This way of stuffing up our relationships is a bit trickier than the others.

It is doing to ourselves what we want to do to others.

At the extreme end of the scale this is often part of self-harming. For most of us for most of the time retroflection is nothing like this serious. It can be as simple as cuddling ourselves when feeling a bit lonely.

Perhaps the most common example of retroflection is a headache.

Those people who never seem to get angry but suffer with headaches have often turned their anger on themselves (this can be part of depression too). There are many reasons for headaches, but if you suffer from them a lot – and your health care provider can’t find a reason – it’s worth asking yourself if you can freely express your anger. Try expressing it a little, when and where it is safe to, and see how this feels.

When we do to ourselves what we want to do to others it can be difficult for the other person. They don’t know where they are with us. They expected a response but we don’t seem to respond.

The trick with retroflection is finding someone you feel safe with and trust enough to let you try out on them what you want to do to others (expressing anger or care, jumping with joy or crying with sadness, speaking up for yourself or being soft and gentle).

If you can’t find someone like this then a course of a counselor may well be able to help. There are courses available on just about every aspect of our lives. Some of them are provided in ways that are quite affordable; so, even if you can’t afford a counselor there are options for finding safe places to try out different ways of behaving.

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