Why we treat the ones we love the worst

You need to feel safe , so you let your guard down. Seems like it should be the opposite, right, you need to feel safe, so put your guard up?

But think about it – having your guard up is work . It takes energy and effort. You do it because you are in a situation where you are not feeling safe. But as you expend more energy, you begin to just want it all to be over, to not have to work so hard. You look for ways to get yourself into a position where you feel safe, where nothing dangerous is supposed to happen, and you let your guard down. Big time negotiations have been won and lost in the bathroom of all places because someone spills some information critical to the negotiation. They thought they could put their guard down. They needed to feel safe so they acted like they were and ended up blowing it.

Think about road rage. Why does it happen? When you are in your car, you feel safe and you let your guard down. As a result, when something happens on the road that feels unsafe or unfair, your emotions explode. You would never act that way while walking or standing in line at a store register.

And who do we treat the worst? People we love. Why? Because when we are around them we relax and our guard goes down so if something happens that we don’t like, our emotions explode. If a stranger does the same thing, we have our guard up, and we don’t give it a second thought, unless you are in a car 🙂

But the key point is that our need, our belief that we need to feel safe, is dangerous to us. I think what we want to try to do is be very selective about putting our guard down, and when we put it down,  be ready to put our guard back up so we are not at the mercy of our emotions.


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