We suffer because we are sentient beings. We suffer because we are human beings and in life you suffer .
It is not bad to suffer. And if someone tells me that he has not done it, I distrust all my arguments of a private passage of discomfort in this adventure of living.
We suffer because death exists, we suffer because life is not fair and we also suffer for love.
Since I have been doing theater with this theme, I have wondered and wanted to write about suffering for love, about what are the reasons and what are the ways in which we can manage this type of suffering.
Why do we suffer when we suffer for love?
“He left me, I was not prepared for so much pain. I feel in an abyss, this sensation is terrible. I see everything black. From one day to the next, I cannot understand what happened. I feel only sadness and emptiness.”
Story of a 35-year-old woman who feels that her world has ended because her partner decided to end the relationship .
I ask her if she really thinks that another person with no more rights or power than she can “leave” her is such a small thing , like leaving a vase on a shelf, a glass in a sink.
In these cases, I try to question and remove certainty from the weight that we give to the end of love relationships.
I think we suffer through many things when a relationship ends. But when we suffer the most is when we feel that we are un-chosen , when our self-esteem collapses in the hands of those who stop loving us. Our ego is at stake.
And of course the expectations that we put in that story that ends are at stake.
We suffer for the end of an illusion , for the closure of a story.
We suffer because love ends . At least from one of the parties (I don’t believe too much in separations by “common agreement”).
But if in the course of a relationship that is alive one suffers, then I wonder if it is good and healthy love , because if it were, we should not suffer, at least not in a sustained and looping manner. But we manage to do it.
Maybe it’s not love if it causes us discomfort, it’s probably attachment, or unresolved needs that turn into a couple bond.
When things are not as we want, once the first stage of idealization and falling in love collapses, if reality does not meet our expectations, we suffer.
Our inner child suffers because he can’t stand another disappointment because enough has already been taken from him in childhood, in the innocence of knowing that neither Santa Claus, nor the Kings, nor Perez the mouse exist and that, furthermore, the Disney stories are not true.
Romantic love is not a reality either , chimeras, unrepentant frustrations that take us to places dreamed of but not possible.
We suffer in this realization that we must lose utopia as Eduardo Galeano says. Our child suffers who can’t stand one more failure and our adult also suffers who, after being encouraged to love, once again savors the dust of defeat.
We suffer from anger, from impotence and from the struggle between our ego and our reason .
How many times do we know that this story can’t stand another minute of invested time and yet we remain there , with who knows what secret illusion?
And there the disputes to see which side is right, the arguments, those of one and the other, and the wear and tear that erodes the mental health of both.
What does it matter who is right? What matters is that the story ended , that the castle collapsed, that everything we imagine in dreams has been diluted in the evolution of our longing, a winged horse that we got on at some point.
Beyond the reasons of each and every one there are feelings, and asking ourselves about them is necessary to see what the trophy is at stake.
With our partners, we fight, we argue , something is questioned and truth and justice need to be settled. Is it about truth and justice or is it about other things?
Why do we fight when we fight?
I am encouraged to say that if we manage to answer this question every time a conflict is played out in our heads and outside of them, we will have hours, days, months and years of calm in our lives.
I have said it several times, the greatest percentage of human suffering happens because of what happens inside our heads , what happens outside of them we can -to a greater or lesser extent- handle, but inside, an earthquake goes through us with a lot of variables of varying complexity.
Since we are babies we get angry, sad, happy, jealous, envy, and many other emotions.
And these are put into play in our most important relationships in a directly proportional way, the more valuable the link, the more distress or anger the conflict will cause us in many cases.
The difference between the ideal and the possible
The difference between the ideal and the possible always angers us .
“I was expecting a hug, I had had a terrible day, he has to know because he knows me, but no, I arrive and he’s watching TV, a kiss as always and I had to ask the dog for a hug.”
Faced with this claim, I ask my patient if she had told her husband that she had had a difficult day, that she needed pampering or if she had just arrived as another day.
She looked at me surprised, accused me with her gaze, and refuted, defensive and imagining a gender alliance between therapist and husband: “Do I have to tell him, can’t he figure it out?”
I explained to him that it is good to be able to anticipate something of what we need from the other.
If there had been a message on the way home: “I had a terrible day, a hug is welcome”, it would have facilitated empathy that did not come naturally, the other does not always have the time and skills to decode what we need .
In addition, perhaps he also had a difficult day, and many, many times, communication problems generate loneliness .
When the end is near or happens we also suffer because:
✓We get frustrated in the difference between the possible and the ideal.
✓On the other side we do not find what we need.
✓We do not feel valued or understood.
✓ We were raised with the mandates of romantic love that run through us.
✓We were raised with the fantasy of love for life.
✓And we also have the fantasy that love saves us.
We also suffer because the experience of failure invades us , because we place a burden on our partner that exceeds what it can give us.
Of course we suffer because beautiful things have happened, because we miss the beautiful lived, the beautiful journey, the moments of shared pleasure.
In other cases we only miss what has not happened, and I quote once again the teacher Joaquin Sabina: “There is no nostalgia worse than longing for what never ever happened.”
We suffer for love if we do not find the balance between being in line with ourselves and sharing the walk as a couple.
We suffer if loneliness weighs on us like a shackle , if the self-pitying look of a new failure accompanies us.
We suffer from the stubbornness that this story that we know does not make us happy has to work.
We suffer much more than we could suffer (which is not a little because the things of love also bring pain), because despair and the desire to be happy as a couple invade us.
That if we are at peace with ourselves it should be easy to put together a healthy love story.
Recalculate and start over
Healthy love is one that has the triangle as its flag, essential in every relationship : dialogue, enjoyment, trust .
And if this does not happen:
✓ We will have to recalculate and face a new start, with all the pain and healthy management of our emotions.
✓ Sustain suffering for as long as necessary, bank the stop, and then continue with self-love as the flag and skeleton of our daily walk.
✓Do not immolate ourselves for love, a relationship never has to be an apostolate.
✓Recognize our limits, understand our pain thresholds.
✓Ask for help, suffering alone is not a good way to suffer.
Neither more nor less, that simple, that complex. It is hard but not impossible.