Hi, I’m Philip Be’er, author of Learning to Love – Your Guide to Personal Empowerment, and this post focuses on applying the three components of love: unconditional acceptance; secure connection; and deep understanding to the elimination of domestic violence.
Whether we’re a six-month-old baby or a love-struck teen, in order to feel loved, we need the same three conditions to exist: We need to feel as if we’re being unconditionally accepted. In other words we need to feel as if we’re being accepted exactly the way that we are, and we need to feel as if we’re securely connected; we need to feel an attachment to the person who is loving us, and we need to feel, or we have a clear sense that they understand us deeply.
Domestic conflict will show up when one, or both of the partners, is no longer feeling unconditionally accepted by their partner, or they feel as if the security of that connection is threatened in some way, or they’re feeling as if they’re not being deeply understood by their partner.
So, what accounts for the intense feelings that bring a couple, who once loved one another, into a state of conflict?
And the solution that we have is that this feeling of disconnection and misunderstanding, or of not being fully accepted, is something that human beings find terrifying, and I write about it in detail in Learning to Love – Your Guide to Personal Empowerment. What we can say is that domestic conflict can be understood as a maladaptive response to the terror that a person or their partner is feeling.
So let’s take a look at how we can fix the problem of domestic violence:
First thing to do is: every time you get upset, describe the reaction that you’re having in a dedicated Healing Journal. Write it down!
And when you’re writing it down, make sure that you focus on your reaction rather than focusing on what your partner has said or done.
For the approach that I teach to work, it’s only necessary one of the conflicting/conflicted partners to change, and it’s much less important which of the parties make the changes to how they be.
If you’re serious about preventing the domestic abuse or the domestic violence then it’s important for you to really get in touch with the emotions that you’re feeling when you begin reacting, so alongside the reactions that you wrote down already, make a note of how are you feeling.
Most people will write down one of the feelings, as anger, so take it a little deeper, because what we know about anger is that it’s really a projection of fear. So, if you feeling angry, do your best to connect to what it is that you’re afraid of. So you can ask this question: “If I didn’t respond with anger, if I didn’t react, what would have happened? How did my reaction prevent something from happening that I was trying to avoid, or to prevent from happening?
The second place that you might go when you’re writing down your feelings into judgment, either of your partner, or of yourself is self!
So, judgment is a projection of shame, and shame is the fear that we are going to be disconnected or alienated or isolated. So, you can ask yourself the question, if you do find yourself judging, “What am I afraid that people might think of me? What am I afraid that people might think about me?”
Now that you can see your emotions written in ink, in front of you, imagine a baby feeling that way, and imagine holding that baby and trying to comfort the little baby, feeling exactly the same emotions that you’ve just written down.
Now, most of us don’t struggle to do that: If a child were to walk up to us, we would be able to say to them, “You know, little kid, you’re gonna be okay. I’m gonna take care of you.” Well, if we can do that for a little child, we can do that just as easily for ourselves!
We can be that secure person that the little baby or the little child would have turned to.
So, it can be embarrassing, but it’s worth doing anyway, and saying those words to ourselves, as if we’re that little baby … comfort yourself briefly, just letting yourself know that you are going to be ok. That it’s okay to be feeling the way that you are, and that you’re there, to take care of yourself.
At the start of this video we spoke about the three conditions that need to be met in order for a person to feel loved. So now, in the space that we’re at, I’m inviting you to shift your expectations of your partner, so you become less dependent on them to help you feel those three things and more dependent on yourself for feeling the acceptance, the connection and the understanding.
It removes an enormous burden from the relationship when we do that, and it was only true that we needed that when we were tiny little children. As adults, we can be self-reliant, emotionally. It’s great to have a partner for companionship, and it’s wonderful to have the experience of love within our relationship. But if we can prevent conflict by relying on ourselves for unconditional acceptance, in other words: really accepting every single part of us and knowing that it doesn’t really matter what our partner thinks or feels about us. We’re ok, independent of their opinion of us, or the way that they treat us. In fact, they’ll shift the way that they treat us the moment that we start treating ourselves as if we’re worthy of that acceptance. And at that point, we’ll start to experience a more secure connection with our partner. We’re not reliant on them for connection because we’re connecting to ourselves, and we don’t need them to understand us. In fact they never will, because it’s only possible for us to, well at best we can understand ourselves, and most people don’t even understand themselves. So we can’t really be expected to understand another person!
The challenge is for us to understand and to accept ourselves.
Learning to Love – Your Guide to Personal Empowerment contains all of the information that you need to take the steps necessary for ending domestic violence and for healing a broken relationship.
The book is available in print and in digital format at www.b-loops.com/love
We’ve found that the learning to love process works best when you’re able to bounce your responses to the exercises in the book off another person, or off a number of other people. So we strongly recommend that you use the book within what we call a “Learning to Love Salon”. Essentially a book club, where two or more people get together, and go over the chapters, responding to the exercise questions, and comparing the answers that they feel comfortable sharing with one another.
If you’ve found this video to be helpful then there are a couple things that you can do: Share it with anyone who would benefit from it, and stay in touch with us by registering online for our newsletter. Send us your comments and let us know how it’s helped you in your process of Fixing it With Love.
This is Philip Be’er, signing off.