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Journey of Love, page six
Creating Love (excerpt)
John Bradshaw

I learned two important things. . . that confronted my family of origin teachings.  I learned that love cannot happen unless I am willing to commit myself to making it happen.  And I learned that love is a process that requires hard work and courage.

This may not be news to you, but it was revolutionary to me.  I was brought up to believe that love is rooted in blood relationships.  You naturally loved anyone in your family.  Love was not a choice.  The love I learned about was bound by duty and obligation.  You could never not love your parents or relatives, and loving them meant that you couldn't ever disagree with them or want something they disapproved of.

To question any of these teachings was to risk being labeled a "black sheep" or just plain crazy.  To actually go against them was to feel cellular guilt, the price of breaking a sacred promise you never knew you made.

At the same time, love was supposed to be easy.  When you grew up and the time was right, the "right person" would come along.  You would recognize this person immediately.  You would fall in love and naturally know what to do to develop that love.

I'm thankful to Scott Peck for challenging these notions of love, but I do not blame my family for passing them on.

My family taught me our culture's rules and beliefs about love.  Over the past few years, it has become obvious to me that everyone I knew growing up was raised either by parents who followed these cultural rules or by parents who were reacting against them. . . . I suggest that these cultural rules created a deficient form of love, and that even with the best intentions our parents often confused love with what we would now call abuse.


In Creating Love, John Bradshaw provides a new way to understand our most crucial relationships: with parents and children, with friends and co-workers, with ourselves, and with God.  He shows us how we have been literally "entranced" by past experiences of counterfeit love, how we can break these destructive patterns, and how we can open ourselves to the soul-building work of real love.

John Bradshaw has touched and changed millions of lives through his nationally televised PBS series and his best-selling books. His previous book, Homecoming, introduced the concept of the inner child to a vast new audience. Now he defines the "next great stage of growth"--how we can work to create healthy, loving relationships in every part of our lives.

Written for everyone who has struggled with painful relationships and is seeking hope and a new direction, Creating Love is a life-changing book.


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It is essential that our love be liberating, not possessive.  We must at all times
give those we love the freedom to be themselves. Love affirms the other as other.
It does not possess and manipulate another as mine. . . . To love is to liberate.
Love and friendship must empower those we love to become their best selves,
according to their own lights and visions.

John Powell, S.J.


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