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Confusing warm fuzzy feelings with love II!
December 9, 1999
4:30 pm
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Vrj.

The thread was getting soo.. big that I thought we should split it up. No problems?

Your engine, car and caboose analogy is a good one.

I do see that whilst emotions give us our motivations they make very poor 'leaders'. It seems to me that one definition of maturity is the ability to control our emotions in ways that make them productive rather than destructive.

Control of the emotions takes a lot of understanding of the 'little child' within and what makes him or her both frightened and joyful.

Learning to parent that child isn't easy for me; but I have progressed a little.

Have you developed any techniques?

December 9, 1999
9:02 pm
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Great idea, the old thread was taking so long to load. Also, looking back over the past few weeks, I see I've kind of got this thread off topic. Perhaps I belong on the 'general' list. But I was really learning some things from you, and about you (you seem so much like him). And it was easy to tell when you had replied because noone else seems to come here much.
Anyway, I'll try to stay on topic.
Well, I've always heard of this 'inner child' thing, but never really associated it with myself. As I finally come to see its validity in myself, I can also see that I really do need to learn to control it and its emotions/reactions. So I don't know that I have any techniques. Maybe I do and just
never realized it. I'll think about it. I've been thinking alot about just plain emotions and deciding I think that they are fine. It is that secondary emotion thing, the emotions that come from what I 'think' about the initial thing that are the problem. I have to try to stay clear on the truth and not distort it with my imaginings and projections or judgements as to the intent of others. Then, the following emotions, reactions and decisions will be based on fact. I guess the first thing I have been doing, not because I recognized the child, but because I saw that my reactions weren't helping the situation, is to try not to react too much initially. To take time to think
through my response and even my reaction. Many times that has saved me from a very emotional scene even in the few months I've been doing it. I have to remember to not let things go though, to deal with the issues, but the real issues, not the petty thing that caused the feeling. Often I find that after not reacting and thinking about it, it is not what was said or done at the particular time that is the problem, but a deeper, more entrenched pattern. For example, I am realizing that. as much as my bf's actions hurt and as much as I have a right to be angry, and I do have that right, he does them out of his own fear and shame and an anger or rage response is what he expects and probably even feels he deserves. It is also what he uses to turn the tables and blame me rather than admitting his own guilt OUT LOUD. I am still working on what the appropriate response will be. It also is easy to figure out your response when alone. But it gets all mixed up when the other person adds input, as they will and should. So, I think you have to be able to think on your feet which means that rather than having specific phrases or words prepared, you should ensure that you have truth and a clear understanding of where you stand and why, but also compassion and empathy. If something comes up that makes you want to scream, you should again take a time out until you have an appropriate response.
I think we should learn to really feel and speak our true emotions because they are very valid and can tell us what an appropriate response should be. Because they are based on truth(the train). So I guess what I'm saying is that control of the emotions isn't really control of the emotions but knowledge of the truth and enough trust and belief in the truth and ourselves to trust our emotional response, not to hide and control it as little boys are trained, not to use it as manipulation as little girls are trained. That's something I've just figured out about myself. I see that,w ith absolutely no direction from my consciousness, I have used emotions to try to get a certain response from others (usually failing). And when I think about it, not even thought through. And definitely not mature. E.g., crying, a legitimate and true display of emotion for certain circumstances. A purely manipulative thing for others. But it's so natural and easy to do. Doesn;t get results though like perhaps it did as a child. Time to let go. But also to remember that tears are appropriate at times. Weird how we use them when inappropriate and hide them when appropriate. Somethings wrong with this picture. An example I have is just last week. It's kind of funny now, in a sick way, to recognize it. When my bf said he was going away for my birthday, etc., I immediately got a tear response (because of my suspicions and fears, the thoughts (the car)) but then I even took it farther and held them back. I don't know what he thought but in my head I was saying 'there, he sees he's hurt me and also sees that I am being sooo brave, let him deal with that! I hope he feels guilty. He should.' Well, I have no idea what he really thought of that. I'm sure he was probably wrapped up in his own dramas. I only know that it was sooo natural for me to do and I must make it unatural. I can't feel guilty for doing something that I realize must have been programmed in but I have to take responsibility for the reprogramming.
Arghhhh! I have to stop. Back is aching. Fingers sore. I think I've got a lot of thoughts out anyway. So, talk to you later. Peace and serenity to you.

December 10, 1999
6:51 pm
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VRJ.
Talking about feelings that are experienced in our conscious awareness as a result of emotional arousals, you said, "It is that secondary emotion thing, the emotions that come from what I 'think' about the initial thing that are the problem. I have to try to stay clear on the truth and not distort it with my imaginings and projections or judgements as to the intent of others."

I have learnt that our emotional responses are recalled from emotional memory - a physiological part of our brain. If we did not lay down contextual memories (memory of events and environments)at the same time as we laid down the emotional memories then we tend to associate 'schemas' or 'scripts' with these feelings that result from emotional memory recall.

It is these 'scripts' or 'schemas' that govern the nature of our "imaginings and projections or judgements as to the intent of others"; as you put it.

I do not believe that we can prevent the emotional recall when unconsciously triggered. However, if vigilant, we can override the 'schema' that, subsequent to our feeling the emotional arousal, 'floods' our conscious awareness.

It is the whole process of responding to the unconscious sensory input trigger up to and including the 'schema' recall that I refer to as a 'little boy or girl'. The overriding by a higher order intellectual processing based on reasoning and 'knowledge' is the 'adult' within us in action. However the 'adult', in order to have the power to override the belief in the validity and appropriateness of the schema as a criterion in assessing the present situation, must first clearly 'see' the 'inner child' trying to take control and the irrational nature of the 'child' in trying to apply inappropriate schemas to the present situation.

Secondly, the 'child'is cunning, baffling and powerful; constant monitoring of our feelings and by 'nurturing'if they are negative is the only technique that I know to prevent the intensity of the emotional arousal putting the 'child' in control.

Also, I think that expressing our feelings in a very non-threatening way helps. BUT in order to be non-threatening, my 'adult' has to be in control in the first place. My 'child' has emotionally learnt - and it is set in concrete - to get 'its' way by threatening others. That is; a perception of a large non-conformance with fulfillment of my perceived survival needs evokes severe anger with all the processing in between being hidden from my conscious awareness. I notice that the 'child' in others has often emotionally learnt differently.

I think that all of our postings have been highly relevant to clarifying the relationship our feelings have with genuine love.

Our feelings seem to me to be our awareness of our emotions. Our emotions seem to be tied to our perceived survival needs. If we perceive an event as being supportive then we feel 'good, warm and fuzzy' about it; otherwise we feel 'bad, negative, fearful, anxious etc. This seems to be about us and not the other person. Love would seem to dictate that we - at least intellectually if not emotionally - encompass others into our survival equations.

To emotionally encompass others, I think that we have to have been emotionally very well parented indeed. If we were severely deprived of love in childhood, then I think that we are forced by our very emotional programming to use our intellect to love.

The above belief of mine is based on a definition of love that is both intentional and, if possible, behavioural; 'Love is as love does'and 'love is wanting what is in the best interests of another - as we perceive it'. Where do the emotions fit into this or any other definition of love other than providing the necessary emotive power to think about what is in the mutual best interests of self and another or in order to carry out the intended behaviour?

Is love only about survival? Or are we capable of rising above our survival needs and loving in some spiritual capacity? Some people seem to have done so in the past. After all,even though we settle for conditional love, we do hunger for unconditional love. Is this why we get dissatisfied with the brand of love that our sexual partners provide?

December 10, 1999
11:25 pm
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You said "To emotionally encompass others, I think that we have to have been emotionally very well parented indeed."

I agree, the urge for self preservation is very strong.

"If we were severely deprived of love in childhood, then I think that we are forced by our very emotional
programming to use our intellect to love. "

Do you think we can teach emotional maturity to ourselves? Or, is it something that you must acquire young? For myself, I don't think I felt a lack of love but I can definitely see emotional 'misguidance' based on a long line of dysfunction.

Your definition of love is "'Love is as love does'and 'love is wanting what is in the best interests of another - as we perceive it'."

I agree with the first. What's in your heart will display itself in your actions. But the second part sounds like control to me. Thinking about what you said, I can't yet come up with an alternative to the part 'as we perceive it', but our perception is based on our experiences and may not really be 'in the best interests of another'. And if you want what you perceive to be in the best interests of the other, but the other doesn't see it the same way, there will be conflict. Unless, I suppose, you want it but don't force it.
I guess I feel strongly about this because I see it very much in my relationship. My bf believes he knows what is in the best interests of himself, me and everyone else and gos to great lengths to ensure that everyone succeeds in doing what he believes is correct. If he were running a business, he would be considered very astute but he doesn't take other people's need to make their own decisions into account or allow them to make mistakes. I think love has to include some kind of acceptance and patience. Perhaps perseverance as well, because he genuinely could be correct, but a gentle perseverance.
You said "Where do the emotions fit into this or any other definition of love other than providing the necessary emotive power to think about what is in the mutual best interests of self and another or in order to carry out the intended behaviour? "

I agree that the emotions are the power to action when based on the truth. But can also be more. As you said " Is love only about survival? Or are we capable of rising above our survival needs and loving in some spiritual capacity? Some people seem to have done so in the past. After all,even though we settle for conditional love, we do hunger for unconditional love."

I believe we are capable of it. It involves valueing what is good. What we value we will strive to get. If we value things and money and our own comfort above all other things, that is what we'll strive for and probably get. If we value another person's fulfillment or truth or harmony, that is what we will strive for. It also involves 'losing' the ego.

"Is this why we get dissatisfied with the brand of love that our sexual partners provide?"

Hmmm. What do you mean? Do you think everyone is disatisfied? Are you talking of a purely sexual relationship or a loving relationship that includes making love?

December 12, 1999
4:06 pm
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Tez,

I hope you don't mind me following you here...you have made a few statements that made my ears stand up!

VRJ,

I have read a lot of your postings and feel your bf has a great deal in common with mine (or whatever mine is this week). You, too, have shown me things I thought only possible in his behavior. From your postings, I am begining to see that his behavior towards me might not have anything to do with ME. But that past experience influences present. That I am not in relationship with one man, but with many others as well. I hope to learn a great deal from both of you, if you don't mind. From the safety of your established bond with Tez I see many positive insights emerging!

December 12, 1999
4:35 pm
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VRJ.
I believe that behind all human behaviour is an intention. By that I mean that we intend that a certain out come be achieved. That outcome is what we want to happen either for our benefit, anothers or both.
In my opinion, it is the motive behind the intention that decides whether an cat is loving or not. Whilst our perceptions of what is in the best interests may or may not coincide with that of another or even be accurate, I maintain that love dictates that we act on our own perception of what is in the mutual best interests of self and others. If we are focussing only on self interest or the interests of another disregarding the self entirely then it is not love. I believe that people who are supposedly selfless and knowingly act to their own detriment have often a hidden motive that is what they perceive as being in their self interest. e.g. Whether she consciously knew it or not, I believe Mother Therese's motives for her life of 'self denial', were in order to achieve what was in the best interests of the poor in this life and her own best interests as well (spiritual self-satisfaction, peace of mind, contentment etc and after her death eternal life with her God).

Regarding your valid point that the other may not want an outcome that we perceive as good for them, then if you perceive that the other's freedom to choose for themselves is in their best interests even though you disagree with their choice you are then in your opinion still acting in their best interests by not trying to interfere with their free choice.

If on the other hand you perceive that your actions in allowing another their freedom are not in their best interests then it is hardly loving to give them unrestricted freedom, even though the other person gets what they want. A good example of this is my 90 year old dementia suffering father. He has the mentality of a 3 year old. He does not want to eat, yet he eats with great relish when food is put in front of him against 'his will'. He wants his freedom to do as he likes. I have to 'override' that freedom at times despite the fact that he dislikes it intently. I am acting on what I perceive is his best interests as well as mine and the other carers. Outcome wise, I could be 'wrong' in doing this; however I am acting out of love. The outcome being right or wrong does not determine the loving nature of an act; my motive, regarding 'in whose best interests', which lie behind my action, does.

In your bf's case, when he is trying to restrict your freedom, I do not know his motives. I suspect that he doesn't know his own motives either. However, surmising that he really was considering both yours and his MUTUAL best interests then his restricting behaviour would be loving. On the other hand, if he is only considering getting his self-centred needs met, albeit unconsciously, then the act is not loving.

Another example is a little baby. How they hate having their freedom restricted. Yet we know that the mother acts lovingly; she considers both her and the babies best interests in acting so. I am sure that the babies screams of protest often twang at the strings of her heart; yet a loving mother doesn't give in. On the other hand, mothers, who know that lollies are no good for a child and gives them lollies as a pacifier just to shut them up, are acting in self-interest only, and therefore are acting unlovingly. This is why I think that feelings are not reliable criteria for judging an act as loving; perceptions of best interests when considered carefully, whether accurate or otherwise, are. Feelings are often driven by unconscious false perceptions about the survival value of an event.

You asked, "Do you think we can teach emotional maturity to ourselves?" I don't know about others. I do know that I have learnt to control my emotions by intellectual (cognitive) means. But, such control is NOT by suppression or repression of my feelings; I have learnt how to nurture my emotional self; not by indulging 'him' but by showing 'him' how well 'I' am caring for 'him'. When 'he' is content, I consistently behave maturely. Occasionally, if I neglect to monitor my feelings and don't act to keep 'him' in a secure state, 'he' can build up a head of steam (fear). Then a trivial event can trigger an emotional outburst that would do a 2 year old proud. My self-nurturing is perceived by me to as be in the best interest of others as well as my own. Therefore it is perceived by me to be loving behaviour.

December 12, 1999
4:53 pm
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Kitten.
Jump in by all means. I am sure you will make a very valuable contribution.

You said, "That I am not in relationship with one man, but with many others as well." Wow!! This, in my opinion, is the key to understanding human behaviour. I sincerely believe that when we interact with our partners, there are many of our past 'emotional experiences' interacting provocatively with many of those from the past in our partner's emotional memory banks. What a complicated thing to try to unravel, cognitively; what a tinderbox!!

VRJ.
I missed your last question about , "Do you think everyone is disatisfied?" Since I see nearly 50% of marriages failing and of the remainder many stay together for fear of the alternative, I think that only a minor percentage in relationships are satisfied. What that exact percentage is, I do not know. I believe that it is well below 50%; I suspect it is less than 30% on 'gut feelings'. Cynical, eh. 🙂

December 12, 1999
9:34 pm
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kitten, jump right in.

tez, I'll respond but tomorrow is my BIRTHDAY so I'm going out for lunch with mom and relaxing. I don't think I'll strain my brain. On first glance though, your examples involve the elderly and babies, not 'equals'. Does your theory apply there as well?

December 13, 1999
11:45 am
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Happy Birthday, VRJ! I'd sing,but can't carry a tune...
Hope you have an enjoyable day.

December 13, 1999
4:02 pm
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VRJ.
You said, "...your examples involve the elderly and babies, not 'equals'. Does your theory apply there as well?" In my opinion, a resounding yes. I used extremes examples to highlight the point. I think that you may be confusing 'desired outcomes' and 'motives' behind the desired outcomes. It is the 'motives' behind the intended outcomes not the outcomes that determine an act of love. We all act in order to meet needs. The question is whose needs are we trying to fulfil; ours our partners, or both. I suggest that the latter (both) is what determines whether the act is loving or not. When it comes to perceiving needs we then have to identify, prioritise, and discriminate between needs. This is where 'in the best interests of all' judgements have to be made by the individual who is in the relationship.

A classic extreme example in making clarifying the point was an event common in Nazi Germany during WW2. A jewish baby is hiding with its parents and relatives in a cellar. The Gestapo is searching the house for hidden jews. The baby starts to cry. The father trys to muffle the baby. He has a choice. Risk killing the baby to save the lives of several people or take the risk of almost certain extermination for all by allowing the baby to breathe and thus cry. The father has the choice between two actions both promising evil outcomes. Many babies died like this; many didn't. What is the loving action for the father to take and what determines that action as being loving?

December 13, 1999
4:35 pm
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VRJ.
I can't sing very well either; but have a happy celebration of the occasion of your entering the world.

I am sure that it was a joyous event for your parents.

December 13, 1999
9:57 pm
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Thanks to both of you for the good wishes. I had a good day. The gift from my bf was a gold cross with a diamond. The card said " Imagine the year before you as a long stretch of sand on a beautiful beach. Let cares be washed away. Find treasures. Leave your mark. Build castles. Dig in. May the year ahead take you wherever your dreams may lead. Happy birthday to the one I love, Valli. " And then he wrote, "This is a gift to you to acknowledge a very special day, your birth. This cross is a gift from God, I would like this cross to represent to you that God loves you as one of his children. The diamond is a gift from me and represents that I love you and diamonds are supposed to show a woman that the man is devoted to the woman whom he gives one to. I hope and pray you will be willing to wear this all the time to help affirm that God and I love you together.". Can you see why I'm not willing to give up yet? I only have one small problem with something he added at the end. He said " God has helped me to give you time to reflect and come to terms with how to commit to what you would like your life to be. And with whom." Maybe I should just let that go. Maybe I'm reading too much into it. It just appears that he really doesn't understand that I have already decided.

Anyway, Tez,
"If I understand you correctly, I think you are saying that basing your actions on intent is proper but basing them on feelings, i.e., emotions is not. In both cases though, you indicate that it involves our perceptions.
< <>>
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I would contend then, that in order for either to be right, we must base our perceptions on truth. And, if based on truth, either way would be satisfactory. Or, even if based on truth, and in a person's best interests, does not the person still deserve the right to make up their own mind (not counting babies, etc.). Isn't that the point of free will? And doesn't a conscious and wilfull agreement predispose commitment, while being forced, coerced or manipulated into going along would create a false and not wholehearted commitment? And then there is the question of truth. What is truth? Is it different for everyone, based on experience or is there one great truth? And whose truth? As long as it is your truth, and you fully believe and have faith in it, does that justify your actions? What if your truth is based on programming done when you were a child, through generations of dysfunction? Where do you find the truth? Does truth change with your learning and healing? A friend of mine has said "The truth is the truth. It doesn't change with time." That seems to indicate one great truth. If so, where do you get it? Actually, I could agree, that if an action is based on truth it is correct.

I think I understand your self nurturing and keeping 'him' content thing. Dealing with things as they come up can diffuse situations and stop the build up of emotions to an exploding point. But also, I think you are saying that you actively reassure 'him'. How do you do this? I can see trying to look at the emotions that are building up and reasoning other possible and realistic explanations for whatever it is upsetting 'him' and causing them. And either saying yes, the emotion is valid, or no, you are basing your reaction on false information or fear.

One thing I'm getting out of all our discussions and it gets us back on the original topic too is that love needs to be active and not just a passive reactor.

December 15, 1999
3:42 pm
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VRJ.

You said, "If I understand you correctly, I think you are saying that basing your actions on intent is proper but basing them on feelings, i.e., emotions is not."

Please don’t misunderstand me. I do not advocate disregarding feelings; especially if facing a hungry wildcat. However, in less threatening circumstances, in my opinion basing responses on feelings alone without resort to cognition is neither very wise nor loving.

You asked, "…does not the person still deserve the right to make up their own mind…" Well… this according to Frankl is our last freedom; the freedom to choose our attitude to things. But as far as ‘right’, ‘wrong’ and ‘our rights’ are concerned, here we are on dubious ground. What is an ‘unalienable right’? Something enshrined in law? A cultural edict? A man once had ‘conjugal rights’. What about the woman’s ‘right’ to say ‘no’? Now the pendulum has swung the other way. Now a man has to fore go his ‘right’ to sex at his behest in marriage; yet his wife may not think that he has a ‘right’ to go elsewhere looking for sex if deprived by her. What is ‘right’ in one person’s code of ethics is ‘wrong’ in another. In the end we are all left with ‘our own personal code of ethics’ however flawed they may be. This is why I maintain that to be loving, we can only be true to ourselves; to our own code of best practices towards our partner, as it were. ‘To thine own self be true.’ as Shakespeare said.

If we are loving then we do what we perceive to be in the mutual best interests of self and others likely to be effected by the consequences of our actions. If that be that we perceive that we should consult others before doing something that might affect them, then so be it. That is a good perception; but that is only my opinion, or part of my code of ethics.

I acknowledge - according to my code of ethics - that you have the freedom to choose whether a falling brick hits your head or not. However, I doubt that I would consult you before pushing you out of the way. I act on my perception of what is in our best interests. My perception that it is in your best interests for you to have an intact head and for I not having to live with the guilt of doing nothing. Even if you were my enemy, I would do the same.

But, what you are talking about is the grey area of the power struggle in relationships. In this imperfect world, unconditional love is a fantasy; an ideal for which to aspire. Real world relationships are about meeting mutual needs. Now gaining consensus in the setting of priorities of those needs within an intimate sexual relationship such as marriage is very difficult. Someone, it seems, is always ‘forgoing’ their ‘needs’ in order to meet the needs of the other. Especially in this situation, insisting on ‘my rights’ at the expense of the other can devastate a relationship. Now it is equally as damaging to blindly and passively forego my need fulfilment to meet those of the partner in order to placate him or her. Love dictates that a lot of thought be put into how to meet mutual needs; how to act in ways that are in the best interests of both parties. It isn’t easy. It demands a good, open and honest communication style; one that allows a sense of freedom from coercion, emotional blackmail etc. Most of us are lacking these skills. Yet we take love for granted and assume that love will flourish, just because it seems to be there at the start. We study for years to meet the commitments in our working relationships; yet we do next to nothing about learning to maintain the most important relationship in our life.

You raise a very good point, ".. What if your truth is based on programming done when you were a child, through generations of dysfunction? Where do you find the truth?" Where do you find absolute truth? In the mind of God. All human ‘truths’ are subjective and relative to the perceptions of the individual. I believe that there are as many ‘truths’ as there are sentient beings. When we speak of ‘truth’, we are generally talking about generally agreed upon views of ‘reality’. The earth being flat was such a ‘truth’ once; something changed that. Did the truth change or people’s perceptions of it? It is my opinion that all ‘truths’ are subjective beliefs about the nature of ‘reality’.

Severely dysfunctional people are not able to effectively function in social interactions. How do they love? Well… they may have very great difficulties being loving. If they are totally self centred because of their abusive childhood then they may never love anyone. I am not morally judging anyone here. This is a question for the ‘Man’s Search for Meaning II’ thread. However, even these people do sometimes respond to love. The escaped prisoner in ‘Les Miserables’ by Victor Hugo was such a character who responded to the love given by an old priest.

On giving others their freedom to choose their actions, you said, "…Isn't that the point of free will?" If I give a murderer his ‘free will’ to roam free and do as he pleases I will have great difficulty seeing how that is in the best interests of anyone. It is hardly loving to do so. Allowing free reign to the actions of other mature adults or otherwise may or may not be loving of me depending upon my perceptions of what is in the mutual best interests of those involved. There are many examples for love being both ‘restraining’ and ‘freeing’; it is perception dependent. This is not to say that out perceptions are necessarily accurate or valid. Both parties, if acting in the perceived best interests of the other, may precipitate friction and undesirable outcomes. However, outcomes do not justify nor invalidate the process of acting with love. Both parties acting in a loving way could conceivably destroy a relationship. Actual outcomes, as opposed to intended ones, are irrelevant to the classification of an act being loving.

This seems to me to be the message of the Crucifixion; I am sure that the outcome of Christ’s life seemed disastrous to the 12 apostles and the deciples. Yet despite prior knowledge of the horrific outcome, Christ never deviated from what he saw as acting in the mutual best interests of himself, his followers and even the gentiles. I believe Christ perceived that God’s will for him was in his own best interests as well as those of humanity. I am not a Christian, yet I aspire to these loving ideals. It is the subsequent ‘Romanized’ Christian beliefs that I reject, not Christ’s message.

Free will? We are always free to choose love. This is one of Viktor Frankl’s main points in his book Man’s Search for Meaning. He maintained that his last freedom was to choose his attitude to his persecutors; love or hate. That is we are always free to choose what we PERCEIVE is in our mutual best interests. However we must be willing to pay the price. This price is often high. ‘Loving thine enemies’ is hard; yet in everyone’s best interests. This high price is often the excuse for not acting out of love. What our partner does as a result of our action of love is up to them. This is where they can exercise their ‘free’ will and act or react with love or otherwise. However the response of the recipients of a loving act doesn’t alter the loving motives behind that past action; or for that matter, that act being loving.

Talking about my ‘inner emotional child’, you asked, "But also, I think you are saying that you actively reassure 'him'. How do you do this?" I actually talk to my emotional ‘self’; out loud - if no one is listening; otherwise silently. I say things like, "It’s OK, matey. You are all right. I’m taking good care of you. We have money in the bank, a good house to live in, food in the frig, a clean bed, etc." I make sure that I practice my meditation. Therein, I take my ‘little fella’ to commune with the Divine Essence of all life. I make sure that I have a certain amount of fun, exercise and relaxation. I never allow myself to get over tired, hungry, thirsty or dirty. I monitor my feelings constantly. I look after body, mind and spirit to the best of my ability. I am especially mindful of ‘the little fellas’ sense of low core worth and I try to quickly compensate for any feelings in this direction before they get out of hand. I see this nurturing self-love as being in everyone’s best interests. Otherwise, ‘Booommmm’ and everyone loses including me.

Finally, you said, "One thing I'm getting out of all our discussions and it gets us back on the original topic too is that love needs to be active and not just a passive reactor." Voila! I agree. But, love does not demand an instantaneous response to your partners actions.

Regarding renewal of your relationship, you could tell your bf - when he returns - that you want time to consider any or all of his propositions. In order to consider what it is that you perceive to be in your mutual best interests, such delays are sometimes both necessary and wise. You might even ask the bf what changes in the relationship does he consider are in the mutual best interests of the both of you, what are the needs that he intends to fulfil in making the proposed changes and why he thinks that way. Wow! He won’t know what hit him. You may find out how prominently your mutual needs feature in his motivations. J When does bf return? From his card, it seems that he has a romantic ‘silver tongue’; the cunning ……..

Did I overlook anything in your response?

December 16, 1999
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Hi Tez:

You said, " What is an 'unalienable right'? Something enshrined in law? A cultural edict" and " What is 'right' in one person's code of ethics is 'wrong' in another. In the end we are all left with 'our own personal code of ethics' however flawed they may be. This is why I maintain that to be loving, we can only be true to ourselves; to our own code of best practices towards our partner, as it were. 'To thine own self be true.' as Shakespeare said."

That helped. I suppose, since we don't seem to know 'the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth', we must use our own truth, and just keep striving for more enlightenment. And if we are loving in spreading our truth, it would be hard to go wrong because that would imply that we would listen, acknowledge other perspectives and respect other's truths as long as their truths don't harm as in your murderer example. I think many find it hard to see any truth other than their own and even harder to give up their truth to change though. I still can't quite see it as loving to force your truth on someone else if they are a mature adult and not neurotic, psychotic or senile.

You said, "Love dictates that a lot of thought be put into how to meet mutual needs; how to act in ways that are in the best interests of both parties. It isn't easy."

Yes, love isn't easy. I used to think it was, or should be. Now I've realized that it is very hard but rightly so. Actually, it's another sort of paradox. It's easy to love my bf but hard to love him at the same time. But I think the hard parts are of our own making - ego, fears, etc. True unconditional love is probably a lot easier than we realize - giving up expectations, living in today, accepting, and if accomplished would actually free us.

You said, "Regarding renewal of your relationship, you could tell your bf - when he returns - that you want time to consider any or all of his propositions. In order to consider what it is that you perceive to be in your mutual best interests, such delays are sometimes both necessary and wise."

I agree. It's taking my newfound way of not reacting to things immediately but thinking about them first a step further.

"You might even ask the bf what changes in the relationship does he consider are in the mutual best interests of the both of you, what are the needs that he intends to fulfil in making the proposed changes and why he thinks that way. Wow! He won't know what hit him. You may find out how prominently your mutual needs feature in his motivations"

I like that too. It will force him to look at his actions and to think about us. Then, if his actions don't follow what he has indicated it will be obvious to both of us. My suspicion is that he will say 'I don't know' because he is very intelligent and would probably not want to be caught by his own words. But, who knows.

When does bf return?

I don't know. My guess would be this weekend. I think I might have discovered the reason where he is and why, of course by accident when I quit thinking about it! About 4 weeks ago something happened one day that he said affected us both. It really upset him but he kept putting off talking about it. Then when he said he was going to BC he was evasive and only said he would see his dad and that his cousin was in the hospital. If it's the cousin I'm thinking of, he has a female cousin who is a drug addict and last year he was thinking about moving her out here, into his condo with his friend (the one I've not met) to get her away from the drugs. It never happened. If she is now in detox or something, that would explain his bad mood, taking the friend from his condo with him, and why he's gone so long. Maybe he is bringing her out here. Actually, I look at it as an act of God and am going to stay right out of it I think. This could be something that could highlight for him that he can't control and force someone to change. I do hope she straightens her life out but I can see difficult times between him and her, her and the woman already in the condo, and him and the one in the condo ahead. Wisest just to watch and love I think. And let God do his job. We'll see.

From his card, it seems that he has a romantic 'silver tongue'; the cunning ……..

Yes, and a heart of gold I believe. But locked in a steel room that he can't quite figure out how to get out of yet. He tries, but every time he peeks out something scares him and he runs back in. I think he's afraid to give up what he knows, no matter how unhealthy, for something he wants but isn't sure of.

December 17, 1999
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VRJ,

Can I say ditto for me, too? My bf seems to move on some sort of time line...moving closer to the goal of committment...but when he is within fingertip reach of it, something scares him and off he goes. Often it is something outside of our relationship. Perhaps news about his ex's happiness or his perceived jealousy. If and when he comes back I could ask him the same questions that Tez suggests, but my bf is so smart he is very cautious about what he says. So, what to do? Wait is all I can do. Love is not disposable nor easily transferred. He has told me he needs a break in order to clear away some "stuff" and I guess an act of unconditional love would be to give that to him. The hard part is not running after him...although I am a strong woman, the wee one in me needs to be reassured.
Now, if either one of you has a magic wand I'd be most appreciative.

December 17, 1999
6:16 pm
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kitten, it does sound like we have the same man.

December 17, 1999
6:33 pm
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VRJ.

You said, "I still can't quite see it as loving to force your truth on someone else if they are a mature adult and not neurotic, psychotic or senile." I can't see how that is loving either. In actual fact, I doubt that anyone can force a 'truth' on anyone anyway. I think what you mean is your bf's insisting that his view of reality is absolute truth is not loving. Is that what you mean? If so then I agree that it hardly seems loving.

However, if bf is a neurosurgeon by occupation and insists that you have a brain tumor the treatment of which requires urgent compliance with his 'will', then perhaps his wanting to impose his will on you (from his perspective in the both your mutual best interests ) is from a motive that qualifies his insistent behaviour as loving. Since he is not a brain surgeon, and we are not talking about tumors then the only way that his efforts to control you could be loving is if he sincerely believes that he knows more than you about what is in your mutual best interests. However even though this might qualify his behaviour as being loving, this would probably require a corresponding act of love from you which disabuses him of his false belief of his intellectual superiority. 🙂

Further, you said, "True unconditional love is probably a lot easier than we realize - giving up expectations, living in today, accepting, and if accomplished would actually free us." Ohhhhh if only I could do that!!!! I totally agree with you that this is the way. However, I have a set of very powerful emotional memories that are set in concrete. If triggered, their recall produces instant arousal. If the intensity of arousal is above a certain undefined threshold, I am powerless to control my behaviour with cognitions; I explode. I have further learnt that my set of emotional memories and their associated triggers are unique to me. For me, this means that I cannot judge another for not controlling their emotions and thus acting in a self-centred and unloving way.

On Thursday, I spent several hours serving the needs of my 90 year old father. I scrubbed his tiolet; I applied ointment to his very scabby sores on his legs; I took him to the doctors; I drove two hours to get to his home and return. I then used his phone to arrange for a carer to apply this ointment on a daily basis. It was an unpleasant request to make of his carer. When I finished making the phone call, he, with eyes blazing abused me for using his phone (25c call - 15c US). Instantly, I was 15 again. He was the same ungrateful abusive father that he was then. All the way home, I berated myself for giving him a dammed good serve back. I certainly had absolutely no control over my emotions. I did well to confine my response to 'words'. I was blazing away at him before I knew what happened. The stimulus, (his blazing eyes) and my recall/response was miles to quick and to powerful for my cognitive processes to even begin to gain control and override my response. The one good thing is that my father has no long or short term memory and will have long forgotten the episode one minute after it happened. But interestingly his emotional memory did not. All afternoon he threw everything that he could pick up into the rubbish bin. My sisters had to dig out of the bin all my dead mother's things. He was desparately trying to satisfy deep emotional needs to 'control' his environment. My caring and that of the other carers trigger his negative emotional memories of being controlled by others. He resents that. Yet because of his dementia, he cannot do anything for himself except going to the toilet.

Can you see why I see cognition as the emotion controlling brain function necessary for acting in a loving way? Even if good outcomes eventuate, giving control over to our emotions is hardly loving. I do not 'blame' myself for my actions now; but I do regret my lack of control. To blame myself is not in the best interests of anyone and is therefore unloving.

Kitten:

Sorry, I have no magic wand to give you; would that I did. The 'wee one' is the problem isn't he/she. My recent journey has been learning how to satisfy my 'lil fella' in appropriate and loving ways. For me only and not anyone else, this loving way seems to be by my not insisting that my partner or anyone else fulfill this craving need for security- disguised as a need for love.

The only 'healthy' magic wand that I have found to do this is extended meditation sessions. It's effect is commensurate with constant practice. However, it is hard to give this 'wand' to others and even harder to keep doing on a daily basis. In this life there seems to be no absolute guarantees, eh.

December 17, 1999
10:36 pm
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Tez, You wrote "Since he is not a brain surgeon, and we are not talking about tumors then the only
way that his efforts to control you could be loving is if he sincerely believes that he knows more than you about what is in your mutual best interests. However even though this might qualify his behaviour as being loving, this would probably require a corresponding act of love from you which disabuses him of his false belief of his intellectual superiority"

I believe that you are correct and he does believe he knows better and more. But do you mean I should forgive him for his false belief? (disabuses him of?) If this is what you mean I agree again. If not, you'll have to explain or I'll have to get out my dictionary. Is it loving to me to forgive him? Yes in that it sets me free to some extent.

I loved the story about your dad. It really shows how 'hardwired' some things are. And if that is the case we shouldn't even try to control our emotions, but what we think about them instead.

When you said, "Can you see why I see cognition as the emotion controlling brain function necessary for acting in a loving way?" you didn't mean to say cognition was an emotion did you (as in the emotion that controls brain function)? You meant cognition is an "emotion controlling brain function" I think. Right?

Perhaps we can use emotions as the gas to get our thoughts into action.

December 17, 1999
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I am confused. Somehow my first thought when I read both of your post's was the law of physics. You know, for every reaction there is an opposite and equal reaction. Ok, if I react using my emotions I get a certain result (not always good) that might not be in my best interest. How do I replace my "emotional" behavior with a cognitive behavior. I realize that changing my way of thinking will put me in a better place, but how do I get to that change of thought. IN other words; If A + B = C (antecedent + behavior = consequence), how do I get in between A and B. For me I think I need another trigger to change the behavior. How do I think some other thought in order to effect a different B. To put it in example form: if my boyfriend ignores me for a few days(A) and then calls, I respond to him by either acting angry/overly inquisitive(B) which in turn makes him pull away(C). It's easy to say..."don't do that", but my own history tells me men lie. And if I don't acknowledge the fact that he has ignored me then he will do it more often, because I won't seem to care. Does this make sense? There has to be something between A and B that will help C...resulting in a beneficial outcome for both of us? How do we find that Ab? And how does our learned B impact on his learned B, and visa versa?

As for meditating...I do, as well as weight lifting on a daily basis. I write, paint, draw, and have long talks with God/Spirit. For some reason it seems I am hardwired to be reactionary. It's the warrior woman who struggles with the little girl...never sure who is going to win in those romantic/love questions. It is different in rational life--there I am strong and self assured. But love, ah, the brain lights go dim and a hush settles over the cerebrum...unfortunatly no one ever seems to get out on the stage to sing. They are still in the dressing room trying to un-stick a fussy zipper! would appreciate some help.

December 18, 1999
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kitten,
I'll let Tez help you with the cognitive stuff. But how do you know he will do it more often if you ignore it? Have you tried that? I find that when I back away he comes closer. In fact when I really reacted and made a clear break was when he came closest to lowering his defences and denial. It's very hard to do though and if you let yourself relax and believe the initial apologies, etc., he soon reverts. The permanent change was not effected. I'm still working on that. For me, I believe it lies somewhere in detachment and unconditional love combined. I believe it lies in me, not him.

December 18, 1999
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VRJ, Yes and no. Usually what happens when we are at a rough spot we distance and then I give in. I email and he immediatly responds in a neutral sort of way. I know his cues, so I jump on them and reach out. He hesitates but is right there ready to come back. We have done this many times in the past 30 months. He has told me, in the past, that he is capable of holding out forever. That he has more practice at it. And the last time we broke up, he threw it in my face that I was the one who reached out first from the previous breakup. Is this confusing or what? He has a problem with control! The problem is, he loves me and doesn't know how to explore the potential he has with me without letting go of the control. To let go is too scary for him. I'm smart enough to know ALL of his issues: narcassim, obsessive compulsive behavior disorder, passive/aggressive stuff...most of which have to do with his family crap. So, why would I want him? I don't know. But I can say this: I love him. I can't put my finger on it, but I think we need to share life together. It might be a yin/yan thing...anyway, this last time is different. We've emailed, but I haven't called--I'm not beating down his door. It is very hard, but I'm trying to stay away. Unlike the last time (stayed away for 2 weeks), I haven't ignored him out of anger. So, I'm sure he is wondering what is going on. With the holidays and all, hopefully he is thinking carefully about this.

December 19, 1999
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Kitten:
Like I said before, it sounds like we have the same guy. It's quite amazing, right down to the O/C, P/A, control, etc. and the amount of time we've been together. What country are you in? And I feel the same about him as you do about yours. Mines been away for two weeks as well, not out of anger this time but gone out of town to visit, but still very evasive, won't say for how long or when coming back and never calls while away. Even though I am detaching with love, I am also thinking a lot more clearly and I can see a confrontation coming up in the near future regarding his behaviour. I have compassion for the things he's gone through that made him act how he does but he's an adult and it's time he takes responsibility. And I really believe that is the only truly loving thing to do - for me and for him. It will be up to him to decide whether to move forward or stay in denial and blame everyone else. As Tez says, sometimes love hurts.

December 19, 1999
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VRJ,

I live in the States; in the northeast. My bf lives 2 minutes from my house so I usually know when he is around. I think he's been away, but came back last night. Yet, no call. He told me he'd see me next week, so I guess he has to stick to his plan (who knows what would happen if he didn't).All of this hurts...and I've had too much hurt in my life. Not sure what I am going to do. I love him, he loves me, but it seems pretty pathetic for me to be sitting around waiting. Only in the movies does the hero come back after a time away and carry the maiden off to his castle, declaring he can't live without her. No, in real life things like this end in a whimper...just sort of fade out until he finds someone else to torture. Sorry for being so down...must be the holidays.

December 19, 1999
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kitten
I have been where you are, and could easily be again. It sounds like you are going through what I did last year. Try to concentrate on what the season really means. I can't remember if you have a belief or not. It helps. And it will get better.

How you respond to his actions are up to you. The emotions come. Look at them. See what your thoughts are about them. Are they valid? Then, try to act in a way that is loving to you. Sometimes you must concentrate on loving yourself.

December 21, 1999
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VRJ

The bf and I are supposed to get together this week...guess it starts all over again. I want to take it slow this time, real slow. Guess I just don't know how to do that. I really have to learn some new ways of thinking. I truly believe my own negative thought patterns give me a certain aura that lets him treat me in a certain fashion. It doesn't matter if I appear together or not, inside I don't feel it. That is where the cognitive behavior therapy comes in. Normally one action would make me behave in a certain way(whether
it is right or not), so I have to relearn new thinking patterns. Isn't that what it is about? Why do we have standards of behavior for our friends and still others for our bf's? I have to learn if he treats me in a particular fashion and it is not respectful...I must tell him and react accordingly. I would do so with a friend. I must also expect him to follow through and not accept crumbs of attention. When I accept crumbs I am telling myself I am not good enough for everything.
I still say there is a formula to relearning thoughts and behaviors. Even tho' I am emotional I need some concrete lesson plan to follow. Any suggestions? And Tez, where are you? Did "Man's Search" scare you off?

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