in the present.

Letting go comes in stages.

Raising of consciousness can come as awareness steps in to light. Let’s face it, when we have old beliefs about our self-worth and relationships, snapping our fingers and saying poof those are gone is just not that simple! It doesn’t happen that way.

Letting go is surrendering to the greater love, pain, conflicting emotions and the unknown.

Conscious uncoupling if used correctly, is about separately opening up oneself to a deeper understanding of how we show up in relationships and why we have the needs we do. It is not something done as a team, together. It’s to step up, let go, accept, wish the other one well and truly embark on a different leg in our journey.

This becomes a huge quandary for many of my clients.

They find themselves months and even years after a relationship has ended in just as much pain as if it happened yesterday. I often find, as long as they’re also in a state of resistance to their true feelings, “I don’t want to feel anything about him/her!” they find the letting go process extremely difficult.

Whatever we resist, persists and when we don’t want to feel something for someone we are no longer with, we have a battle inside of us, having nothing to do with the other person.

When we can feel our feelings of love for them, and realize we actually generate those good feelings, it’s an opportunity to shift and learn how to create those feelings without the object of our desire. When we can do that, we’ve found the answer to letting go and conscious uncoupling; we’ve found the space of unconditional love to pay ourselves respect, as we grow. Not only can we become a better partner, we also fall more in love with ourselves too.

When I hear, “Why Am I So Stupid”

IsTextingGettingYouInTrouble

I say, “It’s because you want to be.”

I’m not trying to sound jerky. The truth is, WE look for situations to fulfill our rather unhealthy beliefs about ourselves, when WE choose not to practice self-awareness.

It’s a choice, because when I hear this statement, it means the ENTIRE focus of my client is clearly on someone else; a person they more than likely care about, in a situation, in which their needs either aren’t met, or their head is played with…not just once or twice, but repetitively.

It comes from believing the opposite of what is actually being shown to them in reality.

When an axe-murderer shows up with an axe….we know that’s an axe-murderer. When the axe-murderer shows up without an axe and roses instead….we may think, “Hmmm…I know this person is an axe-murderer, but gee…they have a dozen roses! Perhaps they’ve changed overnight and are no longer an axe-murderer? Or maybe I’m the only who loves this person enough to change them from killing people to loving people?”

Or whatever crap we feed ourselves.

None of us are really stupid in these instances. We just have some really crappy beliefs about WHO WE ARE that we wanted validated. It’s like saying to the axe-murderer–“Please show me how bad you are, so I know how stupid I am…and at the same time I can blame you for being an axe-murderer, BUT I want you to tell me I’m the only one you’ve ever loved, because I wanna continue to ignore my own axe-murdering tendencies.”

Huh?

When we are attracted to an axe-murderer–perhaps we’re attracted to the numbness in this person which matches our own numbness? Or how about the self-loathing one must feel to be an axe-murderer…..how much self-loathing would we be feeling dating this person?

Now I am using a really far-fetched example, but the truth is when we state how stupid we are…we are looking for validation that we are stupid!

We purposely make the decisions based on this belief and our patterns (which have been years and years in the making) take over keeping us in a cycle with someone that makes us want to scream!

It is not the axe-murderer’s fault. We CHOOSE to keep allowing this person in our lives, because we won’t look inside of ourselves to figure out the connection. We refuse to learn anything, which would help us grow and feel better…we look to this individual who’s clearly incapable of helping us, as our savior.

I hear so often, ” I heard from him/he, after months of no word, what do I do?” or “I heard from him/her, and I answered–why does he/she always do this–why doesn’t he or she just go away?”

 

In the first instance….there’s nothing to do outwardly unless we choose. Meaning, what does it feel like to hear from a person either we’ve put into damnation or placed on a pedestal? It was the other person’s choice to take action by contacting us. We didn’t make the choice….and therefore, unless we feel a need to respond, we don’t have to….we’re not being mean or ignoring them we’re making a choice to not engage, because we weren’t engaging with them before they made contact. Whatever we do–we should always kindly honor ourselves.

And usually…when I hear the second statement…there is no honoring of anyone in it.

In the second instance…..we are playing the game again. The one of strategy. The one to get the crappy belief we have about ourselves validated by someone who clearly cannot even validate their own existence. We have now engaged as the reactor. The person who sent us a message took action they wanted to…and because of that, we feel we must respond….and usually it is calculated. It’s because…. if we don’t we’ll become anxious, obsess about it and doubt ourselves; our value.

If we don’t respond, somehow the value this person is giving us by reaching out, has now vanished. We feel we’re being jerky. Or we still want something that this person refuses to give to us.

None of these statements will ALLOW us to respond in an authentic way…we will manipulate and strategize to get our way. We’ve fallen right back into the cycle again. Nothing has changed. We find the same false hope leading us, which has to do with the other person changing, not us.

If you have uttered “Why Am I SO Stupid,” to yourself this week….email me for a quick 10 minute evaluation consultation–so you can get a few tools to help you to NOT fulfill this cycle again.

 

 

Dismissing Red Flags

Redflag

What is a red flag when we start dating someone?

I’ve heard people say, “Watch how he or she treats the waitress. Or their Mother….or a stranger, etc.”

Does it really tell the story? Perhaps, the actual place to pay attention to a red flag is within us.

Most of us are so enthralled with the possibility of what may or may not happen with the person in front of us, we tend to be outside of the moment. We’re not in what is happening, and if we are, more than likely our attention is on the other person making sure we are impressing them with who are showing up as for the date.

If it feels familiar, it probably is.

Sometimes we feel a spark of something, we may not be able to put our finger on it, but it feels familiar. It may be a feeling of bonding to someone in the first few date, or a sense of anxiety (I’ve had that happen). It may not be clear as to why the bonding or anxiety would appear, but if we can get clearer with ourselves, we might just make a different choice.

People in long term relationships, happy or not, can tell in hindsight some of the characteristics that drew them to their partner. Some of the characteristics, depending on the state of the relationship were red flags…and are still present in the current state of relating.

If we think someone has some quirks that we can somehow fix or change, we’re in for a long painful road. Many of us think those things when we meet someone, perhaps we can clean them up with our love and understanding. The problem here is two-fold, one if we’re looking to change someone else–we’re ignoring ourselves and the things we may need to grow on and secondly–the things that bug us about the other person can be mirrored back to us, and it doesn’t necessarily mean we should jump into something with them.

I have met people in the past and thought, “Okay this is better than being alone. Perhaps, after having spent some time with them, I won’t be so lonely and can move on.” In other words, I purposely looked to settle.  And, I would find these situations never, ever gave me what I wanted, except more lessons about myself….and my unavailability.

Fear comes in many packages. When we purposely choose to go with red flags, we’re choosing fear. We’re settling for something we know on a deeper level will confirm exactly what we’re afraid of happening. We are then “pros,” at assessing how relationships are always painful, or start out good and end badly, or whatever it is we think.

Going for the red flag tells us we better not go beyond our limited thinking and what we believe is impossible to stay with the familiarity of what we’ve learned about life, relationships and maybe even ourselves up to this point.

I read something recently, which basically stated, as an adult, we find that our parents were right. Here’s the deal with that statement, it can be a great thing, such as: “Boy oh boy, when you put your hand in an open flame it does get burnt.” Or it can also be a LIMITING statement: “your spouse is your old ball and chain.”

Now…in the first statement it seems practical, but what about those of us who heard words from our parents, but their follow-through in action was actually opposite? And what about statements like an old ball and chain…..and that’s how they treated their partner?

What did WE learn? We learned limitation and we learned what was different could be or should be feared.

Soooooooo…when we are dating and looking for the familiar–sometimes those statements of characteristics are what we know…and someone different who is not equipped with red flags, may feel foreign or strange to us. We may be looking to meet someone and try to change them, just as mom tried with dad for 30 years…and because we’re so outwardly focused, we don’t even realize we’re doing it.

Pay attention to the red flags, they have a lot to teach us, about ourselves and what we want—and what we’ll settle for too.

 

 

Why sound like you’re offering me a choice, when you’re going to do what you want anyway?

1818rw2xaaofpjpg

Standards, boundaries, rules…whatever we wanna call them. Ever notice when we are trying to uphold some new ways of being, allowing and saying okay to certain things, that a backlash occurs?

Our relationships where we’ve been a doormat, accommodating or not having a strong sense of sticking to what feels good to us, all of a sudden are put to the test.

We have someone who wants us to do it their way, for their good, but try to dress it up, as though there is a choice in there for us, when there’s none!

It happens.

This person is used to getting their way, once we have shown some vulnerability. Let’s say Joe Shmoe (or Julie Shmoe) has turned up on our doorstep. They pledge their undying love, saying things will be different and proposing a future filled with candy hearts and chocolate boxes!

We still have feelings for this person, we’re hearing words we wanted to for so long, but we look to the past, when it was more like we received an empty box of chocolates.

We look to how we’ve grown, we’ve set some standards in our life and we’re really starting to embrace them. There’s some self-esteem, some confidence, some self-love and all sorts of other self-caring goodies there….and it is all at risk.

Risk is good when it is related to taking a chance on being open, vulnerable, changing the stale status quo, etc. But what about when it comes to something that has been a proven disaster, which has more than likely not changed?

If this Joe or Julie, shows up in the same way–pleading their undying love that they have 20 other times in the past, do we really think, anything besides their words have changed? And if they have changed, how do we proceed?

It’s a tough one, but if we look at the giving and receiving part of the past….how much of a flow was it? How many blockades stood in the way?

So, when the puppy dog eyes are offering a new proposal…and we cave in, saying, “Okay, I feel the same way too.” What happens next?

If Joe or Julie are the same, we can be assured that they’ll now not be in fear of losing us….no. They’re back in the driver’s seat. And when we approach them to discuss how things will proceed, they can sound like we have a choice, but in actuality we don’t. They are still doing what they want anyway, which means running over our boundaries and having a relationship based solely on their terms.

All the work we have put in, we can see it being overtaken by anxiety. We don’t know what to do, but depending on how strongly we feel about how we want our life to look, we will try to hang onto our self-respect and please this runaway partner.

I speak to both men and women who experience partners such as this in their lives. It’s a hit and run, once they know they have us back where they want us, they bring out the big guns and aim it at us, knowing in the past they would get it their way.

The key in a situation where we are threatened with losing our esteem for ourselves, is to take a step back.

Stop all action, all momentum, all words and go within.

Spend as much time as is necessary there.

Getting clear on how our lives look, what we truly want and may feel we don’t deserve (a really great relationship with someone who respects our boundaries in a positive and loving way) is pivotal to understanding why we lose our power to this person who wants to give us no choice.

We can love someone, but we don’t have to make a choice to lose ourselves. We don’t have to give up on us, to not be alone or to keep someone around who can’t give us what we need. We can maintain and observe. We can watch and learn. When we feel educated enough, we can make a decision, which feels right, “to us.”

 

You Can Speculate About Him Or Her….

Puzzled1

Until the cows come home.

Mind reading 101.

It is a complete and total waste of time.

Dealing with someone who doesn’t speak truth or who’s actions don’t match their words? So, tiring.

The entire situation, in which, we feel we’re always left scratching our head, when it comes to someone we love, who practices no consistency, shows up and ships out, or isn’t honest about their intentions….can make a person feel crazy!

Why do people come into our lives who say they love us to pieces, give us words as a lifeline, but then do a 180 degree turn and disappear for days/weeks/months or put major distance between us?

It’s called emotional unavailability.

FEAR is at the base, but it goes unrecognized, even with all the anxiety or panic brought on when someone gets too close … the person who is outwardly unavailable isn’t examining why they are pulling away…they just need to go!

You or me, we are inwardly unavailable. We feel this is as good as we can do, or this is our value…what we deserve based on fear related to a belief, which we’ve probably had for many years.

Whether it is someone who we have a revolving door relationship with, or a yo-yo, or some other toy description…this relationship feels toxic.

There are warning signs in the beginning, but we often miss them. We may not want to be alone, we may have low self-esteem or something, which makes us susceptible to the charms of a person who cannot emotionally commit.

We analyze the crap out of what the person says, what he or she must be thinking and of course the un-matching actions. We ask our friends, neighbors, relatives. We look online, pick up a ton of books and spend way too much time thinking about it.

We need help here, don’t we?

The issue in having a relationship with someone who is a yo-yo, they come close and then they back off, or out and we take it personally. We think there is something wrong with us.

And yes, there is something wrong with us (and it’s not what you think), we’re looking in the wrong direction or at the wrong characteristics to get to the root of the issue.

The place to look is in the mirror. When we focus on their doing or lack of doing, coming and going, saying words that sound like a commitment, but are only meant to keep us hanging in the balance…we can get caught up in it, so we stop looking at ourselves.

When this person returns (again) into our lives, after vacating the premises momentarily or for a long period of time, we may become easily convinced through their renewed presence that there is more meaning to it than actually is shown. We may be given breadcrumbs, but look for the deeper meaning, after all they keep showing back up!

The situation we’re in is not easy to break. We may romanticize the dysfunction and take responsibility for the fact that the relationship falls apart, but that is not the place to find out truth. The truth is in our “why,” we may be so convinced that no one will ever love of us more, or at all. We may be convinced our needs are excessive, because we weren’t valued when we were younger.

Now we must find our truth, and re-focus.

Take our focus off this person who rips our heart out each time they go, and learn what it is that keeps us attached. Sit with the anxiety, the unease–the auto-pilot thoughts which tell us we aren’t worthy…what is underneath it?

As we focus less on the other person, more on ourselves and opening our heart….truly moving away from the emotional unavailability within us and recognizing our fear, we start on a new journey leading us to having the relationship we truly want. It takes time, it takes effort–but it is all within us to change the trajectory.

You can email me at Tracy AT tracycrossley dot com or sign up for Complimentary Relationship Session. I am also having a free Teleseminar in August, you can get details and sign up here: FREE Teleseminar.

Power of Being Alone

55171_20130814_162130_tumblr_magk3i9S7I1ru61w7o1_500_large

Before anyone gets the wrong idea, this isn’t about growing older as an individual with 12 cats, and watching TV for a sole source of entertainment for the rest of anyone’s life!

This is about STOPPING THE SACRIFICE and where our true power lies within us.

I talk to so many people who are stuck in shitty relationships everyday. Did I say, SHITTY? Yep, I did.

The sacrifices people make to stay for crumbs contains no “good enough,” excuse. The problem isn’t in the reasons we give to ourselves or others, it’s the belief we have of what is possible for us and our fears around it.

The following is a short list of what I hear from not just one person, but several; it isn’t an anomaly:

1. Long term relationships (marriage) where sex stopped years ago and it’s a roommate or friendly enough situation, that one can pretend to co-exist in by having enough other distractions available to them to make it bearable. (and if there is a lifestyle to be maintained with or without kids….people will put up with far worse and say its okay)

2. Relationships that are not based on a commitment to each other, although one person is definitely committed (and the other is supposedly torturing them)…and he or she stays committed even after the other person is out of their life.

3. Long term relationships, in which, it is a sexually open one and one person is cool with it while the other has grown a ton of resentment.

4. Being trapped in a relationship, because someone threatens suicide every time their partner thinks of leaving.

5. Living in a fantasy of the current mate suddenly turning into the partner of their dreams.

6. One partner being a parent to the other, so both are stuck in a disempowered and codependent situation. There is a great deal of anger and resentment, which comes as passive aggressive behavior or just passive….or just aggressive.

7. Staying in a relationship that is loveless…..while being in love with someone else.

8. Having some characteristics that are tolerable in a relationship, but fighting with oneself everyday to make those characteristics enough to stay.

9. My personal favorite and one I painfully experienced…the yo-yo relationship, the push/pull, the get close for a moment and be separated for days syndrome. The I love you so much, but can only be with you in limited amounts of time, or my head might explode from the intimacy…or happiness, or “insert word here.”

Again, this is just a short summary of all the ways we keep ourselves stuck in relationships, which are anything BUT based on LOVEThese relationships are about attachment, validation and fears from being alone, or being seen by others as a horrible person, parent or individual. 

Some of these people may fantasize about being alone and at the same time, feel drawn to staying in a loveless situation.

If we want to figure out why they are putting up with such shitty circumstances, all we have to do is look at some of the following:

1. Models–how did our parents (or step-parent) treat each other when we were growing up?

2. How were we treated? Were we not given much emotional connection–were we shown love?

3. Did we swear to do the opposite of how our parents acted in relationships?

4. Did we promise we wouldn’t be like mom or dad and rebelled to the other extreme?

As children we soaked up this knowledge and in most cases, it was not a conscious effort…it was through our subconscious that we learned the rules…just like eating with a fork and a knife. This also means all the things we didn’t want, are enmeshed in our subconscious too, based on the modeling of the adults in our environment.

Many people hope something magical will come along, like another person (or death of the mate) and rescue them. They set a time in the future when they think it will be okay to walk away, except they never do.

Here’s the deal. The power is in being alone when it comes to a choice between having a relationship that is sucking our life energy away, or to choose ourselves. In choosing us, we have the freedom to discover why we were attached, why the other person or relationship held the key to our validation as a person and learn where our most basic fear of abandonment lives to solve the issues.

We can prolong these UNCHANGING situations, but the key is to start getting real. The thoughts we have around being alone and relationships will continue to be the same unless we do something different.

Being alone is not a forever statement. It is a beginning. The power lies in not just the learning of our painful beliefs, but in making decisions that are supportive of who we are, and away from the trajectory of keeping a shitty relationship together.

Sleeping in two separate bedrooms, or together with walls between us is a far worse fate than spreading out on a king size bed alone. There at least is an opportunity for someone to join us someday. And in the meantime, we get to CREATE a super-juicy life experience.

Seriously, whatever we’ve held back from doing while engaged in these relationships is no longer an obstacle, once we find the courage to own our life.