“He who seeks a friend without a fault remains without one.” – Anonymous
Do you have a fear of abandonment? Were you hurt at a very young age? Is it hard for you to form safe, secure relationships? If so, it may be keeping you from bonding with others.
You want to have healthy relationships; yet, you are frightened and scared and pull away. Also, are you tired of trying to form new relationships because you always get hurt? Here are three tips to help you form healthy attachment in relationships.
First, realize that all relationships have the possibility to hurt you. After all, we live in a broken world. Nobody’s perfect. And everyone has the potential to hurt you one way or another. Maybe one of the reasons why you get hurt is because you’re expecting people to not hurt you in any way. Yet some relationships are hurtful. Everyone makes mistakes—we all do! If you idealize someone, you are setting yourself up for a disappointment. Because we are all broken. The Bible puts it this way, “No one is righteous—not even one” (Romans 3:10).
If you have faith in Christ, you will grow through a process called sanctification. It is how you learn a new way of life and become like Christ throughout your lifetime. Until the day you die, you might say things and do things that hurt people; but Christ can help us become more like him as we surrender to his will and make changes in our life. We will also learn how to forgive and extend grace and mercy to others.
In other words, all relationships are going to have some difficulties in them. But they’re also going to have blessings. You can learn to accept the good and bad in yourselves and each other. Go into a relationship with the understanding that you might hurt other people. Likewise, realize that other people may hurt you. Relationships give us the opportunity to learn and grow to be better people.
Second, use discernment when you make new acquaintances. Your relationships can be divided into three categories: acquaintances, friends, and safe people. When you meet new people, you need to see them as “acquaintances.” When talking to an acquaintance, be aware about what you say and how much you share. You don’t want to tell someone everything about your life; instead, use discernment as you begin the relationship.
Here are some questions to ask yourself as you assess the relationship:
- “Do they know my name?“
- “Do they ever ask me any questions?“
- “Do they seem self-absorbed and have no interest in me?“
- “Do I enjoy being around them?“
If the person you meet does all of these things, you can move them up to a “friend” category. Over time, you can move people up to the top “safe” category where you can begin to trust them when you have had experiences together.
Third, you need to decide if someone is a safe person or not. An unsafe person is someone who does not take responsibility for their part in the problem, is disrespectful to your boundaries and does not allow you to have an opinion. These are the types of people you need to avoid. If someone is unsafe and continues to hurt you, you will have to address it and create boundaries if they are unwilling to change. However, a safe person is someone who takes steps to repair the relationship. It doesn’t mean they’re perfect. But if they mess up, they’re able to repair the hurt.
Although you may have struggled with insecurity as a child, you have another chance as an adult to develop safe relationships. Get into a Life Recovery Group where you can learn how form relationships and you can experience what it’s like to develop safe relationships. Getting into a group will allow you to be vulnerable and real to safe people. And they will help you learn how to keep and maintain these safe relationships.