Friday the 13th always seems to carry an ominous weight about it, almost like a warning of things that “may be”. Whether you are a superstitious person or not, listening to our “gut feelings” and the caring input from those within our supportive circles can help us navigate away from a path toward what may become an abusive relationship with someone we love.
Contrary to popular thought, many people begin to believe things about relationships before they even realize they’ve begun to develop their worldview. What I mean is, even as toddlers play and start developing their fine and gross motor skills, they are also learning language and patters like cause and effect…
Ex: If I raise my voice, someone comes to me. If you give me a silly face, I will smile and giggle back.
There’s a lot of poor relationship advice to be found on a simple Google search and it can be confusing when you begin comparing what you read to what you’ve been raised to believe. We’ve polled some of the professionals who work with survivors of interpersonal violence, and below they share what they wish they would have known about dating before they began their journey into relationships.
1. It’s okay to be single, especially if you are only dating because everyone else is. One thing you should never do is settle. You deserve to be treated like an equal. You deserve to be happy.
2. I wish I would have known how important it is to truly be myself instead of letting individuals try to shape me and change my personality and ideals to benefit them. People shouldn’t attempt to change an individual, because someone else would consider that person to be amazing and unique the way they are.
3. One thing I have learned is that there is nothing more important than being yourself. For a long time, I have felt the pressure to change myself to whatever I thought my friend or partner wanted. Otherwise known as people-pleasing. This is a vicious cycle of “keeping up” in order to preserve the peace, approval, or love of whoever I was with. This left me feeling exhausted, disappointed, and ultimately unknown for my real self.
Before I started dating, I wish I would have felt the freedom to love myself for who I am instead of trying to receive that fulfillment from others. What I realized is that I can’t keep up a facade for very long; and if a person “loved” that facade, he/she wasn’t actually loving the real me. My goal is to start getting to know myself and the way I was designed, so that the next time I am in a relationship, I can more confidently be unashamedly me.
4. I really wish I let the advice I was given by others take root in my heart and my head. Close friends of mine tried to warn me that the person I was about to date was very aggressive and actually hurt them when they were together. I just simply thought they were jealous that their partner had moved on with me and thought I was above being treated like they were. Even though I wasn’t physically harmed, I survived various other forms of abuse and wasted months of time trying to be more for someone who treated me like I was “less than”.
What advice would you give to your “younger self”? Pass that wisdom down to younger daters, peers or anyone who is walking into a dating relationship. You NEVER know who you will help with your story.
It’s never too late to get help. Care Lodge 601.693.4673
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