Derek Sivers

Getting the Love You Want - by Harville Hendrix

Getting the Love You Want - by Harville Hendrix

ISBN: 0805087001
Date read: 2018-03-17
How strongly I recommend it: 7/10
(See my list of 200+ books, for more.)

Go to the Amazon page for details and reviews.

Legendary book about making relationships work, recommended by many. Main point is that we're looking for our partner to heal childhood wounds. A must-read if you're near the start of a serious relationship.

my notes

We are looking for someone who has the predominant character traits of the people who raised us.
Trying to re-create the environment of childhood.
A compelling need to heal old childhood wounds.

Fusers and isolaters tend to marry each other.

An "isolater": people who unconsciously push others away.
They keep people at a distance because they need to have "a lot of space".
They want the freedom to come and go.
They don't want to be "pinned down" to a single relationship.
Underneath this cool exterior is a two-year-old who was not allowed to satisfy a natural need for independence.

A "fuser": people who seem to have an insatiable need for closeness.
Fusers want to "do things together" all the time.
If people fail to show up at the appointed time, they feel abandoned.
The thought of divorce fills them with terror.
They crave physical affection and reassurance, and often need to stay in constant verbal contact.
Underneath all this clinging behavior is a young child whose parents pushed them away when they come running to them for comfort.

Children instinctively observe the choices their parents make, the freedoms and pleasures they allow themselves, the talents they develop, the abilities they ignore, and the rules they follow.
All of this has a profound effect on children: "This is how we live. This is how to get through life."
Whether children accept their parents' model or rebel.

Separate entities:
1. Your "lost self," those parts of your being that you had to repress because of the demands of society.
2. Your "false self," the facade that you erected in order to fill the void created by this repression and by a lack of adequate nurturing.
3. Your "disowned self," the negative parts of your false self that met with disapproval and were therefore denied.

Someone who stirs within us a deep sense of recognition:
"This is the one I've been looking for! This is the one who will make up for the wounds of the past!"
What people are doing in these yin/yang matches is trying to reclaim their lost selves by proxy.
Being emotionally attached to this person made his or her attributes feel a part of a larger, more fulfilled you.
It was as if you had merged with the other person and become whole.
A person who grew up repressing his or her feelings will choose someone who is unusually expressive.

Think for a minute about some part of your being that you feel is deficient.

Once a relationship seems secure, a psychological switch is triggered deep in the old brain that activates all the latent infantile wishes.
It is as if the wounded child within takes over.
Says the child, "I've been good enough long enough to ensure that this person is going to stay around for a while. Let's see the payoff."

Use of global words like "always" and "never" is an indication that someone is in a regressive state.
Young children have a hard time distinguishing between past and present; whatever is happening at this moment has always happened in the past and will always happen in the future.

People react to their partners as if they were carbon copies of their parents, even though not all of their traits are the same.
In their compelling need to work on unfinished business, they project the missing parental traits onto their partners.
Then, by treating their partners as if they actually had these traits, they manage to provoke the desired response.

All people have a dark side to their nature, a part of their being that they try to ignore.
For the most part, these are creative adaptations to childhood wounds.
People also acquire negative traits by observing their parents.

People try to exorcise their denied negative traits by projecting them onto their mates.
They look at their partners and criticize all the things they dislike and deny in themselves.

In most interactions with your partner, you are actually safer when you lower your defenses than when you keep them engaged, because your partner becomes an ally, not an enemy.

Your love relationship has a hidden purpose - the healing of childhood wounds.
A relationship that fosters maximum psychological growth - to be safe, to be healed, and to be whole.

Create a more accurate image of your partner.
At the very moment of attraction, you began fusing your lover with your primary caretakers.
Later you projected your negative traits onto your partner, further obscuring your partner's essential reality.
Let go of these illusions and begin to see more of your partner's truth.
See your partner not as your savior but as another wounded human being, struggling to be healed.

In an unconscious partnership, you believe that the way to have a good relationship is to pick the right partner.
In a conscious partnership you realize you have to be the right partner.

He was locked into a view of the world that went something like this:
Wandering around the world were people on whose foreheads were stamped the words "Friend of Walter," and his job was merely to search until he found them.
"There are no friends out there. What you want does not exist. All people in the world are strangers. If you want a friend, you're going to have to go out and make one!"

What would it be like if you lived in the relationship of your dreams?
Defining the vision turns your energy away from past and present disappointments toward a more hopeful future.

We start to act out our feelings rather than put them into words.
As an example, it's easier to stay late at work than to tell your partner that you feel unhappy every time you walk in the front door.

Fidelity and commitment create the feeling of safety that allows couples to work on their unconscious issues and heal.

People operate out of the erroneous belief that their partners know exactly what it is that they want.
When their partners fail to satisfy their secret desires, they assume that they are deliberately depriving them of pleasure.
This makes them want to deprive their partners of pleasure.

They just can't think of anything their partners can do for them. They don't seem to have any needs or desires.
What they are really doing is hiding behind the psychic shield they erected as children to protect themselves from overbearing parents.
They discovered early in life that one way to maintain a feeling of autonomy around their intrusive parents was to keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves.
When they deprived their parents of this valuable information, their parents were less able to invade their space.
After a while, many isolaters do the ultimate disappearing act and hide their feelings from themselves.

Many of your repetitious, emotional criticisms of your partner are disguised statements of your own unmet needs.