The Truth by Neil Strauss

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Summary

“Intimacy problems come from a lack of self-love”. Growing up, as children, when our emotional needs are not met or downright violated we tend to absorb certain beliefs and feelings that we store in our “shame core”. We start to believe that we are unworthy and unlovable.

These traumatic events create beliefs that shape our adult relationships. Although most people try to fix broken relationships or inability to experience intimacy by hoping to find the right partner, nothing changes until we deliberately take action to heal our wounds.

In this sense, love is not about finding the right person. It’s about letting go of the self-limiting beliefs that prevents us from experiencing it.

Book Notes

→ “In life, we are born innocent and pure, beautiful and honest, and in a state of oneness with each moment. As we develop, however, our caregivers and others load us with baggage. Some of us keep accumulating more and more baggage until we become burdened by all the weight, trapped in beliefs and behaviors that keep us stuck. But the true purpose of life is to divest yourself of that baggage and become light and pure again. You’ve been searching for freedom this whole time. That is true freedom.”

→ “When children experience trauma, they tend to absorb the feelings of their abusers and store them in a compartment in their psyche that we call the shame core. It contains the beliefs I am worthless, I am unlovable, I don’t deserve. Any time you feel one down—or inferior—to someone or you feel one up—or superior—those are false beliefs generated by your shame core. Because, in reality, every person in the world has equal worth and value.”

→ Intimacy is sharing your reality with someone else and knowing you’re safe, and them being able to share their reality with you and also be safe.

Three ways of raising children

The first is functional bonding, in which the parents or primary caregivers love, nurture, affirm, set healthy limits with, and take care of the needs of the child. This creates a child who has healthy, secure self-esteem and relationships.

The second is the neglect, when a caregiver abandons, is detached from, or doesn’t appropriately nurture the child. This can range from a parent who isn’t physically present, to a parent who is physically present but emotionally distant, to a parent who doesn’t provide adequate care or safety, to a parent lost in a work, sex, gambling, alcohol, or other addiction.

If you grew up feeling unwanted by or unimportant to a parent, this is a sign that neglect likely occurred: This creates wounded children, who are often depressed and indecisive, see themselves as flawed and less valuable than others, and feel they can’t face the world alone.

In relationships, they tend to have what’s called anxious attachment. They may feel like they’re not enough for their partners; become so wrapped up in their relationships that they lose sight of their own needs and self-worth; and be emotionally intense, passive-aggressive, or in need of constant reassurance that they’re not being abandoned

The third type of parenting is enmeshment. Instead of taking care of a child’s needs, the enmeshing parent tries to get his or her own needs met through the child. This can take various forms: a parent who lives through a child’s accomplishments; who makes the child a surrogate spouse, therapist, or caretaker; who is depressed and emotionally uses the child; who is overbearing or over controlling; or who is excessively emotional or anxious about a child.

If you grew up feeling sorry for or smothered by a parent, this is a sign that enmeshment likely occurred: In the process, enmeshed children lose their sense of self. As adults, they usually avoid letting anyone get too close and suck the life out of them again. Where the abandoned are often unable to contain their feelings, the enmeshed tend to be cut off from them, and be perfectionistic and controlling of themselves and others.

Though they may pursue a relationship thinking they want connection, once they’re in the reality of one, they often put up walls, feel superior, and use other distancing techniques to avoid intimacy. This is known as avoidant attachment

→ “Intimacy problems come from a lack of self-love.

→ We choose partners who are at our age of emotional development and maturity, and whose issues are complementary to ours.

“A healthy relationship is when two individuated adults decide to have a relationship and that becomes a third entity. They nurture the relationship and the relationship nurtures them. But they’re not overly dependent or independent: They are interdependent, which means that they take care of the majority of their needs and wants on their own, but when they can’t, they’re not afraid to ask their partner for help.”

→ “Unspoken expectations are premeditated resentments.

In the dance of infatuation, we see others not as they are, but as projections of who we want them to be. And we impose on them all the imaginary criteria we think will fill the void in our hearts. But in the end, this strategy leads only to suffering. It’s not a relationship when the other person is completely left out of it.

“You can’t force a relationship to happen,” he finally understood. “You just have to make a space in your heart for one, then let go of all expectations, agendas, and control.

→ Most people seem to believe that if a relationship doesn’t last until death, it’s a failure. But the only relationship that’s truly a failure is one that lasts longer than it should. The success of a relationship should be measured by its depth, not by its length.

There’s no better place to hide from intimacy than in a relationship.

→ No one can make you feel anything and you don’t make anyone feel a certain way. So don’t take on responsibility for your partner’s feelings and don’t blame your partner for yours.

→ In the end, love is not about finding the right person. It’s about becoming the right person.

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