I have a confession to make. I don’t want to hug you. It’s not that I don’t like you. I do, probably. I just really don’t enjoy hugging in any form. I know this probably makes me sound cold or like I suffer from some Monk level OCD contamination fears. Neither is true. Nor did I spend my formative years in a creepy Soviet orphanage where I had no physical contact. Hugging to me just doesn’t feel natural. It is never my instinct to hug someone. The worst is when I run into some random acquaintance I haven’t seen in a while and the first thing they do is try to hug me. In a way though, I’m jealous of these natural huggers. They certainly come off as much warmer and friendlier than me even if it might not be wholly genuine. Since I don’t want to come off as unapproachable or snobby, I’ve gotten pretty good at faking enjoying hugs over the years. I am now able to hug someone without doing the creepy straight armed Dr. Evil style hug. Progress. So I normally let other people dictate the terms of first contact. If they go in for a hug, I will return it warmly. But I will never be the “hug initiator.” Maybe someday I’ll be able to proudly own my non-hugging status and have t-shirts made that say “You seem like an awesome person and I’d like to get to know you better, but please don’t touch me.” From a post by Amanda Fox http://hellogiggles.com/confessions-of-a-non-hugger
We were not a hugging people.
In terms of emotional comfort
it was our belief that no amount
of physical contact could match
the healing powers of a well made cocktail.
From “Naked” by David Sedaris
If we find ourselves… feeling trapped or clung to by our partner, we may want to consider how much we were intruded on as kids. Did we have a parent or caretaker who was overbearing and imposed on us for attention or reassurance? Are we now reacting (or overreacting) to our partner, because he or she is looking to us for similar qualities? While we aim to find partners who complement us in a positive way, we often wind up finding people whose opposing traits can rouse negative dynamics between us. For example, how many couples do we know, where one person does the talking, and the other stays quiet? While one person tells the stories and attracts attention, the other acts as a listener and falls into the background. We frequently choose people who fill out our personalities, then resent them for the very traits that make them our “other half.” Even when we choose partners who complement us positively, we run the risk of eventually distorting them or provoking them to become someone who we are less compatible with. This is often not the case when we first get involved with someone. In the beginning of a relationship, we naturally step out of our comfort zones, forcing ourselves outside our own heads and into an interaction with someone unfamiliar. The scenario of getting to know a stranger forces us to push ourselves, to be our best selves, and to treat the other person with respect and interest. As we get closer, our defenses start to arise. We start to feel more vulnerable, and influences from our past start to seep in. We must be wary in this stage of how we can distort our partners. We may start to insert hidden meaning into their words that suit a way we feel about ourselves. We may start to project qualities onto them or exaggerate characteristics they possess. Dr. Lisa Firestone http://www.huffingtonpost.com/lisa-firestone/relationship-advice_b_824879.html
What you see is only half of what I am.
I have a hundred different faces,
a million different personalities.
Only a part of me is what I show you.
I display a fraction of my true self.
Everything is just a façade.
It’s not the truth of me.
You don’t know me.
You never will.
I understand addiction now. I never did before, you know. How could a man (or a woman) do something so self-destructive, knowing that they’re hurting not only themselves, but the people they love? It seemed that it would be so incredibly easy for them to just not take that next drink. Just stop. It’s so simple, really. But as so often happens with me, my arrogance kept me from seeing the truth of the matter. I see it now though. Every day, I tell myself it will be the last. Every night, as I’m falling asleep in his bed, I tell myself that tomorrow I’ll book a flight to Paris, or Hawaii, or maybe New York. It doesn’t matter where I go, as long as it’s not here. I need to get away… away from him—before this goes even one step further. And then he touches me again, and my convictions disappear like smoke in the wind. This cannot end well. That’s the crux of the matter… I’ve been down this road before—you know I have—and there’s only heartache at the end. If I stay here with him, I will become restless and angry. It’s happening already, and I cannot stop it. I’m becoming bitter and terribly resentful. Before long, I will be intolerable, and eventually, he’ll leave me. But if I do what I have to do, what my very nature compels me to do, and move on, the end is no better. One way or another, he’ll be gone. Tomorrow I will leave. Tomorrow I will stop delaying the inevitable. Tomorrow I will quit lying to myself, and to him. Tomorrow. What about today, you ask? Today it’s already too late. He’ll be home soon, and I have dinner on the stove, and wine chilling in the fridge. And he will smile at me when he comes through the door, and I will pretend like this fragile, dangerous thing we have created between us can last forever. Just one last time. Just one last fix. That’s all I need. And that is why I now understand addiction. From “Strawberries for Dessert” by Marie Sexton
Here I am trying to live,
or rather, I am trying
to teach the death
within me how to live.
We are codependent because we allow the behavior of another person to effect our behavior so that we become consumed with that person and their problems. This obsession with the issues and problems of others becomes debilitating to us as we exhaust inordinate and inappropriate amounts of mental and emotional energy over them, leaving little, if any, energy for ourselves. Often our childhood was so chaotic and our environments were so out of control, we learned ways to escape to try to find serenity. As we grew into adulthood, we worked hard at trying to control our external environment, believing it was the key to our happiness and inner peace. Our family of origin was frequently dysfunctional. Sometimes we even blamed ourselves for our parent’s problems. If we were terrorized by a volatile alcoholic parent, anger became an unacceptable and unwelcomed guest in our lives. Anger was to be avoided at all costs. As a result, we learned to appease; we learned to rescue. We learned to be aware of others’ feelings in order to protect ourselves and began to lose touch with our own feelings. We made ourselves responsible for the happiness of others, and when they weren’t happy, neither were we. We are extremely loyal but also extremely insecure. Self-doubt is our constant companion, and often self-hatred. Being unacceptable to ourselves, we hide our true selves, convinced that if anyone truly knew us, they would abandon us. This fear of abandonment often fuels our codependent behavior as we seek to do everything in our power to become so valuable that others would not want to leave us. By choice, our lives are not our own and our emotions are the property of whatever crisis the person(s) closest to us is having. http://www.vvcrossroads.org/ministries/recovery/codependency/men
It’s not that you should never love something
so much that it can control you.
It’s that you need to love something
that much so you can never be controlled.
It’s not a weakness. It’s your best strength.
People want control. We’re all desperate for it. What we wouldn’t give to have more of it in our relationships, work, and lives. Not that we come right out and say so. Instead, we hedge a bit, asking coaches, therapists, and friends how to better manage our careers and other people. How we can change this or that aspect of ourselves or our circumstances — how we might better deal with specific situations and relationships. Certainly, there’s nothing wrong with wanting growth and development. Yet that’s not what most of us are really after. Subtle as we try to be, the proof is in the pudding of our thoughts, feelings, and actions; in spite of all our questioning and questing, many of us feel pretty stuck. No matter the energy we exert, we remain in a standstill. Why is this? Why do we as a culture persist in attempting to control our way to personal, creative, and professional freedom? The answer, I’ve found, is pretty interesting. And that is that most of us don’t actually want freedom. Before you disagree, take a look at your own life. Look at the areas in which you wish you had a greater level of freedom, peace, and aliveness. If you’ve yet to achieve these things, I’d gamble that what you’re really after is control. Or said another way, freedom your way. Taken from “Giving Up Control” by Jennifer Hamady (Huffington Post) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jennifer-hamady/acceptance_b_2432159.html
Everyone must choose one of two pains:
The pain of discipline or the pain of regret.
The degree of dysfunction, codependency or toxicity in relationships can vary. Most of us get a little dependent, and therefore dysfunctional, from time to time — especially when we’re tired, stressed, or otherwise overloaded. What makes the difference between this normal, occasional human frailty and true clinical dysfunction is our ability to recognize, confront and correct dysfunction when it happens in our relationships. The question to keep in mind is: what is not working, and how can we make it work? Most people, when faced with a relationship problem or disagreement, reflexively begin to look for a villain; that is, they want to know who’s at fault. Responding to a problem by looking for someone to blame (even if it’s yourself) is a dysfunctional response. The functional question is not, “Whose fault is it?” but “What can we do to solve the problem?” When you try it, you’ll see that refusing to focus on blaming anyone (yourself or your partner), and instead insisting on solving the problem, will make a huge difference in all your relationships. Families who sit down together, in a family meeting, where everyone, including small children, gets to discuss the problem from their point of view, and everyone works together to solve the problem, become functional rapidly. Adapted from “Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Squabbling About the Three Things That Can Destroy Your Marriage” by Tina B. Tessina, Ph.D. http://www.tinatessina.com/dysfunctional_relationship.html
Man is the only creature
whose emotions are entangled
with his memory.
Fidelity is an absolute must. In fact, men want a woman who does not have a “roaming eye” and who can wholeheartedly commit to the relationship. Many may define commitment as fidelity plus the willingness to work on the relationship — even when the going gets tough. Women think that all men want is sex, and that men will leave a relationship for the next prettier face. Women think men cannot be trusted to be faithful. Women believe men do not want to work on a relationship; that when the going gets tough, they run. Many women treat men in ways that diminish their egos, making them feel inadequate. Men would rather have more praise, more acknowledgment of what they do right, more acknowledgment that they are great guys who are loved and appreciated. Women think men do not need them, do not value their opinion, their support, their praise. Women also think men do not care about many things important to women, which is why they criticize. Criticism is a way to verbalize resentment. From “What Men Want in a Relationship” by Rinatta Paries http://powertochange.com/sex-love/menwant/
Maybe that’s what it all comes down to.
Love, not as a surge of passion,
but as a choice to commit to something,
someone, no matter what obstacles
or temptations stand in the way.
And maybe making that choice, again and again,
day in and day out, year after year,
says more about love
never having a choice to make at all.
From “Love the One You’re With” by Emily Giffin
Honest communication is top priority for men. They want a woman who answers questions honestly, and perhaps even volunteers information. They want a woman who confidently asks for her wants and needs to be met. They want a woman who can see the truth and tell it like it is while communicating with kindness. Men want a woman who can communicate without being too critical, who cares about preserving his and her dignity. Women think men want them to be superficial, to keep quiet about their needs or wants, and never to ask for anything. Women think men believe them to be too needy and too sensitive, and that men simply want women to get over it. Some women believe they do not have the permission to tell it like it is, that they will be rejected for speaking up. Men want a woman to choose them out of want rather than out of desperation — either materially or emotionally. Men need to be wanted and needed by their partners, but they want their partners to have a separate identity. Men want a woman to be active and independent, to have her own friends and interests. On the other hand, men treasure time spent with a loving partner. Women think men don’t want women to need them. Women think men do not need or appreciate time spent together as a couple. Women believe that showing a man he is needed will turn him off and possibly make him run away. From “What Men Want in a Relationship” by Rinatta Paries http://powertochange.com/sex-love/menwant/
Those who take lightly
promises they make
to those they love
are people who find
little lasting satisfaction in life.
In order to avoid her fears of being alone the woman may make efforts to keep her man close. It might be a criticism for going out with the boys for an evening. By discouraging him to do other things she is increasing their time together. If a woman engages in such efforts and is successful in controlling her man she will have influenced his behavior by her emotional reactions. With influence over his emotions she will have influence over what he does with his time. He will learn to avoid the activities that bring emotional reactions and criticism and do the things that she approves of. They will spend more time together which will help her to feel solid in the relationship. It also distracts herself from the fear of being alone. In one part of her mind she has helped their relationship, but she has unknowingly created a separate feeling of not being safe. When a woman sees that she can modify her man’s behavior she might perceive him as not being as strong. She will see him as someone that gives up his interests, runs around trying to make her happy. He has stopped being his authentic self and started being what she wants him to be. At some level she perceives him as no longer being his own man. She could perceive him as having weak character and could lose respect for him. More importantly she will not feel safe with a man she sees as having a weak character. Some women will conclude that if they can influence or control their man then other women will also be able to control and influence him as well. All of this adds up to losing respect and trust in the man. One assumption sometimes deep in the mind is that the stronger person controls the weaker person. If she can direct him then he must be weaker than her. This image of weakness is amplified if the woman already considers her self as weak to begin with. The loss of trust in her man’s strength may not be conscious to her, but at some level it affects her feeling of safety with him. From “Emotional Security” http://www.pathwaytohappiness.com/relationship_safety.htm
Consider how hard it is to change yourself
and you’ll understand what little chance
you have in trying to change others.
The essence of an I message is “I have a problem”… There are four parts to an I message:
* When … Describe the person’s behavior you are reacting to in an objective, non-blameful, and non-judgmental manner.
* The effects are … Describe the concrete or tangible effects of that behavior. (This is the most important part for the other person to understand – your reaction.)
* I feel … Say how you feel. (This is the most important part to prevent a buildup of feelings.)
* I’d prefer … Tell the person what you want or what you prefer they do. You can omit this part if it is obvious.
The order in which you express these parts is usually not important. Here are some examples: ” When you take company time for your personal affairs and then don’t have time to finish the urgent work I give you, I get furious. I want you to finish the company’s work before you work on your personal affairs.” “I lose my concentration when you come in to ask a question, and I don’t like it. Please don’t interrupt me when I am working unless it is urgent.” “It is very hard for me to keep our place neat and clean when you leave your clothes and other stuff lying around. It creates a lot more work for me and it takes a lot longer, and I get resentful about it. I’d prefer that you put your clothes away and put your trash in the basket.” “I resent it when your flirting with the women keeps you from having time for your work, because it means more work for me.” by Larry Nadig,Ph.D. http://www.drnadig.com/feelings.htm
Numbing the pain
for a while will
make it worse
when you finally feel it.