The 5 signs of a Relationship Merger
1) You’re sensitive and can feel other people’s emotions or an atmosphere in a room or place. Busy places sometimes feel overwhelming.
2) You like to ‘read’ people. You watch for their reactions.
3) You had a childhood where you felt you had to ‘read’ one or both of your parents and were very aware of the atmosphere at home.
4) Sometimes you need to take a break from others because it feels tiring.
5) It feels easier to see and prioritise someone else’s feelings or needs over your own.
It might be happening with your spouse or partner or sibling or boss or friend or dog (ok, probably not your dog!).
What are the difficulties of being a Relationship Merger?
You get exhausted and drained.
You feel like your needs come last.
You’re not sure who you are or what you want in a situation or in life!
The world or certain people feel too much.
You get yourself stuck either in what to do about certain relationships or in your life generally.
Depression, anxiety, nightmares and anger.
So, that’s the bad news!
What do I do about this? I hear you say!
It’s time for separation.
Is that tricky or painful?
Well, sometimes it does mean the end of or a break in a relationship but other times, it just means healthier boundaries and learning how to not lose yourself (or give too much) around others. It means, learning how to prioritise yourself, your feelings and needs. To be able to communicate those to yourself and negotiate in the world and with others. To see yourself, as equal to EVERYONE ELSE!!
Let me demonstrate with the use of the trusty circle.
You might like to try this. Go on, grab a pen and paper, it requires no drawing skills.
Draw a circle. This is you. Hello circle version of you!
Please ignore the circle’s comic faces, that’s just there for your amusement (and mine)!
Now, choose one of those people in your life that feel tricky or just anybody else.
Now draw the other person as a circle. Hang on a mo, let me explain.
The size of the circle of the other person depends on how big they feel compared to you (how important their thoughts and feelings are compared to yours). For instance:
Now where would you position them in relation to your circle self? And by the way, you two don’t have to be circles. If you see yourself as a little rock or butterfly or a fine mist, draw that and the same for the other person too.
If it feels like you totally merge with the other person, your picture might look like this:
Or maybe you feel like you merge a little bit?
It can be a shock!
Now, draw how you would like it to be. What feels better?
See if you can imagine or feel what that would be like.
To feel like you are separate and equal (or maybe you are even slightly bigger as you should be the first priority for yourself in a healthy way as everyone is).
It’s normally something like this:
Sometimes, that brings up fears. But I’ll feel so alone if I don’t merge with people and meet their needs.
That fear is there because you were used to doing that to feel SAFE, seen and maybe even loved, that you were useful. Because on your own, well you’ll be, all alone!!
It’s not true.
Now draw you again as a circle or whatever you are.
Instead of this over responsible, exhausting, co-dependant merging malarkey, what would it feel like to feel like you’re a whole, amazing, strong, talented, resourceful human being circle?!
And this doesn’t mean isolation or over self sufficiency or never wanting anything ever again.
No, it means, getting your needs met, negotiating, having good communication, having great boundaries or letting go of the energy drainers in your life. Draw the resources and people around you as other circles.
It means having more energy, time and focus to put into being wonderful YOU!! Imagine who you could be or what you could create if you were really you?!
And this isn’t about ignoring, forgetting or being mean to others. It just means taking yourself equally into account. It means when those people who are really good at the guilt trips, the over demands, the unreasonable behaviour knock on your door, you don’t abandon yourself but ask, what do I want in this too? In fact, often people are afraid that if they let go of merging with another (holding their pain and feelings) they will abandon them. How will they cope?
Well, the other person has all the resources of the world and other people at their finger tips too (even in challenging situations, even if they don’t realise it) and healthy boundaries are good for them too (even if they don’t know it yet). If it reassures you, draw them with their own circles.
There are gifts to being a relationship merger. There’s not something wrong with you. It means you have the wonderful quality of empathy, sensitivity to people and situations, you care deeply, you may be creative or artistic and many other things besides. It’s not about losing all of your skills, it’s just about bringing some balance.
Because when you do, do you know what will happen? Your life will have more space and time for you and be a whole lot more FUN!