When you expect to get the love you didn’t get as a child from your partner, you are stuck in the pattern of hope and struggle that you cannot win. This is a pattern that is created in childhood that seeps into our relationships (as most patterns do). The pattern comes about because the love we experienced from our parents was conditional, not consistent or nonexistent. Usually we think we are to blame for not getting the love we need. We do lots of things to try to get this love (achieve, be kind, do for others, give up our authentic selves), with the goal of someone finally filling us up. All children need love and to feel “securely attached” which creates healthy adults (see “Achieving Personal Power” for more about this https://www.changeworksinc.com/professional0.html). And if we don’t get secure attachment from our parents, typically, we continue to try to get it in our adult life from our partner.
When you live in this pattern, you are denying the reality that you can never get what you wanted—your parent’s love—if you didn’t get it when you were little. You continue to fight the reality that your parents weren’t capable and no matter what you do you won’t get what you need(ed). It is a mistake to think that you can get what you didn’t get from your parents from another. No one can fill you up with what you lost and that is not a partner’s responsibility. If you enter relationships in this way, you will most likely be needy and you will probably have unnecessary fights because you assume they should be doing something that they don’t/won’t/can’t. When you come from this place, you are essentially a black hole that cannot be filled because your partner is not your parent. You are asking for something that is impossible to fulfill. You are stuck in the victim/child place where you want someone else to fix the problem and fill you up.
When you live from this pattern of bonding with others to fill up, you are not filling up yourself and bringing your own energy first, so you end up taking energy from others—something a colleague calls being an “energy vampire” (those who can see energy actually see the tendrils going from one to another). Your adult self needs to commit to taking care of yourself, so that you don’t rely on others to fill you up. If you don’t, you abandon yourself over and over by letting someone else be in charge of your needs. It is the responsibility of an adult to know her needs and take care of them—to be committed to filling her own needs. So if you expect another to do this, you abandon yourself because you are expecting another fill those needs and leaving this up to them, much like you did as a child. As a child this is normal; as an adult it is not. Remember: your strong feelings are about your needs and are your responsibility. This doesn’t mean you don’t ask for help or support, but requesting something (with the assumption that the partner has the right to say no) is a vastly different perspective than assuming it is another’s responsibility to fill you up & meet your needs. A relationship is not there to fill you up, it is there to bring you joy & companionship. For more on the issue of bonding, see “Achieving Personal Power,” https://www.changeworksinc.com/professional0.html.
When we have this pattern, we also have a part of us that works really hard to try to deny the reality that we won’t ever get this love—this would be the “Outer Child” according to Susan Anderson who has a great book called, Taming your Outer Child. I find her process very effective regarding how we get stuck and then how to get unstuck around relationships. The way to heal this pattern is to get in touch with the need and become the parent for yourself that you never had—to hear the fear and pain that your little one (inner child) experienced. To sit with her and see the reality of what she experienced and the hurt that caused; to accept that she won’t get the love she wanted because her parents weren’t able and it wasn’t about her. Once you do this and you let go of your demands of your partner you can begin to have mature relationships. The Outer Child book and CLEARing are very helpful in moving out of this pattern. Also see article, “How to Find Love” on https://www.changeworksinc.com/professional0.html.