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Bottomless pit

Bottomless pit

Photographer:Fotograaf: Loraine Bodewes

Dear Ingrid

Michelle (28): “My third relationship has just ended. I am disappointed time and again. I put all of my time and energy into them and never receive the appreciation that I deserve in return.”

Ingrid: Your relationships end up on the rocks because you expect the other person to give you what you cannot give yourself: recognition and appreciation. Your beloved has to solve your problem. You try to achieve this by investing in him or her. You do so on condition, because you desire and expect something in return. Of course this ends in disappointment. Actually, it is an impossible task for your beloved to fill your bottomless pit of self-appreciation. This has nothing to do with your partner, but with you. You probably didn’t learn to acknowledge and appreciate yourself for who you are. Were they not proud of you at home? Did you never receive compliments?

It is therefore good to understand that you are trying to get acknowledgement from others, but it won’t help you. Attention and compliments work like alcohol. It feels good for a while, but the effect doesn’t continue for long. Eventually you will be left with a hangover, because your partner will become dejected from constantly carrying out a Sisyphus task. He or she will end it. Allow yourself to be encouraged by the broken relationships to get moving towards breaking this pattern and believing in yourself. Author Colin Tipping wrote this about it: “Behaviour that appears to be inhuman and horrid, may be exactly what we need and moreover, we even incite ourselves.”

Stop playing the role of the victim and work on yourself, so that you can eventually give yourself what you need. Only then will you be able to have an equal relationship in which you can give yourself unconditionally.


Ingrid Candel



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Do you have any questions or problems and would you like to speak with a psychological counsellor for students from Maastricht University, contact or call 043 3885388.



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