By Paige Swanson
I’ve always found relationships and heartbreaks to be the best ‘mirrors’ of what I need to be working on in myself. In the spiritual community, describing our romantic relationships as ‘mirrors’ of what we’re not serving in ourselves is a common description or metaphor passed around. However, I find the pictorial image of a ‘mirror’ to be ambiguous and a little new-age for me to actually make concrete associations to how it applies to my inner-work. I want to investigate what it actually means for a romantic partner actually to be a mirror of your emotional wounds.
What are Emotional Wounds?
Our emotional wounds can come from so many different things, from deep childhood insecurities or experiences to enduring terrible heartbreak. A broken heart heals when we open up to the possibility of new love in a transformative way. However, getting to that level we have to be clear about what emotion wounds we suffered.
I have become so emotionally wounded in life, that I have developed a real phobia of intimacy. And I don’t say this lightly. However, my phobia manifests itself through an intense push/pull dynamic of wanting and fearing intimacy.
Today, I started down the rabbit-hole of self-help articles and began typing into Google, “how to not be needy.” NEEDY. That word has such a terrible connotation, but after searching the etymological origin of ‘needy’, I realized it stems from fear. We’re scared that our partners don’t love us. And sometimes our partners have issues of their own that trigger our insecurities causing us to act out in ways we otherwise wouldn’t. However, I think when the neediness circumvents itself, is when we don’t change our behavior and create a cycle.
An Empowering Approach to Neediness. As a female, I think that neediness is something that many of us may struggle with. I want to take an empowered approach to why women might exhibit ‘needy’ behavior.
You’ve lived a life of gaslighting. You’ve met players, men who take advantage of you and exert their power over you by insidious forms of abuse. The spectrum of abuse has its own intra-psychic consequences that have diluted women’s sense of their own internal safety and reality.
Societal Messaging says, Men’s Pleasure is #1– We live in a society that communicates men’s pleasure is the number one priority a woman should have. Women feel shame for sexually pleasing themselves and don’t learn about our own sexual education in schools, churches or organizations.
We Never Learned to be Independent – Before my last relationship began, I was happily single. In fact, I thought dating was a farce. I took pride in my ability to truly be free. Then I got bored and downloaded a dating app – mhmm Tinder. I met a man who was sexy, successful and weirdly on my level. We hit it off. But I wasn’t ready for a relationship; I had so much work to do on myself. And he didn’t know how to take NO for an answer which led to an extremely dysfunctional relationship. And I thought that was LOVE. He wanted to be with me so badly, and at first, it felt good, until I realized that what he was doing wasn’t love. I needed to learn to be independent, strong and determined in my decision to say NO to Mr.Dreamy.
I Am Needy.
Alright, I said it, “I am needy.” Okay, now let’s reframe this label. As a collective society, women have been through many experiences that distorted their sense of security. In order to unlearn this behavior, we have to accept our shadow self. We have to admit darker parts of our personality and transform them into healing energy. We need to reclaim our power but turning inwards; healing the emotional wounds that caused us to look for love.
That is why I look at every ‘unhealthy’ relationship or meeting, or chance to say ‘no’ as a stepping stone for true female power. And the means in which I say “no” might not be completely balanced and centered, but it the first step to defining for myself what my true desires in love should consist of.
So, what is this ‘mirror’ I was speaking of at the beginning of the passage?
The mirror is your reality tester. If your attachment style is activated to ‘insecure’ in particular relationships, it is time for you to think through how that man’s wounds are activating your own. Then step back and think through whether or not this particular dynamic is something that is going to be healthy for you in your life. You have a choice! You can choose unhealthy, co-dependent relationships that don’t bring you joy or staying single and working through your issues so you can attract a healthier person. Even if the guy is ‘love bombing’ you, take a look at how you’re feeling – if you’re anxious, off-center, depressed or out of your ‘goddess energy.’ It is time to create space and focus on yourself, so you can get what you truly deserve.
Real Love. A man who admires, uplifts and knows 100% in his heart you’re the girl.
Author: Paige Swanson
Paige is a training psychotherapist, who utilizes Jungian technique, eco-feminism and neurobiology to help individuals. In her own words, she’s like the Taylor Swift of therapists!