When we get rejected, treated poorly, or someone blows hot and cold in a relationship with us, we often become stuck and fixated on that person. We become convinced that we’re in love and we try over and over again to prove ourselves, to show the objects of our affection, that we are worthy of their love and attention.
We often don’t recognize that the reason someone isn’t interested in us may have absolutely nothing to do with us at all. We tend to internalize the rejection that it must be because we’ve been seen, evaluated and judged, as not good enough and that they are no longer interested.
Usually when this happens, our interest in this person turns into a fevered obsession and we go to great lengths to get them to notice us. We will engage in shape shifting behaviours, where we stop being ourselves and try to turn into whatever we think they might like best. We will jump through hoop after hoop hoping to demonstrate just how special and unique we are, so that they will change their minds about us.
We don’t focus on whether or not this is a good situation for us. If it’s going to make us happy or even that our needs and wants aren’t being met. All we’re focusing on is that they don’t want us and we should be focusing on why we want them, because first and foremost a healthy relationship must have two people that actually want to be in it. And chances are if you actually had them, you probably wouldn’t want them either.
It’s the ‘I want you because you don’t want me syndrome’. I remember seeing a quote floating around Facebook that sums this up nicely, it said, “the best way to make a girl fall in love with you is to ignore her.” Sad but true. Why do we do this? What is it about us that makes us chase after someone who ignores us, treats us poorly or flat out doesn’t want us? Is it because, if we actually get them to change their minds about us then that somehow proves our worth? What, do we then get to say, “See I am awesome. I told you I was right about me.” It sounds ridiculous, but isn’t that what we’re really doing?
When we look to others to show us our worth, they are always going to fall short. Primarily, because it’s no one else’s job to give us our self-esteem – that’s our job. Secondly, people are mostly self-interested, they don’t care about how you feel about you – the fact that you are jumping through hoops and treating them like they are the greatest thing since sliced bread, is a huge ego boost for them and you gaining self-respect, changes the dynamics of the relationship. When you stop jumping it doesn’t serve them and they don’t want that, so they will deliberately or inadvertently behave in a manner that keeps you stuck and fixated on them.
When we have low self-esteem we have become so comfortable with our own negative thoughts and beliefs about ourselves that we will actually seek out people and situations that confirm those beliefs. It’s the devil we know and it feels familiar and like home. We have become so used to the idea that love equals pain and that what we are calling love is actually us seeking validation and begging to have someone show us our worth.
If someone healthy did show up in our lives that was interested in us and was offering us the relationship that we claim we want, we would run like hell, because it goes against everything that we believe about ourselves and we would feel incredibly uncomfortable. So instead we inadvertently seek out people that evoke those feelings of unworthiness in us.
The problem is, when someone can’t make up their mind about us, the price we pay, trying to convince them that we’re good enough, is our self-esteem. The mere fact that we are going to all this effort proves to them that we actually aren’t worthy, because if we were, we would know our own worth and we would’ve told them to take a hike long ago.
When you engage with a fence sitter, or continue in a relationship with someone that treats you poorly, you will find that there is always another obstacle, another reason, why they can’t give you the relationship you want. You pay the price and the payoff for you is that you get to continue to confirm to yourself that you aren’t good enough. You will end up feeling used and like you are just someone’s option for a rainy day.
It becomes a never ending cycle and you may go from relationship to relationship and find your-self in the same situation, with the same guy, who just happens to have a different face.
When you realize that you determine your worth, that you deserve more than just crumbs of someone’s attention and when you treat you in a loving, respectful way, other’s will follow your lead. You teach people how to treat you, so start treating you right. When you change the way that you feel about you, you will stop seeking validation and relationships from unwilling sources.
Healthy people don’t sit around wondering why someone doesn’t want them. They are too busy living their lives … next.