Playing ‘peek-a-boo’ : Rooting the fear from relationships
Good people got some bad habits
(Article, 1242 words. Est. 4 mins reading time)
Never much thought to tell people how to run their relationships. Especially couples. But after a particularly ‘tough day’ with my spouse of 20+ years, I had an epiphany that others might benefit from. I wrote a letter to us both. It seemed to help us both a lot. And it went something like this …:
“So. Let’s start with the assumption that we are both good people. We’re honest with each other. We try hard.
Let’s also concede we are both well-intentioned, but possibly afraid of certain things. And we don’t like to admit our fears.
Of course it is natural that nobody likes personal criticism. So people are often compelled to shield themselves from critiques. They do this by finding clever defensive ways to deflect criticism. It’s like an excuse not to listen. Often, such defensive tactics may have worked in the past. At least insofar as they reduce the pain of hearing one’s faults in the moment.
What we do wrong
Therefore lets not criticize. Instead just try to root …… out those things that might mess up our time spent together.
I see the following general behaviours as destructive. I’ll call them ‘aberrations’. And the list of these (in no particular order) includes —
- tendency to hide the truth (lying) if convenient
- self-pity of any type
- dependency upon anything (addictions can include people, drugs/alcohol, habits, emotions, chemicals, biological urges or psychological impulses )
- feeling fear-full or insecure breeds compulsive defensiveness
- taking a criticism personally injects emotions in place of rationalism
- seeing oneself always as a victim stops one from being able to admit any contributory responsibility
- Feeling any sense of jealousy or entitlement.
- procrastination (a type of fear) denies oneself the opportunity to act, fix, improve, solve issues OR benefit from opportunities.
Each of these above activities or personality traits are false and self-sabotaging. They are destructive. They feed off themselves in a spiral of disease. They negate positive efforts to heal.
Do the right thing
From my occasional reading of womens’ magazines, I’ve learned that when people come to certain realizations, they can repair many aberrations. Including –
- preferring the unpalatable truth over ANY level of untruth (i.e. such untruth may range from mere diplomacy, to all-out black lie). In EVERY instance, truth should be preferrable.
- recognizing that fear (in any manifested form) acts as a destroyer (of trust, and of opportunities)
- habitually purge oneself of making any excuses.
- being prepared to learn from ones mistakes.
- accepting responsibility for one’s own and others problems will grow ones character.
- listening carefully to constructive criticism with the objective of improving ones overall circumstances.
- habitually force oneself to see the bigger picture. (This is KEY to breaking any cycle of negative thoughts like Depression, Gloom, Grief, Rage, Self-Pity, Victimology, Obsession, Psychological Dependency).
- take modest risks. Doing so may attract a few losses, but brings many more opportunities.
- press yourself to invite new experiences. Be inspired !
- Cultivate a habit of wilfully assessing and critiquing events, people, or situations in one’s environment without judging them. Judging is a selfish act. It invests emotions into the calculation. And emotions are essentially just coping mechanisms that lacks sufficient rationale.
- taking initiative as and when ones’ partner will not do so.
Forty, Love. Advantage Server.
Do not be afraid of being ‘taken advantage of’. Sure! Be diligent to identify, AND stand up to those who try to rip you off as soon as the opportunity appears. Pointing out to them their shortcoming.
But ultimately, people who NEED to take advantage of you will soon enough reveal their measure. And at the end of the day, your strength is greater if you YIELD small short-term wins to them. Do NOT regret any small losses you might incur in doing so, As it is You who ends up the wiser.
The Seven Types of Love
Love is often mistaken as a panacea. It is not. Emotionalized love is a form of madness. It subordinates logical thoughts to chaotic emotions. Selfless love is okay. Please bear in mind that the Greeks identify the “Seven Different kinds of Love”
They’re worth naming. They are: Agape. Storge. Pragma. Philautia. Philia. Ludus. Eros. Click on the link, above for a reminder and short description of the same.
In my experience, the “feelings” associated with common love are untrustworthy. Love founded on a rational view of all factors is less self-motivated, more reliable and trustworthy. For example, people often say “I’m in love with XYZ“. But this is like emotional infatuation. It seems to feel good, but it also creates a stinging need and a dependency upon the very existence of the person you claim to love.
Emotionalized love is, I think, not the kind of bond that creates independent self-determined behaviour full of loving grace. Selfless, caring, enduring. Instead, emotionalized love, (like that heart-thumping feeling of ‘missing someone’), or feelings like lust, are almost like being ‘out of control’. Anguished, or demanding, or shameful. In fact, love which is ‘felt’ is likely a mere primal evolutionary throwback. (Like being a monkey in a tree, and responding with adrenalized fear at the sound of a leopard’s roar). Love of that kind was useful as an evolutionary biological urge when prehistoric man nomadically roamed the savannah hunting for food and rutting for offspring. But its a bit less useful in modern civilization.
(F.E.A.R) False Evidence Appearing Real
Essentially, the likely seed of all the problems with people’s (and couples’) behaviour is FEAR. Fear is the key to it all. When we do something, and the emotion attached to the action has an ingredient of fear mixed in … then the whole honeypot is spoiled. Must avoid that activity at all costs. ANY fear-based behaviour is destructive, negative, and corrosive.
So the trick is to STAND BACK from your every questionable action, and assess whether the action is connected to some kind of fear. If so, don’t go there. These include –
- Fear of loss
- Fear of people
- Fear of commitment
- Fear of pain
- Fear of ones’ own body
- Fear of death
- Fear of own thoughts
- Fear of truth
- Fear of criticism
- Fear of error
- Fear of any emotion (we are allowed to have them all… Just in measured doses)
Our future task is to “Search and destroy”, the target is fear. Otherwise we can end up in a fugue of self-pity, eroding away our true self-confidence, and being a slave to our egos, and to an unhappy aberrated relationship. I will call this strategy, this method, this technique “Truth Therapy”.
When approaching your partner with these ideas, remember that Diplomacy should be the servant of truth, not fear.
[Addendum. Thanks to comment from veteran subscriber ‘The Goat Herder’] It is, perhaps, too adventurous for this one small article to delve too deeply into the genetic, or egoistic origins of Fear. Much less suggest methods to purge, eliminate or reduce any acknowledged Fears through aversion therapy, self-talk, meditation, or health treatments such as hormone balancing, or dependency addiction. I’ve intentionally left those topics for another day. It is surely a high enough accomplishment today at Step One to just comprehend/acknowledge how fear plays such a deep role in so much aberrative human behaviour. And, in line with Jean Piaget’s theories of cognitive development, let us crawl before we walk, walk before we run, &c. Of course, intellect alone will not eradicate Fear, but it can surely point us in the right direction.