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I feel frustrated and sad, as I need more attention and validation from my boyfriend
About the Questioner
Philosophy: I was raised as a philosophical Hindu, which to me means that there is a Supreme Being who in fact resides everywhere. I am still exploring my faith and beliefs and how to become more connected to this Supreme Being.
Hopes and aspirations: At a professional level, my hope is to be a holistic doctor that can really help heal people. At a personal level, I want to constantly heal, learn, and grow; be open to love; experience the joys and pleasures of life and other human beings.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my question. I am a 32-year-old female who has struggled a lot in romantic relationships with men and want to break my pattern. I have had a distant relationship with my father, and also have a lot of anger towards him in the way that he's treated my mother, sister and myself (controlling, verbally abusive, repressive).
Reply by Coach Doris Jeanette
I consider myself a strong, intelligent, caring, fun and loyal person. I fear I have stayed too long in unhealthy situations. My first boyfriend when I was 18 was psychologically and sexually abusive; later I entered another relationship in which the man wanted to marry a woman of his own religion, but kept me on the side. Recently I was in a "relationship" with a man for 3.5 years who never committed. I've had a few shorter healthier relationships, but I feel scarred from the pattern of these longer relationships. I lack confidence to attract and maintain a healthy relationship, and feel insecure about my attractiveness.
I recently began dating an honest and intelligent man, but I feel insecure and secondary. I feel like he is in the spotlight in our life (he is successful and gets attention from teachers). We do things more according to his timetable because I am naturally adaptive. I want and need more attention and validation from him, and appreciation for what I bring to the table. I want to feel special and that he's fallen for me the way he did in the beginning. I feel that though he makes small adjustments to my requests but then goes back to being inattentive in small ways, like constantly being on his computer, phone, TV, or tuning out after sex. I tell him that I need to hear that he likes my body and having sex with me, yet he doesn't say it. I don't act needy, yet I need to feel cherished and desired. I feel frustrated and sad, and want to feel better inside. How much is I, and how much is him? How can I work on myself and the relationship to make it more satisfying?
Thank you for your appreciation. I am grateful for you and the other people who place their trust in Peter Shepherd, Phil Evans, and me by reading the helpful information, support and guidance offered in the Heart to Heart column. Thank you for asking your question. It is our hope that these columns provide a valuable service to the world community.
First, let me acknowledge your energy, enthusiasm and earnestness. They are your natural strengths that you definitely need to recognize, feel good about and use to heal yourself and then others. If being in service to others as a holistic doctor is your soul's purpose this needs to move to the forefront. Fulfilling your soul's purpose is the most satisfying, fulfilling goal you can have in life. The more you listen to your soul, the happier you will be in all areas of your life. Then you will attract a soul mate.
Initially, let me say something that anyone who has been in an abusive relationship needs to hear. If your model for relationships was abusive, there is no way I know of, that you can avoid being in an abusive relationship. I know many traditional professionals will scream at me that this is not true and tell you that you MUST avoid abusive relationships. Well, I am a realistic and very knowledgeable about learning research and learning principals. No matter what you think, the fact is, you become what you learn. This is a well-documented fact based on many research studies over many years. What this means for you is that your model for relationships was abusive; therefore, your relationships will be abusive UNTIL you unlearn this unhealthy behavior. Of course you can unlearn this unhealthy behavior but don't fool yourself expecting yourself to unlearn any behavior without awareness, personal growth, a good teacher and lots of practice.
Let me reassure you that all of your past relationships were great practice for you. The only way you can change your unhealthy pattern is to practice behaving differently in a relationship. I am sure you learned something about yourself in each relationship that has helped you unlearn your abusive pattern. So continue to practice new relationship skills in real life relationships and do not judge yourself about anything. Consider everything that you have experienced and will experience as food for your soul.
I do not usually suggest that someone leave a partner. However, if you are just starting to date this man you could take a step back and see him from an objective point of view. To answer your question about his part of the problem, one thing jumped out at me, "tuning out after sex." After sex is when you will be the most intimate, vulnerable and sweet with your beloved. So if he is already tuning out after sex, this is a red flag. If he does not hold you sacred in sex, I doubt that he holds you sacred in other ways. Personally, I would never have another date with someone who "tuned out" after sex. It is possible he could turn into a friend, but definitely not a lover. At least not until he becomes a better lover.
It sounds like he is engaging in "Mechanic Sex," a term I coined many years ago. Mechanic Sex occurs when you are fast, anxious and have closed chakras. Making love is an entirely different experience. Making love occurs when your heart is open and your body is relaxed. Only then can you exchange love energy and soul energy in a slow, sensuous, close, healthy fashion.
As far as your part of the relationship problem, your strong need to be special stands out as your issue. Read the article about being addicted to needing approval from men for help in this area.
To change your abusive relationship pattern, you must heal your past emotional wounds. The process of healing these past wounds will naturally and organically change how you relate to yourself. My suggestion is to begin your self-improvement with your open expression, "I feel frustrated and sad, and want to feel better inside." You need to feel and directly experieince your genuine sadness. When you look inward and feel your real hurt, pain and sadness, you will begin the process of opening your heat and solar plexus.
As you feel more and more of your authentic emotions, you be healing your past learning history with your abusive father. These past learning patterns are deeply engrained and conditioned into the lining of your stomach and nervous system. To unlearn these patterns you need to become conscious of how you treat yourself in ways that are not loving. Healing these wounds will change how you relate to yourself. Consequently, this will change how you allow others to relate to you.
After you have healed your wounds from the past, you will be different. For example, you will not let a man have sex with you and tune out. You will make sure he loves you emotionally and holds you sacred before you allow him the privilege of entering your temple. Rest assured that once your heart is more open, you will begin to attract men who also have a more open heart and do not tune out after making love with you.
Then you and your beloved will make love by sharing heart and soul energy.
Action Steps to Solve This Problem
Use the best teachers you can find in bodywork, energy work and massage to help you release the physical holdings in your body.
Use qualified emotional health teachers who are comfortable with their emotions to help you express your emotions in healthy ways and teach you new interpersonal skills to practice in relationships.
To feel your authentic sadness I suggest the emotional health guide, "Opening the Heart
," an audio that was made to help you stay in your authentic hurt so you can let go of it and stop repeating your abusive relationship pattern.
Coaching copyright © 2010 Dr. Doris Jeanette
Dr. Doris Jeanette is a licensed psychologist with 34 years of clinical experience helping people unlearn their unhealthy relationships patterns, open their hearts and enjoy divine sex. She can read energy on the phone and is available for experiential, private phone consultations. Her online course, "For Men: Become a Better Lover
" gives you the tools and information you need to reduce your anxiety, relax your body and become a better lover. Cultivate Life! readers get a $25.00 discount by putting Life! in the coupon box, if you place your order before Sunday, September 25.
Read more questions on this topic
John Green, September 2010 writes:
I am a 70 yr old male who has some experience with being a lover and husband to the same woman for 49 years now and an adulterer many times over a period of 12 years beginning in my late 20s. I grew up in a physically violent abusive household which affected not only my self esteem as I thought I was never good enough for anything so struggled with relationships, sex addiction and relating as well and I would like to make some comments on this post.
I believe we attract into our lives the lessons we wish to learn to lift us into higher consciousness and in this case and in mine, in order for this to happen we allow ourselves to be abused which causes us to look for causes and reasons for our abusers actions which eventually drives us to looking within ourselves, asking ourselves why we would be putting ourselves into situations that compromise our need for love, kindness, respect, value and honour.
Blaming the person who is abusing us gives us a feeling of justification for our feeling that way and on the surface logically it is their fault and we look for back up from outside of ourselves, professionals, friends, religion or spiritual and places like this and the wonderful people who give excellent advice, who will all tell us we need to something about it and put forward suggestions and options we can try......hence the beginning of our growth into higher consciousness... we have to accept responsibility for our own decisions...which gives us our first clue that all answers to our problems do lie within us not without....
We now face the situation of making a decision of fight or flight to escape from the pain of feeling unwanted used abused etc...either way is a no win situation for us. If we flight we only attract the same type of partner until we learn from the pain that maybe the problem lies inside us, if we fight we live in misery as we cannot force the other to respect us if we dont show them how by respecting ourselves first, which gives us our first clue to a solution....
Realising this lifts us from being a victim into being a victor for if we respect ourselves we show the outside world we deserve respect and this is how we should be treated....people love people who respect themselves.....which leads us to the next rung on the ladder of this higher consciousness lesson we have chosen...
If I respect myself I have to think I am ok and worthy of respect and therefore I must also be worthy of love.....so if I teach myself how to respect and love myself I also teach the world how to respect and love me too...now I am living partly in the higher consciousness I chose to reach for and I decide now to continue living this way every day of the rest of my life....which leaves only one more lesson to learn....
Gratitude - to myself for the courage it took to choose such a difficult lesson.... to myself for the strength and determination it took to go through it right to the end....to myself for the love and respect I found for myself.....to myself for the love I realise was my true nature all along and was always there waiting for my recognition and acceptance.....to my partners for the loving kindness they took in being the abusers in my request for this lesson....to all my mentors for their love and guidance along my journey...to my closest loved ones who stand by me even when they were sometimes pretending they werent and helped teach me too....and to the Supreme Being who resides in my very heart and soul...who gives me great power...great strength... a gentle humility and grace that continually adds more strength and power that touches all beings seen and unseen....and a love that is unbounded by universes...
Be gentle with yourself....and know you are much more than you show...