Relatedness

The first human, or existential, need is relatedness, the drive for union with another person or other persons. Fromm postulated tlnee basic ways in which a person may relate to the world: (1) submission, (2) power, and (3) love. A person can submit to

190 Part II Psychodynamic Theories another, to a group, or to an institution hi order to become one with the world. "In this way he transcends the separateness of his individual existence by becoming part of somebody or something bigger than himself and experiences his identity in connection with the power to which he has submitted" (Fromm, 1981, p. 2).

Whereas submissive people search for a relationship with domineering people, power seekers welcome submissive partners. When a submissive person and a domineering person find each other, they frequently establish a symbiotic relationship, one that is satisfying to both partners. Although such symbiosis may be gratifying, it blocks growth toward integrity and psychological health. The two partners "live on each other and from each other, satisfyhig their craving for closeness, yet suffering from the lack of inner strength and self-reliance which would require freedom and independence" (Fromm, 1981, p. 2).

People in symbiotic relationships are drawn to one another not by love but by a desperate need for relatedness, a need that can never be completely satisfied by such a partnership. Underlying the union are unconscious feelings of hostility. People hi symbiotic relationships blame then partners for not being able to completely satisfy then needs. They find themselves seeking additional submission or power, and as a result, they become more and more dependent on then partners and less and less of an individual.

Fromm believed that love is the only route by which a person can become united with the world and, at the same time, achieve individuality and integrity. He defined love as a "union with somebody, or something outside oneself under the condition of retaining the separateness and integrity of one's own self" (Fromm, 1981, p. 3). Love involves sharing and communion with another, yet it allows a person the

Relatedness can take the form of submission, power, or love.

Chapter 7 Fromm: Humanistic Psychoanalysis 191

freedom to be unique and separate. It enables a person to satisfy the need for relat-edness without surrendering integrity and independence. In love, two people become one yet remain two.

In The Art of Loving, Fromm (1956) identified care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge as four basic elements common to all forms of genuine love. Someone who loves another person must care for that person and be willing to take care of him or her. Love also means responsibility, that is, a willingness and ability to respond. A person who loves others responds to then physical and psychological needs, respects them for who they are, and avoids the temptation of trymg to change them. But people can respect others only if they have knowledge of them. To know others means to see them from then own point of view. Thus, care, responsibility, respect, and knowledge are all entwined in a love relationship.

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