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Useful or pathological?
am 7. März 2016
Some parts of the book appear to be useful for me. For example to pay attention to the other persons needs. The desire to contribute to the other persons happiness, while not ignoring your own happiness appear for me to be an essential part of love. We love our self(!) as we love our partner. I like this agape style of loving, which appear to be described in Erich Fromms book "the art of love".
If the love contains elements of eros and pragma too, than that's in my opinion even better.
This element of eros is described in Greenes book too. Luring with sexual slight suggestions. Those maneuvers as the use of color appear to be useful to me in the process of getting closer, because they communicate with our older brain areas such as the brain stem.
Anyways, I think we should stay honest with ourself. And faithful to our own personality. The book can inspire to change parts of ones personality, but it does more suggestion to play the role of a fake self. This leads to dishonesty and that the true self of a person never can experience the love of a partner. It leads to a rejection of our own self by our self too, why else had we to hide it? In my opinion by such behavior we more likely attract insecure and wacky partners, because partner who love them self, will sense the dishonesty anyways. Furthermore hiding the true self is a narcissistic trait. It is characteristic for the narcissistic personality disorder.
I more recommend to be honest with the partner, and risk being hurt. The book seduces the reader with the suggestion, that by the techniques he can avoid the pain of being hurt and take full control about the relationship. The lure of full control were leading to a imbalance of power. But why should one want a partner who is weaker than himself? If the one himself is secure and strong.
Some of Greenes advice can be misunderstood if not reflected with psychological background knowledge. For example the parts in the anti-seducer chapter which suggestions to develop a feeling of patience. Of course clinginess is a bad trait. It shows insecurity and makes it hard for a partner to feel good in the relationship, because every person has the need for privacy and a close relationship. Anyways a majority of the people without a partner has an avoidant attachment style. It is better to express the wishes to emotional closeness to such people fast and threaten them away, because overuse of patience were leading nowhere. You may will have sex with them, but you won't have a satisfying relationship. It will be painful and full of drama.
I'd rather recommend psychological relationship advice. For example: "Attached" by Jeremy P- Tarcher
Erich Fromm's art to love is a good book too, but in my opinion very hard to understand for people, who have not already spend a lot of time in developing their secure own personality. If you have problems with your relationships, you should examine the relationships you had with your parents, and also develop your self by changing your false assumptions and believes. The first step on such a path is to accept your self full how you are. As paradox as it sounds! Better read books like the six pillars of self-esteem by Nathaniel Branden, or the one from Glenn Schiraldi, instead of risking your psychological health and the health of your relationship by following the advice of a non psychologist, who proudly states in interviews that he has himself narcissistic traits.