Updated: Mar 23, 2019
He hasn't called me. I feel anxious. Does he not want to connect as deeply as I do? Is this turning into an obligation instead of a relationship of passionate love? I don't feel prioritized.
I had a massive breakthrough the other day. I felt distant from my boyfriend. I felt de-prioritized. And I felt like ending the relationship. We had lived together for months in Southeast Asia but once I moved back to America, we started living separate lives, running businesses, attending conferences, and soon we were talking once a week via FaceTime and sending voice messages throughout the week. After a while, this started taking a toll on my emotional attachment towards him. It almost didn't make sense to continue the relationship. I started feeling insecure about the future. When was I even going to see him next? Why are we doing this? I then started reacting strongly to his responses. I would get triggered by the lack of contact and express my emotions on the spot in a voice message or over the phone all at once. I would express how I didn't like the way things were going. I didn't like the lack of contact. I felt de-prioritized. My love language is quality time. Why couldn't he make more time to connect with me? Does he not love me? That I felt X because of X situation. I felt triggered by something he did. And that turns into an attack. It is no longer a constructive expression of emotion. I am now placing my emotional response on his action. Deep down I knew that whatever I was upset about was a trigger within me. That he should be free to do as he pleases and my reaction is a reflection of a trigger inside of me. But what was this trigger? Why was I actually upset?
Growing up, I always felt de-prioritized in my family. My brother was a junior olympic gymnast constantly in the Buffalo News, constantly setting school records. Relatives would call the house and instead saying 'hi, how are you', they would ask about my brother and ask how he was doing. I felt overshadowed. I learned that I was not important because I was not prioritized. That my accomplishments and dreams were not as important as other important people in my life. My brother was the person I loved most. He was my best friend. He fought a lot, don't get me wrong. But we were so close we would share a chair when we went out to family reunions; we were tied at the hip for most of our childhood. But, i felt that my achievements were not as important as his. As I grew older and started dating, I would see this manifest. I would be working on a project and suddenly think that the other person's mission was more important than my own. I would start dedicating all of my energy and attention to helping them with their mission. I would voluntarily help them start businesses for free and take on all of this responsibility, give everything I had and then feel depleted. At first, this was attractive to the boyfriend. They were getting tons of business help and direction. But as soon as they could operate on their own, they didn't need my help as much and lost respect for me.
This pattern kept coming into my life. Why did they lose respect for me after I did so much for them? It made no sense? What I didn't realize was that I consistently saw their projects as more important than my own. I consistently put more energy and focus on their passions. I would keep my own passion but would de-prioritize it. If he needed help, his came first. So why did I keep feeling de-prioritized in my relationships? Because I was de-prioritizing myself. I was seeing my own passions as less important and my own dreams as less worthy. I would give and give and give, hoping to receive love in return. I never asked to be paid because energetically, as soon as it became a transaction of money, it would lose the transaction of love. The amount of investment is unbalanced, the other person doesn't feel they can or want to invest that much, and unconsciously, they lose desire and respect in the relationship.
So now what? I see the trigger inside of me. I see the pattern. I am ready to heal that wound. There is no passion or dream that trumps my own. To me, my dream is the priority. Yes. AND in my own life, this is a great place to put up boundaries. To not see giving business help as an exchange of love. To see that people love me regardless of how much help I give to their passions. To understand that people love the essence of who I am regardless of how much I give them. To understand that the more I prioritize myself, the more I will be prioritized. To know that I am seen. I am my own priority. To let go of taking all of the responsibility. To give some of the responsibility back to my partner for a more equal relationship. I attract people who don't like to take on responsibility because I take all of it. I can release that.
Wow! Really? I am 26 and just realizing this? Yes. And I will keep discovering and uncovering things about myself throughout my entire life. And that is okay!