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  • Abuse is always two-sided

    Abuse is a pretty common term - most people have some experience with being both the abused, and the abuser.

    The common idea is that it's one-sided. One person is the victim, and the other is just sick, damaged, broken, evil. But there is no such thing as a one-way abusive relationship. In any relationship that you call abusive, both people are hurting the other, and both people are giving the other what they want. If they were not giving that which you might call abuse, the other person would be unhappy, or bored, or unsatisfied, and just leave. It goes both ways.

    With this understanding, those who have been in abusive relationships, can begin to forgive themselves. You were not the bad guy, both of you were abusive. And if you have been abused or feel like a victim in some way, you can understand that if you are in a relationship and feel like a victim, you are both abusing one another. And if you live in fear of having a relationship, for fear you'll be abused or repeat your parents mistakes and become abusive yourself, perhaps you can let go of some of that fear.

    There's the idea that everyone out there are happy innocent people, and sometimes a bad person comes through and ruins everything. It doesn't work this way. For example, almost every rape out there starts with a question, like "Do you know what time it is?" Someone who is looking to be treated badly, will answer in such a way that the other asks something else. There is not a moment of someone jumping out and dragging you in a van, that's very rare. It's a negotiation, and if two people slot together in what they want, the abuse happens. Once you draw a line and say no, the abuse stops.

    Withholding something that the other deeply needs, is also abuse. Abuse does not come out of nowhere. It always goes both ways. You may not realise it, but always both parties are being hurt. And both parties are getting something out of it.

    Angel, 2015-02-06

  • Are you a relationship wrecker?

    Sometimes, you receive that one call that puts your faith in people right back on the map. Here's the story of a relationship-wrecker who had a sudden realisation. And a bonus story.

  • Blog

    Even in this time of internet connectedness, people sometimes still want to hear a human voice who takes the time to listen to them. One of our editors works as a freelancer at several spiritual advice phonelines, where she uses her training as a Meta-Intuitive to make sense of people's everyday life. Here are some of the stories (redacted), and some of the answers.

  • Cheating, yes or no?

    Something you should really expect when you're working for an advice line, is to get callers who want to know if their partner is cheating on them. Happens almost every day. Often I say, yes.

  • Dominance and the tyranny of cool

  • Power plays by any other name

    So relationships are hard, right? Let me give you at least one example of how definitely not to go about it, and why it's a bad idea. It's a tangled mess.

  • Sounding right vs. being right

    Let me tell you today about a mom who is trying to discover who she is - while living with a teenage son who has a pretty clear idea of who she is, and isn't happy with it. Somewhere under their struggle I found an unexpected but beautiful harmony.

  • Talk to every stranger you can

    Your teachers say, "Talk to strangers, because it's fun, it's interesting, it helps people." And you may say, "But I don't know how to talk to strangers. I'm insecure, I don't know what'll happen." So nothing happens.

    Yes, all the most horrible experiences in your life came from people who were once strangers and may still be strangers to you, and all of the best, most amazing, most incredible experiences you had in your life have been with people who were once strangers. When you start in this life, you don't have anybody. They are all strangers. If you have a best friend, that friend was once a stranger. If you have had an amazing experience that you love to talk about, the people in that story were once strangers.

    Humans don't do well being alone. One of the cruelest punishments you people have devised for one another is solitary confinement, locking you up alone. If you are not willing to meet strangers, to talk to strangers, you throw away all of the possible experiences you could have had in the future. The amazing, rich, beautiful experiences that you'll talk about for decades, those will almost certainly happen with people who are strangers to you right now. If you stay with the people you know and do the things you know, the experiences you'll have in the future will all be like the experiences you've had so far.

    The advice your parents often give you, is "Don't talk to strangers." But no - talk to every stranger you can, sometimes the stranger the better. If you want to be wise: wisdom comes through experience, and you simply don't live long enough to have that many experiences. Every person you will every meet, has been through things and has experience. If you talk to them, even for a little, and get them to describe their most amazing story, you can get a lifetime of experience in just a moment. And if you want to be happy and have fun: everyone out there has a smile, has a happy story, and if you can provoke them to tell it, you've just added to your life and made theirs a little better. And if you want to grow big and strong: you do so usually through adversity, by going through difficult things, but it can take a lifetime of adversity to grow really strong. But every person you meet has gone through adversity, so if you can provoke them to share just a little of the feeling of the strength they got out of it, you can acquire some of that for yourself without all the struggle. And if you want to help people and teach: every person you talk to will give you something new to teach and talk about. And every person will have questions, you can try and help them to find an answer even if you can only think of little things to say. Some of them you will help.

    Everyone has insecurity about talking to people, also the strangers you talk to. This feeling can be your friend, it can be a beautiful and sacred thing, a desire to be better and more and to love more deeply, to share and lead and help better. So talk to every stranger you can, because the world is full of amazing rewards and amazing experiences and you do not have time to experience them all. Listen to people's stories, share with them, and you will get much closer to your goals without having to do decades or sometimes lifetimes of struggle to get there. Spend a few moments every day making people smile, brightening their day, and you will brighten your own days in the process.

    Angel, 2014-09-05

  • Touch and be touched

    All humans need touch. It's part of our basic needs and without it, you go a little bit crazy. What if that need for touch gets you in trouble, though?

  • Ups and downs of advicelines

    Ok, so you're considering calling an advice line. Here are some things you (probably) need to know before deciding where to go, who to call, and what to say.

  • Why it matters to have dreams

    Lots of people will tell you to set goals, to have dreams. It always sounds like a nice thing to do, some day. This story shows how it's not just nice, but essential to having a good relationship.

  • You don't need to marry the messenger

    You know, right, that life is trying to help you out? It's trying really hard to help you find the things you're looking for. Sometimes, life even gives you beautiful messages, to open your eyes or your heart to a new realisation. However - you don't need to marry the messenger.

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