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BRENDA: thank you SO much! Your advice is exactly what I need to do. I am amazed how much you “get” me after only exchanging a few messages!… Again, I thank you from the bottom of my heart. You’ve helped me more than a year of therapy sessions! – Megan on space2live
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
I have been dating an introverted man who I am very in love with for almost 2 years.  Reading your posts have helped me to be more supportive and understanding to him especially during the times when he needs space.  I just wanted to thank you for your weekly posts and let you know how helpful they are for someone who is in a relationship with an introvert. C.M. on space2live
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
That courage and dedication you so generously share with the world, has inspired me to push myself a little harder, persevere at each task a little longer, dig a little bit deeper to where the answers just “feel” right to both my humanity AND my spirit. Your insights have reinforced my direction and given me additional tools that help me clear my path. I’m wired into my creativity as never before and the new music is pouring out of me faster than I can record and produce it; this is the Un…
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms

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Do You Feel Supported? Exploring Core Fears and How Relationships Heal Them

woman helping hand

A month ago, I found out someone I used to date was facing an organ transplant. They have a Caring Bridge Site and anticipate six months in the hospital.

We dated for only two short months. I suspect his serious health conditions gave him the introspective, passionate and sensitive outlook on life I found so attractive. Toward the end of the relationship, we broke up and then reconnected during a night of emotional intimacy and crazy antics. The new U2 album, Cookie Monster and two intuitive minds fueled a remarkable evening.

After the heady night of reconnection, he disappeared. I was confused but so busy with life and its complexities I did not address it for a week or so. I emailed him a What’s going on? message. His response crushed me.

Supporting without support

This all occurred just as my mother began to decline into depression and ALS. In fact, I read his final email out loud to my mom in her kitchen in Michigan. That day I’d spent hours trying to find and purchase blood pressure pills small enough for her to take. She was slowly losing her ability to swallow. She was terrified and I was desperate to make it all work and give her comfort.

Exhausted, I read his email to her. He noted the spectacular night we last spent together and how it caught him off guard. He hadn’t expected such an amazing evening. He’d been thinking about me a lot, but the bottom line was he could not handle the stress I had in my life. I assumed he was referring to financial drama with my ex-husband, my mom’s disease, my three children and their various stages of development and my own emotional reactions to all of it.

I felt damaged. I wondered if anyone could ever handle me. This was my own jagged little pill to swallow. If only, I could manage everything better. Then I could be there for everyone and then perhaps they would be there for me.helping pull up black and white

I didn’t have a lot of time to wallow in self-pity. I had children and an ailing parent to take care of. I marched on alone with a heavy mind and heart.

A couple of months later, my man entered the picture. He stood steadfastly next to me and some wounds healed. Perhaps my lifestyle and I were not too complex and emotional to be loved?support each other to grow

I have a real fear of…

As I reflect on all of this and continue to study attachment styles and the healing available through relationships, I realize one of my core fears is being unsupported. I’ve had many times in my life when I’ve had to go it alone financially, emotionally or spiritually. Even for an introvert, that kind of alone feels really lonely.

I need someone

I strive to be OK on my own, to focus on my children, personal development, financial stability and emotional fortitude, but the truth is I can’t grow in a vacuum. I need another person to point out and ultimately support me regarding my fears and insecurities (as I do the same for them). In order to have secure functioning in a relationship, I need to practice and learn with someone consistently. In order to feel strong enough to expand who I am and give to others, I need my vulnerabilities shored up occasionally. I’m learning it’s alright to feel that way. I’m not damaged.

letting bird go freeMy friend with the serious health condition received a transplant recently. All looks good for his recovery. I am so happy for him. I believe he met someone around the same time we dated, someone who was more available to him. She could support him better. I now look back fondly on the time we shared. He taught me a wonderful lesson about the preciousness of time. I have worked my way through much of the stress I experienced then. I don’t feel damaged. I feel wiser and more aware of the light and support relationships and I can bring.

Can you identify one of your core fears? Where did it come from? What would it take to help heal that wound? 

If you would like help uncovering and healing a core fear, I would love to offer a safe and secure space for exploring and healing. Please click on this link for personal coaching




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  1. Loretta December 22, 2016 at 12:23 pm - Reply

    Oh my stars. You are me. I have visited your blog on and off for years, but am just really, really appreciating and relating to it again, lately. Thank you for your candid and courageous sharing. So much comfort here.
    “I felt damaged. I wondered if anyone could ever handle me. This was my own jagged little pill to swallow. If only, I could manage everything better. Then I could be there for everyone and then perhaps they would be there for me.” Just wow, to this. I get this. Big time.
    Thank you, again.

    • Brenda Knowles December 22, 2016 at 3:52 pm - Reply

      As I re-read my words in your comment, I felt a pang of truth in them… still. It takes a lot of energy to take care of everyone and everything. When you don’t have someone backing you up, it’s all output with no input, nothing to refuel you. May you feel the warmth of a responsive partner soon Loretta.

  2. Michael August 12, 2016 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    wow. you touch on a lot of things here, Brenda. i appreciate your openness.

    a few years ago, i was with a woman i was pretty crazy in love with. i talked with her at the time about my folks. they were getting old (hers had passed). i said it might come to a point where i would need to take care of them. i knew their financial situation, and knew what little support there was from siblings.

    she made it clear that, if it came to that, she didn’t want to be part of it.

    another time, i was talking about my then-single daughter, who had a 3 year old son. things were dicey there, and i said that if it ever came to it — i hoped it didn’t, but one never knows — where i needed to care for my grandson, i’d do it in a heartbeat. i knew friends and customers who that had happened to — they were raising their grandkids. one, sometimes more. it could happen to any of us with kids.

    she made it clear that, here also, she wouldn’t be a part of it. she said that if that happened, and we were then living together, she would move out.

    i remember the crushing feeling.

    i loved her so much, i would have been with her through anything. i’m that way with people i love. adversity? problems? let’s do it together. it’s actually where i thrive, and rise to the occasion. for her, it wasn’t that way. she wanted things certain ways, and wouldn’t be with me through those situations — and who knows what others.

    i think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson — maybe Thoreau — who said, ‘Circumstances don’t make the man. They reveal him.’ obviously, women, too. Situations that come up, reveal who we are, to ourselves. Nothing ‘makes’ us a certain way. we just ARE certain ways. and situations help us to see who we are, and who others are. It’s not good or bad. no judgment. we’re just different. wired different. raised different. ARE different.

    and the differences are to be respected, and understood, and accepted.

    of course, we can accept how someone is … and it doesn’t work with that person.

    i think when someone says, basically, ‘I can’t deal with all your stuff,’ in ways he or she might be saying that he can’t deal with his own stuff.

    we have to acknowledge our own stuff, issues, struggles. and embrace them. and love our own selves for all that we are, all that we have, all that makes up our lives. when we do, when we really see the complexity of it all, the complexity of ourselves, then i think we can likewise embrace all of that in another.

    life is complex. it changes in a heartbeat, literally. or can. our lives can be changed profoundly, in a minute (car crash; heart attack), an hour, a day. and things are never the same. and … we go on.

    if we seek security and predictability as far as how life goes, we’ll forever be not at peace. life is … all of it. all of its variables and changes, and ‘blink of an eye’ things that happen — to us, to those we love.

    do we stay with someone, regardless of how, as one said, ‘the vagaries of life’ shift and change? or do things have to be just so — good health; lots of money; no extended family issues; etc. — for us to be together?

    ‘I never want to have to deal with your parents’ … ‘I can’t deal with your kid issues’ … ‘i can’t stand your ex’ … and that kind of list can go on forever. there are ALWAYS ‘issues.’ if we want to find them. ‘This has to change, this has to be so, that can’t be …’ and so on.

    hell. if anything, we hopefully come to really, truly understand and appreciate that there IS no real security … other than within our own selves. and there is true security there. if we find someone who says, truly, ‘i’m with you, truly with you, no matter what comes up … i embrace your life just as you do, i love ALL of who you are, all of who you have been, and all of what is to come, your life and mine …’ well, that would be a good thing.

    cancer all of a sudden? heart attack? car wreck? disabled? any of it can happen, and does. and no one knows ahead of time. and it happens to us, to people we love and know.

    will we be there, really be there, both feet in, with the other, whatever comes up?

    a frustrating thing can be when your partner doesn’t honestly acknowledge, accept, talk about, share, his or her own stuff. we all have stuff! and acknowledgement of our fears, struggles, all of it … makes it okay. if it never is talked about, can’t be … there’s no real sharing. i know that frustration.

    do we accept, really accept — not bitch about — all of who someone is? all of their ‘baggage’ — meaning simply their history? all of their family, their ex, their financial situation. most of us don’t. we have conditions. we have ‘conditional love.’

    and while that kind of love can be fun, for a short time … it doesn’t sustain.

    do we love all of who WE are? all of our stuff. ALL of it. or do we rue different parts of our own lives? to the extent that WE do … i believe we offer that in the same level to another.

    the ‘issues’ we see in another, are reflections of our own. and vice-versa.

    if we see beauty in another, that beauty is within us. if we see magnificence in another, that is within us first. if we see ‘problems’ in another (hell, they’re always there with anyone!), they’re within us first. and if we truly love all — ALL — of who we are, then i believe we can truly love all of who another is.

    life just is. and it’s beautiful, in all of its heartache and hardships and misery. they’re all part of it — and we can call it ALL beautiful, because it IS life … or we can set all kinds of conditions on ourselves, on our happiness. and we will put those on another, too.

    it is said that we draw to us, who WE are. perhaps, if we are lucky or whatever it is, if we love ourselves, finally, truly unconditionally, the whole package that we are … we will find another who feels the same about himself or herself.

    i haven’t yet. and i stay open, and always will. it’s how i’m wired.

    i appreciate, again, your openness with us, Brenda. shine on. keep the faith in who YOU are. know how beautiful YOU are — every bit and part that you are. kids, money, parents, ex, all of it. it’s simply who we are. and who we are, in my book, is beautiful.


    • Brenda Knowles August 16, 2016 at 3:50 pm - Reply

      You touched on so much as well. I do believe there is truth in what you said about loving our own ‘stuff’ in order to love it in another. The degree to which we accept ourselves is equivalent to what we can accept in others. I think a big sign of maturity is being able to work through the stuff with another, be it our own issues or theirs. I believe in boundaries. I draw the line at issues that affect my health or the well-being of my children. I am working on learning how to effectively communicate/resolve my own issues and how to address potential issues with a partner.
      As always, thank you for your wisdom Michael. I get so much from your comments.

      • Michael August 16, 2016 at 4:50 pm - Reply

        my kids are grown, so that’s not so much a concern. and certainly, whatever ages our kids are, we want whoever we are with, to truly love them.

        i read a post on pinterest a couple days ago: a sad person kills an empath quicker than life.

        so true. people like us, Brenda, to be with someone sad — i mean chronically sad; unable to really find joy — is deadly. it sucks the life out of us.

        so when you talk about boundaries … health … yes, absolutely. i’m much, much clearer today than ever on certain things that simply must be. mostly, it’s … be happy, truly happy, with who you are, with being alive. if there’s no joy there, i can’t help. i have learned that the very hard way. and we can only break the connection, wish the other well, and get back to being happy.

        we must protect ourselves, and sometimes that is very hard to do.

        as far as ‘wisdom’ … you understand that that has come from failed marriages! i have had many people i love intensely, value to this day. and when it comes to ‘man woman’ relationships, i’m still hopeful. there are so many beautiful people out there. i do think that the more right we are with ourselves, the more likely we are to find someone who is right with himself or herself, in the ways that matter to us.

        i talked with a long time friend today. she’s 54. she’s an introvert. very creative. she moved in with her boyfriend 11 months ago. and she is struggling. she doesn’t have her own space at home.

        for the more severe introverts among us — i count myself in that group — it may be that living separately may be what works. maybe it’s only what works. and i’m good with that, if it comes to be. someone to love intensely and dearly, share intensely with, be there for each other, truly. and … have solitude and space when needed.

        you have a very, very beautiful heart, Brenda Knowles … thank you for who you are.


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