Over the past two weeks, I have been sensing a strong theme. It has been showing up in my own life but it has also been coming from my clients. The same questions are coming at me in our consultations.
“Why do others get unconditional love and I can’t? It seems that no matter what I do, people won’t love me.” And at the risk of sounding “victim-blamey”, my response has been the same. If they gave it to you, would you accept it? The answers (after a slight pause) have been a resounding no.
It is not that we don’t have a deep innate desire for love. Of course we do. But balanced and unconditional love is not something we have known. Our trauma has led us down roads that won’t bring this love to us. Our inner parts have learned different things about love. Our freedom fighters who prefer isolation, our defenders who see us as unworthy of love and our love seekers who are trying to resolve old patterns will stand in our way of unconditional love. So what does this sound like in our unconscious minds? Let’s explore that.
- We believe the only way to be free from control is physical and emotional isolation. Our freedom fighters have been trying to gain freedom since we were very young. And unfortunately, the people who have shown up in our lives have made one thing very clear. They have no intention of allowing us to have freedom in relationship. We must give up our identity, our authenticity and everything we love to have a relationship with others. So there is only one solution to ensure our freedom in this world. That solution is isolation. If someone expresses any interest in us, the warning bells go off. “They want to control me. They want to use me. They want to take away my autonomy. I must run as fast as I can in the other direction.”
- We believe we are not worthy of unconditional love. Our defenders have learned that life is not really about freedom. Life is about survival. They want to provide safety at all costs. They don’t care about authenticity or individual expression. They have no time for that. They want to stay alive. And honestly, people are unsafe. The closer the relationship, the more unsafe it is. And the more unconditional love appears to be, the more untrustworthy the source must be. “They must be lying. They must be playing me. They can’t possibly be serious. It is best to push them away before they take advantage of me and break my heart.”
- We believe we must resolve our trauma patterns by loving someone like our abusers until they finally love us back. The more intense and desperate a connection to another person, the more we should run the other way. This may sound wrong or even depressing, but take it from me, you want to run. Our love seekers (which are inner children) are energetically attracted to people who will help them resolve their relational trauma. That might sound like a good thing. Who doesn’t want to resolve their relational trauma? But the problem isn’t the goal. The problem is the approach. They want to resolve the relational trauma by relating to people with similar abusive characteristics. They don’t want to change the type of person they relate to. They want to figure out how we can become good enough to get a different result. And you may have guessed that is not going to happen. So when you meet a person who isn’t like your abusers, who is interested in you, they won’t interest you. The love seeker will not even notice them. “They are boring. They don’t intrigue me. There is no passion.”
The next time you find yourself alone and wondering if there is love for you, ask yourself some important questions.
“How am I rejecting love?”
“How am I isolating?”
“How am I lacking trust?”
“How am I repeating my patterns?”
Allow yourself to consider how you may be rejecting love. Allow yourself to examine the fears that come with the unpredictability and messiness that is relationship. Give yourself permission to be scared, but to step out into something new. It might not work out the first few (or fifty) times. But you are building a new pattern. You are building new pathways in your life and your brain. You a connecting back to love and trust. Deep inside, you have always known it.
Written By Elisabeth Corey, MSW