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When Loved Ones Act Unloving Towards Us

The Argument.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Firesam!

When people act negatively towards us, they are hurting. What they need most from us is the thing that is hardest to give. They need to feel loved and included by us.

When we find ourselves acting unloving towards them, it is because we don't feel loved, i.e., we are hurting. We think they are withholding love and we resent them for it. We think they do not deserve to be loved because of the way they treat us – as a matter of fact, we think they deserve to be punished and so we act unloving towards them. Then they feel hurt and are even more unloving back at us.

We fail to see that we are like them. Like them, we are reacting from our own unhappy beliefs. For instance, we may be acting out of a belief that has us thinking that they have to be loving to us first before we can be loving to them.

I find beliefs such as the one mentioned above only guarantees more misery for us.

What works better is for us to act loving towards these challenging family members no matter how unloving they act towards us. Why? Because to act loving towards them is a kinder, more loving way to treat ourselves. It is less disturbing to our own peace of mind to be kind to those we care about.

For instance, instead of thinking, “They shouldn't be so _______ (jealous, controlling, demanding, selfish, mean, etc) it's better, kinder to think,

“They must be unhappy to act the way they do. Because I understand what it's like to be unhappy with myself I feel compassion for them and want to look for what I can appreciate about them. Instead of wanting to punish them I choose to love them. I realize there is nothing they can do to keep me from loving them, and I will not waste my time thinking, or speaking negatively about them.”

When we insist on relating to these contrary family members as someone we love, rather than as someone who is unloving, we grow. Often their behavior changes dramatically too! They become kinder towards us. In doing so, they become happier, without realizing, perhaps, that they are actually befriending themselves in the process of being kinder to us. And vice-versa, in being kinder to them, we are befriending ourselves.

Rather than trying to change them, by aggressively confronting their unloving behavior, for instance, we see their behavior as an opportunity to see ourselves more clearly. We come to understand that part of the reason we have such trouble with them is because they are mirroring to us our own behavior towards them whenever we judge them as wrong. In other words, we do the same things towards them we are mad at them for doing – we blame and act unkindly.

This is the reason these people are in our lives – they are teaching us how to become more loving human beings – to others, but more importantly to ourselves.
Blessings, Lynne

6 Responses

  1. Lynne, you touch here on something that is a constant struggle for me right now. I have been scouring books, the Internet, everything, trying to find an answer. My family, in my divorce, took my ex-husband’s ‘side’, after which a relatively amicable divorce became toxic. They have vilified and demonised my partner of 3 years and ostracised me. I have meditated, listened to Rev Kusala, read your book, all searching for peace and acceptance. And I manage it for a little while. Until the next deluge of poison. I refuse to be a victim of it. I renounce Victimhood! But… Even when I smile calmly and say gently “I respect and accept your decision”, it invites more derision and anger. They believe me brainwashed and in the thrall of my partner, whereas I feel as though I am at last figuring out what we are here for (I’m 40 and a mother of 5!)
    OK, I’ve waffled and probably said too much and not enough, but this particular topic is not so much close to my heart as glued to it right now…

    1. Hi Alice, I understand your dilemma … many times on my own journey I’ve wondered why the way has seemed so contradictory, and difficult, especially when it comes to others holding on to their story about me. 🙂
      I can only remind you of a couple of the guiding principles (found in the front of my book) … which, we may want to remember, applies to ALL situations … no exceptions.
      The first principle that comes to mind as I read your words is the one that says there are no coincidences. No mistake in who is in our life and/or how we interact with one another. This means that your situation w/ your ex and his family is meaningfully designed for you – as an opportunity to come into a greater degree of kindness and acceptance of YOURSELF! How?
      Another principle reminds us that the relationships and life situations we find ourselves in are a mirror (only always) of our own relationship with ourselves and Source. What this means is that your in-laws may well be reflecting to you the part of your own mind that takes sides against you … doubts and belittles you, etc.
      I strongly encourage you to look for any and all remnants of internal judgments and limiting beliefs that you may be holding against yourself. Find them for the purpose of questioning and rethinking those limiting beliefs that have been holding you prisoner, and that your family members are mirroring to you. When you shift those beliefs in you, you will experience in them an immediate, and much less antagonistic, shift in the way they perceive and interact with you.
      Do not try to change their mind about you … instead look for how what they believe about you is a belief that, on some level, you have carried against you too … make the shift there and see what happens.
      This approach has worked powerfully for me many times … I trust you will find it so as well.
      Blessings,
      Lynne

  2. Tracy – regarding your example, here are a few questions to support your process:
    “What exactly do I think it means when someone handles their finances poorly? What are the beliefs I hold that prompt my judgment of them?”
    Then look for where you hold that same opinion about yourself. That will be the place where you hold a limiting story against yourself.
    Blessings, Lynne

  3. Hi Tracy, You ask, “who is it that is mirrored back … which aspect of me …?” The answer is your story about you and the world is what is being mirrored to you. It’s not the authentic self that is being mirrored – it is but a story about you that you are seeing reflected back to you through the other.
    How do we know that? Because why else would there be judgment about them? We only judge in others what we have already judged as unacceptable in ourselves.
    The behavior we find so hard to accept in another is often but a reflection of the way we treat ourselves.
    Blessings,

  4. Maybe i can give an example of myself.I posted a while back that i always felt triggered by my perception of other people’s poor financial management since i work in an accounting office.When i look at it now,i feel that this is because i feel scared of facing financial problems since i grew up in a family that went through that.Yet,i still feel denial that i am the one who is scared of how i manage my own finances as opposed to what i see out there.
    I don’t understand the conflict,and which aspects of myself are involved.

  5. I have experienced this shift in my relationship with my siblings and its amazing to see that all i had to change was actually myself.
    What i find difficult to believe is the behaviour that is mirrored back at me.Sometimes i feel as though its someone else inside of me…or maybe a part of me.My question is who is it that is mirrored back or rather which aspect of me is mirrored back and why is it difficult to actually accept it as me?
    I notice that the moment i direct the behaviour back at me,i feel resistance towards it.I feel denial,something bad i am not willing to accept.

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