Human Relations

For many multiple unknown months now I have been having to think, rethink, assess, reassess, refine, modify, embrace, and discard many aspects of my personal life. A very large part of this time-energy redirection was caused by the onset of COVID-19 in late 2019 and early 2020. No surprise, the ripple-effects of the pandemic are still a lingering impact. That necessary and expanded “redirection” was further caused by my 82-yr old mother’s Stage 5 & 6 Dementia. That second, newly expanded “redirection” by dementia was further exacerbated by my sister’s drug-relapse this past May 16th and 17th and as a result her consequential homelessness then ultimate move-in with Mom and I.

When local and not-so-local friends—two or three very dear friends—recently asked about my well-being, how I was doing and how my Mom was doing, I was candidly honest with them. Some listened empathetically, some consoled me and helped me laugh, and others lectured me.

I’ve never been a fan of sugar-coating factual reality. Furthermore, being unabashedly candid with others, especially “closer friends,” is a True-to-Myself and thus true to others life-principle I live by. I will never sacrifice or betray that principle, ESPECIALLY if it only makes them feel good or myself feel good. I am not ashamed in the LEAST of this personality principle to which I hold to airtight. It’s healthy existence (protection?) for myself, is not designed for anyone else. After all, no one on this planet will ever be confused or slightly unsure of what Dwain feels, thinks, and does. And I firmly believe there is a ton of value with this principle and condition. Some/many do not or never fully recognize that value. Nevertheless, I give it out for the sake of integrity and dignity… for myself and for them; they deserve that from me. And yes, I expect it, or hope to get it, in (equal?) return. I think this is completely fair.

Therefore, I sense I need another brutally honest, introspective checkup. I want to further examine myself and the various components and subcomponents of this principle within human relations. You might call this blog-post a Principle Checkup, for me and perhaps anyone else who wishes to join. As a result, I’ve come up with these nine questions.

1 — What is the number one need in every human’s life, or the mental-emotional-physical needs?

Is it feeling and knowing you are loved, valued, irreplaceable? Personally, I would rank this need and its three subcomponents pretty high up the checklist, if not all the way at the top. PsychologyToday.com and Dr. Glenn Geher, Ph.D. has this to say, or rather what the antithesis of being and knowing you are loved, valued, and irreplaceable are:

While love often gets a bad rap as some nebulous experience that is really only for dreamers, all kinds of evidence suggests that, in fact, love is a real feature of our evolved psychology3. Love, which seems to encourage people to form deep connections and bonds with others, plays a powerful role in not only cultivating happiness, but in helping people to develop healthy alliances and communities that have the capacity to lead to all kinds of benefits. Further, love actually is represented in various neurological and hormonal processes4. In short: Love is a real thing.

In the human evolutionary story, forming close, trusting, and loving connections with others is a core feature of how we thrive at all levels. Love is, in short, a foundational element of thriving. And this fact is true for people across the globe5.

Dr. Glenn geher, ph.d. – state university new york; founding director of the campus’ Evolutionary studies program (evos)

But there are many forms of love, yes? Are some love forms better than others? Should we strive to obtain all of its forms during our lifetimes? Are some of us incapable of these forms, or certain love forms? Would that be a cop-out? More on this later.

2 — Is our need for three-component love clearly, proactively, and accurately expressed to others? Do others correctly interpret that/those expression(s)? Why or why not?

I will now reserve my own comments about these nine questions unless I feel they’d direct and/or pique and invoke some closer introspection.

3 — How many forms of love truly exist?

Since ancient Greece many modern anthropologists suggest a minimum of six basic forms of love existing in human relations. In their Greek form they are:

  • Eros
  • Philia
  • Ludus
  • Agape
  • Pragma
  • Philautia

For a detailed explanation of these six forms of love go to my February 2016 blog-post: Untapped Worlds – Maior Liberatio. Scroll down to the Love and Compersion section. On the subject of not striving and obtaining at least some degree of all six love-forms, I personally feel all six are absolutely reachable. In addition, all six most definitely contribute to a more fulfilling, more whole, more happy life and human relations. Period. I speak from first-hand experience.

4 — What type of relations with other humans do we have in our lives? What types have we had in our past? Which ones worked best and which ones collapsed? Why and why not?

PsychologyToday.com and Robert Taibbi, LCSW share the five most common types of relations: four bad, one good. Those five types, their climate, dynamics, and long-term effect are as follows, however, for the sake of time and space I will only post each with their long-term effect; maybe that will interest viewers to go read the entire article. It is well worth it, after all, recognition and accurate identification of problem-issues is the first step…

  1. Competitive/Controlling — There’s a jockeying for power about whose way is better, who wins the argument, whose expectations and standards do we follow, whose career is more important. There are a lot of arguments that quickly turn into power struggles, battles over getting the last word.
    Long-term impact: These couples [or friends] get tired of battling and divorce [detach], or one finally concedes, or they both finally define their own turfs that they are in charge of.
  2. Active/Passive — One partner [or friend] is essentially in charge and does most of the heavy lifting in the relationship while the other goes along. While some of these start out as competitive relationships with one conceding, more often this imbalance has been there from the start. There are few arguments, though occasionally the active person will become resentful for carrying the load or not getting enough appreciation. They explode or act out, but then feel bad and go back to the same role [routine trap].
    Long-term impact: The risk for the active partner [or friend] is that she/he will get burned out or resentful and leave. The partner left behind either needs to become more independent or find someone else to take over.
  3. Aggressive/Accommodating — Here the power difference is not based on caretaking, but on raw power. One partner [or friend] is clearly in charge, and the other accommodates less out of passivity and more out of fear. While the intimidating partner [or friend] will easily blow up, there is little real conflict. There is emotional abuse and sometimes physical abuse.
    Long-term impact: Either the relationship continues, or the accommodating partner/friend finally gets the courage to leave/detach. The aggressive partner/friend will do what is necessary to try to pull the other back into the relationship. If that doesn’t work, the abusive partner/friend will likely find someone else to replace the other.
  4. Disconnected/Parallel Lives — There is little arguing, but also little connection. They go on autopilot, with both having their own routines. The relationship seems stale, they have little in common; they are more roommates [distant acquaintances] than lovers [or close friends].
    Long-term impact: Midlife or older-age crises may cause one or both to feel that time is running out. This may precipitate arguing and efforts to either finally revitalize the relationship or leave. Or, they continue saying to themselves that this is good enough, or that they’re too old to change [then gradually wither away].
  5. Accepting/Balanced — The couple [or friends] are able to work together as a team, complementing each other. They each recognize and actively accept the other’s strengths. They’ve got each other’s back, both are interested in helping the other be who he or she wants to be. They are able to revitalize the relationship when it begins to grow stale; they are able to solve problems rather than sweeping them under the rug.
    Long-term impact: Midlife and older-age crises may arise, but they are able to work through them.

5 — Were some of your past relationships or current ones similar/identical or a sub-form of a Black Hole in outer space?

6 — Were the expectations for the best or failed relationships reasonable or unreasonable expectations? Why and why not?

7 — Where do our blueprints-of-relations originate? Do they flex and/or adapt over time to everchanging conditions, both environmentally and amongst our human daily/weekly engagements? Why or why not?

“Adapt or perish, now as ever, is Nature’s inexorable imperative.”

h.g. wells

8 — Are certain man-made social-systems, ideologies, belief/faith systems flexible, adaptable, and sustainable from subatomic micro-levels to organic-human levels up to macro-levels of our Universe and the Cosmos? Why or why not?

9 — Given the above (honest!) answers, am I at a healthy juncture? Am I thriving, becoming a more whole human-being? Or am I in need of (serious?) change, redirection, and/or bigger better refinements?

∼ ∼ ∼ § ∼ ∼ ∼

In my near 6-decades of living, these are questions I have sometimes asked myself when my circumstances and those immediately around me take a noticeable, significant, or life-changing shift. Some are like trimmers, others like an earthquake. To me this 9-point litmus test on say the pitch, roll, and yaw of my airplane’s performance, has to be a regular, maybe even frequent introspection and raw honest maintenance routine. Seriously, what’s the consequences of not doing it? How obtuse of me, right? 😉

No surprise, I’ve been going through these checks—a few of them new—these last 3-5 years. But inescapably these last 9-months. The process damn sure has its annoyances, its frustrations. It’s painfully exhausting sometimes. Yet, one predictable, consistent outcome after doing it is…

I eventually find my balance and my buoyancy returns in order to handle my ship’s rudder or airplane’s stick. And so I know the next inevitable shift or storm I will have gained more treasured experience to cope, survive, and hopefully find calmer, pristine Seas of Living Tranquility.

Eh, or I won’t. Hah!

What about you? Might this litmus test help or has it, in your own version? Share it if you like, or as much or as little that works and doesn’t work for you. 🙂 Also, I’d enjoy reading your answers to some or all of my above questions.

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15 thoughts on “Human Relations

  1. Right at the beginning of your post, you asked: Is it feeling and knowing you are loved, valued, irreplaceable?

    I tend to think most would definitely answer “loved.” And valued would be #2. Irreplaceable? Ummm, maybe not so much. But for me personally, “valued” is the key word. I honestly am not as concerned about whether I’m loved as to whether what I say and/or do is of value.

    I readily admit the importance of this quality is related to the relationship I’m in — and perhaps under different circumstances, it would hold lesser importance. Then again … maybe it’s just me. 😛

    Liked by 2 people

    • I honestly am not as concerned about whether I’m loved as to whether what I say and/or do is of value.

      That’s a very intriguing admittance, Nan. It could perhaps imply that you were born with thick-skin or have developed, adapted thick-skin. Which of course isn’t all bad given how daunting the world and reality we all live in can be. It’s kind of a necessity, isn’t it? 😉

      “Just you?” HAH! 😍 I’ll let you elaborate on this more if you so choose. hehe

      Like

      • What I meant is that in my current relationship, feelings of value are often lacking during one-on-one “discussions.” If I were in different place in my life, perhaps the “love” aspect might be more important. Then again, maybe in essence, the two are connected … ??

        “Just me” means that someone “looking in” might not see things as I do. Got it? Good.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Hmmm. 🤔 Nan, in some or several ways, we are in similar or identical boats, although I have an empty boat, no companion, partner, dear friend, or lover(?) to row with me. 😉

          Thank you Ma’am for your candor. I value it more than you can imagine Madame. 🥰

          Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t know Prof… I think meaning is the primary consideration because of it’s intrinsic nature, which is very much independent of others, whereas I see the notion of love and being valued more as an extrinsic value, which is very much dependent on the whim of others. My ‘happiness’ – in the enlightened sense of the term (as in the subjective enjoyment of life, the sum of its pleasures and pains, and arguably the basis of morality) – is relatively self-directed regardless of situation and station, irrespective of fortune and/or destiny, and so this empowers me at all times to give and get principled value from living mu own life, which includes the giving of love and affection and humor while avoiding the demand for reciprocity. When reciprocity occurs, it is a cherished gift. My ship, so to speak, is my own regardless of tides and currents and winds which, as you know with your family, can buffet one mercilessly and even smash one to pieces on hidden shoals and looming rocks. A sense of command and destination, I find, grants me purpose for the voyage. Hence, my opinion about meaning being so important. I think it was Seneca who said something like ‘If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable’. I just think this makes sense so that, like you, I can navigate the hardships foisted on me by life with a fair bit of life-affirming value extracted including but not dependent on all the various kinds of loves you mention. My two cents worth, anyway, and not for everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think meaning is the primary consideration because of it’s intrinsic nature, which is very much independent of others, whereas I see the notion of love and being valued more as an extrinsic value, which is very much dependent on the whim of others.

      On meaning as intrinsic nature Tildeb, I agree wholeheartedly that at least in part, is the malleability of it over time from your surroundings and how we internalize or don’t internalize those impacts. And so to some degree does become more independent as we mature.

      But for me personally, HOW we impact the extrinsic also gives us measured(?) feedback into our intrinsic meaning. IOW, the quantitative process is like an electric AC-current, two-way, assisting us at least to check our bearings, check our buoyancy, check our pitch, roll, and yaw, if you will, so that we should(?), must(?) consider both/all stimuli to determine our performance, our progress, our own value. Yes? At least this is how I’ve deciphered human relations: whether we like it or not, we never live totally alone on an island apart from a planet that surrounds us with every imaginable external influences and traps or keeps us here fully engrossed by its literal sheer gravity. Either we embrace it and coexist… or we miserably fight it and lose to Mother Nature, Earth, and all its creatures. 🙂

      My ‘happiness’ […] —is relatively self-directed regardless of situation and station, irrespective of fortune and/or destiny, and so this empowers me at all times to give and get principled value from living my own life, which includes the giving of love and affection and humor while avoiding the demand for reciprocity.

      Ah, couldn’t agree more there. We completely see eye-to-eye on reciprocity… and when it is shared, or exchanged! I like that part and virtuous concept very much Tildeb! 🙂

      Sadly, in my part of the world reciprocity is in VERY short supply and not so easily found. Many Texans PRETEND it is readily available, but those who boastfully proclaim that service usually turnout to be Snake-oil salesmen and saleswomen. There are almost always a plethora of strings attached; one directly to your pocketbook or bank account. Others to what you should/must do at least every Sunday morning. Consider the (Lone Star) state in which I and my family live. Ugh. 🙄

      A sense of command and destination, I find, grants me purpose for the voyage. Hence, my opinion about meaning being so important. I think it was Seneca who said something like ‘If one does not know to which port one is sailing, no wind is favorable’.

      Perfectly said and framed Tildeb. Bravo! Love it! Had completely forgotten that Seneca proverb. Thank you Sir. See, my Mom (especially now) nor my sister take that wisdom to heart and apply it. In fact, I’m quite certain they’ve NEVER considered such guidance, such a pragmatic guidepost and principle for their lives. My Mom’s own personal childhood and background would’ve made that level of wisdom foreign to her and her own parents and 11 siblings. And my sister? NO POSSIBLE WAY she has the cognitive capacity to decipher Seneca’s pure gold value for her life, not after 45+ years of hardcore drug abuse and 5-6 incarcerations. She’s simply no longer capable to learn, much less apply those skills in her life. She’s sometimes lucky just to remember to take her 3-4 psych meds. 😟

      A very good goldmine of “two cents” Tildeb. Thank you very much! ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  3. You delve deep, Professor! Given limited time at the moment, there is no way I can do justice to this post … in fact, I may just have to write a post of my own in order to respond thoughtfully to these questions. For the time being, though, I’m sure you’ll be surprised by my initial answer to your first question: My answers were food, water, air, and shelter! Love? That’s a topic that has occupied millions of books, magazines, articles, blogs, etc. I shall delve deeper at another time, but for now I’d like to just say I’m so sorry for all you’ve been going through … and that’s not just a pithy off-the-cuff response, but having been in some of those situations long ago, I do know the toll it takes. I’ll try to respond more fully to this at another time.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am too long in the tooth for such weighty matters, Mr D.
    I am but a lowly Liverpool supporter after all who is still nursing wounds from the Champions League final!

    Seriously, while often quite yummy, I think love is somewhat over rated.
    Or maybe I am just an old fart?
    Won’t say the Thrill is gone, to paraphrase BB King, bless him and Lucille, but I don’t always need to Get my kicks on Route 66.😉

    I have no ‘need’ to be loved and while I ‘love’ my family I am quite at ease with my own company.
    Was watching a great video of Billy Cobham, and as a fan of drummers you will know who this is.
    He commented at the end of the interview his handle on life was to be your own person . He said you could get others to do things for you and blame them if it goes wrong, but as we all make mistakes, you might as well do them yourself!
    Or something like that ..

    And if everything goes to hell in a hand basket you could always apply to be manager of Manchester United!

    Liked by 2 people

    • 😄 Yeah, I can see it already on Sky Sports headlines:

      “Unknown Yank Takes Man U into Relegation in Record Time! The Yank Is Gone!”

      And I honestly can’t deny that I would rather enjoy that. 😉

      Billy Cobham is a little before my time, i.e. late ’70s — present. Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa were the only jazz drummers I knew of because of Dad’s love of jazz in that/his era. But I do identify with his mantra: Be Your Own Person. Since about my mid-30s to now that’s what I’ve earnestly strove to do/be. I’ve become very successful at it now. 😁 Know how you/I can tell? …

      I piss-off, hurt the feelings of, make some tear-up, others laugh & giggle a lot—and this is in person btw—and makes others very puzzled. I really like this Brazilian’s attitude and candor cuz it’s mine too…

      Love it! ❣️

      Nonetheless, thank you Ark for coming by and making me laugh, as usual. 👍🏻

      Like

  5. Pingback: A “Principle Checkup” with Amy – The Voice of the Voiceless

    • Yeah, lately I’ve been having to seek HARD some understanding, balance, restabilization, and calm for the behaviors, habits, decisions, words… made by those around me. It’s been trying to say the least, my Friend.

      Thanks for coming by and commenting Brian!

      Liked by 1 person

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