My clients often request one of my TCL Holistic Tarot Consultations to ask about their relationships. I totally understand. When it comes to our significant other, you may want to know if you are right for each other, if you are going to marry this person, if you will both be happy and if you aren't happy what you can do to be happy.
There's so much that goes into a relationship, your heart, your soul, your dreams and wishes, as well as your worst fears and and any leftover emotional baggage.
The information below is meant to help you to determine the temperature of your relationship and to determine whether your relationship is a healthy one or whether there are some red flags you need to pay attention to and , if so, what to do next.
Qualities Necessary for Healthy Relationships
Most people could probably go longer without water than without unconditional love.
If love or joy go missing from your life for a prolonged period of time your energy levels will suffer and you will be more prone to dis-ease.
All people, sensitive or not, need unconditional love, but, it's not just love from others that's needed, although that is an important factor. Self-love has to exist as well. When you love yourself, wellness follows. When you love yourself you are able to allow others to love you too.
Love isn't just something you feel. After all, if you love someone and never tell them or show them, it's highly unlikely they will know. No. Love is an action. It's something you do.
Without love and joy you are being held back from living through your senses because that is how love is experienced.
Understanding & Intimacy
Understanding and intimacy are vital factors in developing healthy relationships and keeping them that way. Intimacy isn't sex, although it can be an expression of intimacy. Intimacy is the ability to be close, to be yourself, and to feel safe in that closeness as you reveal yourself to another. You cannot have intimacy without kindness. And, kindness takes understanding. Acts of understanding and kindness allow your body to remain relaxed (without tension) and emotions content enough to be intimate (close).
The Ability to Share Simple Pleasures
You can't truly live your life or feel alive without using your senses. Enjoying the simple things in life; a golden sunset, a puppy bounding clumsily across the grass, or cuddling beside a loved one during a movie lifts your spirits and fills us you with love and joy. Why? Because you are getting the chance to react to your senses in a positive way that promotes wellness. Healthy relationships are one of the corner stones of emotional and physical wellness and to share simple pleasures is healthy indeed.
Is Your Relationship in Hot Water?
Most of us value being in relationship. This is wonderful and healthy. However, if we are the soft-hearted type and have a need for peace (which is often an underlying need to feel secure, by the way) we may attract the wrong people.
If you throw a frog in hot water, it will surely jump out and run. However, if you place it in cool water and slowly heat it to boiling, it will stay put, stew, and die. You might say "dumb frog". Guess what? There are dumb people too. I know. I've been one before.Well, maybe not dumb, but, certainly, gullible.
We enter relationships when they are cool. In the beginning, your partner may seem to balance you and make up for what you feel you lack. Sadly, the result is that you end up making decisions for yourself based on emotions that are not always in your best interest. As relationships heat up we often stay anyway, allowing them to drain us of our precious energy and our self-esteem, making us ill, and, sometimes, even killing us.
Check the temperature of your relationships and situations often. Emotional tension or physical suffering of any kind may be a clue that you are in very hot water. Do not make the mistake of thinking it is easier or safer to stay where you are. Constantly being stressed or fearful is hazardous to your health.
Relationship Red Flags
Red flags are those emotional alerts that are demanding our attention. They tell us when something is not quite right about a person, place or thing. Pay attention. Trust your gut feeling and the emotions you experience when you are around others. Just in mentioning, walking around on 'egg shells' all of the time is a sign of abuse. Meaning, if you do not feel comfortable or safe being yourself around another person some sort of abuse or neglect is most likely involved.
Signs of Being in a Toxic Relationship
It’s always about the other person's wants, needs and desires. Yours don't matter.
You're more often fatigued, physically distressed, or drained around this person than not.
The person mocks you regarding your expressions, looks, job, the way you act, what you say, or mocks family and friends.
You're afraid to express your thoughts, feelings and ideas for fear of being yelled at, criticized, being wrong or in trouble.
You often play the maid/butler, parent, teacher, or therapist role.
You can never get a direct answer.
You're told you are crazy or stupid (or are called other derogatory names) on a regular basis.
You martyr yourself (values, traditions, needs) to maintain the relationship.
The person attempts to control your appearance (what you wear, hair style, cosmetics, weight, etc.), social activities, hobbies, and finances.
You don't feel you can trust this person lack, you feel unsafe, or feel you are 'walking on eggshells'.
The other person blames you or takes out their bad mood on you. Your partner expects you to do all the work, both emotionally and physically.
You're constantly unhappy or find yourself complaining about your relationship to others.
You find you no longer do or enjoy the things that used to matter to you.
The other person has physically, emotionally, sexually or financially abused you. This includes neglect.
You are often told, "You're just like....(his/her ex, mother, father, step-parent, etc.) that they dislike, disrespect, resent or hate. This is just another way of saying it is all your fault they are unhappy, angry, etc.
If your wish to resolve conflicts is not appreciated or respected, this is another red flag. Together, perform an evaluation of your relationship and establish some boundaries and priorities. Lets' face it. Sometimes, we can all be a bit of a jerk, but if this attitude from your partner (family, coworker, boss, etc.) continues, seriously consider breaking off this relationship before it breaks you.
Are You In Relationship With a Narcissist?
If your wish to resolve conflicts is not appreciated or respected and your partner refuses to communicate in your relationships to resolve issues or your find that most of what is written under Signs of Being in a Toxic Relationship (above) is true for you, it could be you are involved with a narcissist.
Maybe you aren't sure what a narcissist is. A narcissist, by definition, is someone who includes you in their life for the sole purpose of making themselves look good to the world. Your wonderful qualities makes them shine to their family, coworkers and friends. This makes them feel great about themselves.
Narcissists easily come across as stable, charming, generous, and the answer to your dreams, but it's only a manipulation, a bait. It's not about you. It's never about you, your feelings, your wants, needs or desires. It's always about theirs, what they want, what they need, what they desire.
Oh, life may seem intoxicating and wonderful in the beginning of a relationship with a narcissist, until you realize something doesn't feel quite right. At that point, you may begin to ask your partner questions, which will not bode well with the narcissist. You see, feelings, particularly yours, don't matter to the narcissist. What matters is that you continue to make them the center of your universe and continue to feed them what they need to feel good about themselves. Narcissism goes beyond just ordinary selfishness and conceit. It is the inability to truly have empathy or compassion for others, unless it suits a personal purpose. In other words, they do not know how to love.
Narcissism goes beyond just ordinary arrogance, selfishness and conceit. It is the inability to truly have any compassion for others. And, you cannot teach them. Being a good example will never change the narcissist. You will not win that battle. It will only drain you of what is left of your reserves and kill your self-esteem in the process. It may even make you incredibly ill.
Once the narcissist begins to see or feel you are resisting their antics, your narcissistic mate will begin to show a very cruel side. You may find they become physically abusive.
To demand respect, attention, or appreciation from a narcissist is futile. If they believe you still add value to their lives in some way they might allow you a glimpse of the person you always thought they were for a short time, just to reel you back in. They may buy you something they know you've wanted. More likely, they will try to bribe you to stay by producing something they know you need, whether it's food in the cupboard, a bill paid, or a long awaited hug.
Emotional Warning Signs of Being in a Relationship with a Narcissist
You feel negative and lonely (or like something is missing) most of the time.
You get down on yourself and feel guilty when you think about doing the things that used to do that made you happy (visiting with loved ones, focusing on your career, working out, wearing makeup, and nice clothes, etc.). This can feel like depression or fatigue. It is actually oppression.
Even when things are going well in your relationship, you can't stop the feeling that, at any minute, things are going to become bad again and your world is going to come tumbling down. And, it will. Narcissist automatically sense when you are too happy. Your happiness makes them feel vulnerable (as if they have lost the upper hand) and they will hurt you for it one way or another. When you feel this way and are treated this way for any length of time your self-esteem suffers terribly. You can begin to doubt yourself in ways you never have before.
A merry heart doeth good [like] a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.
~ Proverbs 17:22
Fear, Abuse, Trauma & PTSD
People stay in negative situations and abusive relationships for three reasons; fear, social/cultural reasons, and personal beliefs. Fear is a trauma based emotion. If you suffer a traumatic event, situation, or ongoing emotional, mental or physical abuse, fear will greatly impact your body if it is not dealt with.
If you have been the victim of trauma, no matter how old you were (or are now), you may not even know what it is like to live without fear. Or, you may not even remember what caused your fear in the first place.
When you ignore red flags and stay in a detrimental relationships long-term, you can develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We often associate PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) with those who have survived war. However, those who have survived child abuse, incest, rape, muggings, terrible accidents, or codependent relationships can also suffer from PTSD.
Sexual abuse in relationships can come in many forms and involve all manner of boundary issues.
Sexual abuse can also come in the form of neglect (where you needs are not being met physically and/or painfully criticized), unrealistic expectations, or even rape. None of these are OK. You should never be made to do something outside of your comfort zone or be criticized or abused when you say no. And your need for intimacy (being emotionally and physically close to another) should never be abandoned.
If you have been a victim of molestation or rape, whether male or female, at any time in your life, you can find much needed support from RAINN. It does not matter how long it has been since you were abused, whether 3 minutes or 50+ years. You can talk to someone at RAINN about it. The RAINN hotline number is available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. Their number is 1.800.656.4673.
How to Safely Move Away from an Abusive Relationship
I thought it befitting to offer up some advice on what to do if you have decided to leave your relationship, regardless of whether it's to get away from a narcissist or just a plain old fashioned abuser. So, here are some safe measures you may have already considered with, hopefully, a few new ones to add to your list before you walk out the door and never look back.
Do not threaten to leave. Don't even hint or suggest it verbally or otherwise.
Do not tell friends, relatives, neighbors or the children you are leaving until after you have.
If you have the time, start paying off your debts and/or saving cash.
Pack an emergency bag, something you can grab quickly in an emergency exit.
If you are unemployed and your situation isn't violent and your mate doesn't mind you working find employment. Accept whatever position you can to become financially independent. You can always find another job later. If your mate is against you working, but you know they are not going to become verbally terrifying or abuse you physically, do it anyway.
If your mate is already physically abusive to you or has the potential to be, either, leave the relationship right away and stay with someone else until you can become financially independent or find a job in secret and then leave. At least, you'll know where your income is going to coming from, even if you have to stay in a shelter before receiving your first couple of paychecks.
Begin going through your personal things and donating or giving away what you do not need or want to take with you. If there are household items you don't want just leave them behind rather than causing suspicion by clearing the home of items. If there are heirlooms or other household items that you want to put away a little at a time, purchase a storage somewhere and begin filling it up little by little.
Get your vehicle maintained before you're on your own to avoid breakdowns and costs after you are on your own. Get a tune up (have the spark plugs, wires, cap and rotor replaced). Maybe you know someone who can do this or you can do it yourself to save money. Have your tired replaced with new 'used' ones if they are going bald. make sure you have a copy of your title, registration and insurance. If you don't have a vehicle, invest in a cheap used vehicle, bike or a monthly bus pass if you have the money.
Keep or make copies of all important papers, social, security cards, passports, birth certificates, etc., including banking information.
Retrieve and make copies of all account information (account numbers and any amounts due on credit cards, utilities, phone, car finance company, etc.) for yourself and, if you are married, of your spouses debts. You'll need this information for divorce purposes divorce.
If you don't have a cell phone, get one. If you have one, change the number after you leave.
Don't move in with a friend or relative that s/he knows the address to.
Don't use credit cards. Use cash whenever possible, especially if you are staying at a hotel for emergency purposes.
Get a restraining order prior to leaving.
If you are married, file a legal separation with the court right away. Also, if you are with your mate for less than a total of 6 months, you can file separately on next year's taxes and your tax return won't be affected by his or hers.
Divorce Advice for Women ~ Although this reference contains valuable information for a married woman leaving an abusive spouse, I the advice can easily apply to men as well.
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