Following on from my previous post (Shame: the Sequel) in which I said I’d discovered a blog (Peter Michaelson’s www.whywesuffer.com) that says what I want to say, here are some links and quotes that relate to earlier posts about accepting lovelessness (one and two) as a fact of life and not requiring love as a condition in relationships with others (on the basis that ‘love’ may be a perception of the ‘receiver’ rather than a feeling or behaviour of the ‘giver’ – or is that subsequent refinement of my ideas?).
Some of these posts of Peter’s refer to marriage and divorce and my only criticism of them is that they’re about marriage and divorce! I reckon the principles apply to all relationships: those where the participants care about the quality of their interaction, such as friendships, and those where people are forced to interact and therefore might as well get on with each other, such as colleagues and family.
‘Marriage [and friendship, etc; my addition] is a spiritual and emotional investment that can grow at a high rate of interest. Divorce [or other type of separation; my addition] isn’t a solution… because divorced individuals typically haven’t resolved the inner conflicts that led to divorce in the first place. These inner conflicts cause them to repeat the pattern of disharmony in their next romantic endeavor, or else they avoid subsequent relationships for fear of failure.’
‘On the surface of our awareness, we all want tender love and intimacy. But deeper down we can have an unconscious program in place to act out negative emotions that are unresolved from childhood.’
‘When marriage [and friendships, etc; my addition] fails, the unconscious part of the psyche of each partner has determined this outcome. With what’s at stake, doesn’t it make sense to study this unconscious part and override the self-defeating program with self-knowledge and expanded intelligence? Unfortunately, our unconscious determination to suffer with what is unresolved often overrides our good sense.’
Also, Peter’s wife Sandra wrote a book (LoveSmart: Transforming the Emotional Patterns That Sabotage Relationships), some of which is on Google Books, that I am enjoying reading (I saw myself and ‘men I have known’ in the list of contents and couldn’t resist!). Again, it focuses on marriage but I think the principles can apply to any relationship (actually, she does say this in the text), whether friend or family or colleague. Here are some quotes I like:
‘Divorce [or or other type of separation; my addition] is not a solution but an admission of an inability or an unwillingness to resolve specific conflicts within yourself and with your partner… We hope we will secure emotional relief by ridding ourselves of our partners as we run from the truth we hate to see: our emotional investment in our negative feelings and our resistance to liberating ourselves from them.’
‘What is the secret for maintaining emotional harmony in relationships?… It does not depend on finding the “right” person or in getting our partner to change. Instead, it requires facing facts about ourselves… it means taking a journey into the mystery of our own human nature and exploring the realms of unconscious patterns that rule our way of perceiving and interpreting the world. Growth occurs when we confront our self-hatred and learn to respond to ourselves with compassion and understanding.’
‘A successful relationship… requires consciously deciding to make it work, rather than passively waiting for things to be the way you want.’
Blimey, I can see I could quote almost all of it, so I’d better stop before I commit a copyright crime!
Many people won’t agree with these sentiments, of course, but they echo mine so well that I feel it’s pointless for me to labour over describing my thoughts because I won’t be adding anything new to the body of collective human thought… I think I’ll just put my feet up and passively soak Peter’s thoughts up now that I’ve subscribed to his RSS feed!