In today’s relationships love is often used to describe how someone feels about another person and as a description of what one is looking for. The world is made up all of kinds of relationships and although there are general meanings when it comes to love; there are also radically different ones.
To say that love means one thing would be an oversight. Just through looking at the different relationships that one has had and that others are having will often show this. So although one can live in a society where there are general ideas about what love is and how love should be, there will also be a personal meaning of what love is.
This meaning may well be personal thing, but it can also correlate with certain views that have come about through the media and society. There will be some people who know what love means to them and others who have no idea. And yet when these people come across the type of person who does it for them; they will soon know.
However this process rarely goes on consciously. One is unlikely to think this person does this or has that and therefore I’m in love. The whole thing typically goes on out of one’s conscious awareness.
If what one unconsciously associates as love is functional and empowering then there is a better chance of one ending up in a healthy relationship. The problem here is that if what one unconsciously associates as being love is disempowering and dysfunctional, this can lead to all kinds of problems.
Because even though one may have an idea about what love is like to them, unless this matches their ego minds associations it is highly unlikely to become a reality. And this will then create conflict and emotional experiences that include; pain, anger, hopelessness and frustration amongst other things.
Ones view of love may be based on someone that is respectful, supportive, kind or affectionate for example. And yet this may be the complete opposite of what ones ego mind has come to associate as what love is.
The ego mind forms associations around everything and once these are formed; it is what the mind will come to conclude as being reality and the truth. These associations are formed through familiarity and this then becomes what is safe.
And when it comes to what the ego mind can associate as what is familiar and therefore safe, there are endless possibilities. While healthy, functional and supportive behaviour can be what the ego mind associates as being safe, so can unhealthy, dysfunctional and unsupportive behaviour for instance.
This is why relationships can be dysfunctional and create so much pain and suffering. Consciously one may feel repelled by the relationships that they are in or to the people that they attract. However, to the ego mind, it is simply due to the associations that it has around these people being familiar and therefore safe.
So as this is a process that generally goes on automatically and is not a conscious occurrence, it can mean that what one is attracted to may well be unknown. There is likely to be an inner need or desire to be with the person and one that cannot be logically explained.
Let’s take a look at some of the more dysfunctional examples of what can be associated as being love. The other person could be: abusive, critical, controlling, cold, violent, overwhelming, distant and aloof for example.
And when it comes to examples that could be classed as neutral, these can include; people that give one attention; do things for them, such as buy them gifts or cook them meals and simply listen to them.
The positive examples of what the ego mind can associate as being safe and to equate love, can be when another person is: supportive, caring, kind, honest and affectionate.
On the surface it can seem very strange as to why the ego mind would associate violence or abuse to mean love. It is clear that there is nothing loving about these two or any of the others that I mentioned above.
And one of the biggest reasons that the mind will associates these unhealthy behaviour to mean love is due to what happened in ones early childhood. This doesn’t even have to be something that was extremely abusive; all it needs to be is an environment that included these behaviours.
Through a traumatic event or by these behaviours being the norm, one became acclimatised to them. This was perhaps the only option there was in this environment.
During ones younger years, one is likely to learn what love is through their caregivers. How they responded to ones needs and wants as a child will then go a long way to defining what ones ego mind associates as love. And how one was treated as a child and how ones caregivers treated each other will also have an effect.
Now, for some people this time will be more dysfunctional or abusive than it is for others. However, as we all respond differently to things, it means that it is as much about how one interprets what happens to them as it is about what actually happens
And these are experiences that are likely to be experienced numerous times and through their familiarity, the ego mind will associate them as what is safe.
At such a young age, one didn’t have the ability to question whether this behaviour was functional or healthy. All one could do was become comfortable with the behaviour and accept it as love.
The associations that the ego mind has formed are not set in stone and can be changed. As this happens one can begin to merge what they truly want, with what is going on at a deeper level.
Therapy, reading, coaching or speaking to a supportive friend can all be useful. This is something that one can only decide for themselves.
The word success is widely used in today’s world and it is something that is sought after by many people. People from all backgrounds and walks of life are driven to attain success. And through the media and other means, we are constantly exposed to people who are successful in certain areas.
Recent creations such as Twitter and Facebook have allowed people to get closer to public figures who have achieved success. So the divide between the two, has now become a lot smaller.
These public figures are typically the ones that society defines as successful; from musicians, to actors and athletes for instance. Here we have people who often have; money, fame, ability and society’s version of what is attractive. And due to the magnitude and the sheer repetition of this exposure; it is inevitable that it is going to influence what people will associate as success.
On the Google website success is described as - 1. The accomplishment of an aim or purpose. 2. The attainment of popularity or profit. So with profit aside, according to this description; success is something that one gets through following their own vision or by doing what will lead to approval from others.
This would mean then, that there are two types of success. Either one listens to themselves and seeks to fulfil their own definition of success or they can choose to go after what society classes as successful.
While there are two clear extremes here, it is also possible for one to choose both options, but this will of course depend on if their inner truth or vision matches up with what society values.
One may have a great desire to be a famous actor or musician so that they can express themselves to as many people as possible. And as there is a general internal and external match occurring; this is likely to create a lot less stress for them.
For another it may be that what they value within is generally not valued by society. This means that the same amount of approval is unlikely to be involved. And conflict can then arise between the inner and the outer world.
There is also the potential for one to have no awareness of what really matters to them and this can mean that pleasing others and going after what society defines as successful will be normal.
It might be that they will suffer because they are not doing what is right for them, but this can also depend on how aware one is. If one is completely cut off from their own self, then this pain may well be minimal and kept out of conscious awareness.
So let’s say that one takes the option of doing what is generally classed as success in the eyes of others. Here one jumps through all the different types of hoops that society and certain authority figures have laid out.
To the degree that one looks for approval from others is often a reflection of how well they approve of themselves. If one doesn’t approve of themselves, this will then be dealt with by looking for others to regulate this sense of inner disapproval.
And while in the short term this may well be a fairly useful solution and lead to one feeling more at ease within; it is likely to become an addiction. Through the inner disapproval still existing, one may need this approval to be constant and to increase.
As one becomes used to the approval, it may well start to lessen in its impact and so more will be required to regulate the conflict within. And if this approval is not achieved then all kinds of distress is likely to occur.
For people that seek success to gain approval from others, they are typically gaining fulfilment through approval. But as I have described above, this is unlikely to lead to deep or lasting fulfilment. What they are doing is not necessarily fulfilling in and of itself.
People who are doing what is in line with their own purpose are usually being fulfilled through the act itself. They may not get as much approval as they would if they followed what is often defined as success, but they are being fulfilled from the inside.
So people who have a higher need for approval can then be more vulnerable to the success that is based on popularity as opposed to self fulfilment. A childhood where one was only approved of when they did what their caregivers wanted or who had caregivers that ignored their inner needs, can be at a greater risk to this.
However, some people still follow their own truth regardless of if they have a high need for approval. But if one has not had their basic need met of being approved, their attention will be absorbed by this need.
And what really matters will then have very little chance of being consciously known and expressed.
What is it?
Success is clearly not black and white then. And this is because what makes one person happy is not always the same as what makes another person happy. Success can be marked by external things such as grades, awards and approval, but real success is marked by how one feels on the inside about what they are doing and have done.
And while people can give advice and suggestions on what one can do to be happy; the only person who can truly answer these questions is oneself.
To love without conditions or requirements is often spoken about when it comes to evolved or adult relationships. And then there are also other needs that can come into this, such as; acceptance, approval, appreciation, respect, attention and many others.
To be loved by another and to have all the other needs met in a way that is unconditional can sound like a wonderful idea. The question is, is this really possible or is it an illusion?
I believe that in order to understand this better, it is important to take a deeper look at childhood development. Because it is here that one first requires unconditional love. This is typically sought from the primary caregiver and is vital for the Childs development.
And in an ideal world the child would receive unconditional love from the caregiver. But the reality is that this doesn’t always happen. One of the consequences of this is that the child is likely to end up emotionally and mentally undeveloped.
At this age the child is completely dependent on the caregiver to take care of its needs and the child has no way of doing this. So all focus has to be on the external sources and all expectation is on the caregiver.
Two Types Of Care
The first type of care is classed as empathic care and where the mother is unconditional in how she responds to the child. Here the child needs are looked after and focussed on. What needs the mother does have are typically secondary to the needs that the Child has.
On the other hand is what is classed as unempathic care and this type of care will be based on conditions. The child will not be loved for who they are, they will be loved based on whether certain requirements are met or not.
And as the child is completely dependent on the nurturing of the primary caregiver this is inevitably going to lead to the child being emotionally and mentally stunted. The above two examples are just general guidelines; as a mother doesn’t need to be completely unconditional in order create a functional child. Mothers are only human after all.
For the child that does receive unconditional love in the majority of cases, they will have had the chance to develop mental and emotionally. The early environment allowed this process to occur.
And for the child who was brought up in an environment where the kind of care that they generally received was conditional, the child is unlikely to feel mentally and emotionally developed. So even though the child has physically grown into an adult, they will still look to other people to fulfil these neglected childhood needs.
Although the seeker is now an adult, they are still searching for the needs that they didn’t have met as a child. So in many ways, it is normal for them to still fell like they did as a child.
And the challenge is that although one may still feel like a child through regression, the person they are looking to fulfil these needs is unlikely to be their caregiver, they are typically going to be adults also.
This means that they also have needs and wants of their own and therefore cannot give unconditionally like the other persons caregiver should have done.
Another important element here is that as a child, one is enmeshed to the caregiver and therefore doesn’t see themselves as separate beings.
Here the child will naturally look to the caregiver to have its needs met and this means that the child has no way of taking care of these needs themselves. As an adult, one can regress and end up looking at others this way once more.
When this happens one will lose their boundaries and become enmeshed to the other person; this is then a reflection of the early childhood relationship that one had with their caregiver. This can then lead to one feeling dependent on the other person. Whether one feels accepted, loved or approved of will then be out of their control and based on the other person.
During the early developmental stages it was imperative that the care giving was consistent so that the child could develop and as an adult this is not always possible. For a certain period of time this may be possible, but the chances of this staying that way for a long period of time is unlikely.
And this is because as adults, we all change from time to time and some people change more than others. So while one can regress to the child they once were and perceiving the other person as being the only person who can make one feel loved, accepted and approved of for instance; this is not the truth.
What the other person can be is a mirror and a catalyst for all that one needs to heal and let go of within themselves. There will be some needs that they can take care of and there will be some that they can’t.
And the person that one attracts will often be the person that will bring up all these neglected needs and this can not only lead to a lot of pain, but also to a lot of healing and growth taking place if this is allowed take place.
The important thing here is to be aware of when one regresses to the child they once were. To be clear on what another person offer and what they can’t. This may require some real assistance or it may only be case of becoming aware of certain ways of behaving and changing these ways.
Therapy could then be very useful, as could a coach or reading up on this area of psychology. The ability to feel accepted or whole is ones natural state. What makes one feel that this is not the case is when the past that has become trapped and needs to be released.
There are often many descriptions of what truth is and what truth is not. Absolute truth is often used when it comes to religion or spirituality. These are all fascinating areas to study and to then form one’s own opinion.
And there is also another form of truth; which comes from the ego mind. This is where absolute truth can come into the equation; because the ego mind only sees in polarities. So this means that whatever the ego mind perceives as the truth will not be open to interpretation. It will be something that is completely black and white.
This doesn’t only relate to so called ‘bigger truths’ it can relate to anything in one’s life. While this can relate to questions about whether a god exists or not, it can also include everyday situations and conversations that could be described as more mundane.
The Ego’s Truth
When it comes to what is true and what is not, the ego mind has its own way of coming to this deduction. Once something has become familiar and therefore interpreted as what is safe; it then becomes what is classed as the truth.
Here the ego mind will hold onto that it believes to be true and like a dog with a bone – it won’t let go. And the reason it won’t let go and therefore alter what it believes to be true, is that through the minds association of it being familiar, to change it would mean death.
Life And Death
To look at this logically it is clear that to change what one believes to be true will not lead to death and yet that is how the ego mind functions. Any change, no matter what this change is has the potential to lead to the ego minds end; or so it would seem to the ego.
And unless this truth was to do with putting ones hand in a fire for example, it is seldom likely that it is the truth. But when it comes to the ego mind, it can associate any outlook or opinion as being what is true; it doesn’t matter how functional or dysfunctional it is.
All it has to do is to create an association of familiarity and this leads to what is safe and what is not. So to the mind, it’s a case of either holding onto this perspective and surviving or letting go and dying. Even though to hold onto something as the truth could ultimately lead to death or to a life that is not worth living; it is irrelevant to the mind.
Now, what the ego mind does perceive as the truth may have been for a very good reason at some point. At a stage in one’s life during stress or trauma, it may have lead to ones survival. And although this was the case at one point, it may have resulted in one simply creating their own prison as life continued.
But, as the ego mind will interpret life through these early associations that were formed, it can create the illusion that what was associated as the truth during those stressful moments is the absolute truth.
This can also be done through projection and the same process is occurring; one is interpreting what is happening through their ego minds associations. What was vital for ones protection at one point in life is now leading to unnecessary suffering and pain.
Above I mentioned how truth can relate to questions such as whether god exists and other big questions. But this also relates to so many more areas of life. What the ego mind believes as the truth can include: what men are like and what women are like; what one is capable of and what they are not; how people see them and how they don’t and if they are lovable or if they are not.
There are many other examples and these are just some of the important areas when it comes to what the mind can associate as being the absolute truth.
Once ones ego mind has formed an association of familiarity around a point of view and is now safe with this, it will automatically look for anything that will correspond to this ‘truth’. This can then mean that anything that goes against this ‘truth’ will be filtered out of one’s personal reality.
The saying “We don't see things as they are; we see them as we are’’ by Anais Nin comes to mind here. Here the ego mind can dismiss, deny, edit and cut out all that goes against ‘the truth’. Attracting people who mirror this truth will be part of life and if they don’t mirror it, they may well be avoided altogether.
Being Right Or Being Happy
While the ego mind will do all it can to prove that its right and other views and outlooks are wrong, one can get caught up in holding onto these truths’ and trading in their happiness at the same time.
And as being wrong would be interpreted as the same as death to the ego mind, this is not much of a surprise.
Questioning what one believes is true and what is not is then incredibly important when it comes to being happy. Something may have happened to lead to one perceiving themselves in a certain way or others of a different sex or of the same sex in the same way.
These perceptions may no longer be relevant and although this may be the case; the ego mind is still holding onto them. So even though times have changed, the ego is still interpreting life in the same way.
As one changes what they believe to be true, it can lead to more possibilities in life and to the world opening up. Simply questioning these truths may be enough and for others some form of coaching may be required.
There are some mothers out there who are loving and supportive and these are the epitome of the mother archetype in action. And then there are mothers who are anything but loving and supportive. These are mothers who have gone against their natural inclination to nurture.
Instead of doing all they can to create a child that is healthy, happy, empowered and adjusted; they often end up doing the complete opposite. Now, there are of course degrees to how severe this abuse can be and this will lead to different consequences.
For someone who had a loving mother or one that was fairly neutral in this respect; it will be hard to comprehend how any mother could abuse their own child. And for the abused child; this will also be hard to understand.
Mothers are often held in high regard by society and rightfully so. However, this has negatives as well as positives. For women who take care of their child or children, this will be well deserved. But when it comes to women who abuse their children; it can often create a wall of silence.
Based on the positive perception of what a mother is like, it can cause an abused child or adult child to repress and deny what has happened to them.
So instead of them speaking up and being open about their abuse; they may well live in fear of opening up about it. As a result of the common idea of what mothers are like, it can lead to one feeling ashamed and guilty of what they actually feel to be the truth within them.
This is why dealing with the consequences of an abusive mother and healing what happened can be such a challenge. By living in a society that reveres the mother figure, the other side of what some mothers are like often goes unnoticed.
In order for one to heal what happened, validation and acknowledgement usually need to occur. The story that one has needs to be heard and accepted. Because if what one really feels is denied, dismissed or repressed; it will not lead to healing or letting go.
What happened is what happened, and this means facing the truth of it and not judging oneself in any way. Ultimately, it was not personal and had nothing to do with the person who was abused.
So if it had nothing to do with them, why were they abused? Let’s take a closer look at what is usually going on for mothers who are abusive. Firstly it comes to a lack of self awareness.
The abusive mother is in pain and due to them not dealing with their pain in a healthy way, through seeing a therapist or speaking about what their problems are to someone, their child ends up being abused. But this is not something that goes on consciously; the whole process can only happen if the mother is unaware.
This means that the mother has certain emotions, feelings, thoughts and sensations within her that are creating a sense of unease. And is using the child as a way to regulate or deal with these processes. Now, these rarely consist of the odd irritation here and there, they are likely to be extreme and overwhelming to the mother.
At times they may be minor experiences within, but in the majority of cases they won’t be. And the reason that they are so powerful is typically because they have built up in the mother.
In the beginning of this article I mentioned the common challenges that individuals often have who were abused by their mother. And this often plays a large role in the reason they were abused by their mothers.
When the mothers were children themselves it is highly likely that they were also abused by their mothers. So what then happened is they passed on the same behaviour. Through being unable to speak out about what happened and process what went on; they had to deny it within themselves.
This can then lead to repression and here one can forget that they have forgotten. But, the body can’t do that and needs to release what has happened. If it doesn’t get the chance to do that, it will lead to reactive behaviour.
Here one will behave in ways that are not conscious and one will feel that they have no control. It’s as if they have become set to act in certain ways and have no other options to choose from.
So what then happens to them through having a child, is that all that they have not dealt with and repressed all those years ago, comes right back up. And as this pain and trauma has been repressed for many years; it results in the mother having no control over what’s going on inside them.
And then the same behaviour that was carried out on them, gets carried out again. Although this is the case, it does not mean that the abusive mother will admit to this. Through years of repression and other defence mechanisms, such as justification; the mother may have all kinds of reasons why they did it.
Again this will depend on how conscious they are and if they are willing to take reasonability for their actions. One thing is important here and that is - they might deny, justify, ignore or dismiss what happened, but that doesn’t mean one has to do the same thing.
What matters here is that if one was abused by their mother they seek the appropriate assistance. This means listening to what their mind, body and heart may be trying to say. It is there and needs to be faced in some way. And there is not one way to do this; there are numerous ways out there.
As more people have spoken up about this, it has created more awareness and this has lead to more solutions being created. Numerous books are available and then there are different kinds of therapies and healing modalities. What I will suggest is that one reaches out and doesn’t suffer in silence.
The ego mind uses defence mechanism for protection and to ensure its own survival. There are many of these available and this will often depend on two factors. This can be: the type of experience that one has and how one interprets the experience.
Reaction formation is a way for the mind to regulate emotions and thoughts that are perceived as being too inappropriate to reveal. It may be that one feels shame or guilt around expressing a certain emotion or thought. And as the ego mind works in polarities; the experience then becomes polarised.
For example; one feels anger towards someone, but is unable to express this directly due to a number of reasons and this then goes to the other extreme and one comes across as really pleasant
However, this is not to say that everyone will feel guilt, shame or fear around the same things. There may be general patterns to this, but there will also be people who have associated something to be inappropriate and others will not.
So now let’s take a look at some of the common examples in everyday life.
A common example of this will be authority figures. Due to the positions of authority figures it is not always beneficial to express how one truly feels towards them. This could be a manger, a policeman or a club bouncer.
And as a way to deal with ones inner experience, one becomes overly polite and friendly towards them. It is also possible for this to show up in other cases, this could be towards a bully or an abusive person in someone’s life.
The Opposite Sex
There will be some men who have moments when they feel as though they are against women and some women will have moments when they feel like they don’t like men. And as a way to deal with these feelings, they can then become extremely nice to the opposite sex.
This can come across in many ways; from men worshipping women and putting them on a pedestal, to women looking up to and idealising men.
In recent years political correctness has taken over and lead to all kinds of problems. And this is the perfect example of reaction formation. As a way to deal with anything that is labelled as ‘offensive’; it has caused things to go to the other extreme. The term walking on egg shells can sum it up. Here, one is expected to be all accepting, completely tolerant and without opinion.
What then occurs is that people can feel like robots and lose all sense of authenticity. It is quite clear that this approach is not going to lead to any real growth and is causing repression. At when it comes to society, that is nothing new.
These are just a few examples and I am sure many more that will come to mind .There will be moments when this defence mechanism is useful. And there will also be times when it is right for one to reveal what is really going on. This will depend on many factors and something that one must decide for themselves.
The definition of what it means to be attractive is not always the same for one person as it is for another. There are general things that are recognised as being attractive in women and attractive in a man. Science often comes up with what these qualities are.
However, what is found to be the absolute truth by scientists does not always match up with reality and the real world. When it comes to women for example; a certain waist-to-hip ratio is talked about as being what is attractive to a man. And for women; broad shoulders are often mentioned as being attractive.
I think is clear that these do have an effect on the opposite sex and the same sex; depending on one’s sexual orientation. And yet what is also evident is that this is not an absolute truth.
If one was to look at the relationships of the world, at a personal level and the people who are famous, there will be noticeable exceptions to what science has to say about what is attractive and what is not.
Win Or Lose?
For if one has what science describes as attractive, there could be feelings of contentment and happiness. It can only be a good thing for this person and this is because it is creating a sense of validation.
And for the person who doesn’t have the requirements that science describes as being attractive, it can lead to feeling that they are not attractive. This will partly depend what the person’s psychological disposition is; some people might be comfortable enough to not be affected and others may react differently.
The media is probably the most influential when it comes to defining what is attractive and what is not. And these are often trends that have changed over time. At one point the curvier women was in ‘fashion’. And in today’s world, although more women are being appreciated for having curves, the slimmer look is still popular.
And while it is possible for women to change their clothes or their makeup for instance; changing the body is not as easy and sometimes it is not even possible.
What these fashions and phases do, is indirectly create a promise that if one looks a certain way and way that has been sold by science, the media or any other source for that matter; then they will be attractive.
And to be seen as attractive has many psychological benefits. One can feel: acknowledged, validated, accepted, important and valuable.
One of the things that happen through the power of the media and others means is that the mind forms associations of what is attractive. And once these are formed at an unconscious level; one’s personal wellbeing will depend on whether one matches up to these requirements.
For women this could include: being slim, looking young or having large breasts. And for men this may include: being tall, having a muscular physique or being wealthy. So again, if one doesn’t have these, it can lead to feeling powerless and rejected.
And after all this conditioning, it is not surprising that some men and women feel hopeless and that they are unattractive to the opposite or same sex.
Evolution And Emotion
What scientists describe as attractive and what some of the elements in the media are based on, relate to evolution. Untimely, they are what one can and should find attractive. However when it comes to the real world, these are often irrelevant.
And one of the primary reasons that this is the case is the result of emotions. These are rarely, if ever, included when it comes to scientific studies and the Medias representations of what is attractive.
When I look at the modern day society, one thing that comes to mind is the women who are classed as cougars. They do not always posses what younger girls have and yet for some men, this doesn’t matter. What they can often offer is the emotional fulfilment that some younger women may not be able to give.
This is just one example of course and is not black and white. It will usually depend on what is going on in one’s life, as to how ones emotional state is. What one emotionally needs or wants from another person will then be based on how they feel. We are often attracted to that which we haven’t realised within ourselves and repelled by what we are not willing to face within ourselves.
So for example, if one feels uncertain and is lacking confidence, it may lead to one looking for someone who demonstrates confidence and certainty. Or perhaps one doesn’t like who they are and so looks for someone who will like them for who they are.
And whether or not this person has what science or the media describe as attractive, may be then irrelevant.
There are also the models that one forms as a child of what is attractive to them and what is not. And this can greatly influence what they are attracted to as an adult. Here the ego mind will form the first associations of what is attractive and what is not.
Some of these associations are likely to match up with the views of science and the media and some wont. There will be some people who, based on their childhood experiences, will be more susceptible than others to what the media comes up with.
The Ego Mind
And once the mind has formed these associations during ones younger years and as an adult of what is means to be attractive; one will perceive reality in this way. These associations then become familiar to the mind and are therefore safe.
This means that although science and the media are so insistent on what it means to be attractive; one is also having their own personal experience. And an experience that rarely consists of black and white and often has areas of grey.
But if the ego mind has taken on board the views of media or the science; it will cause one to end up in situations and to have experiences that validate these associations. And not because this is the absolute truth, but because it has become what is interpreted as safe to the mind. And the mind will then filter everything out that doesn’t match these associations.
So even if one is perceived as attractive to others, one may not even see it; because in their mind, they are not attractive based on the associations that have been formed.
Through getting caught up in what the media says one can believe that if they can achieve what is presented to them, then they will be happy. And yet if one feels that who they are is not enough inside, it won’t matter what one does on the outside.
It is also unlikely that one will feel that the person they are with likes them for who they are.
Whether it is the media, science or anything else, it is causing one to give their power away. And for the outside world to define how one feels. This is not to say that one should stop looking after themselves and growing.
However, if one likes who they are to begin with, everything else will be a lot easier. And this by itself will make one appear more attractive and radiate from within. If one feels that they are not attractive, this could then lead to one feeling worse and to creating more problems. Here a viscous cycle can be created.
The journey of liking oneself is not something that occurs over night. And this will mean that some people will be put off by it and seek the external options.
A big part of this is about letting go; letting go of the past and the illusions that one has picked up from the many sources out there. There are books, coaching and many other choices available to assist one with this.
When it comes to the consequences of abuse, there are many and some will be more severe than others. One of these consequences is that it usually creates uncertainty in the victim.
And this has the potential to create all kinds of problems, because to the degree that one feels uncertain within, will play a large role in how much power and control the abuser has. This uncertainly then becomes, if you will, the open door for them to enter and create all kinds of damage.
Once they have been allowed to ‘get in someone’s head’ as it is often called, they will often be able to violate the person and to do as they wish. Now for some people this may be a minor type of abuse and for others it will involve extreme abuse.
This is not to say one can be ignored and excused and that the other is more important; it is simply to exemplify that there are differences in abuse.
I will now go into what I believe are the main factors in this dynamic. This is not to be taken as the absolute truth. I am simply sharing my views with others and I encourage that people come to their own views and conclusions.
So with the disclaimer of sorts out of the way - let’s begin and take a deeper look at what may be going on.
On one side it could be said that all abuse starts on the outside and over time, this abuse ends up being internalised and then becomes self abuse. Another viewpoint is that abuse is already going on inside and this means that one will attract external situations that mirror that which is already going on internally.
This will also depend on how old the person is who is getting abused. If one is talking about child abuse, then it is unlikely that self abuse is already occurring, as all they know is what they have picked up from the people around them.
However, if it is adult abuse, this will be more likely to be true. As an adult, one will have had years of experiences that could have formed the internal voice that is creating self abuse. But, with that aside for the time being; let’s go to the next stage.
To create the uncertainty in the other person, the abuser ultimately needs to make the victim question their own reality. The more uncertain the victim is of their reality, the more vulnerable and powerless they will feel.
And then, brick by brick, ones inner house will begin to crumble and fall to the ground. This is something that rarely occurs over night, but that’s not to say that it has to take a long time either.
Ones sense of reality is made up of many different aspects. From what they believe about themselves and to what they believe about others. However, to be specific here, an extremely important part of one’s reality is made up of one’s: thoughts, feelings, emotions and perceptions.
And if this reality is not respected and honoured it can then lead to one starting to doubt who they are and their own reality. And if this happens, one will give their power away to the abuser.
This could lead to at least two possible scenarios and this will depend on numerous factors; from how sever the abuse is, to how the person responds to the abuse and how tolerant they are to it.
While one person may leave at the first sign of abuse or shortly after; another person may put up with it and become warn down over time. This will depend on many different influences; from what their personality is like, to how strong they are internally.
There will be many methods and ways that the abuser has for making another question there reality and yet there often are patterns. And what these methods will often come down to is the act of invalidating the other person’s reality.
This could be done through the abuser denying what the other person is feeling, thinking or perceiving; minimizing what the other person is experiencing; doubting the other person’s sense of competence and many other ways.
And this will of course create different consequences for the victim. At first it may have started off as an equal relationship, but as a result of the abuse, the other person is likely to end up feeling below the other person.
So while one may have started of feeling confident and certain about themselves, they have ended up filled with self doubt and uncertainty. And this can then lead to one feeling dependent on the very person they can’t bear to be with.
The Ego Mind
Although at the beginning of the abuse one may have felt uncomfortable and wanted to leave, as time went by the ego mind would have created associations of familiarity around what was happening. And the ego mind perceives what is familiar to be what is safe.
So what felt uncomfortable at the start, can soon becomes what feels comfortable as time passes by. Ones survival has then become attached to the abuser.
The ego mind doesn’t always create associations of what is safe around what is healthy or functional; as we can see. And this is why awareness is important, because if one is not aware of the how the ego mind works, it is going to lead to more suffering.
Boundaries are also important here, as ones personal space has been violated through this occurrence. Once one is aware that there is a problem, action needs to be taken.
This may just involve changing ones behaviour or speaking up. For others it may mean reading about the subject and then applying what one has learnt. And some people may require some kind of assistance; through therapy, coaching or a support group for example.
What matters is that one takes action and puts this abuse to an end.
When it comes to human development, emotions are generally ignored and have been exceeded by other areas. In recent years there has been an intense focus on ones physical side and this has lead to people joining gyms or going for runs for example.
And when it comes to ones intellectual side; this is something that is usually taken care of through school, college or university for instance.
So although one may be able to regulate their emotions through exercising or through thinking in certain ways, as a result of their intellectual development, this can be a short term solution and also as a way to escape from ones emotions.
There are of course many other options that are available to cope with ones emotions. Society is full of them and this could be the usual choices, such as: alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping and food.
But when it comes to options of dealing with emotions directly and therefore not running away from them; the options are few are far between in mainstream society.
Daniel Goleman has spoken about emotional intelligence for many years. And as emotions play such a massive role in life, it is surprising that emotional intelligence is not part of the modern day education.
Of course there are psychologists and therapists available to assist with emotional challenges, but these are often sought when emotions have become out of control and unbearable.
And once they have built up and become unbearable; these options may be chosen. However, it is more than likely that once ones emotions have become unbearable, one of society’s numerous escapes will be selected.
It often takes something to become really bad before something is done. And emotions are no different here. To look after the body and to eat right are undoubtedly key parts of life. These are constantly mentioned in the media and other sources.
What is seldom mentioned, are emotions and the importance of emotional health and harmony. And there has to be reasons for this, because it is not healthy or beneficial for something as important as our emotions to be ignored.
Here I will explain what I currently believe are some of those reasons. This is not to be taken as the be and end all; It is simply my opinion. So with that out of the way, let’s take a deeper look.
I believe that the biggest factor in whether one is comfortable or uncomfortable with their emotions is their childhood. And what happens here will generally define the relationship that one has with their emotions as an adult.
On one side there is what happens to one as a child through the quality of care that they receive. And on the other side is how they interpret what happens to them as a result of their childhood.
There is often said to be two types of early care; empathic and unempathic care. This is not to say that childhood is black or white, these are simply used as a general guideline to explain the two sides of care.
Here, the child will be cared for by a caregiver that is aware and in tune of the Childs needs, wants and preferences. This will also lead to the child being mirrored and acknowledged during times of pain or pleasure for example.
When it comes to this Childs caregiver, they will be unaware and not in tune. The Childs needs and wants will be ignored and covered up with the caregiver’s needs and wants taking precedence. And this means that the child won’t be mirrored, soothed or acknowledged during times of pleasure or pain.
Now, the descriptions above represent the two extremes. One represents a loving caregiver and the other represents an abusive caregiver. And some caregivers can often switch between the two; there will also be some caregivers who stick to a certain style.
The style of nurturing that one had when they were a baby may have changed when one become a child for example.
What these two descriptions above will do, is go a long way to defining the relationship that one has with their emotions. If one was brought up by a caregiver that was unaware and lacked empathy it would be likely that during times of emotional pain they were not soothed or regulated by them.
And this means that as child one would have had to sit with their emotions and that is likely to mean being overwhelmed by them. An empathic caregiver would help to regulate this experience for the child. Because at that age, the ability to self regulate wouldn’t be there.
This would then lead to the child developing the ability to self regulate; to see that their emotions are not stronger or more than they are. To see that they are transitory and therefore come and go, when they are allowed to flow.
It could be that this happened many, many times and created associations of being overwhelmed and having no control over ones emotions. This could also be the result of a one of traumatic incident as a child or as an adult.
And due to there being no one around or someone who was emotionally available; one had no choice but to feel uncomfortable and to form negative associations around emotions. And not this is how one deals with their emotions as an adult.
One way of becoming emotionally comfortable is to face them. As the more something is resisted and avoided the stronger it becomes. This is not to say that one should do this by themselves.
Through the assistance of a coach, therapist or mentor; one can begin to form a better relationship with them. And as this happens, one will start to see that their emotions are not and can never be, more than they are.
This may involve facing and letting go of emotions that have built up over the years; from childhood experiences or from a traumatic incident later in life. Help is there, we only have to ask for it.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant - With Over 2,000,000 Article Views Online.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.