The biggest challenge in finding and maintaining healthy peer groups/ tribe is not recognizing when we are being mistreated. When we grow up with the message that we are not deserving of a healthy emotional and/ or physical relationship, we are actually drawn to people who will validate our world view. This means we tend to be drawn to people who are not capable of having a healthy emotional and/ or physical relationship themselves, because of their own baggage. If we stumble upon someone who can be emotionally and physically available, we may remain distant, feel unworthy and/or sabotage those relationships unconsciously by fault finding, creating a lot of drama, using substances, cheating etc.
Physical abuse is pretty concrete, so it is easier to understand, but emotional abuse has many nuances. Here is an example of emotional abuse. Notice your reaction to this short video (4 min) and if you want to take your insight to the next level, answer the questions below.
Take a moment to reflect on what your own template for what “love” and intimate or close relationships looked like and how this may have shaped or influenced the relationships in your own life.
Here is another quick video, it is aimed at women with male “toxic” partners, but it really applies regardless of gender. You may wish to choose a few key people in your life who interact with, intimate partners, friends or family and answer the questions based on them too. It may help us better understand our emotional responses when we are around certain people.
If the answer is no to all of them- good for you! Time for a moment of gratitude to celebrate and say thanks to the wonderful people in your life. If you have a lot of “yes” answers, it is decision time.
We can’t be healthy and safe when we are surrounded by unhealthy and emotionally unsafe people.
So what are you going to do?
How prepared are you to protect your inner child and tell yourself that you matter?