Why many are Scared of Love

fear of love

Why many are Scared of Love

Did you know that most divorces and breakups happen at the beginning of the year? January seeks the most separations of couples. Why is that? Speculations abound but no real reason has been pegged. It could be that people want to have a new life in the New Year. Or perhaps they see Valentine’s Day down the road and run off before it gets there. But this begs the question, why do so many breakups and divorces happen at all? One reason, lots of people are scared of an emotion that should instead empower them, love.

These fears don’t always surface at the beginning of a relationship. They may lay dormant waiting for the right trigger to bring them forth. They all come down to one thing, a fear of intimacy. And even though initially this fear is seen as a protective quality, it ultimately keeps us from the intimacy and closeness we desire most. There are lots of ways to be scared of love. See if any of these describe you or someone you know. First is fear of vulnerability. This usually happens at the beginning of a relationship. Love means letting someone else in. You are suddenly dependent upon someone else for your happiness, not just you. And this fear of vulnerability can often affect or even end a relationship, the fearful partner driving the other away.

Falling in love also brings up old scars from the past. Childhood traumas are often brought forth. Anger, resentment, neglect, rejection and fear can all resurface in conjunction of finding love in one’s life. Love can oppose our old perceptions of ourselves. We may think we’re unlovable or undeserving of love. There are those who sometimes mistake their inner critic for how they actually feel about themselves. They let those negative voices become their opinion of themselves. The inner critic is an amalgam. It is nothing but a collection of negative messages we were exposed to when we were young by our parents and others, or those which our parents felt about themselves which we internalized and made about ourselves. Other negative messages from bullies and other peers may become part of this amalgam. Eventually it gets ingrained in the individual. Falling in love, and being validated by someone who loves you, throws a wrench in that perception. And since our biggest fear is that of the unknown, the person who is loved but doesn’t feel that they deserve it doesn’t know what to do.

Some people fear inevitable pain from the elation of love. That the breakup will hurt just as bad as the love now feels. But how do you know that it won’t work out? Lastly, some people fear that the other person loves them more than they love that person. They’re afraid that this dynamic will never change. Love changes over time and moment to moment. Do not fear love. Let it be a transformative force in your life, not a blast that forces you to crouch but an updraft that makes you soar. For more advice read, Love Me, Don’t Leave Me: Overcoming Fear of Abandonment & Building Lasting, Loving Relationships by Michelle Skeen, PsyD.

Stop Abusive Calls

harassing-phone-calls

Stop Abusive Calls

Sometimes love turns sour. Either you dated the wrong person, or they seemed okay but turned on you. Either way, you are receiving awful phone calls from them. You want them stopped. But getting them to stop making abusive phone calls is easier said than done. The first thing you want to do is, when you receive an abusive call, don’t yell back or respond in any way. This is what the caller is looking for. He or she will feed off of it. Don’t hang up automatically either. You’ll just enrage them more and they’ll call back in a fury. Instead, just leave the phone unattended for a while. Then hang it up. They will get tired of this and the calls will stop.

If they don’t, start keeping a log of what time and day each call occurred. Is there a pattern? This will give you information to pass along when you contact the police. Remember you can dial *69 and report the abuse. Remember to explain the entire situation and ask for what the options are. Should you follow up? You may need to fill out a restraining order, or go to the precinct. Abusive calls are a criminal offense. Perhaps mention your intentions to the caller in an effort to get them to stop. But if they don’t, be prepared to follow through.

Another place to call is your phone service provider. They may have a policy for dealing with such calls. They may be able to identify the number this person is calling from in order to block it. Or they may give you instructions on how to block it yourself. You may be able to block the number yourself too by dialing *77 if it’s a private number. If you call back but can’t get through or don’t get an answer, it’s likely the person has blocked their own number to avoid being identified. Never give out any personal information over the phone. The person who is calling and harassing you may have some plot, or could have elicited the help of a friend. In any event, unless you are sure of the person on the other line or they have somehow identified that they are who they say they are, or represent who they say they do, don’t give out your social security number, banking information, home address or any information that can be used to hack accounts, steal your identity or the like.

You may want to change your number, or make your number unlisted which means it won’t end up on whitepages.com or any other sites, and won’t show up in the phone book. Even if when they are caught they make it look like just a prank or no big deal, go through with pressing charges. Otherwise, they are likely to do it again. But if they feel the full bite of punishment they are unlikely to do it again, and it will send a message to others not to mess with you. Protect yourself. Abusive calls can be really obnoxious, even scary. But if you take these steps they’ll soon be a thing of the past. For more advice read, Splitting: Protecting Yourself While Divorcing Someone with Borderline or Narcissistic Personality Disorder by Bill Eddy, LCSW, JD and Randi Kreger.

Is She Playing Hard to Get or Just Not Interested?

date

Is She Playing Hard to Get or Just Not Interested?

Women are hard to read, that’s no surprise. But the reason behind it isn’t because she likes to play games, or that women are insidious masterminds. Instead, she plays hard to get as a protective measure. New research published in the European Journal of Personality reveals that she wants to see how interested you are and if you are commitment ready. According to Peter K. Jonason, Ph.D., the study’s author, women play hard to get to separate the guys who want a one night stand from the ones who have potential and want a real relationship. This subtle dance gets even more complicated. Guys are preprogrammed to think she’s interested even if she isn’t.  “Men suffer from sexual over-perception bias,” says psychoanalyst Vinita Mehta PhD. “It causes them to perceive more interest from a woman than there might actually be.”

So how can you tell if she is playing hard to get or just not interested? Here are some common scenarios and the tip off as to whether she’s interested or not. First, when she doesn’t answer your texts in what you may perceive as a timely manner, even when you know that her phone is ALWAYS on her, what’s going on? Remember that texts are low stress but they are also low commitment. A woman wants to know that she’s special to you. And texts just aren’t a special form of communication. Give her a call. That would mean something to her. And if she’s into you she’ll pick up the phone, or call you back.

Is the girl you are interested in always busy? If her schedule never seems to have any space there may be one of three things going on; she may be an uber extrovert, she isn’t really that interested in you, or she wants you to know something important about her, she’s got a life and it doesn’t revolve around you. Dr. Mehta says, “She wants you to know that she’s not just sitting at home, waiting around for you to call.  It’s how she protects herself from ending up in a too-casual relationship.” Show her that you value her time, and that you don’t expect her to drop everything just to be with you. Make plans ahead of time. You both can whip out your calendars over the phone.

Does she talk about other guys in front of you: a male coworker, a friend, a classmate or some guy that hit on her at the coffee house? Look deeper into these stories. Is she romantically involved or not? Does she talk about the guy who was hitting on her as if to say it made her feel uncomfortable, or did she enjoy it? She’s letting you know that you’re not the only one who’s interested. Dating expert Yue Xu of Singlefied.com says that if she’s talking about how strange it was, “It’s her way of nudging you and letting you know there’s competition. But she also wants you to know that you’re the first in line.” Lastly, some girls flake out. You make plans and they give you a thin excuse. What’s the deal? Says Xu, “She’s protecting herself. She wants to be the opposite of clingy, so she overcompensates by being extra detach-y.” If she leaves the door open or reschedules with you, she’s into you. But if she keeps jerking you around, she just likes to be chased. For more advice read, Secrets of Body Language: Female Body Language. Learn to Tell if She’s Interested or Not! By Lionel Rose.

Dealing with Infidelity and Deciding Whether or Not to Divorce

emotionally-detached

Dealing with Infidelity and Deciding Whether or Not to Divorce

Besides the death or illness of a loved one, infidelity and divorce are some of the most painful experiences one can go through. Usually a whole host of emotions is thrust upon someone when confronted with a spouse’s sexual infidelity. Anger, frustration, jealousy, but also hurt, shock, uncertainty about the future, perhaps wondering what it was that drove them into the arms of another. Once you’ve been cheated on, sometimes the wondering can take up your day-to-day life and crowd out the other, important things like family life, career and so on. If you’ve recently come to understand that your spouse has been unfaithful, and you are struggling with exactly how to deal with the infidelity, and deciding whether or not to divorce or try to work it out, here are some ideas on how to sort things out, and a little insight into how to operate while in this vulnerable, wrathful or perhaps even volatile state, to make sure that the outcome of your actions at this stage set you up for the best possible outcome in the near future. First, realize that it might be wise to get tested for STDs. Those who practice infidelity often skip protection with their other lover or lovers. Go to your regular doctor, explain to them what the situation is and have yourself tested.

Whether or not you decide to divorce, you should look into your legal rights, custody, assets and think about getting a lawyer or having an accountant give you a glimpse of what you might be looking at in terms of a settlement and custody if you have children. The sooner you start gathering documentation to support your case, the better protected you will be no matter how the matter proceeds. Some people feel like it’s natural to bottle up. They don’t want others to think less of them for being cheated on, or feel it’s a blow to their ego. But that’s the exact opposite of what one should do in this situation. In fact, it’s the support of close friends and family that will help you vent, sort out the matter, give you advice and help you through this difficult time. What better therapy is there than talking the matter over with a good friend? Everyone needs caring, support and love especially during a trying time such as this. Men in particular will bottle things up inside, or turn to substance abuse. But that only hurts themselves. Learn to talk about the issue with the appropriate people, seek out support and you will receive it. Generally, people are more than happy to help, and wish you’d ask. Research has shown that a strong social network can help relieve extreme stress, which is not good for one’s mental or physical health, and can help you overcome trying times such as this more easily.

Have a frank conversation with your spouse without blame or shaming, to simply find out why they cheated. Has it got something to do with your relationship? Studies have shown that a minority of these relationships turn around and become stronger after an infidelity, as people realize where they’ve gone wrong and are motivated to fix it. The majority of infidelities, particularly serial infidelities, end in divorce. Trust yourself, your observations and feelings. Honestly, there is no right or wrong in this situation. Everything is up to you as to whether to proceed and try to fix the marriage, have a long separation or divorce. Some couples, due to financial hardship, stay separated for long periods of time. They also do this to avoid the emotional suffering divorce can bring. Still, it’s important to note that any change in your spouse’s income could affect an eventual settlement, depending on state law. What’s more, it may become more difficult to eventually divorce. There are many gray areas however. Protect yourself. Find out what the law is. Get expert advice. Don’t have unprotected sex with your partner. Don’t jump into anything until you’ve dealt with your feelings on the matter, grieved and healed. Give yourself some room and space to cogitate and really get to the heart of how you feel about your whole relationship and the affair. Don’t jump into revenge sex or a no strings attached relationship right away. If you are emotionally healed, it may be okay as long as you are protected. But otherwise you may be hurting yourself far worse. Don’t blame others or make threats and don’t seek revenge. Instead, reflect upon your own life, sort out your feelings, and decide how is best to proceed so that you can live the happy, healthy and well-adjusted life you deserve.  For more on this topic read, Getting Past the Affair: A Program to Help You Cope, Heal, and Move On — Together or Apart by Douglas K. Snyder Ph.D., Donald H. Baucom Ph.D. and Kristina Coop Gordon Ph.D.

Why do Some People feel Threatened by Love?

threatened

Why do Some People feel Threatened by Love?

Compassion, understanding and love sound like they should inhabit every part of our everyday interactions. But it seems that so many people have a hard time accepting these. In couples counseling often one partner will show love, respect or affection for their partner and be met with an angry response. This isn’t an uncommon response. Many people react negatively when met with accolades, love or gratitude. Even a small compliment can make someone angry or suspicious. So why do some people feel threatened by love? There are many reasons. Some people developed psychological defenses in life early on to protect them from pain or rejection. These positive emotions then cause the person anxiety. The person has a hard time evaluating these positive emotions. Are they real or some kind of trick to get past their defenses? Childhood traumas can make love seem scary and dangerous. The person feels compelled to hurt the one who loves them. They push their lover away, punish them and distance themselves from this person emotionally. Their defensiveness comes into the fray. Their antennae are up seeing love as a kind of danger. Generally they don’t know why they act this way. They just get swept up in their emotions and justify it later on pointing to something in their lover’s behavior as the cause.

Another reason may be that experiencing this love may bring up trauma from the past. These are feelings of pain and sadness that the person had blocked out. Feelings of loneliness and abandonment felt as children can crawl up to the surface. Then they fear being hurt or laid bare as they did all those years ago. Love can also cause an identity crisis. They don’t know who they are anymore. They’ve associated themselves with these negative emotions for so long they can’t seem to overcome them. These emotions have become a part of them and they don’t know how to let go, or who they will be should they let go. This negative self-view started when they were children. Children automatically idealize their parents and see themselves in a negative light. This is a natural survival mechanism. But those who have sustained a childhood trauma get caught up in this negative view of themselves. Any form of success such as a close, loving relationship threatens this comfortable negative self-view. People feel more comfortable in their own image of themselves, even if it is negative, than stepping out into the unknown, even if a chance at love stands on the other side. For some, acknowledging this new love can break the fantasy bond they had with their parents, where they thought their parents were loving and kind. It is difficult to break out of a fear of being loved. But all hope is not lost. Self-help and therapy can move one from the fear of love category to one who embraces love and happiness with their heart wide open. To explore this topic further pick up a copy of the book Love Is Letting Go of Fear by Gerald G. Jampolsky.