Relationship Boot Camp

How to find a satisfying relationship and increase its chances of longevity

Why You Can Hate the One You Love

Can you tolerate being vulnerable

 

     Do you seem to always hurt the ones you love?  Do you ever fear that you feel that sometimes you act as if you hate them? Four reasons are addressed here that may  help answer this dilemma. .

 One: VULNERABILITY. It's a rare person who doesn't seek more love. Though we are in search for this, most remain ambivalent about the pursuit. Trying to find the love you want can be meet with resistance. It' can be a very scary proposition. As one client said about her husband..." I hate him so much because of how vulnerable I am to him. How I can let him control my feelings? And, I hate myself for putting myself in this vulnerable position. I feel like I've lost control." Loving can produce conflicts, fear, and uncertainty. There is the old cliche"love and hate are bedmates."

 TWO: WE CHOOSE PARTNERS WE CAN HATE.     Most of us felt let down and disappointed as we grew up. With our childish minds, we may have thought that our parents were mean because they didn't give us that extra cookie or let us stay up. Little could we realize that we had a sense of entitlement and misread disappointment as rejection. Our parents were fallible human beings who made mistakes. Some may have even intentionally hurt some of us. The end result is that only a rare few escape being burned at the stove of intimacy as a child. This probably could have contributed to us  becoming weary and ambivalent about future relationships.

       Because we want to love and be loved, but don't want to be hurt again, many settle for a version of what satisfies them. They enter into a relationship in which they can keep one foot in the water, and the other safely out, on the sand. They pick partners with flaws about which they can complain but which allow them to remain psychologically distant.

       It can be truly excruciating to put both feet in the water. It's can raise the level of vulnerability to the danger level. If a person is unable to find happiness alone and outside of a love relationship, they can become desperate and be reluctant to feel this vulnerability and progress. We choose partner whose blemishes we can plainly see. We can end up disliking our partner because this is what we set  ourselves up for. It's what we chose. It .can keep us protected. Dissatisfied, but protetced.

 

THREE: THE INDEPENDENCE-DEPENDENCE CONFLICT. One of the strangest conflicts we have is our independence-dependence conflict. We want to be taken care of and yet can resent anyone who cares for us. We want to do it ourselves and can be angry at ourselves for our laziness and dependence. Again, there is massive ambivalence, as we want what we don't want. It's a lose-lose situation as we become angry if we aren't given to, yet can be frustrated again that we have to depend on another.

     For example, pretend you're deep sea diving and you don't have your own air tank. You're sharing air with a buddy. If he swims a few feet away, what are you going to do? Follow closely, of course. He will keep a keen eye on him. How does this make you feel? Dependent? Angry, you don't have your own air? How do you think they feel? Suffocated? This is what happens in many relationships.

      What to do? It's good to feel vulnerable and fearful when you meet someone. The person who cares the least is in control of the relationship.  When you engage in relationships in which you safely remain in control, often people complain of being bored. It's good to feel that fear of stepping out of the box. It's like when you go for that job interview that terrifies you. That's good, and to not feel this fear is to not live life.

       As for the independence-dependence conflict, just recognize it. Be aware, expect it, prepare for it and use this insight to.be able to better communicate.

FOUR: INCONVENIENCE. People who share intimacy also will be exposed to life situations their casual friends do not see. Most witness the front stage performances of others when out in public. When you live with someone, you also can see what's backstage. You can experience every flaw, every unwise thought, every selfish manipulative move.You can do the most unromantic thing- you share a bathroom! You can see them without make-up or at their ugliest as they wake in the morning and are exposed to smells and sights you would choose to avoid..

     Making a relationship work entails compromise and sacrifice. Not everyone does this willingly. Many resent having to sleep on the side of the bed they don't like, having to eat foods they don't prefer at times they don't like, having to socialize with people they really don't care for, and the list can be almost infinite. Frustration creates anger and when this feeling isn't processed, it can be stored and the resentment grows. It can fester and be like little handfulls of dirt thrown on a fire. Over time, the fire goes out. What can be left is bitterness and animosity directed at the person across the kitchen table. 

     Couples have to learn how to release their resentments in constructive ways. Again, good communication and learning to fight fair is paramount. Learning to be tolerant, assertive when necessary and forgiving also is necessary and will be further explained in another blog.

      Can you think of other reasons we may hate the ones we love? Post your comments below.

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Dr. Gerry Heisler is a clinical psychologist with 38 years of experience as a clinician and assistant professor who has dealt with relationship issues.

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