Romantic relationships are central to most people’s life. For some, it comes easy to attract and maintain a relationship. For others, instead, it feels like it’s the hardest thing.

The former group might still find it challenging to deal with the problems each relationship faces or low times in their relationships. The relationship may continue, it may be far from healthy or fulfilling.

Attracting and maintaining fulfilling relationships requires a healthy self-esteem, emotional intelligence, emotional regulation, knowing how to set and enforce boundaries, and dealing with conflicts, among other interpersonal skills.

Even if our parents loved us and had the best of intentions for us, they may not have been equipped to teach us or role model all the above.


What do you do when there is an emotional imbalance in your relationship?

narcissistic men

Are you dating a toxic person?

I am not blaming parents here. They probably had it even harder than us. But it is important to realise what was missing in our interpersonal “education” and start practising new patterns.

Some us look for a relationship for all the wrong reasons; such as to fill the void they feel inside; or because they fear being alone. Others may enter a relationship with the right intentions; however, due to lack of self-esteem, poor personal boundaries, or past trauma, they may keep attracting narcissistic or other types of toxic personalities, and their relationships are always problematic, or worse, abusive.

Even relationships, entered into, by two healthy people, could encounter problems as time passes. External factors, health issues, or changes in circumstances, for one or both partners, can create relationship imbalances.

Unbalanced Relationships

In the beginning, a relationship may seem, to give us the love and attention we need. We may even feel a boost in our self-esteem. However, no one can keep us, as his or her, sole object of attention for ever. As normality creeps in, and each partner withdraws some of their attention and adoration, our unmet needs, and shortfalls, resurface. Now they will feel more acute because for a while, we thought they were resolved and put behind us. We may now blame our partner for not filling these needs.

On the other hand, a person who has issues with intimacy, at the beginning, may give attention and closeness, as things are light and easy. But as the relationship progresses and things become more real, they will withdraw and close up.

In this way, relationships tend to mirror our deepest needs and shortfalls and are an opportunity for growth. However the growth will only take place if we take a good look at our patterns and address them. If not we are likely to keep repeating them.

couple hugging on the beach at sunrise

When one partner is more in love, or emotionally invested in the relationship than the other, it can cause a permanent relationship imbalance. This can create serious relationship problems, and affect the wellbeing of both parties.

The more love and attention one partner needs from the other, and the harder they strive to get it, the less the other feels like giving it.

The cause here may simply be different life styles, interests, and life goals. However the cause may be deeper and be related to our attachment styles. Attachment styles unless addressed will be repeated in one relationship after the other.

It may also be the case however, that we are in a toxic relationship and we have accepted less than we deserve. If the withdrawing partner is a mature and loving person, this situation will make them feel bad about themselves and about not appreciating a loving partner. Yet they cannot see a way out of the pattern.

A narcissistic or other type of toxic partner, on the other hand, will expect you to be happy with the breadcrumbs and make you feel like you are too needy or sensitive. You may also feel that they do not care about your pain.

This coaching helps you identify the dynamics in your relationship or relationships, and how they can be reversed, if possible, or addressed for future success.

Trauma Bonding

“Trauma is not what happens to you. Trauma is what happens inside you as a result of what happens to you.”

Dr. Gabor Maté

When people think of childhood trauma, they think it has to be something tragic and huge, like incest or physically abusive parents.

However when you are totally dependent on another person, like a child is on his or her parents, and they are not there for you, either physically or emotionally, an event or even your whole childhood may be experienced as traumatic.

This is because the child is not yet equipped to deal with difficult situation without support; and not dealing with the situation and/or not being supported at that age, is equated to survival or otherwise.

Therefore neglect, if continuous, may cause the child to suffer from complex C-PTSD (Complex Post Trauma Syndrome Disorder) symptoms in their adult years. If verbal or physical abuse is also present, the symptoms may be worsened.

You also need your parents to provide the right feedback to your emotions and needs, most of the time, for you to develop your personality, personal boundaries and emotional regulation. The key words here are “most of the time”. There is no such thing as perfect parenting , but “good-enough parenting” is when the parent is available and supportive most of the time, especially through the critical events during childhood.

Even if you had loving parents, who made sure you were fed and physically cared for, most of the time; if they were not able to support you during any event considered as threatening, or did not know how to validate your emotions and/or assist you to regulate your emotions, as well as provide a good role model of these skills, your responses to many things in life will be from a basis of trauma.

Of course there may also be situations where the parents are the direct cause of our trauma. For example when one of the parents is a narcissist or another Cluster B personality. But trauma could also be as a result of one of the parents being sick or depressed, or for example having a differently-abled sibling. It all depends how these things were managed within the family.

C-PTSD may also be a result of an abusive relationship, verbal or physical. The cause of complex PTSD is that the neglect or abuse is continuous.

Lonely woman

The symptoms are various, but many C-PTSD sufferers have issues in forming intimate relationships. Both narcissistic and toxic personalities, as well as, co-dependency and anxious attachment styles could be a result of C-PTSD. Other symptoms could be a person who under achieves their potential, or even over-works and over-achieves.

Besides experiencing emotions more intensely, this may also lead to trauma bonding, where one reinforce the cycle over and over again.

There are even more serious symptoms such as depression and other mental illness.

If you feel that this resonates with you or your pattern, and would like to improve your relationships consider coaching. Toxic Relationship Coaching and Break-Up Coaching can take place online or face-to face. Contact me here, for further information.