In order to allow the other person to love us the way they can love us and therefore accept that they can love us only the way they can love us, which is not the way we imagine we need to be loved, requires us to grow and learn how much we can depart from our early definitions of ourselves.
It is very hard for us to learn how to accept the partner’s love until we have changed so much that we can begin to determine the inadequacies (fears, phobias, anxieties, disorders, etc.) contained within our own personality that shape our definitions of love we think we need to experience.
We have to get to know ourselves so well that we can determine which of our anxieties, fears, beliefs, etc., shape our image of the person we believe we love. Knowing how our anxieties become the desires that manifest themselves as the image of our ‘ideal partner’ is crucial if are to learn how to negotiate the obstacles we encounter when the person we like fails to love us the way we believe we need to be loved.
As explained earlier, by Dr. Berne, we do not fall in love with the actual person, we fall in love with our own image of the person we find attractive. There is something about them, a feature that we like, therefore we extrapolate and begin to imagine that they will know how to love us the way we want to be loved.
It is necessary for us to grow because if we do not understand the motivations that shape our psyche then we do not understand the anxieties that form the image of the person we like that is supposed to love us the way we want to be loved.
For example: a good place to start is to ask what is it we want the other person to do in order to show us their love.
Do we want them to call us six times a day? Then we should ask what is it about our psyche that makes us feel so insecure if we don’t receive the calls. What fears associated with notions of ‘absence’ (of the other person) are causing us to force them to confirm their presence? Or if we expect to receive a gift every week, we should ask what set of feelings occur that make me feel inadequate if I don’t receive a gift every week? Where do they originate? What causes them? Not all expectations are irrational, but many are? Determining what is rational by comparing our personalities and coming up with some kind of rational middle ground is what is required in order to create a stable environment.
If we don’t know ourselves, we don’t know how to deal with the problems that begin to occur when the person we like is unable to love us the way we expect to be loved because we don’t know why they occur.
The problem is so many of us go on believing that we need to be loved in a particular way. Our way. However, because no other person can know what exactly it is we imagine, we think that no person can love us the way we imagine we need to be loved therefore depression, anxiety, disappointment, etc., grow. Therefore many stay in abusive relationships or relationships that don’t work, or they believe that love does not exist, or, if they do believe that it exists they might believe that it is too difficult to find it thus they submit to physical pleasures without experiencing the emotions that enrich and deepen the psyche.
The problem is the person’s feeling of unhappiness caused by the absence of love, and I am not talking about some grand romantic ever lasting movie kind of love but the absence of the feeling caused by the knowledge that there is another human being who cares about what you really are and who is willing to try to make you happy, becomes repressed and the longer they represses it the more it deepens and the more difficult it becomes for them to realize that they remain unfulfilled because they are repressing it (right until it becomes impossible for them to sense it without external intervention).
Thus the repressed feelings manifest themselves as violence, anger, anxieties, drug use, many brief encounters, etc., and the person becomes completely divorced from the source of their behaviour.
Therefore we enter relationships expecting to find somebody who can give us exactly what we want because we are so sure that we know what we want.
It is because we don’t learn how to admit to ourselves that we refuse to grow and become flexible that we cannot learn the extent to which our desires are not the desires of the healthy portion of the psyche but are the desires of the troubled portion of the psyche.
That is, our love, and in particular our expectations, manifest themselves as unresolved anxieties rather than a stable and healthy form of love that comes from a stable and healthy psyche.
We believe we need to maintain the psychic construct that is the self therefore we maintain the notion of love and become disappointed when the other person fails to deliver.
However, the self is not a finite, unchangeable construct. The self, the psyche, the mind, they are flexible and open to change and able to adjust to any environment, to acquire an infinite number of new habits, patterns of behavior, ways of thinking and learning, to store and use many languages, to communicate with many different people on many different levels.