No one talks about how hard it is to allow love in after being hurt...
How you can be your own worst enemy...
How you can literally destroy your relationship from the inside out...
We talk about barriers; we talk about protection, all those things to keep us safe from being hurt again...
That prevent people from coming in... Not until you are ready.
But what happens when you do the work?
What happens when you now feel comfortable to start dating and maybe letting someone in your life or when someone turns up and becomes more than expected?
All the work you did in preparation... all the work you did while you were single helps... yes.
But... that's the work you did in your head.
Now you have someone standing there, loving you, accepting you, showing you what a kind love looks like...
And that shit can be scary!
Someone who accepts you for you?
Who trusts you?
Who goes out of their way to make sure you are happy?
Sometimes we can be so scared of getting hurt; we push people away.
We may self-sabotage or make decisions that we know are not ok but allow us to be the bad guy because that makes us harder to love, right?
The truth is, it doesn't.
People don't stop loving each other when someone is not nice or makes bad decisions, but the relationship quickly becomes unhealthy. The truth is, letting down your barriers is scary. So, it can be easier to try and push people away, especially if you find it hard to accept love.
Starting arguments and avoiding emotional intimacy can happen subconsciously. It's a defence mechanism to try and protect yourself. The more you love someone, the more you have to lose.
The risk and stakes become higher...
I have listed some reasons you may be pushing people away even when you need them.
Fear of rejection
"Let me push people away before they push me away."
If you have ever had your feelings invalidated or dismissed when you have opened up to someone, it can make it harder to do it again.
Breakups and loss of relationships can also make you feel rejected and insecure. The fear of rejection can affect new relationships and how you connect with your current partner because you are afraid of getting hurt again.
You are not fully committing by keeping your guard up, and most people won't stay in a relationship when they feel someone isn't fully invested.
Past traumatic experiences
Whether you've lost a loved one in the past or a relationship that broke you, losing people you care about can cause you to push the people you love away to detach yourself. That way, you won't feel the same pain if you lose them.
Other things from the past can cause you to push people away too. For example, abusive relationships of any kind can make you scared to trust again. Trusting and opening up resulted in pain before, so you might struggle to let your partner in because you are trying to keep yourself safe.
Fear of intimacy
The fear of intimacy can cause people to push others away when they start getting too close. For example, when a relationship begins to get serious, and you reach the point where you have to start open.
It could be the parts you would rather not share or the real you that you hide from the world that make it difficult so you shut down and keep the barriers up.
Low sense of self-worth
Self-worth involves knowing your value, knowing who you are and that you are good enough. It's knowing you deserve love, respect and success; however, that looks to you.
Low self-worth could be the reason if you often wonder why you push people away even when you want to become close to them.
Our self-worth can be damaged by so many things, from our upbringing, the environments we are exposed to, and any past traumatic experiences.
We can believe we don't deserve to be loved or worthy of others time and attention, so we push away due to our insecurities and end up sabotaging our relationships.
If you have experienced any form of sexual or domestic abuse, you may not be fully healed and over the experience. You can then push people away because you don't feel you deserve their love and affection.
You are too controlling or independent
Being independent is an amazing quality to have, providing you still allow people in. However, sometimes we can become so independent that we do not need anything from anyone, which can make it hard for us when we need to rely on someone else and allow them in.
Something I have seen with abuse survivors, is the barrier of protection they create "I've got this and I don't need anyone else". The issue with that is it doesn't allow you to open up to be loving or make it easy for someone to share your life. It keeps people out because you are scared to let them in.
It can make you appear uncaring, inconsiderate and even self-centered, and no one wants to be in a relationship or friendship where they don't feel valued, heard or that their opinions don't matter.
Mental health issues
Now more than ever, we are seeing the effects of mental health issues, whether that be stress, depression, or anxiety. These issues can play an important role within our relationships.
When we feel like that, it's very easy to push people away because we are sad, feeling stressed or just don't want to burden them.
It, unfortunately, can make the situation worse as you bottle up your emotions; you can disconnect from the ones you love even further.
The other side of it is you can also take things out on them that isn't their fault; you could become irritable or aggressive and push them away because subconsciously, you don't feel lovable.
Mental health issues are draining; they cause us to want to isolate ourselves, not to burden others and make us believe we are bad company, all things that make it easier to push people away even if we are not aware we are doing it.
So how can we stop it?
Be honest about how you are feeling, whether that's you being scared or just unable to know how to let someone in
Accept help when you are struggling and not feeling ok
Learn to trust others and open up about your feelings
Stop avoiding people and keep the lines of communication open
Take time to self-reflect
Journaling is a very powerful tool; it allows you to get outside your head
Find ways to boost your self-esteem and know your worth
Fully commit to relationships in order to face your fears of intimacy and rejection
Be authentic and show the real you
Seek professional help
We are wired for connection, to be part of a community, and we can feel lost without it.
If you find yourself pushing people away, maybe it's time to let go of fear, drop the barriers and give yourself completely.
Book a FREE discovery call so we can get you through this.