When I was younger, my entire understanding of relationships was built on some messed up misconceptions.
I felt like "love" was supposed to be self-sacrificial. It was supposed to be self-abandoning. You loved her more than your own life and would do ANYTHING to keep her. (Cue dramatic Korean Drama music)
Yeah, turns out that's all WRONG.
"We're inseparable. I literally can't live without her, and she can't live without me."
So romantic, right? Yeah bud, that's called Co-dependency.
"I can't say no to him. He gets jealous and angry because he just loves me so much. He doesn't let me talk to other guys, that's how much he loves me."
Yikes. That's controlling and abusive. GTFO.
The problem with this is that often times the "I can't imagine my life without you" kind of love is based on a traumatic fear.
See, when we were little, our relationship with our parents were the main one we had. They were LITERALLY gods to us-- after all, they created us and can decide if we lived or died.
So when we felt abandoned, it was LITERALLY a life-or-death fear.
Then when we grow up, depending on how secure our attachment was with our parents, we continue the same patterns.
If our parents were kinda busy, but when we threw a tantrum they would come and give us attention (even if it was angry attention), then we learned that tantrums are how we get love.
If our parents were a little distant, but would give us a lot of love when we brought home an A on the report card, we would learn that being "good" was how we get love.
Then when we grow up, we'd connect with that more and more. We'd seek out relationships with people who replicates that attachment with us.
Your parents left you alone a lot as a kid and you learned you had to earn love through taking care of them, consoling them in times of crisis?
Then you're going to find a relationship where someone who needs a lot of rescuing or caretaking to be SUPER attractive. Because you feel needed and lovable.
But then you feel cheated whenever you don't get doted on after all that caretaking.
"LOOK AT ALL THAT I DO FOR YOU!" Your inner child (or sometimes, your outer adult) screams.
"I SACRIFICED FOR YOU. I WOULD DIE FOR YOU. HOW CAN YOU NOT LOVE ME?" (Never mind that they never asked for it).
Because in your subconscious mind, it makes perfect sense-- you learned that Self-Abandoning = Love. So if you are sacrificing YOUR needs for the other person and they're not loving you, then THEY must be breaking the rules. That's not fair.
Even though they never agreed to it or wanted it.
If you have to sacrifice your needs and who you are to be loved, that's not real, healthy, conditional love.
At least, they don't love YOU, they just love the idea of you or what you do for them.
But we all have the ability to heal that part of ourselves. That wounding.
We all have the ability to go back to our own inner child and give ourselves the love we deserve, as our own inner parent.
We all have the ability to repair and mend our own relationships.
And from it, create healthy, non-sacrificial love.