Synopsis: This mini love lesson starts with a thought about how to use this extremely important information; then describes each of the seven most destructive kinds of behavior that can ruin any and all kinds of love relationships; and ends with a note on knowledge as protection power.
Using This InfoThis information has proven extremely valuable in assisting people in various kinds of love relationships to avoid failure, maintain stability and recover from love relationship difficulty and dysfunction. It comes from love-related research showing seven major types, or categories of behavior which destroy love relationships of all kinds including romantic love, mate love, family love, friendship love, parent/child love and healthy self-love.
Working to understand and then reduce and eliminate these seven destroyers gives any love relationship a far better chance of surviving. Keeping away from these behaviors can set free a love relationship to grow strong and marvelous. I suggest you study it closely and help your loved ones to do likewise.
T H E 7 D’s
1. Deficient Demonstrations of LoveThe number one destroyer of love relationships is not demonstrating love enough. This includes not demonstrating love frequently enough, effectively enough, with enough vitality, with enough variety and just plain not demonstrating love enough at love critical times. When love is not sufficiently demonstrated or given, love relationships can and do wither, loved ones can become love-malnourished and general relational health often will quietly, subtly and dangerously diminish until it dies. Furthermore, this destroyer sets up vulnerability to other destroyer difficulties occurring which, at best, can lead to very unsatisfying relationships and, at worst, can lead to the very painful end of a love relationship.
2. DemeaningDemeaning behaviors are those which work to lower a person’s healthy self-love by devaluing, degrading and debasing their personal worth. Demeaning has two major subcategories called (A) Derisiveness and (B) Disdain. Demeaning behaviors are the number two destroyers of love relationships. They often result in increasing conflict, relational dissonance, aggressive and passive aggressive retaliations, rebellion, and the demise of positive demonstrations of love – thus, destroying the love relationship. They especially are destructive when they occur via frequent displays of anger, expressions of contempt and verbal aggressiveness.
(A) Derisive behaviors include criticism of all types, shaming, blaming, mocking, ridiculing, scornfulness, belittling, discounting, fault-finding, using putdowns, humiliation, condescension, disparagement, castigation, being insulting, disapproving, impugning, denouncing, repudiating, dis-affirming, degrading and making personal attacks of any kind. Most of these destroyers are carried out verbally but also often accompanied by negative expressional communications including very negative facial expressions and highly negative tones of voice.
(B) Disdainful behaviors include showing contempt, disregard, disrespect, indifference, indignation, slighting, snubbing, sneering, spurning, making slurs, discounting, treating as trivial, insignificant, inferior or inadequate, being insolent, patronizing, paternalistic, condescending, arrogant, rude, and being non-attentive to another’s essence and efforts.
3. DefensivenessDefensiveness starts by too easily feeling attacked, blamed, controlled, manipulated, victimized and unfairly or unlovingly dealt with usually when a loved one brings up a problem, dissatisfaction or difficulty. Then dysfunctional reactions commonly begin which include rationalized explanations, counter-proving, counterattacking, becoming dogmatic and dictatorial, negative ‘mind reading’, denial, ‘yes-but-ing’, dodging, excuse making, rejecting responsibility and co-responsibility, becoming threatened, and any other behavior which ‘defends’ the person feeling attacked.
These behaviors, in effect, avoid recognizing that a loved one has had difficulty, is experiencing hurt and distress, wants caring love, can use help in catharsis and/or examining a negative experience, and probably wants to be empathetically treated. Being defensive avoids showing love during a possible critical incident when loving treatment (not to be confused with surrendering or false agreement) is most useful. Healthy self-love usually is needed to allow a person to see that giving love, instead of feeling attacked and getting defensive is a far better response.
4. Distancing and BlockingDistancing and blocking are two related phenomena with the same end-result. Distancing refers to behaviors which cause emotional distance between people in a relationship. It often results in people feeling alone, unwanted, lonely, rejected and considerably unloved. Blocking has to do with excluding someone previously included or someone who hopes for or expects some type of inclusion behavior to be shown to them. Experiencing distancing and blocking helps people feel both rejected and devalued.
Perceiving being ‘tuned out’, having a ‘cold shoulder’ experience, getting postponed or having a loved one ‘escape or run away’ and be unavailable are common forms of blocking. Also Involved here are actions which diminish or block a loved one from participation in sharing, having meaningful interaction, feeling included, wanted, desired and in partnership with the person practicing these destroyers of love.
Blocking also prohibits a person from working jointly on relationship issues and inhibits emotional intercourse and intimacy in love relating. The end result of both distancing and blocking is to divide people in a love relationship from one another, either temporarily or eventually permanently.
5. Dependency EnhancementAnything that causes a person to become more dependent on another and, thus, lessens their self-dependence can be included here. When this occurs a person has less to offer the love relationship and, therefore, the combined strength and teamwork of the people in love relationship is diminished. Two subcategories of this destroyer of love are:
(A) Dependency Submission which has to do with actions allowing and assisting in one’s own subjugation and resulting in destructive, emotional dependency in a relationship.
Actions of unnecessary sacrifice, giving in, surrendering, postponing one’s own needs, self suppression, giving away one’s power, accepting low self-worth descriptions and definitions, avoiding self-growth challenges, accepting dictatorial authority, remaining undeveloped, cooperating with demeaning treatment, becoming self-demeaning, escaping into de-powering addictions, disallowing one’s own essential democratic equality, dodging maturation and it’s incumbent strengthening, becoming co-dependent, and letting one’s self be manipulated by guilt and shame are included here.
Not disclosing one’s own wants and needs, unrevealed dissatisfactions, repeatedly avoiding conflict to ‘keep the peace’, etc. and consciously or subconsciously being in denial of difficulty and dysfunction eventually backfires into either a breakup or a breakdown.
(B) Dependency Subjugation has to do with actions which attempt to make or enhance another person’s dependency and limit their healthy self-dependency. Involved here are words and actions which assist a person devalue themselves, feel and act less adequate, confident or self-reliant, overprotection, promoting ‘learned helplessness’, conveying to a loved one that they are weak, helpless, fragile, delicate, incompetent, incapable, unable to improve or be adequate are all common here.
Enabling destructive addictions, assisting someone avoid responsibility, doing for them when doing for themselves would be more beneficial, needless rescuing, babying, promoting the avoidance of challenge, hard tasks or opportunities are all frequent in this subcategory. In the extreme, very degrading and debasing behavior may occur. Generally anything that works to undermine a person’s development of their own potentials or maturation fits into this subcategory. Not to be included in this category are doing favors, providing assistance, showing kindness, giving surprising unexpected help, etc. unless those things are done in such a way as they operate to undermine confidence development, self-reliance and healthy self-love.
6. DeceptionLying, falsely representing oneself, hiding significant aspects of one’s self or one’s actions, denial of important truths, pretense, betrayal, hypocrisy, insincerity, duplicity, fraudulent actions, providing dis-information, going back on one’s word, deliberate misrepresentation, keeping secrets, presenting a false image, deceptive manipulation, circumnavigating around truth, non-disclosure of relevant material, cheating, and any other way that prevents the truth of one’s actual self and life to accurately be known is involved here. If an aspect of deception is involved real love has difficulty reaching a person.
‘Receptional love’ is blocked when the deceived person knows the love coming to them may be for a false persona and, therefore, not for their real self. The deceived person often vaguely senses something is wrong and feels at least somewhat unsure of the love in the relationship. Upon discovering significant deception, feelings of betrayal, abandonment, desertion, destabilization and not really being loved become common. Even minor, discovered deceptions can lead to growing mistrust, decreased cooperation, increased ‘checking up on’, guardedness and excess anxiety all of which tends to erode a love relationship.
7. DepredationDepredation has to do actions which harm, decrease, destroy, violate and lay waste to another person’s well-being, or which extract from a loved one that which is or may be highly valuable and important to them for selfish gain or advantage. While these acts are less common in true love relationships (they may be an indication that a relationship might be founded on something other than love) they are among the most destructive of all relational behaviors.
Depredation behaviors include doing overt physical harm to a loved one, destruction of possessions, attempts to ruin a loved one’s other important relationships, wasting or plundering another’s resources, invading, stalking, sabotaging a loved one’s desired opportunities, goals and achievements, invading privacy, destructively using another’s belongings, dissipating another’s assets, theft , larceny, forced sexuality, and any other behavior which tends to harm a supposedly loved one’s life especially for the perpetrator’s own purposes.
In pronounced situations this can include marked psychological abuse, physical violence, rape, ransacking property, looting possessions, harming another’s family or friends, markedly interfering with another’s work, acting to physically hurt, over power, control or imprison, maiming and even murder. In lesser, but still important, situations depredation may include spying, spreading negative rumors or propaganda, getting someone in trouble with the authorities, and any act which misuses, spoils or wastes important aspects of another’s life.
Minor levels and sometimes beginning levels of depredation can include smaller acts of revenge, purposeful infliction of unwanted pain, acts which are destructively thoughtless, cruel and punishing, acting spitefully, repeatedly wasting or misusing another’s resources, and taking pleasure in treating a supposedly loved one in selfish, harsh and malicious ways to their detriment. Depredation behavior usually means that real and healthy love, on the part of one doing these acts of depredation, is corrupted, weak or nonexistent. Remember, that healthy, real and sufficient love tends to compel a person toward acting in ways that promote the well-being of the loved one and, therefore, avoids acts of depredation (See “The Definition of Love” and “A Functional Definition of Love” at this site).
Knowledge as Protection PowerKnowledge is power and in this case power to protect you from the 7 D’s. Using this important knowledge can help you navigate around traps that ruin many love relationships. Remember, one of the functions of healthy, real love is protection. So, I suggest you study the 7 D’s closely and then go forward better protected. Talking about the 7 D’s with loved ones might double your protection and help you go on to much safer and freer love.
As always – Go and Grow in Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
♥ Love Success Question
Do you see any of your own ways of acting in a love relationship as the 7 D’s and, if so, what are you going to do about it?
February 15th, 2016 at 18:41 | #1
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March 7th, 2016 at 12:01 | #2
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July 30th, 2016 at 02:33 | #3
True. Complicated. Useful? The “7 d’s” arise from the great destroyer of relationships: indignation. Jesus said “offenses will come”, one of the least appreciated things He ever said, and most certainly one of the most profound. It was a warning – ‘offences will come, how will you respond?’ indignantly?. He was the ultimate proponent of responding in love vs responding indignantly. The truth of the matter is that indignation as a INTERNAL response is utterly avoidable. Yet to RESPOND indignantly OUTWARDLY destroys relationships. For relationships to ‘work’ forbearance and forgiveness, rather, are the indispensable tools needed. Only people who are sound, grounded and ‘whole’ can avoid the indignant sorts of responses (the “7d’s”) that tear relationships apart and instead respond with forbearance and forgiveness and thereby contiguring to the soundness and success of a relationship. “Sound, grounded and whole” ?? and just who is “sound, grounded me whole”? …. precious few it would seem. Yet when once we find ourselves having done the “7-d’s” and thereby having contributed to the denigration of a relationship can we ‘fix’ relational mess we have created by learning a long list of ‘don’t do this and do do that’? Doubtful, because such an approach does not create the underlying wholeness and soundness needed to enable us to respond with forbearance and forgiveness. Trying to follow rules without first being whole and sound is like trying to enter into a car race without gas in the tank – you cannot ‘run’ on empty. When once we have found ourselves having contributed to the demise of relationships the key to ‘fixing’ it is first getting whole and sound – a ‘tall order’ to be sure BUT indispensable to true, thriving and lasting relationships. Getting whole and sound is a lengthy process, to be sure, and seemingly impossible at times, yet even tiny strides in that direction yield good fruit and many tiny strides ultimately make for large gains. Don’t ignore ‘rules’ but don’t make the mistake of trying to follow rules without getting yourself made sound me whole as well.