24 May 2012

Creating Love (an excerpt)

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.
This may 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 disapproved of.

To question 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 that love.

I'm thankful to Scott Peck for challenging these notions of love, but I do not blame my family for passing them on.

My family 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

No comments:

Post a Comment