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Battle against possessiveness

Discussion in 'Cheeniya's Senile Ramblings' started by Cheeniya, May 28, 2007.

  1. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Of all the manifestations of love, possessiveness is the most colourful. In saying so, I am confining myself to only love between two people and no other, like love of money and other material things. Many people tend to look at possessiveness as a kind of by product of extreme love. They contend that it is one of the many ways that love expresses itself. But the question is not about the justifiability of possessiveness in a union of hearts but whether it helps love to progress. Possessiveness within moderate limits can be beautiful and there may be freaks who may even get turned on by a show of insane possessiveness but, like excessive sugar in the blood that wrecks silently all the vital organs in the body, it can wreck love over a period of time.

    "Let there be spaces in your togetherness," says Kahlil Gibran, "And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.... Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping"

    Let’s now look at what Osho has to say on love, the real and professed ones.

    You "love" a person means you possess a person. You "love" a person means he cannot love anybody else. If he loves anybody else he is insulting you; he is proving that you are inferior, that there are better people, more lovable people than you are. It hurts the ego, it hurts your possessiveness, it hurts your monopolistic idea.

    And basically it is cowardice, because you are not trying to face the facts about your love in a straightforward manner. It is not a question of your lover loving somebody else; the question is, do you love the person? And you are not brave enough to face that question. And that is the real question to be asked.


    If I love the person then nothing matters. Love allows freedom. Love allows that whatever he feels like doing, he can do. Whatever he feels to be blissful, it is his choice.
    If you love the person, then you don't interfere in his privacy. You leave that person's privacy undisturbed. You don't try to trespass his inner being. You don't want that he should say where he has been, why he is late in the night. That is not right at all.
    It is his life: where he goes, and whether he comes late or not.... You have loved the person as he is -- and this is the way he is.


    Both these great men lay special emphasis on giving space in togetherness. When possessiveness takes over, the space gets reduced to nought and suffocation ensues. It is the root cause of sundered hearts. A possessive person is quite aware of the damage he is causing to his love but he is helpless about it. The more he resolves himself not to be possessive, the more possessive he becomes. It is like smoking. No amount of warnings, statutory or otherwise, can stop a smoker.
    The award-winning Broadway play, "Children of a Lesser God," tells an interesting story of how love can go wrong, even when it seems like it's going right.
    The story focuses on a spirited young woman who is deaf. Intelligent, sensitive and wounded, she resists most attempts to help her, until one day a gifted teacher, a man her own age, enters her life. For a while she resists both his love and his efforts to help her, but eventually trust grows in her and she opens up to him. They fall in love and, for a while, things are wonderful and he helps open her to the world.
    But then the story takes a curious turn. At a point, a huge tension begins to grow up between them. She feels guilty about it, sensing she should be grateful, even as resentment and anger continue to grow in her. For his part, he can't help feeling angry because he feels himself being pushed away after all he has done for her. The tension eventually produces a storm, a big one, lots of anger, lots of shouting, lots of recrimination, and a calm afterwards.
    In that calm, she, still feeling guilty, apologizes and tells him she feels badly because he has been such a great teacher and she owes so much to him. But the storm has taught him its lesson. He now knows the reason for her resentment. In essence, he puts it this way:
    "I've been a good teacher and have loved you, up to a point, but now I realize what I was really doing. In effect, I was saying this to you: 'Grow, but not so much that you don't need me any more. Understand yourself, but not better than I understand you. Be free, but not of my expectations for you.' I offered you my love and help ... as long as I could dictate how you use them."
    Perhaps the deepest struggle we have (psychologically, morally and spiritually) is with possessiveness and what that triggers in us --- restlessness, jealousy, greed and manipulation. Something inside our very DNA makes us want to possess whatever is beautiful and to have exclusively for ourselves whatever we love. It's no accident that there are two commandments against jealousy. From a toddler's tantrum over his mother's inattention to the sexual jealousy so universal in adulthood, we see that it's hard to respond to what attracts us only with gratitude and admiration.
    For this reason, when we should be feeling wonderful, we often feel unsettled, restless, obsessed, and jealous in the face of beauty and love. Etty Hillesum gives us an honest expression of this in her insightful memoir, "An Interrupted Life":
    "And here I have hit upon something essential. Whenever I saw a beautiful flower, what I longed to do with it was press it to my heart, or eat it all up. It was more difficult with a piece of beautiful scenery, but the feeling was the same. I was too sensual, I might almost write too greedy. I yearned physically for all I thought was beautiful, wanted to own it. Hence the painful longing that could never be satisfied, the pining for something I thought unattainable, which I called my creative urge.
    "I believe it was this powerful emotion that made me think that I was born to produce great works. It all suddenly changed, God alone knows by what inner process, but it is different now. I realized it only this morning, when I recalled my short walk round the Skating Club a few nights ago.
    "It was dusk, soft hues in the sky, mysterious silhouettes of houses, trees alive with the light through the tracery of their branches, in short, enchanting. And then I knew precisely how I had felt in the past. Then all the beauty would have gone like a stab to my heart and I would not have known what to do with the pain. Then I would have felt the need to write, to compose verses, but the words would still have refused to come. I would have felt utterly miserable, wallowed in the pain and exhausted myself as a result.
    "The experience would have sapped all my energy...but its beauty now filled me with joy.... I no longer wanted to own it. I went home invigorated."
    These two stories teach us that an understanding of the root cause of our feeling of possessiveness would help us to overcome it Be it selfishness or lack of trust or feeling of insecurity, let us be honest to admit it and then start working on it. Can a cure ever be possible without a proper diagnosis? In the battle against possessiveness, both parties have an equally important role to play. So once the root cause is understood, both must be up in arms against it. It is a battle to save love and no sacrifice is too small in this epic struggle. May love always be victorious!
    a piece from my friend's blog...his name srinivasan....

    Of all the manifestations of love, possessiveness is the most colourful. In saying so, I am confining myself to only love between two people and no other, like love of money and other material things. Many people tend to look at possessiveness as a kind of by product of extreme love. They contend that it is one of the many ways that love expresses itself. But the question is not about the justifiability of possessiveness in a union of hearts but whether it helps love to progress. Possessiveness within moderate limits can be beautiful and there may be freaks who may even get turned on by a show of insane possessiveness but, like excessive sugar in the blood that wrecks silently all the vital organs in the body, it can wreck love over a period of time.

    "Let there be spaces in your togetherness," says Kahlil Gibran, "And let the winds of the heavens dance between you. Love one another, but make not a bond of love: Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.... Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping"

    Let’s now look at what Osho has to say on love, the real and professed ones.

    "You "love" a person means you possess a person. You "love" a person means he cannot love anybody else. If he loves anybody else he is insulting you; he is proving that you are inferior, that there are better people, more lovable people than you are. It hurts the ego, it hurts your possessiveness, it hurts your monopolistic idea.

    And basically it is cowardice, because you are not trying to face the facts about your love in a straightforward manner. It is not a question of your lover loving somebody else; the question is, do you love the person? And you are not brave enough to face that question. And that is the real question to be asked.


    If I love the person then nothing matters. Love allows freedom. Love allows that whatever he feels like doing, he can do. Whatever he feels to be blissful, it is his choice.
    If you love the person, then you don't interfere in his privacy. You leave that person's privacy undisturbed. You don't try to trespass his inner being. You don't want that he should say where he has been, why he is late in the night. That is not right at all.
    It is his life: where he goes, and whether he comes late or not.... You have loved the person as he is -- and this is the way he is"


    Both these great men lay special emphasis on giving space in togetherness. When possessiveness takes over, the space gets reduced to nought and suffocation ensues. It is the root cause of sundered hearts. A possessive person is quite aware of the damage he is causing to his love but he is helpless about it. The more he resolves himself not to be possessive, the more possessive he becomes. It is like smoking. No amount of warnings, statutory or otherwise, can stop a smoker.

    The award-winning Broadway play, "Children of a Lesser God," tells an interesting story of how love can go wrong, even when it seems like it's going right.

    The story focuses on a spirited young woman who is deaf. Intelligent, sensitive and wounded, she resists most attempts to help her, until one day a gifted teacher, a man her own age, enters her life. For a while she resists both his love and his efforts to help her, but eventually trust grows in her and she opens up to him. They fall in love and, for a while, things are wonderful and he helps open her to the world.

    But then the story takes a curious turn. At a point, a huge tension begins to grow up between them. She feels guilty about it, sensing she should be grateful, even as resentment and anger continue to grow in her. For his part, he can't help feeling angry because he feels himself being pushed away after all he has done for her. The tension eventually produces a storm, a big one, lots of anger, lots of shouting, lots of recrimination, and a calm afterwards.

    In that calm, she, still feeling guilty, apologizes and tells him she feels badly because he has been such a great teacher and she owes so much to him. But the storm has taught him its lesson. He now knows the reason for her resentment. In essence, he puts it this way:

    "I've been a good teacher and have loved you, up to a point, but now I realize what I was really doing. In effect, I was saying this to you: 'Grow, but not so much that you don't need me any more. Understand yourself, but not better than I understand you. Be free, but not of my expectations for you.' I offered you my love and help ... as long as I could dictate how you use them."

    Perhaps the deepest struggle we have (psychologically, morally and spiritually) is with possessiveness and what that triggers in us --- restlessness, jealousy, greed and manipulation. Something inside our very DNA makes us want to possess whatever is beautiful and to have exclusively for ourselves whatever we love. From a toddler's tantrum over his mother's inattention to the sexual jealousy so universal in adulthood, we see that it's hard to respond to what attracts us only with gratitude and admiration.

    For this reason, when we should be feeling wonderful, we often feel unsettled, restless, obsessed, and jealous in the face of beauty and love. Etty Hillesum gives us an honest expression of this in her insightful memoir, "An Interrupted Life":

    "And here I have hit upon something essential. Whenever I saw a beautiful flower, what I longed to do with it was press it to my heart, or eat it all up. It was more difficult with a piece of beautiful scenery, but the feeling was the same. I was too sensual, I might almost write too greedy. I yearned physically for all I thought was beautiful, wanted to own it. Hence the painful longing that could never be satisfied, the pining for something I thought unattainable, which I called my creative urge.

    "I believe it was this powerful emotion that made me think that I was born to produce great works. It all suddenly changed, God alone knows by what inner process, but it is different now. I realized it only this morning, when I recalled my short walk round the Skating Club a few nights ago.

    "It was dusk, soft hues in the sky, mysterious silhouettes of houses, trees alive with the light through the tracery of their branches, in short, enchanting. And then I knew precisely how I had felt in the past. Then all the beauty would have gone like a stab to my heart and I would not have known what to do with the pain. Then I would have felt the need to write, to compose verses, but the words would still have refused to come. I would have felt utterly miserable, wallowed in the pain and exhausted myself as a result.

    "The experience would have sapped all my energy...but its beauty now filled me with joy.... I no longer wanted to own it. I went home invigorated."

    These two stories teach us that an understanding of the root cause of our feeling of possessiveness would help us to overcome it Be it selfishness or lack of trust or feeling of insecurity, let us be honest to admit it and then start working on it. Can a cure ever be possible without a proper diagnosis? In the battle against possessiveness, both parties have an equally important role to play. So once the root cause is understood, both must be up in arms against it. It is a battle to save love and no sacrifice is too small in this epic struggle. May true love always be victorious!
     
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  2. meenaprakash

    meenaprakash Silver IL'ite

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    Hello Cheeniya,

    This is indeed an eye-opener and nicely written thread. My deepest appreciation. But there seems to be a small hitch according to me.

    No doubt both Gibran and Osho are great thinkers and philosophers. But a common man finds it very difficult to inculcate totally opposite of what possessiveness is all about. If possessiveness is one end of the spectrum of devil inside the human mind / heart, then total lack of it is another end of the same spectrum. What I feel is that even possessiveness in good moderation is very healthy to make the partner realise the need and strengthens the love and relationship. Total lack of it might induce wrong signals that the partner is not at all interested any more (especially as time accumulates in any relationship) and might lead him / her to seek the need and thrill in someone else.

    So what I want to say is, though possessiveness is supposed to be a non-virtue, it is essential to keep the juice of love and relationship flowing.

    Open to all your comments :

    Regards,
     
  3. Lavanya

    Lavanya Bronze IL'ite

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    As long as one can love another for who they are without trying to conform to the standards set by the former then I guess there's no possessiveness involved. But it is easily said than done for we don't realize even a small act of expecting your spouse to change their act to suit our bars is still being possessive. Most often the transition from love to possessiveness is so subtle that we don't realize when we become over-bearing.
    True life incidents are appalling that I wonder how such couples manage to stick out with each other amidst so much of hatred born in that love.
     
  4. Chitvish

    Chitvish Moderator IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Sri,
    You have analysed a "heavy" subject "lightly".

    I loved the following words of
    Osho (You don't try to trespass his inner being.) &
    Etty hillesum (I no longer wanted to own it).

    I fully agree that possessiveness is a very colourful manifestation of love. When the two reach a stage of stalemate in life, does not a little bit of possessiveness revealed by either add spice? You are delighted with a surprise that the fire is still there. Who does not love to "feel possessed" atleast once in a way; it is definitely ego-boosting !

    But there has to be a space between the two, which is very essential. Once that is non-existent, possessiveness becomes a demon, strong enough to destroy the relationship. It does not show extreme love; in fact, I have seen in some cases it shows lack of confidence and immaturity ! The other person feels suffocated very often, which finally leads to misunderstanding and
    eternal arguement.

    As chitvish, I wish to say that possessiveness should be like salt in a dish. There can be less; but more can lead to destruction in the emotional front!

    Love,
    Chithra
     
    sindmani likes this.
  5. sudhavnarasimhan

    sudhavnarasimhan Silver IL'ite

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    dear Cheeniya,

    Again another of your well written post on a very relevant subject......i did laugh aloud at these lines....
    "You "love" a person means you possess a person. You "love" a person means he cannot love anybody else. :evil:If he loves anybody else he is insulting you; he is proving that you are inferior, that there are better people, more lovable people than you are. It hurts the ego, it hurts your possessiveness, it hurts your monopolistic idea.

    Perfect analysis.....isnt it true that at some point all couples go thru this phase and maybe then learn to grow and give space. But i too agree with Meena and Chitra that a little bit of possessiveness in both parties is a real ego booster and keeps the fire going strong! Well lets just learn to keep the fire within manageable limits and not into a destructive one, right.....What do u say?!:tongue
     
  6. chitrajan

    chitrajan Bronze IL'ite

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    Dear Sr. Sri,

    What a subject!! Just like you to dwell upon and share your thoughts with us.

    I believe in the saying that

    If you love something, set it free,
    If it was yours, it will come back to you,
    If it does not, it was never yours.

    Possessiveness of materialistic nature leads to ego clashes and makes people avoid you. Possessiveness in relationships stifles the other person and nothing is achieved out of this except negativity.

    In either case, the possessor is alone in his thoughts and company.

    Whereas a person who shares is always surrounded by people and well wishers.
     
  7. Vidya24

    Vidya24 Gold IL'ite

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    Splendid,Cheeniya! I am out of adjectives to praise this one. I am basking in the after glow of reading this, so will not spoil the moment keying in a FB. I am sure this one will be nominated for Finest Posts in May!
     
  8. Kamla

    Kamla IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    Another lovely piece from you. Possessiveness can be destructive. There is bound to be a certain amount of possessiveness between lovers. But when it goes overboard, it can stifle the other person and change his/her character for ever destroying the relationship. I can agree with Gibran's words about giving sufficient space to each other. But try as I may, I cannot agree with Osho's words about totally letting go of your partner and Never be able to question why and where he was! Like my other friends here say, it might also be construed wrongly and can lead to its own misunderstandings. In the name of love, many have let go of their loved ones only to see that they never ever returned! Some pages of Sophie's Choice come to my mind.

    "I've been a good teacher and have loved you, up to a point, but now I realize what I was really doing. In effect, I was saying this to you: 'Grow, but not so much that you don't need me any more. Understand yourself, but not better than I understand you. Be free, but not of my expectations for you.' I offered you my love and help ... as long as I could dictate how you use them."

    The above is a perfect reflection of what possessiveness is all about! I agree. It is often what even parents feel about their children, without delving deep into the psyche. That's why, what you say is very very true. One has to ask oneself as to why and what makes them feel so possessive about their loved ones. If one is honest, he is sure to find the answer. Only, the possessive person should have the ability to question. Alas, that is questionable!

    L, Kamla
     
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  9. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Meena
    Do I agree with you? Yes and no! I have thought about possessiveness a lot and I have found from the case studies presented to me that men are more intolerant of possessiveness! Let me clarify. If wives are too possessive, the husbands resent it. They cry hoarse about the curtailment of freedom etc. They want their wives to accept everything they do and if the wives protest, they become resentful. Their capacity to accept being possessed is very limited. Probably because men always seem to think that their relationship with others particularly women has to be viewed as pure and above board no matter where that relationship takes them!
    But the same men are themselves extremely possessive. Even a casual friendship that their wives have with men is viewed with suspicion and jealousy. The more such men play around the more they want their wives in their control! The biggest problem that men have is the feeling of insecurity in conjucal relationships.
    I agree that a little of possessiveness boosts ego and makes lives more colourful but that 'little' is a thing that is very subjective! Women want it a little more than men!
    Sri
     
  10. Cheeniya

    Cheeniya Super Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Lavanya
    A good friend of mine is an experienced marriage counsellor here and she tells me that 80% of cases coming to her are a direct result of extreme possessiveness and more than 50% of them end in divorce.
    I have spoken to a few men who are insanely possessive about their wives and the irony is that they realise it too. They torture their women day in and day out and their women indeed go through a pathetic life. These men want to be a little more reasonable but end up being more possessive each time.
    The tragedy is that the elders of the family when informed about the possessiveness and the hardship it creates for the women seem to make a little of these problems. They tell their daughters that it is only a sign of extreme love and they should be grateful for that! They dont seem to think that insane possessiveness is a disease. For the women who cant raise in revolt, life goes on and they just reconcile themselves.
    Sri
     
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