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What Your Mom Was Taught About Love At The Academy

Most of us grew up at the school of love. “Love you” was the common greeting. We were taught how to recognize signs of love from the expressions and moods of our loving partners. We were given a number of tricks to make our relationship appear authentic. Unfortunately, the lessons we were taught were wrong. In fact, they were so wrong, our mothers have been horrified by them. In the last thirty years, countless people have come to the realization that love requires much more than simple words, and that we are actually born in relationships and not made in relationship.

The other night my mother explained to me what she learned at my Academy. Her experience is what many students at many universities have. I have taken an Academy course many years ago, which was taught by the same guy who trained me at Lululemon. His name was John Paul. His curriculum was very similar to the courses I taught there. My memories are very vivid of those times.

The thing he did was to give us a number of little “rules of engagement” so we would recognize when our partners were making advances and when we needed a little extra help keeping him at arm’s length. My mother’s rules of engagement were like the rules that John Paul gave us.

I learned something else that he called “Lifestyle Rules For Relationships”: If you have a partner who is so insecure she goes into a rage all the time, it is time for a break-up.

She also taught me something that was very important after the break-up. My partner was trying to avoid doing anything that would make her partner feel rejected. He had begun saying to her, “I love you, Mom” and she was doing that to me. So she had to say, “I have loved you enough for a moment.” She had taught me that love is not enough. She had taught me how many moments my partner had waited for me to love her. To love us in our imperfection, our sins, our weaknesses. We were not supposed to love us enough to allow a little extra vulnerability, to share my sorrow over my daughter’s death with my partner, without feeling as though we might be missing something. After he had been forced to feel her pain, he was more than capable of sharing it with me. Without his emotional support, I couldn’t survive alone in my grief. 

My mother wanted me to feel my pain, but I didn’t know how.

I was so afraid that my partner would hurt me, that I didn’t think to ask if I could be alone with my pain. I only wanted to be with him.

In the end, it took me ten years of therapy and several years of working through my grief in order for me to become able to truly mourn and grieve with a person, and I have come to the conclusion that this is a common experience for many people. 

The key thing is that it takes work to do this. It takes work to not only deal with the negative emotions, but to also be able to recognize when you know your partner is right, but you don’t want to experience the pain of rejection. It is very hard work. But that is what the Academy taught me. I hope those who had the opportunity to study in the Academy can use this information to make the world a better place for everyone, especially those who are in a relationship.