One of the strangest things about human nature is how easy it is to push away the one (or ones) you love the most in life. At the same time, one of the most inherent desires of humanity is to be accepted and loved and wanted. And yet quite often our behavior towards loved ones is contrary to just that.
Pushing away the ones you love, for many people – begins in the early stages of a relationship. In the very beginning, there wasn’t a single thing that you would have changed about your partner. Then, as the two of you get closer and you begin to be aware of their idiosyncrasies, you become less accepting. Suddenly, your actions towards them demand change. You begin impressing upon someone else your personal expectations and experiences in life – and forget that the two of you are individuals first. A couple second. As the demands for change, and the denial to be accepting of things the way they are becomes more pressing, you often end up subconsciously pushing the people you love the most away from you.
From a psychological standpoint, pushing away the people you love the most is a very basic and common, defense mechanism. As the relationship develops, people become inundated with their own fears and insecurities that they will not be accepted and therefore hurt by their loved one. So the cunning, and self-deprecating thing to do is to hurt them before they hurt you. Rather than allow them to see your faults, or for you to feel exposed – you begin ‘exposing’ theirs. Unfortunately, as you do this you slowly but surely begin to throw roadblocks into the relationship and open the door for feelings of resentment and unhappiness.
Experts believe that most people do not recognize on a conscious level that they are doing this to others, and are instead caught in a cycle of diminished self-esteem that creates the ego factor in their relationships. For many people, the ego factor develops after negative personal experiences that they have suffered or from situations in their life where they have felt that they have been victimized by others. The remembrance of the pain of these experiences can leave such a long lasting impression on the emotional person, that the defense mechanism is enabled almost automatically.
Additionally, the people we love the most, are often the ones we do not appreciate very much. This is true not just in romantic relationships or marriages but in all facets of our personal interactions. We have that one friend who has been with us through thick and thin, or our parents or siblings or grandparents (or children) who we become so accustomed to not appreciating that we end up treating them poorly. You have likely heard of the analogy about the man who opened doors for every woman he met but allowed the door to hit his own wife in the face upon entering restaurant. It was not that he was intentionally trying to disregard her feelings, but more that he had forgotten how to appreciate her. As relationships settle into routines, human beings often make this exact mistake and end up inadvertently pushing away the people that love them the most.
Whether it is fear or insecurities, lack of respect or just the fact that you take your loved ones for granted that causes you to push people away, it is an important aspect of humanity to be aware of. Each and every day, you should have the presence of mind to ask yourself what good will come from your actions or words. As a relationship progresses and you find yourself forcing change, causing commotion and asking the person to be more (or less) of something that they were when you first met, you must ask yourself WHY. If you are constantly pushing people away that are beneficial in your life – try to understand what fear is in you, which cause you to do this. By confronting your own fears head on, and learning to be more patient and tolerant with others you can not just be a better partner and friend, but can have better partners and friends as well.
You must also ask yourself if you are trying to sabotage the relationship to save yourself. Sure, in relationships with other people there will always be the opportunity for you to get hurt at some point. However, not taking the risk also voids you of enjoying some of the benefits of intimacy and love. This leads back to the infamous quote, “Don’t let the fear of striking out keep you from playing the game!” Risks are everywhere. One of the most beneficial and rewarding risks in life is to allow people to love and accept and want you – and to love, accept and want in return - with no strings attached.
For many people, looking back on the difficulties that caused and end to a relationship, it is easy to see how insignificant things really were. Unfortunately, and far too often the end of a relationship comes with so many events and feelings that cannot be undone after the fact. So rather than push people away because of fear of complacency, it is best to live in your relationships with others every moment of every day! This way, you wont look back with regrets or remorse, but instead will know that you loved (and perhaps lost) passionately.