Conditional love – Possessive relationships
Whilst unconditional love freely flows inside out, conditional love sets its terms and is directed inwardly.
Conditional love sends out messages like this: “I have done so much for you, so now you should do this for me.” Or “I need your attention, your sympathy, your consent, your time, your presence, your love.” Or “I want you to live your life according to my beliefs and ideas.” “I need you to need me, and to look after me exactly the way I have in mind.” “And if you don’t do that, I will fall ill or become very unhappy.”
This kind of relationship is psychologically suffocating, and can be even physically suffocating, for the person(s) it concerns. It does not allow personal space to the other one. The path the other one has chosen for his/her life is deliberately surpassed for the sake of someone’s egocentric purposes.
Deep down hidden in the soul of the demanding and possessive person dwells a needy little child, longing for love and appreciation. Under the surface lies deep seated insecurity and fear of loss, especially of relationships. They have difficulty with experiencing self-love and self-acceptance, and the behavior they show is a great example of compensation.
Since claiming people cannot accept to be connected with the great inner source of love through the heart, and since they cannot understand that they were born ‘okay’, they need affirmation, confirmation and domination over the persons in their near surroundings.
They want you to listen patiently to twenty times their story and accept that there’s no interest in one time your story. They need you to agree with their viewpoint and to act in accordance with their moral ideas about life. They will hold on tightly to present relationships, and show great difficulty if a child tries to break free in living its own adult life or marrying a partner. They can lay strong demands on you taking care of their health even daily, no matter if you have your own family to look after. They may obtrude their help upon you, in return for your time and gratitude. And it will never be enough.
A comical representation of this is Hyacinth Bucket from the series Keeping up Appearances. Have you noticed the stress, upset and attempts to avoidance she brings about?
Unfortunately in everyday life the same thing happens. The real life “Hyacinths” are such constricting and critizising in their efforts to be the center of attention, that it leads to what they fear mostly: loss of relationships.
I think social and gentle persons are foremost prone to fall victim to the above described emotional vampires. Especially if you are a child or partner of such a person, it won’t be easy to live your own life.
They may use subtle manipulation methods that speak to your heart: their willingness to help you, support you financially, their loneliness after having lost their partner, their worries about your wellbeing, their dependence on you, they could use ill health to draw your attention, or give hints and advices. Please don’t get me wrong: to a certain extend all these things belong to a normal relationship, but in a possessive one they are used to make you do what they want, to exercise power with velvet gloves.
And if you dare to act independant, they will let you know with great self-pity or anger that you misbehave, and that you are their source of unhappiness. Of course conjuring up feelings of guilt is a mighty weapon to fight your spiritual freedom and progress.
So what to do?
It is important to understand the psychology of the situation.
Please know that, no matter how loving you wish to be, you can’t live somebody elses life.
It is your responsibility to do something useful with the gift of your life, and your level of happiness will let you know in as far you are aligned with your heart. Unhappiness, illness and energy drains will show you that something is wrong. No one besides you can find your aim for this life. Calmly but persistently insist on your personal space. Saying No to a loved one does not mean that you have stopped loving that person.
The possessive person needs to learn that relationships flower in love and freedom, not in imposed dutifulness. Love is happily giving without thinking about receiving, and not trading tit for tat.
Someone else can never meet one’s expectations, therefore please learn to let things and people be. Work with affirmations like “I put faith in myself” and “I am love”.
Two Bach flower remedies can be a great help in the process of losening a possessive relationship:
Centaury for the nice, helpful and too gentle person who is dominated.
Chicory for the demanding, possessive and critical person who needs constantly nurturing through the love and attention of others.
Probably you’ll have to take a confrontation into account; sometimes a storm is necessary to clean the air and make space for inner growth. Well, from old the thunderstorms are attributed to the chief gods. It can bring about the fire of healing for both parties.
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