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Friday, January 30, 2009

Is it Love or Toxic Love?

Here's an article I found that might help in figuring out whether someone's relationship with a significant other is doing one good.

I've had a lot of counseling sessions about L-O-V-E and one thing that I never forget to ask the counselee is whether the relationship they have with their loved one always (or generally) bring out the best in him/her. This article below somehow supports my views on the kind of love that a person should have, not because of societal standards but mainly because each person deserves to be truly loved.

A short list of the characteristics of Love vs. toxic love (compiled with the help of the work of Melody Beattie & Terence Gorski.)

1. Love - Development of self first priority.
Toxic love - Obsession with relationship.

2. Love - Room to grow, expand; desire for other to grow.
Toxic love - Security, comfort in sameness; intensity of need seen as proof of love (may really be fear, insecurity, loneliness)

3. Love - Separate interests; other friends; maintain other meaningful relationships.
Toxic love - Total involvement; limited social life; neglect old friends, interests.

4. Love - Encouragement of each other's expanding; secure in own worth.
Toxic love - Preoccupation with other's behavior; fear of other changing.

5. Love - Appropriate Trust (i.e. trusting partner to behave according to fundamental nature.)
Toxic love - Jealousy; possessiveness; fear of competition; protects "supply."

6. Love - Compromise, negotiation or taking turns at leading. Problem solving together.
Toxic love - Power plays for control; blaming; passive or aggressive manipulation.

7. Love - Embracing of each other's individuality.
Toxic love - Trying to change other to own image.

8. Love - Relationship deals with all aspects of reality.
Toxic love - Relationship is based on delusion and avoidance of the unpleasant.

9. Love - Self-care by both partners; emotional state not dependent on other's mood.
Toxic love - Expectation that one partner will fix and rescue the other.

10. Love - Loving detachment (healthy concern about partner, while letting go.)
Toxic love - Fusion (being obsessed with each other's problems and feelings.)

11. Love - Sex is free choice growing out of caring & friendship.
Toxic love - Pressure around sex due to insecurity, fear & need for immediate gratification.

12. Love - Ability to enjoy being alone.
Toxic love - Unable to endure separation; clinging.

13. Love - Cycle of comfort and contentment.
Toxic love - Cycle of pain and despair.

Love is not supposed to be painful. There is pain involved in any relationship but if it is painful most of the time then something is not working.