An emotional tangle occurs when one person has a hidden agenda and uses manipulation to control their partner.
A tangle can prevent a relationship from growing and thriving. And, it usually shows up in an unhealthy relationship.
You’re in an emotional tangle if you’re in a relationship with someone who demonstrates the following behaviors:
- Ignored your boundaries
- Turned out to be confusing, mystifying, or difficult
- Hindered or held you back
- Clashed or came into conflict with you
- Controlled or had a hidden agenda
- Manipulated or distorted the truth
Tying the knot is a good thing when it’s with the right person. Being tied up in an emotional tangle is never a good thing.
You may notice a tangle when there are significant differences between your story – your experience – and their version of the same experience.
You may find yourself saying things like, “No, I never did that.” Or “It never happened that way.” Or “I never said that.” At their worst, tangles create confusion and disconnect you from yourself by making you feel as though you’ve lost your ability to think straight or have lost touch with your sanity.
No matter how much work you do, no matter how many facts you can produce to prove your point, you cannot convince anyone of anything ever, even if you believe that you’re right.
Tangles Can Draw You In
I was in an unhealthy relationship and chose to leave it. During the breakup, I wanted an apology. I wanted him to own his bad behavior.
My friends were concerned about how abusive he was towards me and how depleting my interaction were with him. Eventually, I figured out that I wasn’t going to get an apology of any kind from him in this lifetime.
I realized he was never going to apologize to me and I was never going to make him feel my pain or see my point of view. I decided that moving forward was more important to me an apology.
I learned how to feel my ache without judging, trying to fix, or making sense of it.
My ache motivated me to make decisions.
I learned how to trust my gut, and I put distance between myself and that tangle.
And, I vowed to never, ever get drawn back into a tangle.
Beware: Tangles are Intoxicating
Tangles are intoxicating. The stories that support them are often tantalizing and dramatic.
In the mass of a tangle, there is no truth – just intoxication.
Consequently, people can become hypnotized and drawn into it. It’s not until after you’ve pulled yourself out of it that you can see it for what it was – a mass of confusion and all of the people who were twisted up in it.
Tangles can leave you feeling hurt and misunderstood. The pain and ache are from a misunderstanding that your happiness and fulfillment, as you work to get clear with yourself, is dependent on someone else acknowledging or owning something that has had an impact on you.
You may believe that to be happy your ex has to admit or own what occurred.
The truth is that you are not dependent on someone else owning your ache. And, if you choose to wait for that acknowledgment, you will end up giving your life over to someone who you’re trying to force to be different than they really are.
Undoing Your Emotional Tangle
To undo a tangle start by slowly and deliberately letting go of the stories.
Close your eyes and ask yourself, ‘When was the first time I felt hindered, controlled, or my boundaries were disregarded.”
Next, look at the tangle from a place of love and say, “I know what happened. I am clear. I am not dependent on someone else validating my experience.”
Continue to breathe deeply and open yourself to feeling the full extent of your ache – your feelings. You can do it!
Next, journal about it to identify what was rich, beautiful and encouraging about the relationship and move forward with that. And, leave the rest of it behind.