Performance Driven Relationships Vs. Vulnerability Driven Relationships

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This morning after I confessed the truth to my ex (about cheating on him 6 years ago), I had this realization that a lot of my friendships and relationships in the past were “performance driven” relationships.

My mother used to yell at me a lot. I had to practice piano for 1-2 hours a day as a child. She would leave the house and tell me to practice. I would read instead of play piano. When I heard her car in the driveway, I would start playing piano again. I wasn’t really doing anything bad but I essentially lied to her and would say I played piano the whole time.

Of course my ex said that I was selfish for telling him and that I am wasting his time. Because should it even matter anymore?

I felt God say to tell him the truth this whole week and I was scared to. I was scared of the consequences or hurting his feelings. I haven’t talked to him for 6 years.

But all of this exposed everything to me, about how I used to be in relationships.

He didn’t like my clothes, I had to change.

He told me to put on makeup.

It was a relationship driven by performance and people pleasing. 

Essentially – “I’ll be happy if you do this or don’t do this”.

Same with my mother. 

I tried to appease her but I didn’t like doing what she told me to, so I just lied or avoided telling her anything that would displease her. 

I went through a lot of trauma by myself because I did not want to worry her or be blamed for my decisions. Often times if I was heart broken, I would tell her and she would say “why did you get so close to him anyways?” or “why did you even go out with him?”

After her divorce, she never dated or married again. She gave up on men.

I felt alone in my friendships and relationships because I had to hide much of what I was going through due to fear of judgement or someone trying to tell me what to do. 

I have learned to be honest and vulnerable in my relationships even though it isn’t easy.

Even at the age of 32, I have told my mother that I am staying at my friend’s house and if it was a guy, she’d get angry.

That is why when I was 22 I moved out and never told her anything I did. I think people lie or cheat because they can’t truly be themselves in that relationship. Perhaps they’ve gotten to a point where they are hiding their opinions, perspectives, truths out of the fear that they will be judged for their truth. 

My ex often said that I was the cheerful, positive person. He thought of me as this perfect girl that was his only. He was controlling at times and distant at times. It was really unhealthy. I couldn’t tell him how I felt at all because he didn’t like talking about his emotions. At one point I had a male roommate who I could easily talk to and I asked myself why I felt so alone in my relationship but felt comfortable talking to my roommate. I was crying to him about my ex as he tucked me into my bed. 

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It didn’t make sense but I tried to find comfort and communication outside of my relationship because there was no communication or vulnerability in my relationship. 

Without vulnerability in your relationships, you feel like you have to perform and be something you’re not.

Honesty breaks every ice. No one is asking you to do something you don’t want to. Everything you do should be out of desire and the honesty of your heart.

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