You didn’t start out like this, it just kind of happened. You’ve been heartbroken too many times and are now a product of the hurt and pain. Once, you were an eternal optimist, open-minded and ready to be swept away by love. Now, you’re surrounded by self-constructed walls, reserved, and you gasp at the thought of romance. Your new self has become so prevalent that you may not even realize what you’ve become.
Sadly, this is the case for many women who have been repeatedly hurt and heartbroken. To protect ourselves from being hurt again, our minds have implemented behavioral mechanisms. The mechanisms are instinctual and you may have not even notice you’re doing them, so here they are…
We Wake Up Skeptical
After all the hurt, we refuse to believe true romance will ever come our way. Even in a scenario where we are getting positive signals, we will cast doubt and throw cold water on them. Maybe we’ve crossed paths with a new guy at work, in our apartment, through a friend, and the vibe is good. Our instinct is to shun the possibility that something real is happening; it just can’t be.
True Romance Is for Fairy Tales
Growing up we actually believed in a thing called true love. Stories like Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty seemed real and had meaning. We dreamed of a day of meeting our very own Prince Charming and live happily ever after. After having our hearts bruised and battered so many times, true love has become make belief, a fairy tale.
Hello Darkness My Old Friend
Sadness seeps in and takes residence in our mind. Being all too familiar with hurt, sadness is accepted as a part of life and handled graciously. Emotional pain has a tendency to linger, unfortunately, it is integrated into our personality. Consequently, happiness and sunshine struggle to penetrate our shield of sadness.
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Whether it be a friend, a couple on TV, or strangers in the street, we cringe at the site of a doting couple. Happy couple sightings sting like salt in a wound. Our best defense is to look away and block it from entering our minds. Nothing to see here.
Walls Are Erected
There comes a point where we vow to never be hurt again. To ensure this, we encase ourselves within thick, towering, impenetrable walls. As a result, access to our emotions and feelings become restricted and feeling dissipates. If we can’t feel, we can’t hurt.
The Circle of Trust Shrinks
The impending thought of being hurt has confiscated our trust. The inability to trust extends not only to potential romantic partners, but to others in general. Our guards are steadily up and we diligently scan the horizon for potential hazards. We conceal inner thoughts we once shared. Even those close to us may find themselves outside the circle of trust.
Reasons for Days
We develop a quick trigger when it comes to ending things. We know the more time we invest with someone, the greater the potential to get hurt. As such, we will actively concoct reasons why someone is not good for us. Maybe they whistle when driving or their flavor of gum doesn’t jive with you. Whatever the scenario, we are sure to find a reason.
After having our feelings dragged endlessly through the mud, we aim to turn the tables. Perhaps it comes in the form of stringing someone along, ending things abruptly, or just using someone up. We’ve become a little cold and vengeful for what we’ve been through.
In the event of finding ourselves trying again, we want to move slow. We become hesitant, like a chipmunk summoning the courage to eat nuts from the palm of a hand. If we do start developing feelings, we take time to do certain things, like saying “I love you.” We don’t want to put ourselves right out there only to have it all crumbling down yet again.
A Sliver of Hope
Despite all the hurt and cynicism, still a tiny part of us yearns for love. We cling to faint hope, all the while knowing that the door is open for more hurt. We don’t feel great about leaving the door slightly ajar, but after all, we are human and still want to experience love.
If you’re at a point in life where things may just be looking up but you’re still unsure, try preparing for a relationship differently. Learn about Love Languages, for example. You never know who or what will bring love into your life next, but being open and prepared for a healthy relationship is a key ingredient to its success.
Keep Reading: The 5 Stages of True Love
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