Psychological Self-Help

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Level IV (cognition): Challenge the irrational thinking that leads
to possessiveness and awfulizing (see cause #6 above and method #3
in chapter 14). Often, one person has trouble letting go during the
break up. It is true that through marriage vows and thousands of soft
utterances we pledge our undying commitment. We intended to love
our spouse forever, but we can not control all our feelings; love can
turn to indifference or hatred in spite of all our pledges. This is a
reality that every lover must know, face, and accept. In life, being
loved is a wonderful experience but it is not a "right" we can demand.
We are not in control of love. Thought stopping (chapter 11) can
reduce painful thoughts and fantasies. 
Faulty conclusions abound when falling in love and scrambling out
of love. We make the partner into a saint, later the same person may
be seen as an ogre. If you still think the departing partner is so
wonderful you can't live without her/him, make a list of her/his faults
or liabilities. If he/she seems to be awful, remember his/her good
traits and realize there are reasons for his/her meanness. Each partner
will benefit from considering the possibility of finding a better
relationship. Gradually specific plans for a better life should emerge for
both people. You have loved and been loved; it can happen again. 
Level V (unconscious factors): During the emotional turmoil of
breaking off a relationship, sometimes hidden traits (in both people)
are openly exposed, e.g. possessiveness, fear of responsibility or
intimacy, self-centeredness, self-put downs or criticism of others,
sexual self-doubts, irritating or self-defeating habits, and so on. To
understand is to forgive. Insights into your own weaknesses can
become self-help projects. The next relationship benefits from this
We humans are social animals. If we are abandoned as an infant or
young child, we first protest by screaming, then we quietly withdraw,
and finally after about two weeks we become detached and apathetic.
Abandoned, we will joylessly play with others some but there is no
emotional involvement (Bowlby, 1969; 1973). As Rene Spitz observed
50 years ago, infants may actually die if they are not played with,
talked to, held, stroked, and "loved." Some species of monkeys also
die when abandoned by their mothers. Even brief separation of infant
monkeys from their mothers causes them two years later to cling more
timidly and relate more poorly. Perhaps one can die of a "broken
heart" (Lynch, 1977). Social contact is a powerful need. About 20% of
us are feeling lonely at any one time (Ostrov & Offer, 1980). Almost all
of us are lonely sometimes. But 1 in 5 Americans do not have a friend
with whom they could discuss a personal problem. 
A few years ago Bob Greene wrote a column about the cruelty of
children and described a shy 12-year-old boy who was given a card by
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