WAYS YOUR EGO MAKES IT DIFFICULT FOR YOU TO LOVE
We’ve looked at the ways in which your ego keeps you personally off balance and unsettled. Now let’s see how it interferes with love and passion. Whenever your survivalist ego shows up in interactions with your partner, you can be sure it will separate you emotionally and sexually. Here are the five major ways that your ego makes sharing an “in love” passion impossible:
- By holding on to hurt and anger. Because it tends to be immature in its reactions, your ego thinks holding on to hurt and anger is a good thing. It believes this is a valid way to protect itself from future hurts. But the reality is that it keeps you stuck in the past, unable to forgive. It also creates a constant wedge of recycled hurt and anger between you and the partner you want to love.
- By making you dependent. Your insecure ego likes to depend on someone else, because that makes it feel secure. But when you’re dependent you are more likely to be possessive and jealous. Clinging to another person to make yourself feel safe is fine if you are a small child. When you do it as an adult it makes people run in the other direction.
Many men and women are confused about dependency and love. This is especially true in the early stages of being together. At first dependency can seem like unselfishness, and a willingness to please. It can even seem like devoted attention. But as time passes its underlying insecurity begins to surface. What happens next is that one or both of you begin to doubt your love. You start to wonder if the real reason you are together is a fear of being alone. Of course when you’re married or in a serious long-term relationship, being able to rely on one another in different ways and for different things is essential. But this is very different than depending on another for your basic sense of being safe in the world.
- By always wanting to be in control. The other side of being dependent is the need to be right and in control. Having control is a main way your insecure ego attempts to feel safe. But needing to be right and in control has a direct effect on your partner; it leaves him or her feeling small and smothered. Not many people enjoy living in a rigid dictatorship. Eventually they revolt in one way or another. It is the same way in a relationship; control brings resentment and loss of respect. Both are toxic to genuine intimacy.
- By keeping you stuck in “me thinking.” When your mind is full of “me, me, me” it creates a nonstop chorus of your likes, dislikes, fears, doubts, desires, and on and on. Dwelling on all of this inner chatter keeps you preoccupied and not very present. This preoccupation creates a distance between you and your partner. She senses that you’re not really there with her. She may feel shut out, slighted, or rejected, and her wounded ego may drive her reactions. She lets you know one way or another that she is disappointed, maybe even annoyed with you. Then you, in turn, meet her annoyance with your own, and the two of you are off on another tit for tat argument.
- By keeping you stuck in self protection. Self protection is another major part of a survival mentality. So many people have had bad experiences in close relationships, either as children or as adults, that they adopt a defensive posture to avoid being hurt. They hold back a piece of themselves so they are not totally vulnerable. This makes sense in the early stages of dating and getting to know someone. But once you’re married or in a long-term committed relationship, holding back for self protection can become self defeating. It makes the love you are offering feel partial and incomplete. It sets up the likelihood that you’ll get the same in return.