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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
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
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
Indepthwoman

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
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 …
D.R.
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…
Niko
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
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
C.M.
Thank you for all the words. You’ve created the magic drug I’ve been looking for all my life. Your blog has transformed my life, and I feel like I am on the brink of a most satisfying fulfilling journey…You’ve made me see everything in a new light. I now feel calmer, able to care better for my toddler, less hateful of people around, and hopeful for my future. I am not so afraid for our marriage anymore. — Shilpa CB
Shilpa CB
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman

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Unrealistic Expectations in Relationships: Changing Your Imbalanced Perspective

Is your relationship more infatuation or resentment than love and gratitude? If so, you have a one-sided or imbalanced relationship. Within an infatuation you expect there to be all pleasure and little to no pain. Within a resentful relationship you expect there to be all pain and very little pleasure. We can settle for the vulnerability and unfulfillment these scenarios bring or we can restore balance.

Infatuation; it’s all you

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

If we fall for someone and only see their positive traits (infatuation), there is a danger we become insecure and worry that we are not good enough or that they will leave us. We bend ourselves to fit what we perceive they desire. We minimize ourselves and our values to maintain the feeling of perpetual pleasure and support from our partner. We become extremely dependent on them. We may grow to resent them.

This way of being is imbalanced. We are only looking at the pleasurable side.

Balanced love is seeing our loved one’s amazing qualities in ourselves. Instead of minimizing ourselves, we balance our perspective, by noting our own good qualities.

Not only can we become aware of our positive traits but we can note that the “good” traits our partner possesses, may have downsides as well. For example, our lover’s sense of humor may be great most of the time, but if we need them to be serious, the funny business becomes irritating.

Resentment; it’s all you

When we give up parts of ourselves to keep the peace in our relationship, inevitably resentment builds. We miss ourselves. We see our partner as the source of the loss and resentment. We see all of their “bad” traits and how we need to change them. In this case, we have aggrandized ourselves and minimized our significant other. We want to be free of their challenges to our equanimity.

man pointing finger

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash

Dr. John Demartini says in The Values Factor, to restore our balance, we need to see our significant other’s “bad” traits in ourselves. For instance, if our partner seems controlling at times, it helps to think of times when we act controlling.

It also helps to see the behavior we resent in our partner in a positive light. For example, how do we benefit from our lover’s perceived controlling behavior? Perhaps we benefit from the salary he or she earns by controlling things at work.

Imbalanced perspective 

Also in The Values Factor, Dr. Demartini says nature always offers support and challenge. We can’t have one without the other or we have an imbalanced perspective. This is how it is in our relationships. If we believe loving relationships should be full of highs and easily remedied lows, then we have an imbalanced perspective based on support without challenge. If we see everything our partner does as challenging us and our values, then we also have a one-sided viewpoint.

All support comes with challenge

power pleasure painNature interferes and shows us where we have limited perspective. Sometimes these wake-up calls are gentle. Other times they hit us like a ton of bricks. A subtle wake-up call example is one where let’s say a wife loves the skills her husband has for fixing appliances around the house. She gets used to having him repair things for her (maybe even takes him for granted), but then word gets out in the neighborhood about his skills. Suddenly, all the neighbors are hiring him to fix their appliances. He gives up family time to help the neighbors. Now the wife balances her dependence on his support with the challenge of his increased absences.

An example where the return to balance is more devastating may involve a serious illness or a job loss. Life and love when seen through a broad perspective include pleasure and pain, independence and dependence within interdependence.

Insecure attachments show imbalance

In The Quiet Rise of Introverts I wrote about avoidant, ambivalent and secure attachment. Someone who is avoidantly attached is self-reliant and withdraws when under stress. They act independently because their primary caregiver was not available to them when they were children. They learned to self-regulate.

In contrast, someone with an ambivalent attachment style often seeks attention and reassurance from their friends and lovers. They want to resolve conflict right away with interaction. They are more dependent on others for comfort. They also move in close for intimacy but then might withdraw in fear of disappointment, hence the ambivalent title. Their caregivers were inconsistent with affection and security, causing the child to want to please and stay close to them.

Secure attachment = interdependence

A securely attached adult understands there will be ebb and flow in connection with others but knows responsiveness is key to a healthy partnership. They are comfortable being themselves and doing their own thing but enjoy intimacy too. They thrive in interdependence. Their parents met their emotional and physical needs as children.

Those who are securely attached, value interdependence and expect pleasure and pain as part of their personal narrative. They have an easier time creating and maintaining balanced perspectives and healthy relationships.

The purpose of relationship imbalances

All of us get unbalanced in our relationships. When we experience it we feel anxious and discontent. We want to get back to good. Imbalance serves a purpose. According to Dr. Demartini, its purpose is to promote our personal growth, and growth is found on the border of support and challenge. Accepting the dichotomy, gives us the balance we seek.

Where are you living with a one-sided perspective? Do you believe love means no real challenges? How do you strive for secure attachment, interdependence and balance? 

 

A favor to ask…

If you have read The Quiet Rise of Introverts, I would be so grateful if you would leave a short review (even just clicking the number of stars you believe it deserves) on Amazon.com.

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Thank you so much!! 

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2 Comments

  1. michaelrbuley May 20, 2018 at 5:19 pm - Reply

    These were good words, Brenda: “When we give up parts of ourselves to keep the peace in our relationship, inevitably resentment builds. We miss ourselves.”

    Mostly, I have missed being me with the women I have been with. I can deal with adversity. Pain, upset, hard times, all of it. I have had a fair amount. Who hasn’t?

    What I value most, through adversity and good times, is an easy ability to laugh about it — not a stupid humor, not denigrating, not at anyone’s expense. Just laughing about the craziness of all of life — and it’s a crazy, and beautiful, life. And maybe you don’t laugh at the moment — but you can find it soon enough, and you find it because it helps you to keep perspective, and enjoy where we are, wherever it is that we are.

    I swear, laughter is the key to staying alive, and being here and now. We don’t laugh in the past, or the future. We laugh here and now. When we laugh, we are here and now. Is there much that is sweeter than laughter? May we be the ones who bring it to others through our own ability to laugh. And lucky us, if we find someone who brings laughter to us.

    Whoever we are, you are right: we miss ourselves when we are not being ourselves with someone else. When we ‘aim to please’ more than anything. I think highly introverted people tend to do that more than others. We have (I have) intense insecurities that make us think — whether we are conscious of it or not — that we don’t matter as much as others.

    I have found myself — highly introverted, and all that that entails — later in life. Now I just want to be me. Because with all my insecurities — and they are many — I love life. And I love and enjoy who I am. I don’t want to please someone so much any more, as find a woman who is happy being with me and with who I am, as I am happy with her, and just being with her. I may not. I did once for a short time. It’s sweet. I hope to have it again. If not, this is still a life with extraordinary beauty.

    I missed myself for a long time. It’s good to be home!

    • Brenda Knowles May 22, 2018 at 10:53 am - Reply

      You made a lot of good points that helped me get even more insight about the sensitive, introverted perspective. I, of course, get my own introverted perspective every day, but it is important to me to hear how others experience it. It has been my experience that introverts, including myself, ‘aim to please’ because we feel we are not enough just being ourselves. You said something similar in your comment.
      I am so happy you are at home with yourself now. I can tell you truly do love life and laughter. 🙂 I agree fun and laughter get us through a lot. We are very present when we laugh.
      I’ve had more fun in the last couple of years. I am not sure of all the reasons for that but I know it is partly due to the people I’ve gathered into my life. I also think I focus less on appearances (how I look, my home looks, my children look) and more on enjoying and appreciating what I have.
      Thank you for your wisdom Michael. I value it. Keep on laughing! I hope you have big smiles and guffaws today. 😉

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