I learned two important things. . . that confronted my family of origin teachings. I learned that love cannot happen unless I am willing to commit myself to making it happen. And I learned that love is a process that requires hard work and courage.
not be news to you, but it was revolutionary to me. I was
brought up to believe that love is rooted in blood
relationships. You naturally loved anyone in your
family. Love was not a choice. The love I learned
about was bound by duty and obligation. You could never not
love your parents or relatives, and loving them meant that you
couldn't ever disagree with them or want something they
any of these teachings was to risk being labeled a "black
sheep" or just plain crazy. To actually go against them
was to feel cellular guilt, the price of breaking a sacred promise
you never knew you made.
At the same
time, love was supposed to be easy. When you grew up and the
time was right, the "right person" would come
along. You would recognize this person immediately.
You would fall in love and naturally know what to do to develop
thankful to Scott Peck for challenging these notions of love, but
I do not blame my family for passing them on.
taught me our culture's rules and beliefs about love. Over
the past few years, it has become obvious to me that everyone I
knew growing up was raised either by parents who followed these
cultural rules or by parents who were reacting against them. . . .
I suggest that these cultural rules created a deficient form of
love, and that even with the best intentions our parents often
confused love with what we would now call abuse.
John Bradshaw, from his book Creating Love