Learning How to Receive LoveAug 22, 2022
I never thought that receiving love was an issue for me until I was about 27 years old.
It was just before my Saturn return. I was going through a break-up with my first long-term relationship with another woman. When it was time to break up I felt a sense of relief. I’d learned a lot about myself in the relationship and was looking forward to making wiser choices in my future relationships.
However, when I began dating again I discovered that I struggled with intimacy and communicating my desires.
I always considered myself to be very compassionate and loving. My career and passions were rooted in my desire to heal the planet and support social justice causes. In my work I often held space for people to express their inner feelings and fears candidly and was known for my capacity to be vulnerable.
Yet as I went on dates and tried to be intimate with others, I felt completely frozen.
Once I ended up in a relationship with my current partner, the issues became even more pronounced. After getting to know each other as friends for several months I decided to listen to my inner voice and admit that I did want to pursue a romantic, intimate relationship with her. Yet the more love she showed to me the more I pushed her away. I would observe everything she said looking for flaws and reasons why I shouldn’t be with her, rather than focusing on the things I loved about her. I felt immense internal conflict about these seemingly divergent emotions. I also felt shame about what I was experiencing and didn't know how to express my inner feelings.
Attachment Styles and Receiving Love
One of the things that helped me most in navigating the relationship challenges I was creating was to learn about attachment styles.
The four adult attachment styles that are based on the works of Bartholomew and Horowitz, etc are: Secure, Anxious-Preoccupied, Dimissive-Avoidant and Fearful-Avoidant. Your attachment style will ebb and flow throughout your life, but your early childhood experiences have a strong influence on your attachment style. You can learn more about attachment styles here.
In my last blog post, I talked about how your attachment style might effect your ability to express your needs, wants and desires. I also talked about how your Venus and Mercury signs can give you important insight into your communication style as well as what you value and need in relationships.
What’s even more useful than simply knowing the sign your Venus and Mercury is is knowing the planet that your Venus and Mercury respond to. Each of the 12 Zodiac signs has one planet that is in charge of it, which is called the planetary ruler. You can determine the planet your Venus and Mercury respond to by identifying the sign they are in and finding the planetary ruler of that sign (if you have Venus in Libra or Taurus, this will be Venus; if you have Mercury in Gemini or Virgo, this will be Mercury).
Planetary Rulerships in Astrology
Aries - Mars
Taurus - Venus
Gemini - Mercury
Cancer - Moon
Leo - Sun
Libra - Venus
Scorpio - Mars
Sagittarius - Jupiter
Capricorn - Saturn
Aquarius - Saturn
Pisces - Jupiter
Each planet in your chart an aspect or part of your Self, but these planets can also represent other people in your life or outside influences.
In order to see your relationship with your mother or your partner or your boss, I don’t need to look at their chart. I can see the people in your life represented just within your own birth chart.
When we look to the planet that is in charge of the sign your Venus or Mercury are in, we can start to identify where or who you might have inherited some of your relationship patterns.
I cover this approach to reading charts in more depth in the Cycle Breaking Astrology class.
Stopping Rejected Parts of Yourself from Receiving Love
While in my earliest relationships I was a classic example of anxious-preoccupied, my attachment style had shifted to primarily fearful-avoidant. This became obvious to me when my partner started asking outright, “Why won’t you let me love you?”
Me navigating these relationships challenges with my Venus in fixed air sign Aquarius and my Mercury in cardinal earth sign Capricorn.
When I asked myself why I was pushing her away and really listened, I knew that I was scared. Scared to be hurt like I had been in my previous relationship, but I also knew the fear was also much deeper.
The fearful-avoidant attachment type has a tendency to resist intimacy. However, they might desire to experience greater intimacy but similarly to the anxious-preoccupied, be suspicious of other people’s intentions. This can lead to extreme inner conflict. The hallmark of this attachment style is the presence of fear that doesn’t allow them to receive love. They tend to expect abandonment or rejection and don’t feel confident in relationships.
Because I was familiar with my own astrology by this point, I knew that Chiron was right on my Ascendant or sense of self with my natal Moon. I talk about this placement more in-depth inside The Cosmic Mother, but my Chiron placement gave me an extremely important clue as to where I might have learned or inherited some of these fearful-avoidant tendencies. I explain how you can identify and explore your Chiron wound in The Chiron Journey.
In my research on blocks to receiving love, I came across the book Receiving Love: Transform Your Relationship By Letting Yourself Be Loved by Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt. When I read the list of ways we commonly block ourselves from receiving love, it was clear that this was a huge way my Chiron wound was showing up in my life.
How We Block Ourselves From Receiving Love
Here is the list they provide of the common ways we block ourselves from receiving love:
- Rejecting or sloughing off positive comments
- Refusing gifts or offers of help, or being dissatisfied once you get what you’ve asked for
- Not listening (selective hearing)
- Excessively adoring your partner
- Criticizing, discounting and devaluing—or putting your focus on your partner’s negative attributes.
- Depriving yourself and your partner of the things that make life joyful, such as sex, creativity, laughter or enthusiasm.
- Hearing only criticism and not praise, or hearing praise as criticism
According to Hendrix and LaKelly Hunt, pushing away love I wanted to receive was survival tactic and validated the negative image I held of myself, which was created in my childhood.
“As children we learn to latch onto the safety of our caretakers’ approval by letting go of whichever of our needs or impulses they don’t recognize or support. The consequences of this survival tactic, however, are most clearly seen in the intimate relationships of our maturity… Not allowing ourselves to be congratulated, celebrated, appreciated, nourished, or loved by people and events outside ourselves is a defense deigned to protect us from psychic pain. Barriers to love are erected in our unconscious as it acts on behalf of our own survival. In fact, a barrier to receiving is often the capstone of all our defenses."
— Harville Hendrix and Helen LaKelly Hunt
True connection is “defenseless relating,” which depends on each person’s desire to both GIVE to and RECEIVE each other. If one person blocks the other from giving love, then both people suffer in the relationships. If one person gives but the other person doesn’t receive, this is not a balanced exchange. Just like in nature, we want to create a cyclical process of giving and receiving love.
Astrology teaches us that we all have wounded parts of ourselves that have been developed and inherited. These wounds disrupt the system of the Self, but they exist with a purpose. As Hendrix and LaKely Hunt write: “When the system is disrupted, an opportunity for healing grows.”
Relationships are mirrors that show us where our systems are disrupted. All relationships do this because we all bring our whole Selves and our wounds into our relationships. There is no perfect relationship—but you can develop compassionate, nonviolent communication skills that help you get curious about yourself and the people you love in order to create greater intimacy and secure attachment.
Inherited Patterns Around Receiving Love
“As Maria Torok and Nicolas Abraham once wrote, ‘What haunts are not the dead, but the gaps left within us by secrets of others.’ They were referring to intergenerational secrets and unprocessed experiences that very often don’t have a voice or an image associated with them but loom in our minds nonetheless. We carry emotional material that belongs to our parents and grandparents, retaining losses of theirs that they never fully articulated. We feel these traumas even if we don’t consciously know them. Old family secrets live inside us.”
— Emotional Inheritance by Galit Atlas
Whenever we have identified an inner wound or are grappling with the impacts of low self-worth, we have to remember that this wound is multilayered. There are parts of the wound that we might be able to consciously understand and explain, but the understanding does not change our relationship to the wound. In fact, sometimes our logical explanation for the wound can make us feel even worse and potentially powerless over the wound. While I might have seen aspects of my childhood and past relationships that would create the circumstances for fearful-avoidant attachment, this understanding didn’t change the issue.
For me, the answer was exploring the inherited patterns I’d received from my parents and grandparents. Using my natal chart, I was able to use the planetary rulerships outlined above to identify my parents and the wounds of their lineages within my own natal chart. This is what I teach inside the Cycle Breaking Astrology class.
Do you want to learn how to use your astrological birth chart as a tool for self-healing?
You’l find all of the workshops I referenced in this blog post inside the Cycle Breaking Astrology Bundle.
Learn how to read your astrological birth chart on your own and use it as a tool for your self-healing journey.
What you'll get:
- My approach to Cycle Breaking Astrology with example charts in the Cycle Breaking Astrology Class ($44 value)
- Insight into your core wound and a guided journey for inner healing inside The Chiron Journey ($51 value)
- An in-depth workbook and class on the 12 houses in astrology to determine the areas of your life your core wounds show up ($33 value)
- My beginner astrology class that shows you how to align your natural energy cycles with your natal chart ($33 value)
That's a $161 value for just $95!
Use astrology to break cycles and align with your calling.
In the Cycle Breaking Astrology Masterclass I will show you
how to identify inherited family patterns in your natal chart to determine the patterns you are here to integrate.
- How to identify inherited family patterns in your natal chart
- Determine the patterns you are here to integrate
- Find the gifts you are here to bring forward
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