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By Chandrama Anderson

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About this blog: About this blog: I am a LMFT specializing in couples counseling and grief and have lived in Silicon Valley since 1969. I'm the president of Connect2 Marriage Counseling. I worked in high-tech at Apple, Stanford University, and in ...  (More)

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Seek Barriers Within Yourself Against Love

Uploaded: Jan 7, 2023
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.”
- Rumi

I tell my husband that never before has anyone:
- loved me as he does
- told me he’s proud of me
- treated me as well as he does
- believed in me as he does
- shown devotion and loyalty to me as he does

His reply is, “You let me.”

The truth is, I do let him. And it took me a long time to lower the barriers inside me that keep love at bay. Over the many years we’ve been together, I’ve bumped into barrier after unexpected barrier. I tell him when I hit another one. And I work through it with his support and care.

At first, I was uncomfortable being truly loved and adored. Of course, it’s what I always wanted and longed for. Having it has been a whole new world.

Parents are supposed to be our first example of healthy, loving relationships. However, many parents didn’t get that from their parents and are unable to step up because they just don’t know how. And their parents didn’t know, either. The goal here is not to blame our parents or theirs, but to understand the intergenerational traumas so we can finally put a stop to that sh!t in this generation.

Fortunately, many parents put forth their best efforts for their children. At times, it’s enough, and sometimes it’s not. Many parents are really good at putting a roof, food, and activities over their kids’ heads, but are not emotionally present and therefore unable to teach the language of feelings, why they matter, and how to integrate feelings into daily life.

I have heard so many variations of, “My childhood was great. Mom was there when I got home from school (maybe she even made cookies).” Or “My parents supported and pushed me academically, which has helped me to be successful.” But as I dig deeper, it becomes clear that no one was there emotionally, to teach feelings and how to deal with them, to help with interpersonal issues that arose, or to buffer dysfunction when it came up.

Here’s the deal, readers: whatever did or didn’t happen in your upbringing, it’s up to you to say, “Enough!” and get to work ending your family’s intergenerational trauma.

You may begin by seeking your love barriers, as Rumi put it. Be kind, gentle, and go slowly as you enter rough territory.

It’s not simple, easy, or even fun to seek out areas of our being that are wounded and therefore guarded. Wait! Forget I brought it up, and go back to ignoring your wants, needs, pains, difficulties, desires, hopes and dreams.

I don’t actually recommend that.

We’re not a culture that embraces personal growth unless it will help in your career, or to discuss the hard stuff from loving yourself to mortality. This needs to change in order for you to be emotionally healthy, and for our community and the world at large to be healthy.

This is a long-term journey. Please, start now.
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Posted by ElaineB, a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis,
on Jan 11, 2023 at 3:52 pm

ElaineB is a registered user.

In 1974 I took the Process from the Institute for Personal Change. This 9-week psychotherapy program has been the most important work that I have done to end the intergenerational trauma in my own family.

Posted by Justin Tarr, a resident of Woodside,
on Jan 12, 2023 at 1:04 pm

Justin Tarr is a registered user.

As a Millennial I have found that it is best to avoid seeking romantic love (a misleading and contrived Western concept). and

It is oftentimes best just to enjoy casual sex on a non-committal basis for as my grandmother once told me, "Children are God's punishment for having sex...especially if it involves someone you don't want to be around with forever."

Unless one is planning on starting a family, there is no reason not to "exit stage left" when it is time to move on

Others can take on the responsibility of child-rearing (if so inclined) and they will most likely live to regret it given the outcome of my generation and the subsequent Gen Zers.

Posted by Avery Shein, a resident of San Ramon,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 8:17 am

Avery Shein is a registered user.

Many familues are dysfunctional and devoid of any emotional connection.

So what does one do?

I chose to disingage myself from my siblings who are seemingly preoccupied with projecting superficial outward appearances of professional success and disposable income.

These kinds of people (whether family members or acquaintances) are not worth knowing or being involved with on any human level.

For those seeking unconditional love, get a dog.

Posted by Brent Peters, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 9:06 am

Brent Peters is a registered user.

My wife shows too much affection and I find this overt expression kind of creepy and overly needy at times.

Sometimes I just want to be left alone.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 9:53 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Brent, It's likely that Touch is your wife's top Love Language, but not yours. Talk to her. Both of you can take the 5 Love Languages assessment and have a productive discussion.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 9:55 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Avery, it might help to not look at life in black and white; to seek shades of grey. And, it's healthy to have boundaries. Losing words such as always, never, only, any, can help with moving away from black and white thinking.

Posted by Chandrama Anderson, a Palo Alto Online blogger,
on Jan 14, 2023 at 9:58 am

Chandrama Anderson is a registered user.

Justin, I doubt your grandmother was advocating leaving people in the dust. Even if you're jaded about romantic love, caring for others, having their back, being supportive, listening, helping out where/when you can, are all aspects of love that every person needs. We all need to be seen, heard, understood, and supported.

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