Rescuing Yourself From Rescuing Relationships (5): Examining Your Beliefs and Convictions

Beliefs and convictions about yourself may interfere with your relationship.

Posted May 14, 2010

The beliefs and convictions you developed from your early experiences with caregivers play a part in what you later believe you deserve. Those beliefs and convictions also affect your self-esteem, and may interfere with your pursuit of healthy relationships and goals. You may have grown up believing, for example, that you do not deserve to have your needs met or that being vulnerable is unsafe. How others respond to you leads you to confirm or disconfirm such beliefs and convictions. Becoming more aware of your beliefs and convictions, and being mindful of how you may be testing your partner can enable you to correct how you experience yourself.

In varying degrees you may test your partner to assess the validity of your beliefs about yourself. You may treat your partner in a way that is similar to how you were treated by your caregivers, hoping, at some level, that your partner can demonstrate a healthier response than the one that was available to you in your early experiences. Unfortunately, white knights often find partners who confirm rather than disconfirm their pathogenic beliefs about themselves, and who cannot provide the necessary emotional experiences to correct the white knights' own negative self-view. You may blame your partner for his or her inability to give you what you need, but you also must determine whether you have found a partner whose attitude toward you perpetuates the very convictions you have about yourself that you want to disconfirm.

Even if your partner is able to provide you with a healthier view of yourself, if you are plagued with a negative self-view you may, without any conscious intent, behave in a way that elicits an unfavorable evaluation. At other times you may assign more negative meaning to your partner's behavior than your partner had intended. Thus even though your conscious desire is to obtain a positive evaluation from your partner, if you have a negative self-view, that negative self-view can override your conscious wish for a positive evaluation.

Part of this tendency to thwart a positive evaluation can be understood as a way of being loyal to your caregivers and the relationships that developed with them when you were young. This loyalty can be a powerful hindrance to your ability as an adult to disconfirm and change beliefs about yourself. Recognizing these patterns in your adult relationships will help you rescue yourself and find ways to avoid repeating these patterns.

Starting Points for Examining Your Beliefs:

As a result of your childhood, what beliefs have you developed about yourself? For example, you may see yourself as undeserving, unable to control yourself in some way, or as having some characteristic or trait that was erroneously assigned to you when you were a child.
How have unhealthy beliefs about yourself changed or been confirmed as a result of your intimate relationships?

Think about how you were treated by your caregivers. Now think about how you treat your partners. What similarities do you see? How do these similarities contribute to conflicts with your partner?

For more information about The White Knight Syndrome: Rescuing Yourself From Your Need to Rescue Others:

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