Are we able to love?

How to avoid a relationship based on addiction

Are we able to love? The word “love” is a rather inflated term, it is always on everyone’s lips but it is often used distorting its real meaning.

Not all expressions of affection or interest imply love and we are not always able to “love” in the true sense of the word.

For a feeling of love to be born within us a certain predisposition, a suitable state of mind is necessary.

We usually fall in love when we feel ready for a breakthrough, when we’ve matured the desire to change something in our lives, for example, when a previous history has definitively closed and we have internalized that this phase is over and we feel ready to carry out a process of deconstruction-restructuring.

Open up to the other

To love another person we need an inclination to open ourselves to others. This presupposes that we have already experienced the experience of solitude, that we have made the journey away from those who were our reference figures in childhood.

Detaching oneself from these figures, which can almost always be identified in parents, means learning to face life situations relying on our strengths, having confidence in our ability to do it alone.

Once this experience has matured, we feel ready to open up to others. When we know who we are, we know how much we value and are capable of appreciating ourselves, we also become able to make a gift of ourselves and our abilities to another person, with whom we feel we can better realize and from whom we receive the same attention. Reciprocity of feeling is an essential requirement in a true love relationship. Together with the other person we establish a dynamic interrelation, aimed at mutual enrichment based on complicity and trust, the only possible basis of love.

A desire to love

Love one another, but make not a bond of love.
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other’s cup, but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread, but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts, but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together, yet not too near together.
For the pillars of the temple stand apart.
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow. 

Khalil Gibran

The desire to love someone translates, like all human desires, in the attainment of a state of joy, of satisfaction, of growth, true love cannot go against our interests and our happiness, it cannot imply that one person is annulled in the other, cannot cause dependence and renunciation of one’s own individuality.

It is thanks to the existence of a selfish side of us, of that part that makes us put our desires first and that makes them consider priority over everything else, that we manage to enter into a relationship with others, giving them something of us without fear of losing it but considering it an exchange and a kind of investment that will lead us to enrich ourselves and to enrich the other.

Loving themselves also means not loving someone else too much, that is, being able to create a relationship free from addictions. Feeling the need to beg the attention of another person is a symptom of an emotional void resulting from the lack of self-esteem that makes us think we do not deserve the interest of others.

Emotional dependence is the main enemy of love itself, when we are not free to love a person for what he really is. When we do not allow ourselves to be loved for what is our true nature, we are not living a love relationship; we are together with other people for many reasons that concern only our fears and our needs that we will never admit; We hide behind a false image and do everything to maintain it.

Fear in the enemy of love

It is precisely in these cases that the term love is used improperly. What happens is that we feel insecure and we feel a feeling of fear. Fear of being left alone, of being abandoned by the people we care about most, and a strong desire to have someone to leave us, someone to take care of us and relieve us of our anguish.

In this case we end up trying to create a symbiotic union that translates into an attempt to control the other, to possess his time and his feelings. Our insecurity makes us easy prey to jealousies that create tensions and fall back on us confirming the feeling that we already have of ourselves, that is our inability to make us love.

A love lived with a too strong passion connotation is not true love. It is only aimed at experiencing the feeling that we imagine we have to feel when we are in love. There is a sort of instrumentalization of the other.  Our own desires are projected on him and the task of realizing us is delegated to him. These projections are usually only temporary, at a certain point our desires change and the one who seemed to be the center of our life inexorably loses all his interest.

Love must be an exchange that allows both partners to grow without imprisoning them. There must be the right balance between fusion and autonomy, only so the feeling can be active, that is, it can allow one to develop one’s personality by feeling free to be oneself. To truly love we must know how to be alone, autonomous. Clinging to another person, seeing him as our “life preserver”, is a utilitarian requirement that has nothing to do with love. Only those who know how to be alone can see love as a free choice and not as a refuge.

Love who does not love us

It happens that in a relationship of emotional dependence the other is almost never seen for what he really is. Sometimes it can happen that he is not even a real presence but someone we have idealized, built according to our needs and the result of our imagination. We can’t see it with objective eyes but we imagine it as it might be when he decided to enter the role we entrusted him. In him we see a kind of unexpressed potential that we, and only we, are able to bring out.

It is through our love that the loved one will be able to make explicit those qualities that we have intuited and that make it so exceptional but that has not yet fully manifested or that until now has not been understood. Almost always, however, this person does not prove very willing to accept, much less to correspond, our attentions, we are convinced that we are his salvation but he does not realize.

In a relationship of this kind, those who experience emotional dependence are torn between a twofold desire: fear and the hope of obtaining the love of the one they love; fear and the hope of not obtaining it and having to continue to pursue it.

This is how the struggle begins, we feel invested by a mission that feeds on the difficulties and the improbability of achieving the result we would like to achieve. We are attracted by the challenge but also the prospect of an inevitable failure that we pretend to ignore.

The pathological affective dependence arises from a low self-esteem that is first hidden through the idealization of the loved one (the “great love” that saves from the negative perception of self), then manifests itself openly in inducing the other to mistreat us.

To the mistreatment suffered, often follow humiliating manifestations of submission, of supplications for the beloved to return to us, a pursuit that reveals the sick aspect of this kind of love, that is, a form of masochism dictated by the contempt of ourselves, by our lack of respect for us.

This pathology is always due to a lack of self-esteem, to a lack of awareness of what is our personal value, to a lack of maturation of the feeling of dignity. A pathological dependence of this type fulfils the function of containing, through obtuse or exciting experiments, potential psychological collapses in subjects at risk of anxiety, panic or depression.

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