Toxic Types: Be Careful Of What You Wish For
I hear from a lot of people who are unhappy with exactly the type of person that they wanted or even wished to be with. In fact, some are unhappy with the person whom they believed that they needed in order to have the type of feelings or relationship that they envisioned.
Be careful of what you ask or wish for, especially if you have a ‘type’ i.e. a person who, in terms of characteristics and qualities is who you feel is the most attractive.
In over six years of being a therapist, I’m yet to hear one person say that their type is someone who treats them with love, care, trust and respect although I have been given wish lists that are longer than the receipt for the weekly grocery shopping of a family of four.
If you have yet to manage a relationship with your type that has mutual love, care, trust, respect, shared core values as well as the secondary values like appearance and common interests, along with commitment (committed to each other and the relationship), intimacy (willingness to be vulnerable by being emotionally available), consistency, balance and progression, your type is a toxic type. This is especially true if when you’re involved with this type, you drop your self-esteem.
One client explained to me how she realised how she was getting what she wished for when she found herself alone and dumped on her birthday. This guy got twitchy about committing to having breakfast the following day so it should have been no surprise really that he wasn’t exactly chomping at the bit to settle down and make babies no matter how fabulous she was. How could this be? she wondered. At that moment, she realised something – each of her boyfriends had been what she wanted at that time. Her guy was muscly, tick, very good looking, tick, gave her butterflies, tick, ‘spontaneous’, tick (she never knew when he was going to show up or when he was going to pull a Houdini plus he tended to expect her to drop everything), great in bed, tick, and had a good job, tick.
She had got what she was looking for, it’s just that she didn’t like what else it came with. Moreover, she had assumed that this package would come with the deluxe commitment and fertilising of eggs package. She also assumed that when she was ready to settle down, the same type that she’d been having fun with for all of these years would spontaneously combust into being relationship ready.
My old type used to be: must give butterfly feeling, doesn’t have to be really good looking but must be over six feet, although I did go through a phase of going out with exceptionally tall guys, must be intelligent with a good job and make me laugh. Oh and they had to either pursue me until I gave in (even if I still wasn’t that into them) or they had to be ambiguous and elusive as this would trigger desire, curiosity and the internal butterfly machine. I tinkered with my type, so would look for the opposite of something that got on my nerves only to wind up with the same problems because I was still looking at the trees instead of the wood.
If you want to have your space and not allow anybody in and be emotionally unavailable, believe me, there’s plenty of people out there that will give you this and you will feel more alone than you ever have. You’ll have so much space, you’ll wonder if there’s a relationship. If you want somebody to fill your daddy (or mummy) needs, take it from someone who knows, you’ll get it and then act like a child while handing over all of your power and will end up paralysed over fear of being abandoned. If you want somebody to be in charge and tell you what to do and think, there are more than a few sharks out there ready to snap you up and put you into a doormat costume.
Bottom line, if you are looking for somebody who seems to be the same as you, what happens if you are emotionally unavailable with unhealthy habits of thinking and behaviour around relationships? Watch out.
Who people are is self-evident – we don’t need to make it up. People unfold and show you who they are… or aren’t. If you have a ‘type’ the problem is that you will assume that the presence of these characteristics, qualities and values means that the ability to have the relationship you want is self-evident. You think your type is predictive of the existence of the other qualities, characteristics and values needed for a relationship. That is called giving your ‘intuition’, whims and possibly an unwillingness to change course far too much credit. Be careful of what you look for or even wish for because you can’t get what you’re not genuinely valuing and looking for in the first place.