Love TKO

Love TKO - Cheryl Woolstone Counselling Blog

Don’t keep your guard up in a relationship.

If you do, you’re guaranteed to keep the love out, too.

When it comes to love, things are not always what they seem.

Why is it that you block the love  your partner is trying to give you? You say you want to feel close and be loved, but you behave in a way that guarantees you will not feel loved?

IMAGO Relationship Therapy creator, Harville Hendrix PhD., explains this complex dynamic in his book, Receiving Love.

Early on in the development of the IMAGO model, Dr. Hendrix thought that any two people who were willing to look into their pasts and learn new ways of containing and expressing their feelings could transform their relationship.

The problem was that this did not work for all couples.

Sometimes people could learn to love their partners, warts and all, but their partners could not accept it. The relationship was thrown out of balance when one or both blocked the positive approaches of the other.

Self-Inflicted Isolation.

It is surprising how often the compliments and appreciations of a well intentioned partner make no dent in the armour of an unhappy partner.

We deflect what we secretly yearn for in many ways: by assuming that it is insincere, by criticizing the efforts as not quite right. We block kind words and loving gestures as if we are about to get hit by a strong right hook, we tighten our muscles and stand on defense.

Why Would We Push Away What We Yearn For The Most? The Answer, Self-Hatred.

The key is in your early experiences, the beginnings of unconscious self-hatred took hold when your parents or society inevitably rejected some aspect of you through criticism (“Don’t act that way!”) or inattention (ignoring certain talents, ambitions or our anger).

When this happens we split off parts of ourselves and hide them in our unconscious, to form what is called the missing self. Over time, we deny our needs and form a protective cage around these parts.

When someone wants to value us we are compelled to reject or block  the gift. It is far too exposing and uncomfortable.

Try This:

  • Notice what happens inside you when someone tries to show you love.
  • Then listen without criticism to what you tell yourself in those moments.
  • You might notice that you start to feel anxious.
  • You may notice a self-deprecating comment.

The subtitle of the book, Receiving Love, is Transform Your Relationship by Letting Yourself be Loved. If this fits with your experience, take a closer look at the book to understand more about this complex dynamic.

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This entry was posted on Monday, November 22nd, 2010 at 8:00 AM and is filed under IMAGO and Relationships. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

2 Responses to “Love TKO”

  1. Kay Says:

    February 14th, 2011 at 11:30 AM

    I recently discussed this very issue with my partner. He has noticed that often when he makes loving declarations I make jokes, trying to diffuse the intensity of the moment. I shy away, or can’t respond in kind, even when that is exactly what I want to do. I am far more comfortable telling him I love him than hearing that he loves me. Even though I believe him, I know he loves me, on some level I get scared. Our discussion uncovered some good stuff, I told him some stories from my childhood and how love was or wasn’t expressed in my family, and this went some ways to clearing things up between us. But I know this will be an ongoing issue. The last thing I want to do is push him away because of unresolved issues from the past. This is personal work for me to do, and your suggestions seem like a good place to start.

  2. Cheryl Woolstone Says:

    February 14th, 2011 at 4:12 PM

    Kay, I am pleased that my blog post was timely for you with your personal work. Thanks for taking the time to comment. Cheryl

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