It is clear to see that in the world we live in, what is often classed as love is anything but love and could be classed as dysfunctional and in some cases abusive.
So this is going to be my perspectives on some of the things that are not love. We come to understand what something is, by understanding firstly what it is not. This is what is known as negation.
So, let’s begin to look through each of the descriptions and behaviours that are often classed or said to be love in today’s world.
These are: Control and Need/Dependency.
The act of control in a relationship is common today. This varies in degree and in how destructive it is. It is the type of behaviour that is often oblivious to the public eye and goes on covertly.
With the perpetrator often displaying the facade or demeanour, which is the antithesis of such behaviour.
This could range from: controlling what the other person does; who they see and also what they wear. As time goes on this behaviour will usually increase and the partner will become more controlling as time goes by. With each moment that passes the victims resilience is gradually warn down, until they start to become dependent on the other person.
The perpetrator of this behaviour usually classes these actions as love and a sign of their care for the other person. They might also deny or dismiss their actions. Which not only causes anger and frustration, it can also cause the victim to invalidate their own feelings and emotions and start to believe that there is actually something wrong with them.
There is also the chance that the victim will resist the controlling behaviour and end the relationship. This will depend upon the self image of the individual and whether the level of abuse there are receiving is what they unconsciously believe they deserve or not.
There is a saying that goes something like this ‘we will only put up with what we feel we deserve’ and that if it’s any worse we will either reject it or regress to that level.
Need or Dependency
This type of relationship could be classed as the outlook that one can’t survive without the other person. And that they need them to feel like a whole human being.
Whether it is with someone who is truly right for them or whether it is just someone who fills their need to be needed is often unimportant.
This person will rarely be alone for very long, with their need to escape their own feelings of aloneness, attracting into their life someone to fill the emptiness that they feel.
As they are dependent on another for there wellbeing, they can end up enslaving themselves to the other person. Constantly negating there own true needs for the hope of getting the approval of the other person.
Their childhood wounds are being acted out, with the hope of getting these needs finally met. If the person that they have attracted is the same as the parental figure and is not conscious or willing to be conscious, the same patterns and dramas will be played out without any healing or growth taking place
This could be classed as our inner child’s needs that get confused with present day wants. This is because not only are these needs so powerful, they are also insatiable, and without the awareness of them, they have the power to control our life. Being able to acknowledge them in the present is vital for our own evolution.
What I have described above is the victim’s perspective, with the perpetrator or the individual being perceived as the opposite of needy or dependent. However this is often far from the truth, when in reality the perpetrators neediness/dependency just takes on another form and this enables them to appear the complete opposite.
Each of these examples displays somewhat individual behaviours; however it is clear to see that to some extent they all interrelate.
The typical perspective is that on one side there is victim and the other side there is a perpetrator. When it comes to simply observing what is going on, there is no denying this fact. However, as one becomes more aware, it starts to become clear that what is going on here is far greater in depth than meets the eye. And that there is actually a symbiotic relationship taking place.
Having awareness gives one the ability to shine the light on life, to see what is working and what is not. In the absence of awareness positive change is unlikely, with the result likely being anger, frustration and then hopelessness.
Having an understanding of what creates the relationships we have, will reveal to us that we are not bound by our past and that it is possible to have relationships that honour who we are.
I believe dysfunctional love or relationships occur when we are not relating as adults. And end up relating or reacting as wounded children; from past memories and experiences.
What I mean by this is that it is highly unlikely that we had the perfect childhood, where we had all of our needs met or that we were treated in a loving way all the time. This of course varies from person to person as to how sever this was. However, this creates an inner conflict/inner split or should I say an inner child that longs to be heard and healed.
Unconscious And Conscious Love
The unconscious meaning we have of love is likely to be completely different to the conscious meaning we have.
At an unconscious level we associate love to be how we were treated as a child and how our parents or the people around us as children, treated each other.
This is why we can look for one thing and attract something completely different.
This is where the inner child comes into the equation. The inner child longs for love and to be finally embraced. What adds to the complexity is that the inner child has a sense of safety around how things were. This creates the dichotomy of on one side: wanting to be loved and heard and on the other resisting all change.
Our inner child is understandably fearful and vulnerable; this is why awareness is so important.
As our awareness of ourselves improves we will begin to rise above our history and realise that our present moment is only a reflection of the past through our identification with the past.
The mind identifies with the past, and as the past is familiar is interprets it as what is safe. This is why it can be so hard to let go of what doesn’t work and begin to honour who we are and what is true for us.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the past, fighting and resisting any change. And our mind will hold on until the end if we try to go against it. This is a battle that cannot be won. It can only be achieved by rising above the mind and becoming the observer, which in turn begins to silence the mind.
Whether one believes in the inner child or whether one just sees it as conditioning that is cause of the conflict in their relationships and present day life, is not important.
What is important is that we attract relationships into our life that empower us. How we go about achieving that is down to individual preference.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 26 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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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.