Relationships suffer…

by Rod Smith

1. When being right (correct, moral, accurate) is so important, so insisted upon, that it is at the expense of being loving. A healthy person can sacrifice his or her need to be right in order to love.
2. When anxiety and love are confused. “I am anxious about you” is a far cry from “I love you” and are not the same thing. Anxious people often believe true love necessitates worry. “How will he know I love him if I don’t worry about him?” is the plea of the anxious partner or parent. A healthy person remains non-anxious.
3. When love and control are synonymous. “If you love me you will dress (speak, think, see, hear) according to my will,” says the controller, “or I will question your love for me.” Healthy love celebrates freedom.
4. When love means “melting” into each other, giving up individual identity in the name of love. “We’re so close we even think each other’s thoughts,” proclaims the unhealthy couple. Healthy love elevates separateness, space and individuality.

10 Comments to “Relationships suffer…”

  1. Well said, Rod.

    So many of us have underlying beliefs about ourselves that are driven by FEAR – and these fears manifest themselves in a need to be right, a tendency toward anxiety, a desire to be the controller in our relationships, or even an impulse to ‘melt’ into our partners so that we lack individuality.

    Usually the FEAR is that we’re ‘not good enough’, or we don’t ‘measure up’ to others – and it often goes on at a subconscious level.

    Let’s promote the need for self-awareness, because once we realize what’s driving us, we can soon change it. Our relationships will improve, and we’ll not only have healthier families: society as a whole will benefit.

    Best wishes to you and yours – and cheers from Sunny Scotland!

  2. Thanks, Frank. How nice to hear from you.

    I treasure my memories of Scotland.

    Rod Smith

  3. “A healthy person can sacrifice his or her need to be right in order to love…”

    True! What hangs in the balance of must relationships is the furthering of one person’s developement of recreating their home of origin over the other in the relationship. You know, things like “my mom always had it this way….or don’t you know that’s the way its always done” are said as indicators of such.

    Eventually, if a relationship is going to last, it will last on the willingness of a person to discover “One” in the other so that learning about how great life is will be possible.

    Author of IM with God

  4. Great thoughts! Rod.
    You just reminded me of a former boss of mine who professed to love and wanted me to sacrifice my personal dreams and aspirations for his, all in the name of wanting to mentor me. Each time I remember, I keep asking myself: where then is a genuiune true love in his relationship with me?
    I think this is one of the greatest diseases in relationships nowadays, especially in a setting where a so-called mentor/leader likes dictating to his followers how to live their lives.
    Once again, thanks Rod for your thoughts. They are simply superb!
    Tope Omomo (Nigeria)

  5. Wow – caught off-guard by that anxious vs un-anxious aspect of a relationship. I can quickly trace back many moments where my anxiety about what the other person was thinking or doing led to bad relationship events.

    Anxiousness seems for me, to come from the assumptions I am making about the other person’s thoughts, intentions, motivations, actions.

    Those assumptions really wreak havoc with my relationships. So if I am feeling anxious I need to get curious about what assumptions I am allowing to drive my thoughts.

  6. OMG… #1 and #3 sound just like my ex husband. He always had to be right, and i always had to wear the clothes and hairstyles HE liked. Being young and naive, I did it, but I got wise and openly defied him. About eight years ago, he asked why I didn’t feel for him as I did when we first met. I told him “because I’m not 15 years old anymore.” At that point, I knew the marriage was over. A year after that, we separated. We’d been to counseling, but he wasn’t doing the things that would have possibly saved our marriage, because he thought he knew it all.

    This is a good post that everyone needs to read.

  7. My Gosh I need your help, I’m dealing with someone that is all of those things and so much more. He doesn’t see it though, and I know without acknowledging it, we can never address it in our relationship…. Any advice?

  8. Hi Rod- I just came across your blog and am wondering what your opinion is on “love addiction” I have recently become involved with this topic and blogged about it in Nov, under are you addicted to love, this topic is fascinating and could describe much of what happens in “unhealthy” relationships? Do you subscribe to this belief system? I has helped see the truth in what has gone on in all of my relationships.

  9. I love the concept of differentiation in love (Bowen Family systems). Separateness is a good thing! – A Journey to Wholeness

  10. Thanks Matthew: and what an inspiring site is! I’d suggest readers of Difficult Relationships go and take a good look.

    Let’s talk more, Matthew. Differentiation is cetainly among the most challenging of human tasks if we have heard the term or not!

    Rod Smith

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