Saturday, January 04, 2003

HSPs and Unhealthy Relationships

One of the online HSP groups recently had a discussion about the way HSPs often seem to get embroiled in unhealthy or "toxic" relationships with far greater regularity than the population at large. Sometimes I am not convinced that we really get involved with more toxic people than others-- instead it may merely be a case of us not knowing how to detach ourselves from a bad situation.

I was married to a Borderline personality for 13 years. I will certainly say that it was a "learning experience." I am well beyond being mad as *&$*#, and can now say that "everything happens for a reason." Thanks to her, I got more seriously involved in psychology, and was forced to take a long hard look at the reality of myself and my upbringing. But the 13 years really should only have been 6 or 7. In some ways, that marriage should never have happened, in the first place.

As HSPs, we tend to be empaths-- and I think many of us are drawn to the pain some people have in their lives. Unfortunately some of us have early life models that draw us to the "unhealthy" versions of sharing our healing touch. One of the things I learned in post-divorce counseling (and through self-study) is that there is really nothing wrong with wanting to help people. But you don't have to be married to (or in a relationship with) those people whose lives seem to be a perpetual mess. However, it's not always easy-- I know I have an almost uncanny "radar" when it comes to finding what I have come to call "woman improvement projects."

Maybe that sounds arrogant, on some level-- like I consider myself some kind of "superior being." Well, I don't. The desire to "help" those in need doesn't automatically mean that the helper is "all that."

However, it should be a warning sign when you find yourself drawn into some situation where the person is sad because "they have never had a good relationship" and "all men/women misunderstand me" and "if someone would only give me a chance." RUN for the hills! There is usually a reason why these people "have never had a good relationship:" They are destructive/self-destructive, and people who "misunderstood" them and left them in the past did so because they are impossible to live with. There's usually a reason why these people might be 40 years old and "have never been interested enough in a job to stay there more than 6 months," and have a history of chronic firings/unemployment-- and lament that they are always broke. Those may sound like harsh words... and indeed there may be a "diamond in the rough" somewhere, and I do feel genuinely sorry for that "diamond".... but are you really ready to "shoot yourself in the foot" 20 times before you welcome that person who "needs" your nurturing powers in a healthy way?

Personally, I am very tired of narcissistic chaos-mongers who eat up all my energy while offering very little in return-- because they are too "damaged" to share healthy love.

1 comment:

  1. Currently married to an OCPD'r. I am learning how to set boundaries. No more Vulcan mind melds for me.


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