Monday, January 28, 2013

It's Not Love

"It's not love to teach someone that unhappiness (or anger, guilt, fear) pays off" ~Bruce Di Marsico. Are you tempted to jump through hoops to avoid 'making' someone unhappy? Emotional blackmail is usually unconscious. When we give in to it though, we reinforce it. Then it works, but the price in emotional health is always too high.

This is one of the most challenging life lessons; the homework and the tests go on and on: When you use misery to motivate yourself or someone else you wield a razor sharp double edged sword.

Here are some examples:
  • Anger may help you to get your way, but it leaves a path of destruction in its wake, a path filled with words that cannot be unsaid and actions that can never be un-taken.
  • Fear may help you avoid perceived danger but it will not keep you safe. Awareness of danger and the ability to overcome or escape it will protect you more.
  • Guilt may convince someone to change their behavior, but no one likes to feel guilty. Resentment builds until it takes a toll like an explosive reaction or the loss of a relationship.
When you give in to someone you love in order to avoid their anger, scare tactics, or attempts to make you feel guilty, you teach them to get angrier, scarier, and more guilt inducing.

When you veer from your own sense of personal integrity to help some one else avoid being unhappy it may seem loving and kind. But it teaches your loved ones that being unhappy is good for them. It reinforces the common limiting belief that, "if you loved me, you would... well, basically do anything to avoid making me unhappy" and it's partner "If you don't do what I want, it means you don't care."

One of the most loving things you, as caring person, can do, is to stick to the truth as you know it and refuse to yield to emotional blackmail. You do not have to retaliate, make them wrong or push back. Just hold your own. A simple "this will never do" will suffice.

Another loving thing to do is to become conscious of your own attempts to wield that angry, fearful, guilty sword against yourself or someone else. Give it up. Find another way to communicate with yourself and others that does not sacrifice your happiness and emotional well-being.

The very good news is that you do not have to give up your desire for anything. You can still reach for anything you want if you:
  • Focus on your desire.
  • Ask for what you want from yourself, others, or the universe.
  • Practice and repeat, practice and repeat.
Cheering you on to love and happy motivation!

Reminder: there are lots of free and inexpensive resources for emotional well-being on my website. Please visit and poke around .