#011 - Love: Can’t live with it, can’t live without it

“For even as love crowns you so shall she crucify you.

Even as she is for your growth so is she for your pruning.

Even as she ascends to your height and caresses

your tenderest branches that quiver in the sun,

so shall she descend to your roots and shake them

in their clinging to the earth.”

-The Prophet


I wanted to write a post about love, about the experience of love for those of us who have a hard time with relationships and love. This is not everyone’s experience I know, but it is for many. There seems to be a group of people, and I am one of them, who find relationships challenging, the giving and receiving love to be kind of terrifying.  So if you get panicky in relationships and around intimacy, if you find yourself drawn to unavailable people, if you have found the person you want to be with but still can't quite settle into the relationship, this is for you.

First off, you are ok! There is nothing wrong with you, though I know the feeling of just wanting to be “normal.” Of the judgment that arises inside when you see yourself getting anxious about intimacy, and wondering if you will ever be healthy enough to be in a relationship. I know the self-criticism or anger about another failed relationship when you really thought this one was different.  But, again, you are ok. This is all part of the healing that must happen when you have trauma in your past, when you grew up in a neglectful/abusive home, or if you are just a deeply sensitive person.

The key piece to remember is that deep inside of you there is a vulnerable, sensitive, creative, joyful, loving, trusting part that longs for connection. This part is your health, your basic goodness, and your capacity for love that is boundless and deep.  Overlaid on top of this part, to protect in when times were dangerous, are a series of protector parts. These protector parts can take many forms such as: critics, judges, aggressors, and feelings of hopelessness.  The core part of you, which is like a soft spot, was threatened or hurt at some time and to protect it you created these protector parts to keep this vital part of you safe. 

For some of us the threat or hurt was more than just a one-time event, which we could work through, it was on going or a severely traumatic event, which overrode our ability to cope. If this was the case then there is a deep layer of protection around this soft spot, and to heal we must begin to create a relationship with this soft spot and with these protectors. We can't just barrel through and say, “Love conquers all!” and hope that if we just are loved the right way or can love with more abandon then these old wounds will vanish. I wish it was that way, but for most of us we have to create a relationship with ourselves that is based in love, compassion, kindness, and courage if we are to recreate our lives.

Facing all this can be a long road, yet trust. Trust that the right people will be brought to your life to help you, challenge you, and love you as you walk through this. Trust that you are not alone; there are many of us who are well on the road to recovery and believe that recovery from these wounds is inevitable. Trust that with your courage and the support of those around you can have a life that is better and richer than what you can imagine. Oh, and go to therapy!