Is Your Love Relationship Healthy?
To answer this question we have to identify what you’ve learned about love growing up, and whether or not is was healthy or unhealthy. If you’re thinking: How do I know if what I learned is healthy or unhealthy? You’re right on target. I suggest you consider the following list of unhealthy love experiences as the best place to begin:
One or more of these eight love life experiences are usually involved when early love experiences are deemed to be “unhealthy.” If you grew up in a family of origin where one or more of these unhealthy love experiences were involved chances are you learned a few unhealthy things about love that you are now practicing in your adult love life. Need an example? OK, consider this.
If you grew up in a family where one or more of the people who were supposed to love and take care of you abandoned you, this hurtful experience is bound to figure into the what, how, when, and why of your love life thoughts, feelings, and actions. How abandonment influences you now as an adult will depend upon how you relate to the experience (plus a little of your own creativity coping with the experience).
But rest assured this abandonment will be having an influence on your love life in adulthood. For sure if this is the first time you’ve ever thought about the connection between your past and present love life. (By the way, the term “love life” refers to all the relationships in your life that should have, could have, or do have something to do with the emotion of love.)
Continuing with our example, the three most common consequences of being exposed to the toxic love experience of “abandonment” growing up are:
A. when in a love relationship you become an abandoning person, or
B. when in a love relationship you enable others to abandon you, or
C. you try to stay away from love altogether because you expect abandonment.
Once you’ve identified the unhealthy love experiences you’ve lived through as a child/adolescent, you are on your way to being able to do something about it. Remember, you can’t change something you are not aware of. The problem of course is the feelings this kind of awareness creates in a person. Who wants to feel the hurts and unhappiness that comes with feeling deprived of love in childhood? The short answer is: nobody.
Unfortunately we can’t make permanent positive changes in our adult love lives unless and until we can tolerate a little consciousness for the problem we are trying to change. That of course includes, being able to temporarily tolerate the feelings that go with it. The reward for your tolerance is the possibility of making real changes in your love life.
I’ll talk about the next steps involved in working with the effects of unhealthy love life experiences in upcoming posts.
Comments? Welcome. Dr. T. Jordan