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Sunday, September 8, 2013

Sucking Free Energy: I Hurt Everyone I Love

"You always hurt the one you love, the one you should not hurt at all;
You always take the sweetest rose, and crush it till the petals fall;
You always break the kindest heart, with a hasty word you can't recall;
So if I broke your heart last night, it's because I love you most of all."

Popular lyric of the Mills Brothers

There is little doubt that I have hurt everyone I love. Some of those I have damaged to a much too significant a degree. To be honest, my unkind intentions were, at times, calculated. However, most of the time I mistreated those close to me in an offhand manner due to my perceived emotional injuries. I quickly blamed others for bruises to my enlarged ego. I should have used my better judgment and known that I created my own problems. They were actually caused by my own pitiful, selfish motives.

At the age of 62, it is very troublesome to consider the damage caused by my immature, spiteful actions. I am sorry for hurting anyone, and I especially despise damaging those I most love. The times I lost control and lashed out at my spouse, my family, and my friends cost me dearly. Now, memories of angry times remain. I hate to think about them and try to repress them deeper and deeper.

But today I want to explore the reality of causing pain for loved ones. Maybe someone can benefit from the post. Let me also admit that I am still a sinner and still hurt those I love. This writing is being penned by a very flawed individual in search of increasing his own positive steps toward a happy ending.

Psychologists say mutual dependency plays a big role in love. It may exist in inappropriate proportions, as lovers can consider their dependency on the partner to be too great or too little. A person may hurt someone he loves because he thinks this action will bring a loving relationship back into proportion.

A study found the most common motive for the generation of anger is to assert authority or independence, or to improve self image. Anger has been perceived as a useful means to strengthen or readjust a relationship. But, this intentional emotional warfare causes many casualties -- mates hurt each other; children hurt parents; adults hurt offspring and friends.

Other times hurting a loved one expresses an opposite wish: a person's desire for more dependency and attention. For example, married women often complain that their partners do not spend enough time with them. By hurting her husband, a wife may signal that their mutual relationship, and in particular their mutual dependency, should be modified.

Lasting love involves mutual adaptation. A close connection exists between two people who help and hurt as well. Improving the quality and happiness of love requires sacrifice. Yielding to others "in the name of love" can often cause significant suffering and pain. Most lovers find any needed adaptation difficult. Suffice it to say love does not travel a smooth road. Dodging obstacles that threaten to destroy relationships and adapting to ever-changing emotions inherent in love require "two hands on the wheel" for both partners.

Why can love endure through suffering and pain? Spanish philosopher and essayist Jose Ortega y Gasset (1883–1955) says that the person in love "prefers the anguish which her beloved causes her to painless indifference." Similarly, the saying goes that it is better to break someone's heart than to do nothing with it. Most people do seem to prefer anger to indifference. After all, love involves security and the fear of losing security. Maintaining personal happiness is bound with this fear of losing both love and safety.

So, genuine love, itself, makes a person vulnerable -- vulnerable to hurt and to be hurt. The emotion is so consuming and deep that any feeling of slight can lead to problems. It is evident that the lack of indifference and mutual dependency created by love deepen soulful alliance but also open roads of sacred trust that risk injury to loved ones.

Love hurts. The hurt lovers inflict and receive is real -- both emotional and physical. Behavioral science researchers have found a good deal of literal truth embedded in the metaphorical phrases comparing love to pain. Science News reporter Eric Jaffe wrote...

"A few years ago a group of doctors at Johns Hopkins University reported a rare but lethal heart condition caused by acute emotional distress. The problem is technically known as 'stress cardiomyopathy,' but the press likes to call it 'broken heart syndrome,' and medical professionals don’t object to the nickname...

"Neuroimaging studies have shown that brain regions involved in processing physical pain overlap considerably with those tied to social anguish. The connection is so strong that traditional bodily painkillers seem capable of relieving our emotional wounds. Love may actually hurt, like hurt hurt, after all."

(Eric Jaffe, "Why Love Literally Hurts," Association for 
Psychological Science, September 2013)

When a person falls in love, he receives a lot of energy (attention, interest, time, love etc.) for free. The other person gives it freely without any prompting or begging. This "free energy" is the oxygen or eros that causes the "high" of love. Given a person's genetic structure, sustaining high levels of free energy is difficult, but once experienced, most demand this energy boost.

People often falsely believe they don't have to expend energy to keep love strong. So, when "free energy" dwindles, it triggers an old childhood-system of capturing the lost energy. This mechanism is the same one that worked to get energy from parents. Psychologist Ineke Van Lint says...

"We can do this by playing the victim ('Oh poor me, look at all that I do and nobody is grateful! Look how good I am and still life strikes me with disapproval, disease and misery! Oh oh oh!'). Or we get attention by being aggressive, shouting and trying to dominate the other one. A third mechanism is harassing the other one by asking too many questions and controlling him. A fourth system is playing silence, refusing contact, not to speak and not to react, so the other one will do whatever he can to get in contact with you again and this will give you his energy.

"These systems will of course make the energy of the other one flowing your way. But what next? The other one is now low on energy and wants to get his energy back. So now his mechanism is triggered by his lack of energy. He will now use the system that assured him the energy of his parents when he was little, to get his energy back from you. He will either shout at you, either playing the poor one that didn't deserve your treatment, either torture you with a bunch of questions, or refuse contact."

(Ineke Van Lint, "Why Do We Hurt Those We Love Most And How To Stop This,", December 27 2005)

What I've Learned and What I Hope To Practice

The many times I hurt the ones I love caused some irreparable damage. It is best to learn strategies of prevention so that you can minimize this pain, especially if you have an inflated ego like I do. I believe in apologizing for my infractions, and I have done this quite often. Yet, I understand even apologies do not erase scars, and most of my apologies are rather selfish in that they are given from my own emotional distress.

Understanding I can't change my past mistakes, I try to modify my selfish behaviors. I think about my feelings and write to sort out any solutions to problems. I recognize that I am a "free energy" addict, too sensitive to loss of attention and perceived affronts. In short, I am still immature, and I need to continue to work on my childish approach to rectifying energy loss.

Perhaps I have desensitized myself to the pain associated with love too much, and I have purposely dulled my reactions to spousal and family joy. I recognize my sober nature and my stubborn view of love. I am capable of change, and I do now force myself to "not care" about some things changing around me.

I hope to practice fairness and equality in my loving relationships. Even though I cannot change the past, I can learn from it. And, even though I may lack intensity in love, I hope that others see I do love them very much and respect them for their devotedness. In short, I wish to insure them I am sorry for the emotional pain I have inflicted upon them while I cherish their steadfast fondness.

Van Lint suggests some strategies for stopping the hurt that results from stealing energy from another human being:

1. We should only be in contact with other people when we are sure we are already filled up with energy, so we won't steal theirs. When we are full of energy and conscious of what happens between people, we can give the other one energy instead of ripping him off.

2. We should connect to the energy that is always available. That is the energy of the universe. The easiest way to connect to this energy is contemplate the beauty of a flower. We also can contemplate the beauty of an object or a person. We can listen to beautiful music, take a walk in nature, meditate, pray, dance, paint, read positive texts, work on our mission on earth, love our cat or dog, anything that gives us energy.

3. We can make a list of every activity and behavior that increases our energy level. As soon as we feel we are in a conflict with our partner, boss, child, parent or whoever, we can do something to get ourselves together and raise our energy. We should refrain from saying anything until our energy-level is again high enough to be able to send energy to the other one. By sending energy, we are sure not to steal energy from the other one. This is an act of love. If we are not able to get our energy level any higher, we can go to another place, do something for ourselves and wait until our vibrations are high enough to meet the other one again.

4. We can understand that the important thing in a relationship is not to make the other happy or to expect the other one to make us happy, but to make ourselves happy and offer this happiness as a free gift to the other.

(Ineke Van Lint, "Why Do We Hurt Those We Love Most And How To Stop This,", December 27 2005)

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