How to avoid crossing the line from love to possessiveness
Tips on how to create a more trusting relationship
Relationships are complicated, they are great until they’re not, and the reason why that is lies within us. When we let feelings of jealousy or insecurity intrude in the relationship, that thin line between love and possession could be cross and that’s something that you need to avoid because it’ll destroy your relationship.
Are you one of those wives or girlfriends that are constantly making secret searches on your husband or boyfriend’s cellphone? Do you make him feel guilty every time that he goes out with friends? Is there an endless interrogation when you think he’s attracted to someone else? Those are sure red flags of possessives, you’re trying to control him.
You don’t want to be that person right? So how can you let go and stop those patterns of possessives in your relationship? The first step to achieve that is to try to understand why you engage in such behavior.
What’s causing your possessive behavior?
Many of us have some degree of fear and insecurity surrounding our relationship, where do these emotions come from? Well, they come from those deep struggles we have with trust, low self-esteem, fears of rejection, intimacy, loss… these emotions are deep-seated and they are what’s leading us into wanting to control.
Most of the time we don’t explore their origin, we just project them onto our current partner and that’s when the controlling behavior starts, as a way to cope with those deep hurtful feelings. You may, on some level, feel that you’re unlovable and that’s what causes you to act jealous or insecure. Also, when you construe that his comment or action is disregarding or rejection, you act victimized or wounded.
All these behaviors have a deep root in our past, usually in our childhood because that’s when we develop strategies or defenses in order to protect ourselves from difficult or painful situations. Those early experiences are what shape our future expectations about relationships and the defenses we formed early on are still playing out in our lives.
Those patterns and behavior we carry from our childhood are what’s hurting your current relationship. Now that you know where you’re controlling and possessive behavior comes from, you can do something to let go of it and stop with the possessiveness. These steps or tips can help you restore your relationship so you can have a more trusting one.
1. Bring more self-compassion to your life
Insecurity, that’s the root of your possessive behavior, so you need to find ways to tell your inner critic to “be quiet”, you need to overcome it and bring more self-compassion to your life. Work to accept who you are and that that’s more than enough.
2. Don’t let anxiety win
You need to find ways to calm your anxiety and there are many methods to achieve that. Breathing as well as mindful exercises can help you sit with your feelings and thoughts without letting them overpower you or control your behavior.
3. Past feelings belong there, in the past
So, leave them there. We know, it’s easier said than done but this constant anxiety that you feel won’t go away until you acknowledge its root. Your history will have something to do with your desire to control and possess your partner, so make sense of it by creating a coherent narrative of what happened to you in the past. You’ll be able to understand yourself better so that you can recognize the triggers and instead of reacting, you’ll be able to manage them and feel calmer.
4. Don’t let your inner critic take the wheel
We all have heard that “inner voice” right? We all have it, she’s the one that attacks us and the ones near us causing us to sabotage our relationships. This critic loves to fill you with thoughts like, “He doesn’t love you” or “He’s probably cheating on you” or “He’s going to leave you”. All these anxiety in your relationship you’re experiencing is because you have let her be at the wheel.
Stand up to her, don’t let that critic distort your thinking, don’t let her encourage you to engage in possessive behavior.
5. Invest in you, in your life
You two are a couple but remember that you are two individuals with particular interests and hobbies and personal goals, too. Focusing on you, on what makes you happy, on what you like, is a great way to dealing with your possessive feelings. You need to shift your attention to you, on your job, your hobbies, your social life. That new focus will enhance the sense of who you are, an individual with lots to offer.
6. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and talk to him
It’s terrifying just thinking about letting yourself be vulnerable and talk to him openly about your struggles with insecurity and controlling feelings, but in terms of making your relationship better, it could be invaluable. He may be clueless as to what causes that possessive behavior, so talking to him about it and trying to explain your struggle may pave the road to a better understanding on his part.
7. Learn to trust him and yourself
Again, easier said than done (what with your past experiences) but worth it if you want your relationship to work and grow. Stop listening to the inner voice that plants all those doubts, and take baby steps to start trusting him when he’s not with you. If you’re trusting yourself to behave, extend him the same courtesy because the other option (controlling him) is only making things worse.
Don’t put restrictions on him or on your relationship, learn to let go of the past by acknowledging what triggers those possessive behaviors and resist engaging in them. That would be your road to a more fulfilling relationship.