Taking Up Space
A post on worthiness, and how to attain connection without abandoning your own need.
Where we come from matters.
Understanding how our past influenced us helps us to identify how we view ourselves and how we view ourselves in relation to others. With that said, looking back at our past is not always an enjoyable exercise. Sometimes we even hide from ourselves that some experiences in our family system and environment ever happened. We may find ourselves doing this to push away uncomfortable feelings or memories. Overlooking our own personal needs as a result of conditioning is a challenge that many women face in relationships. As women, we have received messaging that influences the way we show up in the world and interact with others.
From our earliest relationships some of us may learn from our families of origin that putting others first is our prescribed role within a family system. For some, their role might have been highly restricted, leading to frustration, stress and difficulty stating their needs and standing in their power. Others may have experienced patterns of family dynamics where they were often placed in submissive roles stunting them from showing their capabilities. In addition, some women may recognize the ways cultural or religious scripts influenced the women who came before them in past generations to take more of a backseat when sharing their feelings and input. Lastly, if your caregiver was the authority figure who made all the decisions with little or no say from you, you may be carrying subconscious belief patterns that you should not have a say or that others are better suited to have the last word. All of these different presentations play into the dynamics of how we relate to others as the women we are today.
Adverse experiences in early childhood including being around caregivers who did not provide consistent emotional validation can leave many people feeling unseen. As we grow into adulthood we may still find ourselves doing everything we can to earn the validation and attention of the same people who disregarded your feelings. This can be so confusing. For instance, if you experienced inconsistent "hot and cold" parenting as a child, you may find yourself making unstoppable efforts to secure emotional bonds in your relationships throughout your life, even with people who may not fit into it. It is common to experience a compelling need to provide satisfaction in a partnership, and avoid at all costs, vulnerable or awkward moments that may be viewed as less than favorable to others. This can also lead to a diminished interest in exploring who you are and more interest in learning about what others want you to be. We can refer to this as the chameleon effect– when we habituate to change our presentation to fit in or please those we come in contact with.
Another way inconsistencies in early childhood manifest later in adulthood is if you endured a childhood where your caregiver was absent or neglectful and now you find yourself as fiercely independent. Are you someone who experiences pulling away from others and wanting to “do it on my own”? That tendency can lead you to withdraw in the face of future trauma or in the possibility of being let down by others. Here, you are protecting yourself which is a very normal response to have and although there's nothing wrong with autonomy and solitude, it leads to missing out on meaningful connection. On the flipside, fearing the displeasure of others can be a form of not acknowledging our own needs and it can also be a way to self-serve. You may feel you receive validation from others because of pleasing them which feels good because you can finally attain that validation you strived for so long as a child.
While there is importance in holding space and showing up for others, it is important to have awareness and not neglect our own needs. Sometimes too much of an emphasis on another person's needs while ignoring your own can breed resentment and anger. How can we as women learn to show up for others without eliminating our own needs? What would it look like to give yourself a permission slip to let your needs take up space?
One of the most powerful components to the therapeutic relationship is being encouraged to look at the totality of your experiences and how they can be present in you and your environment. Working with someone who can help you become more aware of how you think and feel about your needs is powerful. The messaging and sometimes even traumatic events we have received by our primary caregivers has influenced who we are. A significant goal in therapy is to help get you back to a place of who you really are, your authentic self.
How can Seen Therapy help?
If you are interested in learning more about Seen Therapy and how to deepen your connection to yourself and others contact us today for a free and confidential 15 minute consultation.
Call: 1 800 607 7922 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
***Seen Therapy provides individual, group, and intensive therapy for women seeking healthier connections and healthier lifestyles. Specializing in therapy for Mental Health challenges, Trauma/PTSD, Women’s Sexual Health and Intimacy difficulties, Betrayal Trauma, and Sex and Love Addiction***