Thursday, June 26, 2008

Toxic love?

So I've been (unintentionally) reading a bit on this topic here and there.. Strangely to me, everyone agreed on a certain point that "as long as we believe that someone else has the power to make us happy then we are setting ourselves up to be victims"..

Yeah, I know. When I read that too, I was like "Whaaaat are you talking about! Of course someone else has the power to make me happy.. or sad.. or whatever.. how could it possibly victimize me?"

They say it starts in our childhood with Fairy Tales where the prince and princess live happily ever after... As well as in movies and books where "boy meets girl", "boy loses girl", "boy gets girl back" - the music swells and the happy couple ride off into the sunset. Not forgetting the songs that say "I can't smile without you", "I can't live without you" and similar phrases that describe the type of love we learned about while growing up, the toxic one... an addiction with the other person as our drug of choice or higher power.

The problem with that is, whenever we set another human being up to be our higher power, we would experience failure in whatever we are trying to accomplish. We will end up feeling victimized by the other person or by our self - and even when we feel victimized by the other person, we'd blame ourselves for the choices we made.

The idea is basically that.. there's no goal to reach that will bring us to happily ever after. We aren't incomplete until we find our soul mate. We are not halves that can't be whole without a relationship.

True love is not all-consuming, isolating, or constricting. Believing we can't be whole or happy without a relationship is unhealthy and leads us to accept deprivation and abuse.. and to engage in manipulation, dishonesty, and power struggles.

And the following is a table of characteristics comparing healthy and unhealthy love (in reference to the work of Robert Burney and Melody Beattie)
The Goood Type of Love The Ugly Type of Love
Development of self first. Obsession with the relationship.
Room to grow, expand; desire for other to grow. Comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love (may really be fear, insecurity, loneliness)
Separate interests; other friends; maintain other meaningful relationships. Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends and interests.
Encouragement of each other's expanding; secure in own worth. Preoccupation with other's behavior; fear of other changing.
Appropriate Trust (i.e. trusting partner to behave according to fundamental nature.) Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition; protects "supply."
Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together. Power plays for control; blaming; passive or aggressive manipulation.
Embracing of each other's individuality. Trying to change other to own image.
Relationship deals with all aspects of reality. Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of the unpleasant.
Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on other's mood. Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.
Ability to enjoy being alone. Unable to endure separation; clinging.
Cycle of comfort and contentment. Cycle of pain and despair.

Well, I think that there's pain involved in any relationship but maybe if it's painful most of the time then something is not working right.

And well, what I understand from it all is that there'ss nothing wrong with wanting a relationship that will last forever, but expecting it to last forever is what is dysfunctional... that expectations set us up to be victims and cause us to abandon ourselves in search of our "goal"...
And that as long as we believe that we have to have the other in our life to be happy, we're really just "addicts" trying to protect our "supply", using another person as our drug of choice which isn't true love, nor loving.

What do you think of it all?
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