I know we like to think that people who love us don’t hurt us. The reality is, people can really love you and hurt you. When love walks in the room, many of us become afraid....love is so amazing that we don't want it to ever leave. This can ignite fear, and then we start acting crazy. Yes, love makes our stuff come up.
Truth is, we all learn to love differently. Some people who love you want to possess you, they want to keep you close...but maybe being loved that way makes you feel smothered. People who hold on too tight can extinguish love, because true love is based on trust and freedom. It is free-flowing. One must believe themselves worthy of love enough to trust that it can return. Those who cling in love struggle to trust that love will come back...his clinging is not about controlling or possessing you...it's about his fear.
There are those who never share their true feelings with those they love because they don’t want to hurt them. They are afraid to tell their partners when they are displeased with them...but you might want a love that is honest even when it might hurt. Her inability to let you know when she's really hurt or disappointed with you, is about her failure to trust that she can express her needs and wants and still be loved. It's so easy to say, "You never told me you didn't like that I stayed out late. Why didn't you say anything?" It takes a lot of effort to understand that her fears were not about you...but about her fear of losing love if she required or requested anything. True love is based on honest communication. She might struggle to trust that someone could still love her, and stay with her, if she said "no"...she is afraid.
People perform for people that they love, they present a false self because they don’t know if they can be loved as they truly are...but you might want a partner who can show you their flaws and imperfections. Yep. That means that people can lie to those they love the most. Perhaps they have never been loved for who they really are. Perhaps they are not accepting of who they are. Perhaps they don't trust that someone can love them if they knew how hurt, broke, sick, or insecure they really are. These people will be who they think you want them to be, say what they think you want to hear, and do what they think you want them to do. They just want to be close to you, and they don't believe that anyone could love "a sinner like me." In their minds love is conditional and it is based on their ability to please. They don't really believe that they are deserving of love just because...they lie because they are afraid.
People even run away from those they really love, they shut down and leave because they don’t know how to connect and they fear being vulnerable. Perhaps you want a connection. I know it's hard to believe, but that person who has shut down and stopped talking can actually really love you. The man who walked out on the conversation, or sits there looking at you with a blank stare, or doesn't call you back or show up again just might be crazy about you. You might think "Things were going so well, how could he just leave?" It's hard to believe, but yes, there are those who freeze and flee when love walks in. They fear what love makes them feel, think and do...and they really have no clue what to do with those feelings. They fear the vulnerability of love and they believe their detachment keeps them safe.
I’ve learned that people in love have stuff that affects the flow of love. It’s not that they don’t love you, they might not understand how you need to be loved. It's so easy to make it about you. "He lied to me", "She's trying to control me", "She never said anything and then she just left," "He shuts down on me." Trust me, IT'S NOT ABOUT YOU BOO. Don't take it so personally. Yes, people can love you and not understand how to meet your needs.
It's not about how they feel about you, it's more about their ability and willingness to love you the way you need to be loved. Is he willing to be honest with you even when he's afraid? Is she willing to let you know how she really feels even though it's hard? Can he learn to trust that you will come home, and give you the space you need to be who you are?
Here's what you need to know: Are you clear about the type of love YOU need? Do you want to participate in how your partner is loving? Is your partner able to do what you need to feel loved? Is your partner willing to do what you need to feel loved? Are they willing to sort out their stuff so that you can feel safe with them?
These questions are not only applicable to romantic relationships. Consider these questions in all love relationships: friends, family, and even co-workers. Loving is a learning process. Are you willing to learn to love someone else? We are all love and light and deserving of the love we need. It is up to you to decide if you want to participate in how they love. You are responsible for ensuring you get the love you need. If you need support in your journey toward love, I am here!
Dr. Adrianne R. Pinkney,
Integrative Wellness & Life Coach