Dear Dr. Love I hope I can get your opinion on this…Every time I try to find someone to date, they think I’m really nice and want to continue the relationship but after just two or three dates they suddenly pour out all of their difficulties, complications and problems and I suddenly feel overwhelmed.I feel pressured like I’m expected to be their savior!For some strange reason, I still continue to date them but they sense the discomfort I have about this and they leave as suddenly as they had turned up – this really upsets me!!Excuse my inexperience, but is this normal??Am I expected to give when I’m not even sure if its just to use me?I personally have been through a whole lot myself. Grew up in a family where my dad was never around and my mom did not offer much emotional support. When growing up I was constantly criticized although I did a lot better than most kids, was always compared to the better and made to feel bad about myself.This made my self-esteem really drop to record lows – I’m 24 and I did not start dating until I was 21 because of this. My first date came about because someone thought I was ‘cute’and pursued me. . . that lasted 10 days!! Mr. Unable to date
I understand what’s happening with you.The wounded person inside you identifies with the hurting person in others. Your level of identification causes the other person to feel understood by you. And, in no time, they are spilling their emotional guts to you.In many ways, what’s going on with you is not different from the rescue fantasy symdrome. All rescuers are actually wounded souls themselves. And, when a resuer caretakes to another wounded soul, his unconscious mind identifies with the person that he is caring for.Through the process of unconscious identification, the rescuer hopes to heal the wounded person inside himself. This is what’s going on inside you. You want to be healed and rescued from your pain.So, your unconscious mind arranges to get your partner to talk about her pain and then you fall into the caretaking mode. But, the process isn’t working. You aren’t feeling healed!As you and all rescuers soon discover, hoping to receive healing by caretaking others never works. This is because the caretaker soon feels used, angry and depleted. As you have learned the hard way, by constantly feeding and caretaking other wounded souls, you don’t fill the void or heal the wounds in yourself, you just feel emptier.So, here’s the deal. In order for you to break free of this pattern. You need to own your own wounds and work through the feelings attached to them. Then, you won’t need to try to fix your wounds through others and will be able to form a relationship that isn’t based on an unconscious hidden agenda.So, become acutely aware of your tendency to rescue and caretake. Watch yourself like a hawk and resist the temptation to go there. At the same time heal yourself.All the best.