most of us are missing "something" in our lives, most
of us aren't sure what that "something" is or how we will ever find it....
could it be:
What is unconditional love
To love & accept other people unconditionally is:
Placing no conditions on the other as to
how to behave or what to be in order to receive acceptance
& love from you.
No use if...then...clauses in establishing conditions for accepting & loving another.
Taking a risk to be open & vulnerable w/another
w/no pre-set limits on the relationship.
"Existence" as sole rationale is to accept
& love other people for the fact that they exist rather than for what they are.
Value others for themselves rather than for
what they do or have done.
No strings attached to hold people in an esteemed position w/acceptance & love because they exist in your world rather than for what they do for
Freedom to be own person is to
is to set the stage for others to feel warmth, caring
& concern for themselves which results in their growing in self-esteem
How do you feel when you receive unconditional love
you are the recipient of unconditional acceptance & love from others, you feel:
to be yourself.
have value & worth.
& desired for you as you rather than for what you do.
to & understood.
you have yourself to offer others which in itself is worthwhile.
cared for & nurtured.
are OK just the way you are.
there's no need to wear a mask or to act in any way just to please another.
Free to be yourself
& to open up your feelings w/no fear of rejection or non-approval.
That it is possible
to take the risk to be vulnerable w/others in order to have open & honest relationships w/them.
fear of retribution or reprisal from others if you should make a mistake or experience a failure.
there are no conditions set on your relationships w/others.
What are the negative consequences of a lack of
unconditional love & acceptance?
When people are not given unconditional acceptance & love,
- Feel constrained to act in ways which are inconsistent
w/their beliefs and feelings.
the freedom to be themselves.
their lives to please others rather than to please themselves.
not given the freedom to experience the natural consequences of their own actions & decisions.
become dependent on others to make them feel good about themselves.
Can become very
rule bound & perfectionistic in seeking
to do what is "right'' or "expected'' of them in order to be accepted or loved.
more likely to experience low self-esteem & low self-worth.
misunderstood, not approved of & defensive.
poor relationship skills & experience failed relationships.
harder at meeting conditions & expectations set for them by others than working at becoming self-directed, self-sufficient
become withdrawn & isolate themselves so as not to experience future rejection & non-approval.
the need to follow rules & obey directions as the only way to be accepted & loved by others.
that they can never fail or make a mistake because they would never be worthy of love or acceptance from others.
not learn how to accept & love themselves unconditionally & therefore are very self-critical, self-disapproving &
to set unrealistic, no-achievable & overly idealistic expectations for themselves which must first be met in order to
accept & love themselves.
own worst critics who are never able to unconditionally accept & love themselves.
How is giving others unconditional love & acceptance
a control issue?
Giving others conditional acceptance & love is a control
Internal "focus of control'' is strengthened
for the others in your life who receive unconditional love & acceptance..
It is controlling & manipulative to set conditions which must be met before you fully accept &
love others is controlling, manipulate & coercive.
Encourages overdependence since it is a way to keep others "in line'' & dependent on meeting preset standards in order to be accepted & loved.
Impacts personal development if a pattern of thinking or believing is developed on the basis of the need to meet conditions
before one can be accepted & loved & this irrational, unhealthy thinking can lead to self-hatred,perfectionism & self-criticism which controls one's way of managing & directing life.
Impacts personal self-mastery when acceptance & love are freely given w/conditions, no strings,
or if...then...clauses, then others have a greater chance of loving themselves & practicing self control in pursuit of wellness & happiness.
Impact personal goal directedness when rules, conditions & expectations are set as the only way to be accepted
or loved, the recipient of this contingent love & acceptance may be more caught up in the goal of meeting these conditions
than in living freely, relaxing & enjoying life guilt-free.
induce guilt since guilt is often a way a person, place or thing can be manipulated
& if love & acceptance are conditional, then not meeting these conditions can lead to guilt.
exacerbate the need for approval which is often a result of conditional acceptance and love. In order to feel approval, a person can be
a ready victim for manipulation, a con job, or intimidation.
Position of power in that it puts you into a position of power to influence how the other feels &
responds to self.
Increase vulnerability of others if they are nurture needy, wanting acceptance & love from others,
it places them in a vulnerable position to be manipulated, coerced, intimidated, abused & hurt.
Attracts unhealthy partners because often people telegraph nonverbally their dependent need for acceptance
& love & as a result attract people to them who will use, abuse & take advantage of them.
Healthy alternatives to the irrational thinking about unconditional
love & acceptance
Irrational: You should always
obey rules, accept limits & meet another's expectations & conditions before you can expect that other to accept &
rules, accepting limits & meeting expectations & conditions are often necessary for survival in this world but are
not necessary conditions to be accepted & loved by others.
Irrational: Parents should require their children to obey their rules, accepting limits set, & meet up
to the expectations & conditions set for them before the parents show acceptance & love for the children.
Healthy: Parents first need to accept & love the child because the child exists. Only once the child feels
this acceptance & love will the child more likely obey the rules, accept limits & meet the expectations in a healthy
way.Irriational: The goal in life is to scope out the "rules of the games'' in the workplace, school, family, community
& relationships so as to gain acceptance & love by playing the games by the rules.
Healthy: It's politically healthy to scope out the rules of the games so as to "survive'' in the workplace, school,
family, community & relationships but such survival does not always guarantee acceptance & love.
Home, workplace, school, family, the community
& relationships can be too sick or toxic to offer acceptance or love even after all of the "rules'' of the game have been
You need to look outside of these environments
for the unconditional acceptance & love you need to feel healthy, fulfilled & fully human.
Irrational: If you want people to do things for you, all you need to do is to offer them unconditional acceptance
Healthy: Using unconditional acceptance & love to get others "to do'' for you is manipulation & conning
others to benefit yourself. It's a toxic behavior.
Irrational: There's no such thing as unconditional acceptance & love. There are always strings attached somewhere.
Healthy: It's possible to accept & love a person unconditionally w/no ulterior motive.
Irrational: It's impossible to discipline a child & still accept & love the child unconditionally.
Healthy: It's possible to not like a child's behavior & actions & develop logical consequences or disciplinary
actions which the child must abide by & still love & accept the child unconditionally as seen in the statement, "I
accept & love you unconditionally. It's just your behaviors which I don't like right now & it's because I love you
that I am making you experience the negative consequence of your own actions."
Irrational: You must be perfect in everything you do or others will not accept or love you.
Healthy: You are a human being subject to faults, failings & mistakes & yet you are deserving to be accepted & loved
not because you are perfect but because you are you.
Irrational: It's impossible to unconditionally accept & love another person.
Healthy: To accept & love another person unconditionally is possible as long as you give yourself the freedom, risk-taking
behaviors & trust to extricate or emotionally detach from the relationship if it becomes toxic.
Irrational: It's impossible to accept & love another & at the same time be emotionally detached.
Healthy: By being emotionally detached you don't automatically cease your acceptance & love of another. It only means that
you are separating yourself from the toxic elements of the relationship so as not to get hurt.
Irrational: It's good for children to experience all of the negative conditions of life in their
relationships in order to grow up realistic about themselves & the world.
Healthy: The words of the poem Children Learn What They Live by an unknown author state clearly
that it is healthier for children to experience unconditional positive acceptance & love if they are to grow up into healthy,
Children Learn What They Live
If a child lives with criticism,
he learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
he learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
he learns to feel shy.
If a child lives with shame,
he learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
he learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
he learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
he learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
he learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
he learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
he learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
he learns to find love in the world.
How to begin to unconditionally accept &
love other people
In order to unconditionally accept & love
yourself & others you need to:
Identify what are the conditions which you force others to meet before you are accepting &
loving of them.
Second: Analyze these conditions & expectations which you set for others in
order to identify why they block you from being unconditional.
Analyze if these conditions are reasonable, rational, or realistic & develop healthy alternative scripts
which free you up to be more unconditional w/others.
Fourth: Recognize that the limits & rules of appropriate behaviors which you expect others to conform
to are rules for:
- getting along
but are not the determinants of
freely accepting & loving them.
Sixth: Practice eliminating any conditions as you face
others & attempt to accept & love them freely, generously & w/no limitations.
Ninth: Emphasize w/others that it's because you love &
accept them so entirely & freely that you want them to experience the positive or negative consequences of their own actions
& that such consequences do not affect your acceptance or love of them.
Tenth: Clarify that "tough love'' is the continuous
unconditional acceptance & love of others but yet holds the target of such love to be fully personally responsible for
their own actions & the consequences of those actions.
Eleventh: Use the following words of Frederick S.
Perls as you enter into or alter relationships w/others to make them unconditionally accepting & loving.
I do my thing and you do your thing.
I am not in this world to live up to your expectations,
and you are not in this world to live up to mine.
You are you and I am I
and if by chance we find each
other, it's beautiful.
Steps to increase in unconditional acceptance & love of self & others
Step 1: Read the following poem & in your journal respond to
the questions which follow the poem.
I am who I am
You cannot change me so please do not try
So let up w/the criticisms, put
downs & attempts to make me fit your "box" for me
Face it, it is easier for you just to accept me as I am than
to work at making me who you want me to be
Of course you do not have to agree with what I say or do
me as the human I am
I am weak, have sinned, failed & have made many mistakes in my life
Hey, that's what
makes me the "unique me" that I am
I will never be perfect, ideal, or the "image" you want for me
for who I am as I accept you for who you are
Let's have fun together & allow our "real selves" the freedom to
We can be a team of unconditional mutual love & acceptance if you relax & let it happen
How well do you unconditionally love & accept the following people
in your life?
- Colleagues at work or school?
- Temple, Synagogue, Church?
People who offer you help?
For each of the people you listed above answer the following in your
1. What are the conditions placed on them before you can accept & love them?
2. Why are these
conditions blocks to your freely accepting & loving them?
3. Are these conditions reasonable, rational, or realistic?
If not, then develop alternative scripts to free you up to accept & love these people
4. What are the rules or
limits for survival, decency, getting along, coping, productivity & sense & order which have become confused as the
determinant conditions preventing you from unconditionally accepting & loving these people?
5. How does your need
to fix, rescue, or change others interfere w/your unconditional love of these people?
6. How would emotional detachment
from all of these people help you to then accept & love them more unconditionally?
7. How is your current conditional
acceptance & love of these people affected by their ways of conditionally accepting & loving you?
8. How well
do these people allow you to be you? How well do you allow them to be themselves?
9. How free are you & they to
openly express feelings, admit faults & failings & to experience excitement & enjoyment in life w/each other?
Step 2: Once you have made a thorough
assessment of how well you unconditionally accept & love others, then you need to recognize that to increase in unconditional
acceptance & love of others opens you & the others to be vulnerable by taking risks, as John Wood so clearly points
out in this poem. Once you read the poem, answer in your journal the questions which follow it.
Taking a Risk
I will present
you parts of myself slowly.
If you are patient and tender, I will open drawers that mostly stay closed, and bring
out places and people and things, sounds and smells, love and frustrations, hopes and sadness.
Bits and pieces of life
that have been grabbed off in chunks and found lying in my hands they have eaten their way into my heart altogether, you or
I will never see them.
-They are me-
If you regard them lightly, deny that they are important, or worse C
judge them. I will quietly Y slowly Y begin to wrap them up in small pieces of velvet, like worn silver and gold jewelry,
tuck them away in a small wooden chest of drawers and close them away.
A. How do the following fears or behaviors block your ability to unconditionally accept & love the
people you listed in Step 1?
Fear of taking a risk
Inability to trust others
Fear of being vulnerable
Need for approval
Fear of rejection
Inability to identify feelings
forgive and forget
Inability to establish intimacy
B. How does perfectionism & the need to be exact, right, or correct hinder your ability to be unconditional
in your acceptance & love of others?
C. How would an increase in faith and development of your spirituality w/your
Higher Power assist you to be more unconditional?
D. How would emotionally detaching from the toxic elements in your
relationships w/others free you up to be more unconditional?
E. What are those things you would lose if you unconditionally
accepted & loved the others listed in Step 1? What would you gain or recapture?
F. What new beliefs & behaviors
do you need to develop in order to be able to unconditionally accept others?
G. How would you practice "Tough Love"
for each one listed in Step 1 & how would this new approach free you up to be more unconditional in your acceptance &
love for them?
H. What are the blocks which up to now kept you from allowing the people listed to experience the natural
consequences of their own actions?
I. How did your need to protect these people from making a mistake or experiencing
a failure prevent you from freely accepting & loving them?
J. How comfortable are you now w/each person listed
to begin to be more unconditional w/your acceptance & love?
Step 3: Once you have looked at the blocks to being unconditional in your acceptance & love of self
& others, then begin to practice this new behavior w/those people listed in Step 1.
Step 4: If you are still experiencing difficulty in being unconditional in your acceptance
& love others, then return to Step 1 & begin again.
Off the Internet Three
Men Slightly Cracked, but ...ok!
A woman came out of her house & saw 3
old men w/long white beards sitting in her front yard. She didn't recognize them. She said, "I don't think I know you, but
you must be hungry. Please come in & have something to eat."
"Is the man of the house home?", they asked.
"No," she said. "He's out."
"Then we cannot come in," they replied.
In the evening when her husband came home,
she told him what had happened. "Go tell them I am home & invite them in!" The woman went out & invited the men in.
"We don't go into a House together," they
"Why is that?" she wanted to know.
One of the old men explained: "His name is
Wealth," he said pointing to one of his friends & said pointing to another one,
"He is Success & I am Love." Then he added,
"Now go in & discuss w/your husband which one of us you want in your home."
The woman went in & told her husband what
was said. Her husband was overjoyed. "How nice!!," he said. "Since that's the case, let us invite Wealth. Let him come &
fill our home w/wealth!"
His wife disagreed. "My dear, why don't we
invite Success?" Their daughter-in-law was listening from the other corner of the house. She jumped in w/her own suggestion:
"Would it not be better to invite Love? Our home will then be filled with love!"
"Let us heed our daughter-in-law's advice,"
said the husband to his wife. "Go out & invite Love to be our guest." The woman went out & asked the 3 old men, "Which
one of you is Love? Please come in & be our guest."
Love got up & started walking toward the
house. The other 2 also got up & followed him. Surprised, the lady asked Wealth & Success: "I only invited Love, why
are you coming in?"
The old men replied together: "If you had
invited Wealth or Success, the other two of us would've stayed out, but since you invited Love, wherever he goes, we go w/him.
Wherever there is Love, there is also Wealth & Success! Up
Slightly Cracked but...ok! Don't worry about
knowing people, just make yourself worth knowing. Friends are those rare people who ask how we are & then wait to hear
If you can buy a person's friendship, it is
not worth it. True friends have hearts that beat as one. If you can't think of any nice things to say about your friends,
then you have the wrong friends.
Make friends before you need them. If you
were another person, would you like to be a friend of yours? A good friend is one who neither looks down on you nor keeps
up w/you. Be friendly w/the folks you know.
If it weren't for them you would be a total
stranger. A friend is never known till he is needed. Friendship is a responsibility...not an opportunity. Friendship is the
cement that holds the world together.
Friends are those who speak to you after others
quit. The reason a dog has so many friends is that he wags his tail & not his tongue. Pick your friends, but not to pieces.
A friend is one who puts his finger on a fault
w/out rubbing it in. The way to have friends is to be willing to lose some arguments. If a friend makes a mistake, don't rub
it in....rub it out. Deal with other's faults as gently as if they were your own.
People are judged by the company they keep
& the company they keep away from. A friend is a person who can step on your toes without messing your shine.
The best mirror is an old friend. The best
possession one may have is a true friend. Make friendship a habit & you will always have friends.
You will never have a friend if you must have
one without faults. Doing nothing for your friends results in having no friends to do for. Anyone can give advice & yet
a real friend will lend a helping hand.
You can make more friends by being interested
in them than trying to have them be interested in you. A real friend is a person who, when you've made a fool of yourself,
lets you forget it. A friend is a person who listens attentively while you say nothing.
You can buy friendship w/friendship, but never
with dollars. True friends are like diamonds, precious but rare; false friends are like autumn leaves, found everywhere. A
friend is someone who thinks you're a good egg even though you're slightly cracked.
Worry & wound healing
By Josh Fischman
Don't sweat the surgery: Worrying just makes healing harder. And the problem isn't just in your
mind. Stress actually seems to interfere w/proteins & enzymes used by the body to help stitch up incisions, which means
more pain & a longer recovery time after an operation. That's the news from researchers who measured amounts of healing
biochemicals directly from surgery sites.
The operation they looked at was routine but substantial: hernia repair. Surgeons cut into the abdomen,
return some wayward intestines to their proper location & sew up the weakened muscles that allowed the intestines to wander
in the first place. This often means general anesthesia & a day in the hospital & then a hard time standing &
walking for weeks afterwards.
Keith Petrie, a psychologist at the Univ. of Auckland in New Zealand & his colleagues gave questionnaires
to nearly 50 hernia patients before their surgeries, asking about general stress levels & specific worries about the operation.
Then the patients went under the knife. Those who were the most worried had the least amount of a chemical called IL-1 at
the wound site after the operation. These "are immune messengers that help the body's immune system control infection," Petrie
says. Their deployment is one of the first steps in the natural tissue healing process.
Another step, closely following on this one, is the appearance of an enzyme called MMP9. "It is
a very important substance that prepares the wound site for the growth of new tissue," Petrie says. And again, there was less
of it in the more worried patients. After surgery, the patients were asked how much pain they were in & how long they
thought it would take before they felt normal again. The worried ones, & remember, these were the people who had low levels
of wound-healing chemicalsreported the most pain, & estimated the longest recovery times.
The study, in the most recent issue of Psychosomatic Medicine, is not perfect. It did not
record patients' use of pain medication, which could affect immune responses. In its favor, however, is that it is one of
the first efforts to measure the mind-body link in real life; other attempts have focused on things like superficial cuts
& were done in laboratory settings.
It hints that psychological
treatments like relaxation training might speed healing. "You could have these interventions immediately[perhaps] one daybefore
surgery or maybe several weeks before," Petrie notes, although the most effective timing hasn't yet been tested.
So shy you could die
By Josh Fischman
As the AIDS epidemic took hold in this country, doctors noted that introverted victims were more
likely to die than outgoing, extroverted ones. A "melancholy" temperament has long been linked to bad health outcomes. Now
theres a study "that pinpoints the biological mechanism that connects personality and disease," says Bruce Naliboff, a researcher
at the UCLA Neuropsychiatric Institute in Los Angeles. Its his study doing the pinpointingwhich may not be as precise as he
claimsand it appears this week in the journal Biological Psychiatry.
Shy or introverted people tend to be more jumpy when confronted with new situations. Their nervous
systems react strongly. So Naliboff and his colleagues did some mental and physical confrontation of a group of 54 HIV-positive
men, all in good health at the start of the study. The doctors tried to startle the men with a tiny "beep" sound. Some jumpedheart
rate increased, the skin became more moist and more flushedand some didnt. Then there were sudden requests for brief physical
exercise and mental pop quizzes. Reactions to these challenges were also measured in terms of skin, heart, and blood responses.
In this way, researchers gave each man a reactivity scorebasically a rating of how rattled they became.
The scientists followed the men for 12 to 18 months, measuring how fast HIV replicated in their
bodies and their levels of T cells (which HIV destroys). The shy, more easily rattled people had more of the virus. They also
lost T cells. Some of these people started anti-HIV drugs during the study, but the medicine barely made a dent in the growing
virus. The more extroverted people, however, did respond to the drugs.
The main biological response underlying these stress reactions is the release of a chemical called norepinephrine, which triggers the bodys "flight or fight" response.
The UCLA team has found, in another study, that the chemical leaves T cells vulnerable to infection. This, the researchers
suggest, is how stress sabotages the struggle against illness in shy people: Repeated waves of norepinephrine weaken T cells
and the immune defense system. This is moving beyond oft-repeated claims that stress causes illness. Its a theory about how
stress, in certain people, can have biological effects that end up with the growth of an illness-causing organism.
Still, this is where the research lands a little wide of a pinpoint. Its not clear what the chemical
does to T cells that leaves them more vulnerable to a virus, and until thats nailed down the link between cause and effect
isnt closed. However, this is an elegant demonstration of how closely the mind and body might work in their reactions to a
Boost Your Self-Esteem By Showing Your
Showing enthusiasm about your goals and
dreams can lead to increased self-esteem. Don't keep your goals and dreams to yourself, share them with others.
By sharing your dreams with others, they somehow seem more attainable.
Even if other people don't share your passion
or think your goals are crazy, the act of speaking about your goals out loud and being enthusiastic about your dreams will
help you achieve what you want. By showing enthusiasm about your dreams, others will soon believe in what you are trying
to achieve and support you in your endeavors.
Enthusiasm is contagious, the more you speak
about your passions, the more confident you will feel, the more self-esteem you will have. Resources for Your Success Book to
help you boost your self-esteem Attitude is Everything by Keith Harrell
This is an inspiring and comprehensive book. Keith
Harrell offers not just another motivational book, but step-by-step instructions on how many have benefited by taking responsibility
for their own lives.
Lack of Individual Identity
Maybe you are hooked by the irrational belief that: "I am a nobody without a somebody in my life."
If you are, you maintain no boundaries w/your relationship partners because you are very dependent in getting your
identity from being w/your partners.
You are willing to do whatever it takes to make the relationships happen, even if you have to give up your:
health, money, security, identity, intelligence, spiritual beliefs, family, country, job, community, friends, values, honor and self-respect. The rational message needed to establish healthy
boundaries from this hook is: "I am a somebody, just by being who I am. I am OK just the way I am, even if I do not have my
relationship partners in my life. My value and worth as a person is not dependent on having one or more significant others
in my life. It is better for me to be on my own and healthy than to be with my relationship partners and be sick intellectually,
emotionally and/or physically. I will work diligently with my relationship partners to correct this faulty thinking which
has made me too dependent. By being more my own person, my relationships will flourish and grow healthier."
Maybe you are hooked by the scarcity principle of feeling happiness:
"because the current status of our relationship is better than anything we
have ever had before."
This is a common problem for people recovering from low self-esteem who have faced trials &
challenges in relationships in the past.
The problem is that the current status of your relationships might be better than what you have
experienced in the past, but they might not really be as healthy & intimate as the
intimate relationship described earlier.
You may be so happy w/your relationships' current functioning that you are willing to give all
of yourself intellectually, emotionally & physically w/no
regard for what you need to retain for yourself so that you do not lose your identity in these relationships.
You may be in a recovery program like AA, Alanon, NA, CODA, ACOA etc.
You may be in a Bible Study Group or some other form of spiritual renewal self-help group.
You may have a support system & a plan of recovery for personal &
You may find that in your relationships you have no time to do the "recovery or growth activities"
of maintaining contact w/your support system, going to 12 Step or other group meetings, or reading recovery literature or
You may find it hard to maintain your new behavioral & emotional commitment to personal &
spiritual growth in your relationships.
If this is true, then your relationships may not be supportive for your personal & spiritual
Your relationshps may not be healthy for you
no matter how good they look or how happy you are in them.
If in your relationships you have no time to spend w/your:
long term friends
then it's not healthy no matter how happy you are in it.
If in your relationships you
have no time, energy or resources to put into your career, education or current job then they are not healthy for you no matter how happy you are in them.
If in your relationships you
are finding it difficult to maintain your own spirituality & connection w/God then they are not healthy no matter how happy you feel in them.
Relationships which require
that you sacrifice all of you for the sake of the happiness you feel, in them, are not healthy intimate relationships.
Healthy intimate relationships allow you to:
make time, space & allowance for you to focus on yourself
your own needs
your recovery program
your support system
your spiritual beliefs
your personal integrity, individuality & identity
The rational message needed to establish
healthy boundaries from this hook is:
"I will focus on my needs, my identity, my individuality & my personal integrity in my relationships.
I will set aside my time, resources & energy to give to my spouse, my children, my family,
my friends, my support system, my recovery program, my spirituality, my career, my education & my community involvement
while maintaining healthy intimate relationships w/my relationship partners.
I will insist that I have the time, resources & energy to focus on all aspects of my life
in my relationships.
I will not become complacent in my relationships just because there are no conflicts or crisis in them at the
I will work w/my relationship partners to insure that the health of our relationships is ever growing &
Maybe you're hooked by irrational
guilt that you must think, feel & act in ways to insure that your relationships are preserved, secured & nurtured no matter what personal expense it takes out of you.
You feel guilty if your relationship
partners aren't succeeding or thriving w/out your personal
resources, energy, money, time & effort going in to making such success happen.
You have a problem of feeling over-responsible
for the welfare of your relationship partners & can't allow your partners to accept personal responsibility, to make choices
& live w/the consequences of these choices.
This irrational guilt is a driving motivation to keep you tearing down your boundaries so that you will
always be available to your relationship partners at any time, in any place, for whatever reason your relationship partners
The rational message needed to establish healthy boundaries from this hook is:
"My relationship partners & I are responsible for accepting personal responsibility for our own
lives & to accept the consequences for the choices we make in taking care of our own lives.
I'm not responsible for the outcomes which result from the choices & decisions which my relationship
My relationship partners & I are free to make our own decisions w/no one forcing us to make bad
ones which will result in negative consequences to ourselves if they should occur."
Inability to Differentiate Love from Sympathy
Maybe you are hooked by the inability
to differentiate the difference between love & sympathy or compassion for your relationship partners.
You find yourself feeling sorry for your relationship partners & the warm feelings which this generates
makes you think that you are in love w/them. The bigger the problems your relationship partners have, the bigger the "love"
seems to you.
Because the problems can get bigger & more complex, they succeed in hooking you to lower your boundaries
so that you begin to give more & more of yourself to your "pitiable" relationship partners out of the "love" you feel.
The rational message needed to establish healthy boundaries from this hook is:
"It's OK to have sympathy & compassion for my relationship partners, but that doesn't mean that I have to
sacrifice my life to "save" or "rescue" my partners.
Sympathy & compassion are emotions I know well & I'll work hard to differentiate them from what love
When I feel sympathy & compassion for my relationship partners, I'll remind myself that it's not the same
as loving them.
The ability to feel sympathy & compassion for another human being is a nice quality of mine & I'll be
sure to use it in a healthy & non-emotionally hooked way in the future in my relationships."
Maybe you get hooked by the neediness
& helplessness of your relationship partners.
You find yourself hooked when your partners get into:
You find yourself weak when your relationship
partners demonstrates an inability to solve personal problems.
You find yourself wanting to teach & instruct, when your relationship partners demonstrate or admit ignorance of how to
You find yourself hooked by verbal
& non-verbal cues which cry out to you to "help" your relationship partners even though your partners have
the competence to solve the problem on their own.
You find yourself feeling warmth,
caring & nurturing feelings which help you tear down any shred of boundaries you once had.
These sad, weak, distraught,
lost, confused & befuddled waifs are so needy that you lose all concept of space & time as you begin
to give & give & give.
It feels so good. The rational
message needed to establish healthy boundaries from this hook is:
"No one is helpless w/out first learning the advantages of being helpless.
Helplessness is a learned behavior which
is used to manipulate me to give of my resources, energy, time, effort & money to fix.
I'm a good person if I don't try to fix & take care of my relationship partners when my partners are acting
I can't establish healthy intimate relationships w/my relationship partners
if I'm trying to fix or take care of them all of the time.
I need to put more energy into fixing & taking care of myself if I find myself being hooked by my relationship
Maybe you get hooked by the sense of being depended upon or needed by your relationship partners.
There is no reason to feel responsible for your relationship partners if they let you know that they're
dependent upon & need you for their life to be successful & fulfilled.
This is overdependency & is unhealthy. It's impossible to have healthy intimacy
w/overdependent people because there is no give & take.
Your relationship partners could be parasites
sucking you dry of everything you have intellectually, emotionally & physically.
You get nothing in return except the "good feelings" of doing something for your relationship partners.
You get no real healthy nurturing,
rather you feel the weight of your relationship partners on your shoulders, neck & back. You give & give of yourself
to address the needs of your relationship partners &
you have nothing left to give to yourself.
The rational message needed to establish healthy boundaries from this hook is:
"It is unhealthy for me to be so overly depended upon by my relationship partners who're adults.
There's a need for me to be clear about what I'm willing & not willing to do for my relationship partners.
There's a need for my relationship partners to become more independent from me so that I can maintain my own
sense of identity, worth & personhood.
It would be better for me to let go of the need to be needed than to allow my relationship partners to continue
to have such dependency on me.
I am only responsible for taking care of myself.
Human adults are responsible to accept personal responsibility for their own lives.
Supporting my relationship partners intellectually, emotionally & physically where I have nothing left to
give to myself is unhealthy & not required in healthy relationships & I'll be ALERT to
when I am doing this & try to stop it immediately."
Maybe you get hooked by the belief that: "If I give it enough time things will change to be the way I want them to be."
You have waited a long time to have healthy intimate relationships, you rationalize:
"Don't give up on them too soon."
Since you aren't sure how to have them or how they feel, you rationalize that maybe what the
relationships need is more time to become more healthy & intimate.
You find yourself giving
more & more of yourself & waiting
longer & longer for something good to happen & yet things never get better.
You find that your wait goes from being counted by days, weeks or months to years. Time passes
& things really never get better. What keeps hooking you are those fleeting moments when the relationships approximate what you would like them to be.
These fleeting moments
feel like centuries & they're sufficient to keep you holding on. The rational message needed to establish healthy
boundaries from this hook is:
"It's unhealthy for me to sacrifice large portions of my life, invested in relationships which aren't going
It's unhealthy for me to hold on to the belief that things will change if they haven't in 1 or more years.
It's OK to set time limits in my relationships such as: if in 3 months or 6 months things don't get to be intimately
healthier then I'm getting out of them or we'll need to seek professional help to work it out.
It's OK to put time demands on my relationships so that I don't waste away my life waiting for something which
in all probability will never happen.
It's not OK for me to blow out of proportion those fleeting moments in my relationships which make me believe
that there is anything more in them than there really is."
Belief that "It Must be All of My Fault that there are Problems in the Relationships"
Maybe you get hooked by the belief that: "If I change myself more things will change to become more like I want them to be in my relationships."
You rationalize that maybe the reason things aren't getting healthier & more intimate
is because you need to change more to be the person your relationship partners wants you to be.
You feel blamed & pointed out by your relationship partners as the reason why things
are not healthier or more intimate in your relationships.
You find yourself having to defend yourself from attacks from your relationship partners
for "not being good enough" or "doing enough" to make the relationships work.
You find yourself w/a mounting list of expectations, duties or responsibilities, given
you by your partners, which must be accomplished if the relationships are ever to become what you want them to be.
You find yourself needing to change the ways you think, feel, act, dress, talk, look, eat,
work, cook, entertain, have fun, socialize, etc before you will be "good enough" for your relationships to work.
You find that you'll have to basically give up "who you are" for "who your partners want
you to be" if the relationships are ever to work.
You find yourself hooked by the challenge to change & you find yourself working harder
& harder to effect the change. What keeps you hooked is the affirmation & reinforcement you get from your relationship
partners when you effect a small change.
The only problem is that there is always something else identified which needs to be changed
after the last change has been accomplished.
You're in a never ending loop of needing to change & unfortunately there never seems
to be an end to it.
The rational message needed to establish healthy boundaries for this hook is:
"I have to be real to myself & be the person I am rather than to be the person my relationship
partners want me to be.
It's not healthy for me to give up my personhood & identity to please my partners just
to maintain our relationships.
I have a right to my own tastes, likes & dislikes, personal style, beliefs, values,
I'm in control of my own thinking, feelings & actions.
I will not allow my relationship partners to take control of my basic rights."
Maybe you get hooked by the fear
of the possible negative future outcome if you're not deeply involved in taking care of & fixing your relationship
You may be aware of the hooks which keep you boundary-less w/your partners. Yet you're afraid to LET
GO of the control you have w/your relationship partners for fear something very negative might happen to them.
Maybe you fear that your relationship partners would become: homeless, hungry, jobless, poor, lonely,
scared, go to jail or worse yet die if you don't continue to fix & take care of their needs.
This fear of the possible negative future outcomes is so debilitating, that it feels better being sucked
dry intellectually, emotionally & physically than to LET GO & watch your relationship partners suffer these feared
awful negative outcomes.
You find yourself powerless to keep from doing the healthy thing because of the intensity of this fear.
You've become a prisoner in the prison of these relationships.
You've become a hostage of very powerful, needy, helpless, manipulative "hostage takers." You're a possession
of your relationship partners. You find yourself doing all you're asked to insure that these possible negative dreaded outcomes
You're being emotionally blackmailed
& may even have heard threats of suicide if you say you want to change or get out of the relationships the way
they are. The rational message needed to establish healthy boundaries from this hook is:
"I'm only responsible for my life.
No one can make me responsible for my relationship partners' lives.
I can choose to feel responsible for my relationship partners' lives, but I can't control or
determine the outcome of their lives no matter how hard I try.
I'm powerless to control other people, places, things & conditions.
The only thing I can control is my own thinking, feeling & actions.
I need to hand my relationship partners' problems
& needs & the outcomes of their lives over to God.
I can't carry my relationship partners' possible negative future outcomes on my body or I will
experience failed emotional & physical health.
It's OK for me to expect my relationship partners to accept personal responsibility for their
It's OK to require my relationship partners to accept the consequences for their own actions,
choices & decisions."
Maybe you are hooked by the fantasy or ideal about how it is supposed to be. You have an ideal,
dream or image in your mind of how relationships are supposed to be or how they should be & you have a difficult time
accepting them the way they really are.
You work hard at making your relationships approximate your idealized fantasy. You put a great
deal of time, energy & resources into making them become a reality.
Unfortunately the more you give & give, the fantasy never becomes the reality you are wishing
for. The pull to make the fantasy become real is very powerful.
You seem brainwashed into believing that it is possible even though all of your efforts have
not made it happen, after years & years of effort on your part. You get hooked by the delusion of the fulfillment of the
fantasy & live as if the fantasy has become reality.
You are sometimes so out of touch w/reality that you appear to be psychotic to others when you
discuss your relationships. They know they are not real & in some cases do not even closely approximate what you are saying.
You keep pouring your resources, energy & time into empty pits which seem to never get filled.
You become obsessed into acting & looking like the fantasy is real. You get hooked into waiting for the "big pay off"
down the road if you just stick w/your relationships.
You remain loyal to the belief that it will happen one day. "Wake up & get off the fantasy
train before it runs off the track!" you hear people saying but ignore their warnings & keep blindly on, in search of
The rational message needed to establish healthy boundaries
from this hook is:
"I must accept reality the way it's rather than how I want it to be.
I'll give my support system, in my recovery or spiritual renewal program, permission to call
me on it if I am hooked into fantasy relationships & lose myself in them.
I'll work hard to stay reality based & keep myself from losing my objectivity & contact
w/the way things really are.
I'll make every effort to accept my relationships
the way they are rather than how I want them to be.
I'm a human & subject to making mistakes & failing & I'll forgive myself if I make
a mistake in my efforts to establish healthy intimate relationships w/my relationship partners.
Once I give up the delusion that things are the way they are supposed to be, I'll work w/my partners
to try to correct the problems in our relationships."