You know, there's a fine line between possessiveness and jealousy, and for the most part, it's good to be on the side of possessiveness, because it's safer, less violent an emotion, and when tempered with good sense, can strengthen bonds that are put to stress. It's when the possessiveness changes, and takes on tones of excess, that it can harm, hinder and smother in a way that can only lead to the demise of an otherwise sound pair. In a long ago relationship, as a teenager, I gloried in the sense of security I felt in the embrace of a significant other; it was only later that I realized, that the embrace was more an attempt to treasure zealously, than to love and protect. Teenagers, such as they are, are not genetically programed to be particularly introspective, and I, was no less ordinary. When a relationship fails, it leaves in its place a vacuum, a gap, a hole where there should be something, but isn't, and when the ending is one sided, or left to circumstance, it opens up a black hole of hurt. Possessiveness in relationships can contribute to an untimely demise, one that could have been avoided, were sense to prevail, or were you to see the warning signs in time. For those of us who muddle through relationships, flitting in and out with an optimism that's undimmed by repetitive failure, there's still hope.
Signs of Possessiveness in Relationships
I subscribe firmly to the theory that each of us, conforms to a type, just as each of us chooses a type when it comes to relationships. It doesn't always signify the superficial, though chances are you'll see the signs there as well - I for example, am rather partial to height and dimples - but I run the risk of digression so I'll stop right there. The inherent traits that you are attracted to, are very often the same through the spectrum of relationships that you may be in - don't believe me? Think about it. If you've been involved in a relationship break up, painful or otherwise, chances are, your next choice might be an attempt to steer clear of the same qualities, but by default, you'll pick the very same, over and over. It's unfortunate, but it's true, and it's depressingly normal.
Possessiveness arises very often out of insecurity, when the need to protect what you perceive as yours makes itself felt, when you feel threatened, anxious, unsure of yourself or your partner. Very often, relationships that are very intense, are the victims of possessiveness - and it doesn't restrict itself to gender. If you think it's only men that are possessive, think again. Although it can be reassuring at first, increasingly bizarre demands and controlling behavior can be downright frightening, and as the victim of a possessive partner, you may find yourself bewildered by unreasonable demands, unceasing restrictions and unending rules. Many, will try honestly, out of love, out of duty, out of a need to see it through - but it's only unfortunate, because in a fitting paradox, it's often the need to protect that inevitably leads to the loss.
Sometimes the signs of possessiveness can sneak up on you and catch you unawares, until you have a light-bulb-over-your-head moment in a sudden understanding of what's been going on; before you know it, you're isolated in a circle of arms that likens itself to a noose rather than an embrace. A possessive partner is likely to be suspicious of every conversation, every look and every innocent glance, and simple everyday occurrences can take on a sinister glint in his or her mind.
Lack of Space
Possessiveness in relationships can lead to a violation of your personal space that can be disconcerting in the extreme. Don't be surprised if you emails are read, your letters opened and your bank statements checked. Confrontation only leads to righteous indignation, or at times a counter offer to be as open, that can leave you feeling petty, for picking a fight. A possessive partner cannot understand your need for space - and the distance you crave, signifies danger. Being in a relationship that is over run by a possessive partner, can smother you, make you claustrophobic, till you feel like you can't breathe. Healthy relationships flourish with space, mutual respect and trust, all of which you may find lacking in toxic relationships that leave you emotionally drained and exhausted.
Introspection in retrospect can often be deceiving. When you look back on failed relationships and assess the relationship issues, you may find yourself glossing over the bad patches, and looking at your past through rose tinted glasses that make old times seem better than they were and pinker than they deserve. We all have them - relationships that fail, those that peter out, or those that were so obviously dead wrong, that it was only the foolishness of inexperience and the exuberance of youth that you could put them down to. When you learn to let go of the past, you will emerge stronger, better equipped to see the warning signs of possessiveness in relationships, so that you can work on them before they leave their mark on your happy story. Learn to let go, and you learn to love.