When we lack sufficient Real Love, we feel empty and afraid, conditions
that are unbearably painful. In order to eliminate our emptiness, we
use Getting Behaviors to fill ourselves with Imitation Love. The Getting
- Lying. Although it's usually unconscious
on our part, any time we do anything to get other people to like us—by
accentuating our positive physical, mental, social, or occupational
qualities—we are lying. With our lies, we earn the conditional
approval of others (praise) and often the other forms of Imitation
Love as well.
- Attacking. We're attacking people when
we use any behavior designed to modify their behavior with fear. We
frighten or intimidate people with anger, authority, physical intimidation,
guilt, and so on. When we attack people, we feel stronger. We feel
a sense of power, which temporarily can be quite satisfying in the
absence of Real Love.
- We're Acting like victims when
we point out what other people should have done for us. When we act
hurt and maintain that we have been treated unfairly, we're using guilt
and obligation to persuade people that we are victims and that we deserve
more than we are presently getting.
- Clinging. When we find people who give
us some of the Imitation Love we crave, we often cling to them for
more. To illustrate just one of many ways we can cling, imagine that
a spouse or friend has decided to part company with you earlier than
you had anticipated during an evening or weekend. If you say, "Do
you really have to go now?" you're clinging to him or her for
In order to diminish our fears, we use Protecting Behaviors,
- Lying. From the time we were small children,
we learned to hide or diminish our mistakes, flaws, and fears, because
then people tended to withdraw their approval less.
- Attacking. Anger gives us a rush of power,
and then we feel less helpless and afraid. In addition, when other
people are attacking us, we can often get them to stop attacking us
if we attack them in return.
- Acting like victims. When people are attacking
us, they will often stop if we can act sufficiently wounded and accuse
them of hurting us. Victims also frequently use variations on the expression, "It's
not my fault."
- Running. One effective way to diminish
our pain is simply to withdraw from it. We can run by physically leaving
difficult situations or relationships, emotionally withdrawing from
interactions or relationships, burying ourselves in our careers, and
by using alcohol or drugs.
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