The painful insight from a mirror

A personal blog about Maura ten Hoopen from Restful Mind.

Looking inwards, searching for answers, for growth and insights is very important in my life. I’ve always had a yearning to understand people on a deeper level and specifically to understand myself. For years and years I’ve been reading books to enhance my personal growth, I’ve been seeing coaches, psychologists, tarot readers and anyone else who I felt could support this yearning for understanding. It surely helped me in so many ways, but the funny thing is that sometimes the biggest insights come in unexpected ways when you’re not even looking for it. This is my story about a realisation that has changed my life forever. 

Looking in a mirror

I met someone. A man entered my life who helps me to become aware of myself. I get triggered by him in many ways which isn’t really new to me in a relationship, but this time it feels different, more challenging. For anyone who knows about ‘human design’ and believes the concept, he is a ‘reflector’ the 1% of the world who are here to reflect back to us what they perceive. He is someone who mirrors me in so many ways that it almost feels impossible to run away from my fears. Of course I have a choice, I can run away from him or distract myself, but I’ve done that for a very long time and apparently this was my time to see the truth. At least about one thing. 

Brutally honest

That particular day, when I got triggered so deeply, I reacted from a child’s wound. I was crying, begging for attention, getting angry when I would not receive from him what I thought I needed, till the point where I shouted: We’re breaking up right now! After multiple positive experiences with him, in a moment of emotion and pain I made the decision for the both of us to separate. By the time I realised what I did, I was shocked, because I didn’t want to break up with him. I knew very well that I wanted to be in this relationship with him, so why did I do this?

He looked at me and told me he was going to be brutally honest with me. I held my breath, trying to prepare myself for what was coming and I could feel my body shaking from fear. He told me how he felt manipulated by me breaking up with him when I didn’t really mean it and he felt this had happend before in other situations and it made it difficult for him to empathise with me. The way he said this felt so cold and detached, that I started shaking more, because I felt angry and I wanted to shout at him that he needed to change, not me, until something stronger took over. 

A voice similar to my own, told me to be very strong and take in whatever was coming without defence. Then he said in his own words how he could see that I acted as a victim to get something from him, something that I should give to myself in the first place. He felt that I was pressuring him into giving me his attention or love, by crying or by saying things that I knew would trigger him, like the break up. I did not know how to feel, how to respond and we decided to take a day to ourselves for some rest and clarity. 

The moment of transformation

This was one of the most unpleasant days in my life, but also one that I’m so thankful for. I had difficulty breathing, and it felt like my heart was beating out of my chest. At some point the feelings got so intense that my body couldn’t move any more, therefor I laid on the couch, trying my best to accept any feeling that was screaming inside of me to receive my own compassion and attention.

The thoughts that popped up in my mind, were mainly about him. How could he be so cold? How can he possible love me and say such hurtful things? Why isn’t he just giving me what I want and need? I was so focused on him and by doing that I was not able to see the full picture, no matter if he was acting from a loving place or not. So I decided to get some rest and after I would call a friend for some advice. 

Talking to my friend made me realise that this situation was there for me to grow. It wasn’t about him,  it was about me taking care of myself. The moment I shifted the focus from him to myself, a big transformation happened in my entire being. I was shocked by it, because in just a second everything changed. I suddenly knew that this pattern my partner saw in me, was really there. 

Seeing the truth

I asked myself, why did I break up with him so suddenly? I realized I was desperate at that moment and this was my last resource to hopefully receive some comfort from him so that I didn’t have to deal with the intensity of my own feelings. Perhaps it would trigger him and he would fear to lose me if he didn’t give me what I craved so strongly. It was manipulation. 

Painful insight

Then I realized that I had been doing that same thing for a long time. I broke up many times with my ex, and I remember him sharing with me how unsafe that made him feel. But all I was thinking back then: If you’re acting a certain way, then you give me no other choice. Of course I did have a choice to really think about my decisions so they come from me being aligned, not from me being lost in my emotions and then changing my mind again another day. 

All of a sudden I saw all kinds of ways how I had been manipulating my relationships to get what I craved, which was attention. I would use my tears, certain triggering words, or even being sick to get what I wanted. And if I would not receive what I wanted, I would judge and blame them. 


During this day away from my partner I also realised how much pressure I put on him for relying on him so often. I don’t think needing something or someone is wrong or right, but I believe if it comes from a deep wound it can never be fully satisfied and the more someone gives, the more you start to expect, which is a dangerous direction to go in. What if some day he is gone for work, for family trouble, or any occasion were I will have to deal with my own needs. Who will I turn to then? Will I run to a friend with the same expectations and manipulative tactics if they don’t have time or energy? Will I flirt with other men just to get some attention and feel loved? 

I became very aware that this pattern of mine was not a healthy one nor was it helpful and it wasn’t fair to my partner to have these expectations. So I decided to dig deeper and see were this pattern was coming from. 

My inner child

I remember when I was younger my sister told me that she felt I was playing a victim sometimes by being sick and being very expressive about that. I didn’t want to see that yet, but now it makes sense. As a child I was sick almost every month and the doctors couldn’t find a clear reason why. It felt so sweet and loving how my mother took care of me during those times and I admit I loved getting that attention from her. When I was not sick or a victim, I was lacking positive attention from the family. I remember my father worked a lot, my mother also worked quite a bit and being the youngest child with a big cap between me and my siblings, I felt alone very often. My mother told me a story once about me as a baby, that I would hold on to strangers and didn’t want to let go of them. It became obvious that I have a lack of attention that has never been fulfilled and now I expect others to fill this emptiness. 

Current state

By understanding where this lack of attention comes from, I can now feel compassion for myself and my behaviour, even when I feel ashamed to look at it. Since I’ve been sitting with myself during times of despair and I feel love for myself and accept all the intense energies inside of me, I notice my desperation is becoming less. I’m able now to see the moments when I’m not coming from an authentic place but from a place of lack so I can decide consciously if I want to react from my ‘child self’ or from my ‘higher self’. 

I’m sure I’ll act once in a while from my wound, but I’m proud of myself for being brave enough to have seen the truth and for the effort I’m putting into my awareness. 

How about you?

Have you discovered any patterns of yourself that you have changed or would like to change? Please feel free to share your story and thoughts in a reply. 

Written by Maura ten Hoopen Composer & Founder of Restful Mind || Royalty Free Relaxing Music

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