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Do You Believe that Inner Bonding Will Give You Control Over Getting Love?

By Phyllis Stein, Ph.D.
December 31, 2006

Have you believed that if you are loving enough, you will be able to have control over getting love from others? Phyllis shares her experience with this.

Almost none of us had parents who could really love us in the way that we needed to be loved. Not getting this love was extraordinarily painful, and we had each to find a way to survive that, to feel something else besides this terrible pain. Most of us decided that if we were only different in some way, we would be lovable and get love from our parents. This belief made it possible to survive, because it provided hope and kept us from the depths of despair. In my case, one of the false beliefs that helped me survive was that if I were able to be loving enough, to really open my heart, then they would love me. I couldn't and they didn't, but the belief didn't care. It still kept me from feeling the deeper pain and helplessness.

What I have realized is that I incorporated this belief into my commitment to Inner Bonding. It was a natural fit, therefore very subtle. After all, Inner Bonding is about learning to be loving and about creating loving relationships. When I got married I believed that Inner Bonding would help us have the best marriage possible. I know now that what I was getting out of what Margaret was trying to tell us, was the part that fed my wounded belief. I was trying to become more loving, to not pull, to not invade, to not control in order, paradoxically, to have control over being lovable. I assumed that if I became lovable and stopped doing the things that triggered him, my husband's love would become available. Everything I heard about my part of our system got sucked into this wounded belief. I was determined to learn to have control over having a loving relationship. As a result, I could never see that my husband was too wounded to share love with me and that his actions were unloving most of the time and, beyond that my attempts to have control over being loved often made me feel worse. When he was unloving, which was most of the time, my wounded self would tell me, if I were only better, he would be open. I didn't understand what I do now, that Inner Bonding is totally an inside job, about learning to be the parents we never had and to love our little ones the way they needed to be loved, and that in a way the relationship issues were irrelevant. They were real, but the really real issue in the relationship was that I did not know how to bring love to myself and he did not know to do it for himself. It's not that Margaret didn't try, valiantly, to help us see this, because she certainly did. Rather, I truly did not know what it meant to bring love to myself and I could not "get" that the solution did not lie in fixing our marriage. It is a paradox. If your intent is to learn to love yourself then you may wind up in a great relationship, but your intent is to create a great relationship in order to be loved that is a shakier start.

Now we are getting divorced and this old belief about being able to control a source of love was getting triggered. Even though I truly do not want to be with him anymore, there was still a painful feeling that the divorce represented a profound failure on my part to have control over getting love. That feeling came straight from my wounded childhood belief. When I was able to bring guidance to this old belief that if I were only better it would have worked, I was able to feel some of the deep pain that it had covered. I realized how much of my childhood situation I had recreated in my marriage. In the end, I got to a place where no only did the divorce not represent a painful failure, it came to represent a way of taking very good care of my girl and taking a very loving action on her behalf. She feels so good and peaceful about it now! I still believe that Inner Bonding does give you control over getting love, it just doesn't work quite the way I thought it did.


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