In addition, to distorting our partners, we sometimes provoke them into giving us a certain response. For example, my friend who wanted to go on a weekend getaway recognized that, although her husband prefers to live more spontaneously and not spend too much time on practicalities, she would often insist on talking to him about travel plans, home renovations and financial matters well in advance of when was necessary. She soon realized that she didn’t even care all that much about these things, but something was compelling her to push her husband away by bringing up topics that would distance him from her. By “nagging” at her husband, not only was she preventing more personal and meaningful interactions between them, but she was provoking him to lose interest in certain activities, which then made her feel critical of him. We must always be aware of how we select, provoke and distort our partners to fill roles that recreate our past. The better we understand ourselves, the better able we are to choose partners who support us just as we support them, as the unique, complex, and independent individuals we are. We can then interrupt patterns that would prevent us from “seeing” our partners — misinterpreting their actions to fit an old feeling about ourselves. Lastly, we can then be careful not to provoke our partners to act out in ways that hurt us, them and naturally, the relationship. By remaining wary of these negative influences, we give our relationships the best chance possible of lasting long and making us happy. Dr. Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/relationship-advice_b_824879.html
When you stop living your life
based on what others think
of you real life begins.
At that moment,
you will finally see
the door of
Shannon L. Alder
Usually adult males who are unable to make emotional connections with the women they choose to be intimate with are frozen in time, unable to allow themselves to love for fear that the loved one will abandon them. If the first woman they passionately loved, the mother, was not true to her bond of love, then how can they trust that their partner will be true to love. Often in their adult relationships these men act out again and again to test their partner’s love. While the rejected adolescent boy imagines that he can no longer receive his mother’s love because he is not worthy, as a grown man he may act out in ways that are unworthy and yet demand of the woman in his life that she offer him unconditional love. This testing does not heal the wound of the past, it merely reenacts it, for ultimately the woman will become weary of being tested and end the relationship, thus reenacting the abandonment. This drama confirms for many men that they cannot put their trust in love. They decide that it is better to put their faith in being powerful, in being dominant. Bell Hooks
Sometimes we have to
behave indifferent towards
people who proclaim
their love for us,
just to see if they
are really different.
Michael Bassey Johnson
Many victims of abuse dated or knew their abuser for less than six months before they were engaged or living together. The abuser will often claim ‘love at first sight’, that you are ‘made for each other’, or that you are the only person whom he could ever talk to so openly, feel so at home with, could understand him so well. He/she may tell you that they have never loved anyone so much or felt so loved by anyone so much before, when you have really only known each other for a short amount of time. He/she needs someone desperately, and will pressure you to commit to him/her or make love before you feel the relationship has reached ‘that stage’. He/she may also make you feel guilty for not committing yourself to him/her. The abuser may expect you to be the perfect husband, wife, mother, father, lover, and friend. He/she is very dependent on you for all his/her needs, and may tell you he/she can fulfil all your needs as lover, friend, and companion. Statements such as: ‘lf you love me, I’m all you need’, ‘You are all I need.’ are common. Your abuser may expect you to provide everything for him/her emotionally, practically, financially or spiritually, and then blame you for not being perfect or living up to expectation. The abuser may try to curtail your social interaction. He/she may prevent you from spending time with your friends or family and demand that you only go places ‘together’. He/she may accuse you of being ‘tied to your mother’s apron strings’, not be committed to the relationship, or view people who are your personal friends as ‘causing trouble’ or ‘trying to put a wedge’ between you. He/she may want to live in the country without a phone, not let you use the car, stop you from working or gaining further education or qualifications. http://www.hiddenhurt.co.uk/warning_signs.html
Don’t judge yourself
by what others did to you.
Real love makes us feel vulnerable. A new relationship is uncharted territory, and most of us have natural fears of the unknown. Letting ourselves fall in love means taking a real risk. We are placing a great amount of trust in another person, allowing them to affect us, which makes us feel exposed and vulnerable. Our core defenses are challenged. Any habits we’ve long had that allow us to feel self-focused or self-contained start to fall by the wayside. We tend to believe that the more we care, the more we can get hurt. When we enter into a relationship, we are rarely fully aware of how we’ve been impacted by our history. The ways we were hurt in previous relationships, starting from our childhood, have a strong influence on how we perceive the people we get close to as well as how we act in our romantic relationships. Old, negative dynamics may make us wary of opening ourselves up to someone new. We may steer away from intimacy, because it stirs up old feelings of hurt, loss, anger or rejection. As Dr. Pat Love said in an interview with PsychAlive, “when you long for something, like love, it becomes associated with pain,” the pain you felt at not having it in the past. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/compassion-matters/201401/7-reasons-most-people-are-afraid-love Read more from Dr. Lisa Firestone at http://www.psychalive.org/author/dr-lisa-firestone/
Love takes off masks
that we fear we
cannot live without
and know we cannot
James Arthur Baldwin
Just as you have choices about how to interpret an event, you also have options about how to express those feelings you experience. Often we limit the range of our expressive options by erroneously believing that there are only two options: either directly expressing them to someone else (e.g., in a personal confrontation), or “swallowing” the feelings and keeping them to ourselves. In actuality, there are many ways to respond to your feelings and express yourself. To some extent, you express a feeling any time your behavior is influenced by that feeling, but the way you express that feeling, and the intensity of that expression can vary widely. This is where decision-making comes in. First, consider what your options are. For example, if a close friend is planning to move away, you may feel very sad about that. You have numerous options here. For example, you can tell your friend how much you will miss him/her. Also, you can make a special effort to spend more time with him/her. These options may be painful at the time, but they give you the opportunity to express your feelings to your friend. On the other hand, you can avoid the friend until he/she leaves town so you won’t have to say good-bye. Or you can stay busy making other friends so you won’t miss this particular friend as much after he/she leaves. These choices may allow you to postpone or avoid painful feelings at the time, but they do not provide the opportunity for closure with your friend. The point is that you have options, and it’s your decision. Here are some useful questions to consider when deciding how to respond to your feelings:
– Does the intensity of my feelings match the situation?
– Do I have several feelings that I need to pay attention to?
– What interpretations or judgments am I making about this event?
– What are my options for expressing my feelings?
– What are the consequences of each option for me?
– What are the consequences of each option for others?
– What result am I hoping for?
– What do I want to do?
– What if I do nothing?
Even doing something like taking a deep breath or going for a walk to think about it can be a way of responding to your feelings. Remember that you have many options when it comes to expressing emotions. http://www.counselingcenter.illinois.edu/self-help-brochures/self-awarenessself-care/experiencing-and-expressing-emotions/
The best and most beautiful things
in the world cannot be seen or even touched.
They must be felt with the heart.
One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles. How often are our lives characterized by a high blood pressure of creeds and an anemia of deeds! We talk eloquently about our commitment to the principles of Christianity, and yet our lives are saturated with the practices of paganism. We proclaim our devotion to democracy, but we sadly practice the very opposite of the democratic creed. We talk passionately about peace, and at the same time we assiduously prepare for war. We make our fervent pleas for the high road of justice, and then we tread unflinchingly the low road of injustice. This strange dichotomy, this agonizing gulf between the ought and the is, represents the tragic theme of man’s earthly pilgrimage. From “Strength to Love” by Martin Luther King Jr.
Going to church doesn’t make you
any more a Christian than going
to the garage makes you a car.
Your beliefs don’t make you
a better person, your behavior does.
Your words mean nothing if your
actions are the complete opposite.
Having true faith in whatever it is
you believe must be shown through actions,
believing is only half the battle.
Let your dreams be bigger than your fears,
your actions louder than your words,
and your faith stronger than your feelings.
If you are in a relationship, and you recognize that it is heading toward the same negative outcome as past relationships, you can stop the momentum and avoid another tragic ending. You and your partner are most likely collaborating in creating the negative dynamics in your relationship. Not only is he/she the same kind of person you always end up with, it is most likely that you are the same kind of person he/she ends up with, too. Even though there are real qualities we love and admire in the people we choose to become romantically involved with, we must consider that each of us is also making sure that the negative baggage we each carry fits nicely into one another’s undeveloped emotional compartments. Talk with your partner about how your patterns of relating fit together and about how you may be playing out dynamics from your pasts with each other. As you discuss how they play out in your relationship, you will each have ideas of behaviors you can challenge and recognize that your relationship is not doomed. Remember that, in any relationship, you are going to face your own limitations as well as those of another human being. The better you know yourself and your partner knows him/herself, the stronger you will both be in dealing with these limitations. You can both evolve and grow in the relationship. As you each challenge yourselves and give up your old negative identities, you will discover new aspects of yourself and of your partner. Taken from an article by Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/wrong-relationship-choices_b_830989.html
Most people are other people.
Their thoughts are
someone else’s opinions,
their lives a mimicry,
their passions a quotation.