How to stop being possessive

Feeling possessive? 8 ways to overcome it and be a loving partner

Be it possessiveness or any other recurring concern you are navigating related to the relationship, opening free-flowing channels of conversation can work wonders.
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Love makes the world go around, goes a popular, oft-used saying. Love is what inspires us, makes us strong and happy. It is a cocoon that makes us snug when the world is harsh. Having someone to love therefore is a gift and a responsibility. While love may manifest into many virtues like that of caring or being protective, there are routes that spell disaster when taken. Possessiveness is one of these banes of love and is unhealthy in the long run.

Possessiveness takes a toll on any relationship, be it romantic, familial or friendly. A lot of us think being possessive shows how strongly we care for our partner. But it is a myth and holds no truth in a healthy relationship. Ideally, the best way to go through life is to never think of anyone as your eternal belonging. Bringing possessiveness into the equation only weakens this delicate bond.

Possessiveness is usually an outcome of past relationship experiences or one’s insecurities. Identifying patterns and acknowledging where they are stemming from is the best way to deal with it. One should focus on finding ways to fix these concerns rather than impose control on the behavior of the person they love. It may sound cliché, but has stood the test of time repeatedly.

While we may realise the negative influence possessiveness wields over us and our loving relationships, we may still be at sea about where to begin in this journey of self-assessment. Soulveda enlists a few effective ways to help keep the shadow of possessiveness out of one’s loving relationship.

Accept the root of these feelings

As most experts share, these feelings take birth early in our childhood. Depending on how parents and households were, children likewise grow into adults with varying degrees of security and self-esteem. For instance, if a child was scolded and made to feel unworthy by his parents or care givers in his formative years, it could lead to self-esteem issues when they grow up. Possessiveness in such adults is a mask for them to hide their own sense of worthlessness in a relationship.

One must learn to understand and accept the root of such feelings and be kind to oneself by not letting the past run one’s present and spoil the future.

Let the past be in the past

Humans are destined to have diverse experiences during their lifetime and these could be better or bitter. We must always be open and accepting towards experiences that challenge us. Mixing past experiences and bringing that baggage into current relationships need to be avoided for healthy bonds. In fact, processing all our experiences and being sure that they no longer have any power over us and our thoughts is the best way ahead.

Become your own person

If one feels like they have been a possessive person in their past relationships, but are consciously working towards releasing themselves from this pattern of behaviour, it is important to first focus all that energy in something fruitful. You will be surprised how often this turns out to be the start of finding an interest or a hobby you are passionate about or feel calm and happy pursuing.

Becoming your own person is also the path to self-awareness, discovery and subsequently love. Practicing and perfecting things that make you feel deeply is a sure-shot way of feeling great about your accomplishments. When we begin to know our own value, we no longer constantly feel like people will leave.

Don’t change who you are

The prison of possessiveness often eats at a person’s ability to reason. If an adult is chronically possessive, it is possible that sometimes they may be worrying about things that do not even exist. This worrying will make them do some things that they ordinarily would not do or support.

Take for instance, checking a romantic partner’s phone, double checking names of their friends or colleagues or insisting on driving them to places because one wants to be sure they went where they said they’ll go – these are all traits of possessive behaviour. Slowly but steadily, one must learn to distinguish between acts of being protective and being possessive. Looking through one’s phone is not going to reveal any great information, but may lead to fighting due to misunderstanding of the context of what is seen or read.

It is a universal fact, that people breathe easier and happier in relationships where such insecurities do not breed. If you too want a bond like that, that means you are a better person than one that constantly feels the need to snoop behind their partner’s back.

Try to not hold too tight

It is very easy to understand when one receives love that is healthy and one that is possessive. While the first kind of love feels loving and protective, the latter feels like being smothered. It helps to sometimes look inwards and think about whether one is being too overbearing with their partner.

An old saying compares love to holding onto sand; the tighter we clutch, the more it falls out. We must remember this time tested saying every time the urge for surveillance strikes within.

Address anxious behaviour beforehand

The path to improvement is not an easy one. There are days when overthinking about things that may or may not exist takes a toll and the first hurdle faced by someone is anxious thoughts. Even after deciding to not spiral down the possessive staircase, one just cannot stop conjuring up these scenarios and possibilities where their partner finds the chance to be disloyal. This is anxiety getting the best of them.

To overcome possessiveness, one must fight the thoughts that make them act out that way. One must practice mindfulness and breathing exercises religiously whenever they start to go down that road. Steadily, through continued following of these rituals, one may learn to be more relaxed with linear thought cycles.

Get to know the company your partner keeps

It may surprise you to know that a lot of time, possessiveness is correlated with a fear of the unknown. When one does not know much about their partner’s social circle, there is always a sense of unease and mystery. One must try and mingle with their partner’s friends and see them in their natural habitat, surrounded by loved ones. This will help them be more at ease with the idea of their partner having a thriving social life while staying committed.

Communicate

When we care about our relationship, we work towards improving the quality of interactions and experiences we have with them. Be it possessiveness or any other recurring concern in a relationship, opening free-flowing channels of conversation can work wonders in alleviating worry and misunderstanding.

So one must talk to their partner about everything; from a certain person in their life they may have doubts about to a particular behaviour of theirs that is triggering. Allow them to express themselves and show their side of things too. Any relationship becomes stronger when partners put their trust in each other and learn to wade past challenges together.

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