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In order to survive in the world, we have little option but to spend our lives
being rather defended, that is, at one remove from are more vulnerable sides
closed off from certain emotions focused in many cases on not feeling
and yet in relationships quite the opposite is required to be good at love
means to have a capacity to reveal one's hurt, desire and tender sides, this is quite
a balancing act
great strength for most of the day and well handled tenderness for the few that remain.
it's no wonder if the journey from independence to vulnerability can get
rather fraught and if the desire for closeness can be accompanied by terror
and what looks like but isn't really, nastiness
even after years with someone that can be a hurdle of fear about trying to get close.
two major symptoms then tend to show up
firstly we can get distant or what psychotherapist call avoidant we want to
get close to our partners but feel so anxious that we may be unwanted
we freeze them out a bit instead we say we're busy
we pretend our thoughts are elsewhere we imply that a need for reassurance would
be the last thing on our minds we might even have an affair
the ultimate face-saving attempt to be safely distant and often a perverse
quest to assert that we don't require the partner's love , a love that we've been
too reserved to ask for or else we can get controlling what therapist called
anxious
we feel our partners are escaping us emotionally and we respond by trying to
pin them down administratively
we get unduly cross that they're a bit late will chastise
them heavily for not having done certain chores
we asked them constantly they've completed a task they'd agreed to
undertake all this rather than admit I'm worried I don't matter to you
we can't we believe force our partner to be generous and warm
we can't force them to want us even if we haven't actually asked them to
so we try to control them procedurally a tragic cycle that unfolds we become
shrill and unpleasant to the other person
it feels that we can't possibly love them anymore
yet the truth is we do which is fear rather too much that they don't love us but if
a rather harsh graceless behavior could be truly understood for what it is
it would be revealed notice rejection but as a strangely distorted get very
real plea for tenderness
we should have sympathy for ourselves relationships require us to put
ourselves in a very weak position visa fee partners if they ever want to use
the power they have over us (and sometimes they do they know) exactly
where to put the boot in this can be deeply frightening this aspect of
relationships is even more difficult if our early experiences and childhoods
have made closeness rather scary if we've encountered people who have taken
signs of vulnerability as targets
so we're not frightened of closeness because we're fools but because it is a
challenge to be around another person who might easily hurt us and to keep on
in a relationship despite the fact that they do sometimes use this knowledge to
strike out at us
closeness is inherently threatening but we can gradually with courage and
difficulty replace defense with explanation we can say we are frightened
and why
rather than turn cold or controlling and we can begin to see what our partners
might be trying to communicate through their off-putting behavior
we can never be through with a requirement for acceptance
this isn't a curse limited to the weak and to the inadequate, in security and love
is a sign of well-being
it means we haven't allowed ourselves to take another person for granted
it means we remain realistic enough to see that things could genuinely turn out
badly and that we're invested enough to care
we must get better at seeing the love and longing that lurk behind some of our
and our partner's most frosty managerial and brutish moments were just in our own
way of dealing with the anxieties of trying to get close
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The Challenge of Being Close

73086 Folder Collection
Mandy Lin published on February 4, 2017    Mandy Lin translated    Mandy Lin reviewed
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