Love is a spiritual journey that involves constant learning and shedding of illusions. The illusions and fantasies of Love that we grew up with and have been fed through movies and the media. Let’s clear up the Fantasy of Love versus the Truth about Love.
Love will always feel exciting, passionate, and fearless. We will always feel attraction
Love eliminates feelings of pain and grief and sorrow and promises only ecstasy
We will never argue, have disagreements or fight
It will be completely effortless, always
Holds everything, every feeling. Ecstasy and pain, magic and sorrow. We will disappoint and upset each other and we will have to choose to love each other. We will have to practice forgiveness and compassion.
Requires my conscious effort each day. Every day is brand new and every day it’s my responsibility to show up fully. I am responsible for my part in the relationship
We are wildly imperfect
Everything changes and we are always changing
We will have to talk about responsibilities, money and sex and taxes and values and children and time and needs and fears and feelings and make lots of difficult decisions together
The work never ends, there is no destination and I intend to make sure my partner feels loved and appreciated every day
My partner can’t read my mind. It’s my responsibility to express what I need and how I feel.
The fantasy keeps so many in such painful, excruciating struggles and their feet are never on the ground. The fantasy fuels unrealistic expectations that leave us empty and starving for real love. Real love is grounding, humbling and messy. It is a choice that requires effort every day. It shines through the routine experiences of the everyday life.
Neuroscientists have discovered specialized cells in the brain, called mirror neurons, that spontaneously create brain-to-brain links between people. This means that our brain waves, chemistry and feelings can literally mirror the brain waves, chemistry and feelings of people who we are communicating with, reading stories about, watching on television, or those who we simply have in our thoughts.
We may think that our feelings and emotions are our exclusive property, that they belong to us and that we alone can feel them. However, emotions can easily pass from person to person, like infectious smiling. The way we feel can affect the way other people are feeling.
Some people are so highly sensitive, that they can start feeling the way other people feel. They can start experiencing other people’s feelings as their own feelings. Much of the time this is done unconsciously.
People commonly put on a show of expression, hiding their true feelings and emotions. Sometimes, people are struggling to understand their own feelings. Highly sensitive people (or empaths) can sense the truth behind the cover and can help that person to better understand and express him/herself, thus making them feel at ease and not so desperately alone.
Empaths are often poets in motion. They are the born writers, singers, and artists with a high degree of creativity and imagination. They are known for many talents as their interests are varied, broad and continual, loving, loyal and humorous. They often have interests in many cultures and view them with a broad-minded perspective.
Empaths are often problem solvers, thinkers, and studiers of many things. As far as empaths are concerned, where a problem is, so too is the answer. They often will search until they find one – if only for their own peace of mind.
Empaths are often very affectionate in personality and expression, great listeners and counselors (and not just in the professional area). They will find themselves helping others and often putting their own needs aside to do so.
Empaths are often quiet and can take a while to handle a compliment for they’re more inclined to point out another’s positive attributes.
Empaths have a tendency to openly feel what is outside of them more so than what is inside of them. This can cause empaths to ignore their own needs or get overwhelmed and confused with everything they feel.
An empath’s sensitivity is a gift but in order to fully develop and manage it they need to learn how to stop absorbing other people’s stresses. They need to learn to center and protect themselves, set healthy boundaries, and let go of the painful feelings they picked up from others.
Evaluation: is this feeling mine or someone else’s? It could be both. Feelings are catchy, especially if they relate to a hot button issue for you. You are more prone to take on the emotional or physical pain that you haven’t worked out in yourself. The more you heal issues that trigger you, the less likely you’ll be to absorb disturbing feelings from others.
Step away from what’s disturbing you. In a physical space when possible, distance yourself by at least twenty feet from the suspected source. See if you feel relief. If a movie or a book are negatively affecting you, stop watching or reading.
Get to know your vulnerable points and protect them.
Surrender to your breath. Concentrate on your breath for a few minutes. This is centering and connects you to your power.
Set healthy limits and boundaries. Control how much time you spend listening to stressful people, and learn to say “no.” Remember, “no” is a complete sentence.
Visualise protection around you. Visualise an envelope of white light around your entire body.
Go for a walk or enjoy another outdoor activity. Empaths often find themselves continually drawn to nature as a form of ‘release’ from other people’s feelings. It is the opportune place to recapture their senses and gain a sense of peace in the hectic lives they may live.
Don’t panic if you occasionally pick up pain or some other nasty symptom. It happens. With these strategies you can have quicker responses to stressful situations. This will make you feel safer, healthier, and your sensitivities can blossom.
Infidelity is a major factor in broken marriages. It destroys families, and paves the way for traumatic experiences for children.
Cheating does not always mean actual sexual activity. Emotional cheating and flirting are still considered as cheating.
The cheater’s actions hurt the spouse who was betrayed, their children, their families, close friends. But these aren’t the only people infidelity hurts. Cheating hurts the cheater too.
Despite the initial thrill of an affair, cheating often negatively affects the cheater emotionally. It’s common for them to feel anxiety, guilt, shame, worry, regret, confusion, embarrassment, and self-loathing when they contemplate how their actions impact those they love and why they cheated in the first place.
When they think about and experience how their actions impact them and others they feel the sting and anguish of their poor judgment.
All of these thoughts swirling through their heads and the rollercoaster of their emotions can lead cheaters to live two completely different lives while the affair continues. One where they feel the addictive ecstasy of love and one where they feel hatred.
Of course, living these two polar-opposite lives puts extreme stress not only on themselves, but on their marriage too. And when the spouse does discover the truth, they will feel pain to their core as they rightfully wonder what part of the relationship with their wayward spouse was real and what part was a lie.
Not only can the spouse now blame the cheater for every bad thing that happens to them and every problem in their relationship, but their children get to blame them too. If they feel depressed, if they cheat or their spouse cheats on them, that will be their cheater-parent’s fault. When their children are sitting on the therapist’s couch unmarried, unloved and childless at 44, the cheater-parent will be the reason they can’t trust or make and keep commitments.
Cheaters often are not able to trust others to be loyal to them. After all if they did this themselves, anyone can. If they could violate trust and hurt someone they love in such a deeply damaging way, what’s to stop others from doing it to them?
Being on the receiving end of the pain their spouse is suffering because of the cheating can easily become too much for the straying spouse. At one extreme, they may deny their responsibility for causing the pain and blame their spouse for forcing them to cheat. At the other extreme, they may feel they deserve the punishment, accept it as just, and live out the rest of their lives as a mere shadow of their true selves.
How cheating affects the cheater is complicated and painful. Why do they cheat then?
There are a lot of reasons why cheaters cheat, including:
personality disorders: narcissism, borderline personality disorder, and psychopathy.
childhood trauma, or
being raised with bad influence regarding relationships.
Cheaters often deeply fear abandonment and seek out their second relationship as something of a security blanket against physical or emotional loneliness.
Repeat cheaters often have certain core negative beliefs. They feel unworthy, feel no one can genuinely love them and so on. As a result of these insecurities, people addicted to cheating tend to avoid intimacy and to compartmentalise and split off part of their sexual, romantic or intimate life. Being intimate with a spouse is problematic for them and they find an escape.
People who cheat will look for opportunities where the potential mate may be in a vulnerable state, such as after a break-up or divorce. When the preyed-upon is in a more vulnerable state, they are more likely to be open to and engage in the cheating behavior because they miss the feeling of being loved and are not emotionally grounded enough yet to set secure boundaries.
Like with all addictions, repeat cheating is a dependency on a ‘drug’ to escape pain, fear and other negative emotions.
The prospects for repeat cheaters can be good if addicts give up all the related behaviours and get treatment that addresses their insecurities and their fears around intimacy; in other words the “deeper work”. This might involve:
Professional help to uncover the root cause of cheating
Practicing total transparency with the spouse OR
Changing the relationship type. Instead of cheating, they can find partners who are comfortable with non-monogamy. Sometimes it is better to follow a less traditional — but honest — path, then live a life of destruction, betrayal and lies.
As with all recovery, it takes time and treatment to change a lifelong adaptation. It also takes vigilance. Even well into recovery, addicts may still be drawn to sexual validation and non-sexual forms of cheating. But these behaviors will continue to fade away over the years.
Transparency and authenticity are buzz words that are heard a lot nowadays, but the actual practice of being honest, open, and even emotionally raw in a relationship is no easy task. On some level we are all facing that fear – afraid of being seen for who we truly are. Afraid of seeing ourselves for who we really are…
When we continually lock out our partners and refuse to let them know who we really are “behind the mask,” we limit intimacy, hamper communication, and create barriers to a fulfilled relationship.
According to Dr Gary Brown, “Being vulnerable in relationships is really opening your heart and letting your partner know your true self. It’s the warts and all. It’s those secret parts of yourself that you may have never shared with your partner…or maybe anyone else for that matter.
It’s the stuff that has stayed hidden away that you really don’t want to say – too scared to say — but maybe are thinking. It’s surrounded by the “if I share this stuff” my friend/partner/lover won’t like me/love me/will want to leave me.
And that is why being vulnerable with our inner world is directly linked to overcoming our fear of how our loved one may react. That is why vulnerability requires the courage to be truly authentic and real, letting your friend/partner/lover know all the sides of you, even the icky parts alongside the fear of the reveal.
Being vulnerable can be really scary. But it is the single most thing that will create trust and deep connection for a relationship to go the distance.
In a healthy relationship, both partners have a sense of connection and trust. Vulnerability creates emotional (and sometimes physical) intimacy and a closeness because you can feel safe to be your true self. It’s what creates a deeper sense of love and understanding.
In order for connection to happen, we have to allow ourselves to be seen, really seen. And that, understandably, can feel emotionally risky….
To know that you are seen and loved for simply being your full self, to be with someone else in all of their vulnerability and love them for all that they are may just be one of life’s most fulfilling experiences. When you feel yourself starting to shut down out of fear in your relationship, notice if you can make the choice to be courageous and embrace vulnerability.”
When fathers treat their daughters well, this relationship becomes one of the most cherished for their daughters. It often shapes their daughter’s lives, making them more resilient, giving them permanent armour for the rest of their lives. A father holds the keys to his daughter’s feminine identity, her sense of self-worth, and her future relationships.
Girls need fathers to make them feel like a princess: cared about, loved, safe and secure. To feel very special. Feeling like a princess is not about looking super-beautiful, being showered in expensive gifts, being spoilt, avoiding doing chores around the house, being rude and disrespectful to others. It is more about how girls feel inside: their self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-love.
From infancy, girls draw conclusions about what men are like from the men in their life. If there is a father (or a male in her life who takes a father role), that man becomes her guidepost for what to expect of men.
Spend quality time with your daughter. Do things she enjoys doing. Play with her. Give her hugs and share laughs.
Celebrate her mind. Read to your little girl. Be interested in what she is learning in school. Pay attention to her interests and be sincerely curious to learn what she knows about them. Share interesting things about your work and your hobbies with her.
Go to her events whether it is sport, dancing or musical theatre. She needs you there as a witness to her talents, her efforts, and her achievements.
Tell her she’s beautiful and the most precious gift in your life. Look at her with admiration. This will be one of the building blocks for her self-esteem.
Treat all women the way you want your daughter to be treated someday. Take care with what you say about women and never ever tell or laugh at a sexist joke. Your daughter is listening. Your attitude about women is part of the attitude she is developing about herself.
Treat her the way you want her future partner to treat her. The way you interact with your daughter is what she becomes used to when relating to a man. Treat her with respect, dignity, care and affection and she will expect to be treated that way by other men in her life.
Be the kind of man you want your daughter to marry one day. Make no mistake; you are the model for manhood your daughter is likely to look for when she starts to date. If you want her to find a man who is caring, faithful, honest and hardworking, who knows how to have fun, who uses money wisely and who doesn’t abuse people, drugs, or alcohol, then you need to be that kind of man. It is not what you say that counts, but what you do.
And then no matter what obstacles she will encounter in her life, the bullies she will meet, the nasty things she will be told, she won’t care because she will know deep in her heart that she is a very special, intelligent and beautiful person no matter what.
Behind every happy daughter is a truly amazing dad!
Sigmund Freud once said that “the great question that has never been answered, and which I have not yet been able to answer, despite my thirty years of research into the feminine soul, is ‘What does a woman want?’
We don’t know for sure what response he got when he posed that question to Princess Marie Bonaparte. It seems highly likely she replied “reliable orgasms”.
While this might be of importance to many woman, I’m not convinced that’s all they want. To me Bonaparte was responding more from a perspective of a researcher rather than a woman. She was doing a research on orgasms at that time.
As Randolph M. Nesse points out in his book Good reasons for bad feelings: insights from the frontier of evolutionary psychiatry “birth control and disease prevention have made sex more available to more people more often. … Opportunities for sexual relationships are now a world marketplace of desire and deception, from Match.com to Tinder.” Does this make women happier in life? Does this make men happier?
For some it probably does, while for others I think Bryan Adams’ song reflects it the best.
Women do want to be understood, cared about, respected, wanted and loved. I’m sure a lot of men want that too…
Emphasis is currently being placed on people to self-isolate from their places of work and leisure, posing the home as a place of relative safety during the coronavirus pandemic. However, there is growing concern about what impact this might have on those trapped in intimate relationships with people who use violence and abuse.
For some people, home is not a safe place to be, so the prospect of large parts of the population being confined to prevent the spread of the coronavirus opens the potential for increased incidents of domestic violence.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned of a “horrifying global surge” in domestic violence during the coronavirus crisis and urged governments to step up efforts to prevent violence against women. Why only women though? Why not all people irrespective of gender? Violence and abuse is never ok. That applies equally whether the victim is a man or woman.
Figures suggest that as many as one in three victims of domestic violence are male, therefore it is important to ensure male victims are not left out from the anti-violence efforts.
Abuse of men happens in both heterosexual and same sex relationships. It happens to men from all cultures and all walks of life regardless of age or occupation. However, men are often reluctant to report abuse because they feel embarrassed, fear they won’t be believed, or are scared that their partner will take revenge.
Of course, domestic abuse is not limited to physical violence. Emotional and verbal abuse, blackmail, harassment, threats can be just as damaging.
Here are a few things to consider during the COVID-19 pandemic:
Understand that stress and anxiety does not cause domestic abuse but it may increase it in families where it is already being perpetrated. Acknowledge that this is an extremely unsafe time.
Check in with someone who you are personally worried about.
If it is safe to talk when you call, arrange a codeword or phrase that the victim can use if interrupted, eg if you need to end the call at any point please say “no, sorry I’m not interested in taking part in the survey”.
Where there is not a complete lockdown and people are still able to leave their houses to go for a walk if not ill or in quarantine, suggest they go for a walk as a “time out” technique to de-escalate the situation. If there is a complete lockdown then a garage or garden shed could also work.
Suggest they get evidence of the abuse. Report all incidents of physical abuse to the police and get a copy of each police report. Keep a journal of all abuse with a clear record of dates, times, and any witnesses. Include a photographic record of your injuries and make sure your doctor or hospital also documents your injuries.
Suggest they obtain advice from a domestic violence program or helpline available in your area.
And let’s stop making jokes about domestic violence and abuse like in that Russian video below called ‘In all houses in our country….” that depicts a woman abusing her partner for forgetting to wash the dishes, not watching the movie she wanted, not tidying up his clothes etc. a week after Putin’s call to the nation “Trust me, the safest place at the moment is at home” that appears at the end of the video.