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  #21  
Old 12-25-2009, 06:09 PM
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I love the word grace. It is this grace in love that I think can be achieved daily when around those who love us completely and us them. That is a need I have, yet I will do as I will as well. To me my live is complete when I have connection and independence. I don't mind letting the chance for sexual connections slide into nothingness when I have so much of loves grace in my life already.

It never fully occurred to me until this year that its possible to be connected to men and ask for connection to men without having sex with them. I ask for that now but kind of am waiting to see if its possible to be that close without physical connection.
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Last edited by redpepper; 12-25-2009 at 06:13 PM.
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  #22  
Old 12-25-2009, 07:10 PM
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Overall, I believe that "healthy" is a balance between allowing oneself to need another, as well as having a full and healthy sense of independence in a balanced way. In other words, equally valuing attachment and individuation as core internal needs. So...a "healthy dependence" has a balance of both, an "unhealthy dependence" would involve either focusing on individuality/individuation at the expense of connecting deeply with others (eg being disconnected, nonemotive, unaware of emotions, etc) *or* focusing on attachment/connection at the expense of the self (eg staying in an abusive or controlling relationship out of fear of losing the loved other.)

Of course lots more could be said...
Hi Lady,
As you lead in with - this is YOUR belief (system). And it's one proposed by the "attachment THEORY".

Mine is simply different.
I have many issues with this thinking for myself. Others obviously are free to choose their own comfort level & direction.

First, but not least, is the understanding that all of this is "scientific THEORY". That should be 'nuff said" for anyone familiar with modern science. Note that I'm one who has had heavy involvement with science from an early age so that's not a "dis" from some blind religious or spiritual perspective. While having certain value when understanding childhood early development, I personally don't feel it can be carried largely unmodified into adults. That devalues our mature cognitive abilities.

Second, and as an example, I'll take a quote I went and clipped from the Wiki entry on Attachment in Adults entry.

(representative statement):"I am comfortable depending on others and having others depend on me."

This is proffered as "healthy".

As someone who has been on both ends of this, I can state absolutely that I'm NOT (any longer) comfortable with this statement/proposition for one second ! I'm not comfortable putting myself in a position that anyone or anything is solely dependent on me for functioning. Nor will I condone it.
By the same token, I realize I have certain dependencies in my own life that are less than optimal. I try to minimize them whenever possible. However, I'm no master and I'm fully aware that I will probably not ever strive for 100% success in this regard. I remember seeing this expressed once as "our controlled folly". I thought that was accurate and pertinent. Most of us make such decisions frequently - that we're fully aware are not necessarily in our own best interest. We make them anyway and tell ourselves we're willing to suffer the consequences. And we usually do
So I leave this with the full acknowledgment that dependencies DO - and always will - exist. The plants DEPEND on the sun. We DEPEND on the plants. Etc etc And we know what happens when these dependencies fail. We suffer - or cease to exist. So THAT is the CHOICE. For me it's a call to choose wisely and minimally - unless of course I form an attachment to suffering. And yes - some do that.

GS
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  #23  
Old 12-26-2009, 09:21 PM
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I have never thought of attachment theory in terms of adults actually. I think that children "need" adults to form bonds with and learn from or with... in order to become independent. They need to achieve their independence before going out into the world to make other connections with that knowledge that they are responsible for themselves... they do this by first connecting with the adults around them... I breast fed my son for three years to give him a good foundation for him to be able to be independent. I think far too often we push kids out into the world to be independent before they are ready. Holding them close when they "need" it is important to them becoming self sufficient. I can totally see how that would work with loving adults. We are, by our very nature, interdependent to others, the planet as a whole. That is where the depth comes in our relationships.

Some adults were pushed into independence too early as children and can regain that "need" for closeness again in their adult lives in order to take steps to independence more healthily rather than be pushed into it. Kind of a stepping back exercise.

I was breast fed as a child for a few months and then my mum went into the hospital for a few months. I was given to a neighbor who let me cry and cry and cry. I cried myself to sleep and cried with my bottle in my hands... why? because I NEEDED MY MOTHER. Now look where it has got me. I have a terrible relationship with my mum and believe I wouldn't if I had that need fulfilled as a child. It is the root to all my abandonment issues. I "need" people to help me believe I won't be abandoned.

I don't see any reason why we should believe we are not responsible for others. Participating in/with others lives and self journeys. I work with adults at my job that will never reach complete independence but it's up to me to ensure that they have freedom, together with my support, in order to work toward their independence. I do this with everyone I am close to.

My partners rely on me to walk by their side when it comes to their struggle to be independent/self actualized/self aware/confident/self esteem... (all go hand in hand it seems). I feel I would be doing them a disservice if I simply said and thought they should do it all alone because they are suppose to be independent. They know that I will hold them close when they "need" that as a way of working stuff through.

For example: we rent out an apartment in our basement. My husband has a hard time dealing with people when he is seen as an authority (remarkably he is very good at it and has been in management often as a result...) and because I know that he often "needs" me to take over where the tenants are concerned so as to help him not be overwhelmed ... that means I simply make myself available when he says he is struggling and asks for help or asks me to take over.

This is something he works on, so to step in and just take it over would not be helpful to the work he is putting into himself. When he does put the effort in and it IS overwhelming he has been known to break down in my arms and sob from the sheer emotion of it all. I see no problem in holding him and loving him and talking to him with loving words like "you should feel very proud of yourself, you did really well at that." I do the same thing with my child and others. This to me is attachment theory in practice. He "needs" me to help him through stuff in order to gain independence for himself.

I have seen this work with him as I have known him for 14 years and remember a time when he was a complete introvert and terrified of interacting with others. He had a partner who he allowed to have complete control over him. They were completely co-dependent in terms of her "needing" to control him to make herself feel good and he to allow that to not have to deal with his issues.

I feel proud that he "needed" me to walk by his side and hand control back to him when he gave it over to easily... to rely on me to take it when he was overwhelmed. It's a fine balance. I have been there for him all these years and he with me when I needed to know he wouldn't leave no matter what. It's what gives our relationship depth. Could he of done it on his own? probably. Could he of done that with someone else? probably. Did he want to need ME? and trust ME? yes. I think that in terms of unhealthy "needing" is when one thinks that it is that person ONLY that is "needed," not loving, caring, patient, empathetic people in general that we can chose or not chose

We need each other to rely on in terms of having safe space to break down, be completely vulnerable and ourselves in order to be able to go out into the world and work on our issues and baggage. This is "needing" others to me. I "need" others to have that kind of connection with. I "need" Mono to pet my head when I drift off to sleep after a long day... could I do without it? sure! I can fall asleep with out his head pets. I could fall asleep with someone else petting my head possibly. Can my husband deal with our tenants without being able to come to me and sob because it has been overwhelming? sure he can and does... the thing is that it is easier and we get through things better when we rely on each other for that support. We have chosen each other to do that with... their could of been others we chose and may still be others, but right now this is who we have chosen to "need."

I know some people who don't have anyone to "need" and they carry tons of baggage around that I doubt they will ever have the chance to work on because they feel they would in some way not be independent if they admitted or realized they "needed" help with it. Sometimes they just don't know how to "need" others too. I find THAT more unhealthy than my "need" for snuggling up to Mono and getting my head pet so I know he loves me and won't leave.

Getting my head pet takes me back to a place of the innocent "need" I had as a child and my dad pet my head. I feel in those moments that the slate is clean, there is a sense of untangledness. I feel like I am worthy of love and won't be left behind. I like to give that space to people I love and I like to have the opportunity to be in it myself... I'm sorry, I feel no negativity in terms of unhealthiness in that.

as an aside: I find this sense of "need" sometimes in terms of BDSM, I find I offer that same feeling of... whatever that is...when I dominate others or am dominated. Things become untangled, raw, the slate is clean... does that make sense? It's controlled control.
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  #24  
Old 12-27-2009, 03:31 PM
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Should we make any distinction between the words "need" vs "strong desire" when we have discussions like this ?
Because at least for me, my thoughts would differ significantly if what we defined as "need" could be nothing more than "desire". Because the effects of lacking it could differ exponentially.
What are we REALLY talking about here ?
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  #25  
Old 12-27-2009, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Ceoli View Post
I've also learned that when my love for someone starts translating into needing them, it starts to cast a shadow on the love we share. It starts to cage that love in ways that strain my feelings.
I share this Ceoli. There is a pivotal point when a relationship becomes defined and I begin to expect things. I don't know where this comes from, but I am trying to avoid it this time around. I suddenly panic and start finding every way the person is wrong and bad. It's all based on fear.

When I can stay just a little bit distant, then I can keep reminding myself that my partner is not a terrible person and in need of caging just because s/he can't anticipate my needs. I find this part of myself very scary.
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:16 AM
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Originally Posted by GroundedSpirit View Post
Should we make any distinction between the words "need" vs "strong desire" when we have discussions like this ?
Because at least for me, my thoughts would differ significantly if what we defined as "need" could be nothing more than "desire". Because the effects of lacking it could differ exponentially.
What are we REALLY talking about here ?
I'm not sure what you mean GS, "need" and "desire" are different no? well I suppose they could be seen as similar also. What is it about, that you need a distinction between the two?

Lets say we did replace "need" with "strongly desire," what would the difference be to you?
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Last edited by redpepper; 12-28-2009 at 03:27 AM.
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Old 12-28-2009, 03:23 AM
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Originally Posted by rolypoly View Post
There is a pivotal point when a relationship becomes defined and I begin to expect things. I don't know where this comes from, but I am trying to avoid it this time around. I suddenly panic and start finding every way the person is wrong and bad. It's all based on fear.

When I can stay just a little bit distant, then I can keep reminding myself that my partner is not a terrible person and in need of caging just because s/he can't anticipate my needs. I find this part of myself very scary.
How does it happen that your expectations become a means to define someone as wrong or bad? Where does the fear come from? What are these expectations that that happens???!!!

That makes me very sad that you distance yourself because of this roly why should anyone anticipate anyone's needs??? There should never be expectations really... at least this is a noble goal as far as I am concerned. If people are communicating well then there should be conversations around expectations that start with, "I have and expectation,,,, and here it is... this is what I want to see happen, is that a possibility? What do you think about my expectation?"

How does all this make you want to "cage" someone roly? Yes, I would be scared of that too if it were in me... !

I'm so respectful that you are bringing this all up as that is hard shit to work out! Good for you for even broaching it here!
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Last edited by redpepper; 12-28-2009 at 04:44 AM.
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  #28  
Old 12-28-2009, 04:27 AM
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I don't know about how it works for Roly, but for me, too much need does start caging the love I feel. It constricts it because when I need a person like that, it suddenly becomes detrimental to not have that person, which creates a huge perception of risk and fear. If the love I feel starts moving too far into need, then it just becomes about me and my preservation and not about my partner. I then need my partner to be all these things or do all these things in order for me to be happy. And if my partner isn't those things to me or doesn't do things, it creates unhappiness. That never feels healthy to me because it means that I'm holding someone else responsible for my emotions and not taking responsibility for them myself.

Feelings are funny things. They change more from internal shifts than from external shifts. A person can feel compersion and love for their partner one day and jealousy and anger another with no change in how their partner is being towards them. So for me, unhealthy need starts to happen when we let go of our own responsibility for our emotions and put them in the hands of our partner. That's not the same thing as having deep love for a partner. That's also not to say that a partner can't hurt me deeply by what they do, but I will always own those feelings.

And also, I don't consider that kind of toxic need the same as understanding what needs we have ourselves as individuals and seeking out partners who meet those needs. When we seek such partners, we're still holding that responsibility ourselves. But if i said "This is the only person who can make me happy", well...that's just scary. For me, and for the other person, since nobody can really be entirely responsible for the happiness of another person outside of parenthood.
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Old 12-28-2009, 04:46 AM
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If this is what roly is talking about Ceoli then I get it. Perhaps I need more clarification? I totally understand "caged" as you are referring to it, but I'm not sure if that is what roly means. I guess I will find out if she chooses to answer my questions that is
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Old 12-28-2009, 01:32 PM
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Originally Posted by redpepper View Post
I'm not sure what you mean GS, "need" and "desire" are different no? well I suppose they could be seen as similar also. What is it about, that you need a distinction between the two?

Lets say we did replace "need" with "strongly desire," what would the difference be to you?
Ok - here's what I'm getting at. See if I can make this make sense
If I were to "strongly desire" something (or someone) I would be accepting the possibility that it might not appear. I would "own" that desire and take full responsibility for my action/reaction to it's absence by either dropping the desire as unrealistic or unachievable or maybe modifying it accordingly.

If I believed that something was a "need", I would be acknowledging that in it's absence, my actual survival/existence would be threatened. It was such a critical part of me that I would cease to function with it missing.

Maybe this is just another example of semantics but it's the kind of thing that needs clarity in order to carry on an informed conversation. Even if, for example, you go to dictionary.com and look up "need" you find the same conflicting meanings. One basically alluding to a "requirement/necessity" and another alluding to "desire". To me that's calling a cat a dog !
A plant for example both NEEDs light and also desires it. It will reach for it. In it's absence - it DIES. THAT is NEED ! On the other hand, it will grow and blossom if given sufficient quantities. If insufficient it will always be less than it could be.
And I guess I look at love in humans in much the same framework. Lacking love, we will always be less than we can/should be. Be we would continue to exist, as sad as that existence might be. We can find people around us every day that are testament to that.

Now - the reason I feel this distinction is so critical is that our reaction to this need/desire will be based on that definition. If our existence is threatened - we will kill for it ! And various other extreme reactions.
If we we see it as a "desire" our reactions should not be as severe. We went into it with full awareness of it's unpredictable nature and are likely to react accordingly and in proper perspective.

I suspect we can all think back on numerous examples of actions of ourselves or others that were totally out of proportion to the reality (and expectations) of the situation.

Does that make better sense ?

GS

Last edited by GroundedSpirit; 12-28-2009 at 01:41 PM.
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