L´earning to Love
Gloria Ornelas Hall
ImpotenceHow can I blog about loving and not be able to help my 22 year old daughter when she asks “How can I get a boyfriend?”
Beautiful, smart hard-working, good grades in the University, responsible and very loving…but 22, when boys her age are still playing around and older boys are thinking serious. Her girlfriends and their relations describe the gory scenario youth is confronting…one-night stands; abusive affairs with married bosses; desperate efforts to rank in beauty competitions, with extreme risks such as anorexia. Just in her generation they have had to deal with abortions, AIDS, clinics for AA, abduction and violence and chronic states of depression and hopelessness. Now, it´s not everyone. There are those who have travelled abroad to help out in Africa and Asia; those who have won international recognition and project financing; those who are working in the International Court of Justice, in the government; those who have written books and poetry and started their own recording and DJ companies. What makes the difference?
My psychoanalyst, Honorary Founder of the International Association for Mental Health, Louis Feder, said we can always expect: a thirty per cent of the population to have to deal with risk, whether potential, triggered or occurred; forty per cent will be mediocre and go with the flow with no self-determination or conscious awareness; and the upper thirty percent will be resilient and work to help others.
By definition, this differentiation, determined either by genetic, congenital, or early learning conditions makes a difference as they unfold as adults. There is also their cerebral maturation process, which in the early twenties, develops abstract- reasoning in the frontal lobe. So they will begin to think for themselves, questioning their parents, social mores and their very reason for living… And of course, there is also Freud. We repeat patterns set by parents in our relationships, selecting and molding our lovers according to our parents’ early modeling. So, one finds oneself establishing co-dependence, whether it be as an addict, or as ‘rescuer’ of a partner in need; or choosing partners who are aggressive and abusive, or weak and submissive according to the roles we learned as children. That's when helping a daughter implies not damaging her.
The feeling of impotence is wrenching. You want to help a loved one avoid unnecessary pain, even bear it for them, but love is made of such relentless soul-tearing. Impotence renders us needing Higher help, as we deal with the mystery of destiny and fate. We may never understand why things happen as they do; we just have to live it. It is the way we bear that which we cannot change, that makes the difference. We must develop the bulwark of virtue (lat- vir-inner strength) to deal with life´s reckoning with staunch integrity.But that doesn´t answer my daughter’s question. All I can do is love her and walk the way of life by her side, as she blossoms and is rejected for fear and insecurity of others. We are living times in which we have to take a stance: Life or Death; Right or Wrong and be willing to fight for it.