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In life, through our experiences, we adapt to the world through a series of coping mechanisms. Some of those coping skills can be especially beneficial, while others will only hold us back.

One coping skill, in particular, is the notion to push others away to protect ourselves. The thing is, when you’ve been hurt, traumatized, or abused, it can leave you with a wall built around you. In many ways, this does serve you, because, for a brief period, it gives you space to regroup. However, when the wall never comes down, it can become a problem. Especially if you’ve always wanted to have a relationship or friends, because after you push people away for so long, eventually they will take your word for it, and leave.

If you’ve begun to notice that you might be pushing others away, the good news is that you are aware of it. Until you become aware of it, you can never actively grow and work on this within yourself, and your relationships will suffer. Here are 7 behaviors that push others away.

1. Always playing the victim.

After you’ve had a rough go of it, you may very well feel like a victim. But at the end of the day, you can’t drone on about that forever. At some point, you have to take charge of things and decide you are a survivor. When you sit around talking about how you are always being victimized, it’s a real turn-off to other people. For those struggling to overcome this mindset, The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk offers insights into how trauma shapes the brain and how you can reclaim your life.

2. Taking everything too personally.

First and foremost, not everything is about you. 90% of the time, when you are taking something personally, it wasn’t meant personally at all. Just because something that is happening around you affects you, does not mean that it is a direct assault on you.

3. Always being jealous.

We all get jealous from time to time, but when it consumes you, it becomes a problem. Whenever someone is doing good, if it bothers you or sparks jealousy, it’s time to have another look at yourself. Where is this jealousy stemming from and how can you redirect those thoughts? To understand and manage jealousy, Overcoming Jealousy and Possessiveness” by Paul A. Hauck explores practical steps to cultivate trust and self-confidence.

4. Needing constant validation.

When you depend on others for validation, it can be a slippery slope. Not only are you placing your self-worth in someone else’s hand, but you are denying your true self (see more about that below.) This entire demeanor of constantly seeking outside validation from others comes off as clingy, needy, and unhealthily attached, which in the end causes people to flee. To understand and manage jealousy, Overcoming Jealousy and Possessiveness” by Paul A. Hauck explores practical steps to cultivate trust and self-confidence.

5. Never allow yourself to be truly vulnerable with others.

It’s hard to be vulnerable, possibly one of the hardest things in the world for someone who is emotionally injured. But, at the end of the day, you can never truly connect to other people if you can’t open up. People sense that and become uneasy because it makes it seem as though you are hiding something.

6. Hiding your truth.

You can run from yourself all you want, but you will never be able to escape yourself. And why would you want to? Every one of us, despite our flaws, are unique and beautiful. When you embrace yourself for who you are, other people will too.

7. Obsessive negative thinking.

We all get caught up in negative thinking from time to time. However, be careful not to become predominantly negative. At the end of the day, negative thoughts only create more negative thoughts. No one wants to sit around soaking up your constant negativity and ultimately, this behavior pushes people away.

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P.S. The reason so many men “pull away” from women is because
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