Are people actually capable of love?

A psychologist explains why we are not "unable to relate"

What does it mean when someone escapes?

First: fear of loss. Because if I get involved with the other, I can get hurt. So I don't even get involved. Second, expectations. Because I learned as a child that love, in the case of parents, is tied to too many conditions. This affects "expectation phobics" who are afraid of having to be what their partner expects. Instead of being able to do "my own thing".

So the causes lie in childhood?

Yes, as deep programming, as beliefs. For example: "I have to bend for a bond". Or: "I can only be really free without commitment". Underneath there are even deeper imprints. A very basic one: “I am sufficient”. Or just: "I'm not enough". The solution is to feel deep down inside that the bondage is only in my head.

Who does this programming catch?

People who find it difficult to distinguish themselves - internally. And therefore be afraid of being overwhelmed. They are looking for the external demarcation. Moving into a shared apartment is repulsed like an enemy invasion. Because that's how they feel. Like the guy in a chapter by Nast who can't prevail against his dominant wife. And adjusts, but withdraws internally. Until he wants to end the relationship. I think: Yes, you cardboard nose! Just assert yourself with your ass in your pants. Then your relationship would be better too.

Has relationship anxiety?

Exactly, that's the classic bricklayer. The more he withdraws, the more hysterical the woman becomes, the more he withdraws. Do you understand all I am saying?

I think so. What have children experienced differently who do not have these fears?

They experienced more security, more guaranteed love. Hence, they can have confidence in a love and a partner. Those who fear commitment think: Nobody can love me the way I really am. And put on a show. That feels exhausting in the long run. Not free. Someone who is more capable of bonding has felt that both are possible: love and freedom.

So that's what matters: love and freedom?

First, we have a basic existential need for love and attachment. Without it we die. And secondly, one about autonomy and freedom. Our whole development goes from attachment - in the womb, on the umbilical cord, then the "disconnection" - over complete dependence on the parents in early childhood to more and more autonomy. First crawl, then run, then we talk. In people who have attachment problems, one, and often both, needs have become frustrated by their parents. Too little love - then they think, "Attachments are painful". Too little autonomy, too much love: "Attachments are captivating. I am crushed." They take all of this with them into their adult relationships. That can't work.

Is that just because of the upbringing?

I've been doing this for 23 years now. Almost all of my clients have a common thread back to childhood. Genetics also play a role. Some are more prone to it, others are not. There are also those with disastrous childhoods who can have relationships. But the right mix of security and freedom is fundamentally important.

What can you do there?

Reflection. When one becomes aware of these unconscious mental programs, one can change them. But unfortunately most people walk around the world with fear of commitment and say: I haven't found the right one yet. In their early 40s, after all kinds of failed relationships, they come up with the idea: Maybe it has something to do with me too.