Notes to Transformation - Chapter 14 - RELATIONSHIP
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We enter love affairs with hope and joy, and then wonder why the
bliss is too soon lost in habit and frustration. Relationships die
because each most needs exactly what the other is least able to
give. Read this statement again! It is hugely important. You could
rephrase it as "we choose our lovers because, by tacit agreement,
they will not help us where we most need it". This and the
next two chapters will be occupied with the three crucial issues
for the journey: how inner blocks play a major role in our choice
of partner, how intimacy is lost and won, and how bonding patterns
can help heal our most vulnerable wounds.
There are three levels in every long-term relationship. The upper
level consists of those outer things we both enjoy together - films,
politics and so on. The next level includes those emotional elements
in which we support one another, such as one being the adventurer
who brings energy to the relationship while the other is the nurturer
who soothes the bruises.
The difficulties come with the third level. This is the level of
those deep wounds from primary closures and loss of self which are
so painful that even when the wound is lightly brushed there is
an intense reaction - usually by vehemently throwing the blame on
our partner. Each time this occurs a little of the original sparkle
and intimacy is lost until we become more careful of one anothers
feelings than of the love we once bore. Once the initial passion
is over we are left with a partner who can tune into our wounds
and will often pour in exactly the right amount of salt to keep
them fresh. In fact, we seem to dare those closest to us by showing
them our wounds and then wondering whether they would leave them
alone. We have manifested the perfect partner to keep our ego structure
firmly in place and ensure we will not remain intimate about those
parts that are most in need of nurturing and transformation.
These deep levels of vulnerability are seldom touched in psychiatric
work, and only rarely in the more astute religious and inner work
groups. If we wish to heal these wounds we need to open the most
tender aspects to the air and face the pain. Examining relationship
can be one of the most rewarding levels of the journey.
Jims mother could not bear to pick him up and, when he needed
cuddling, he could not ask. He knew she would be embarrassed. Later,
seeking some contact with her, he would ask if he could help in
something, but she was too busy to put up with the inefficiencies
of a little boy and rejected him in that too. He married Lily who
had very early taken on her mothers longing to be immobilized
so she would be looked after. To please her mother Lily had put
herself, in a manner of speaking, into hospital for most of her
youngest years. This turned out to be a mistake, as her mother could
not bring herself to help anyone else who had got themselves immobilized.
Abandoned and unable to rely on others Lily became reliant on herself
Together, Jim and Lily interlocked in the game of help and helplessness.
Jim was always wanting to help Lily, who would have none of it.
He therefore felt despair, which turned out to be the same despair
he felt with his mother. In the deepest part he did not really want
to help her, because then his child would have had to face the grief
of knowing it might have been different back then. So Lily sensed
that he may say he wanted to help, but made sure he did not.
Once again her little child was abandoned, having chosen Jim to
make sure she would be. This compelled her to be even more capable
to compensate. Jim was further estranged as Lily became more and
more competent, until he felt there was no love for him at home
and he was more useful at work. As he concentrated more on his job
he got fewer cuddles at home while Lily found she was almost as
lonely as she had been in hospital. Both had recreated an aspect
of their childhood situation so that the very hurts each needed
to heal were camouflaged by the ego defences of their life partners,
who they had unconsciously chosen for exactly this role.
As they came to experience the similarity between their childhood
hurts, their adult relationship, and the primal closures these were
based on, they learned to share their true needs in the moment,
and would usually end up laughing.
Without consciousness, long-term partnerships are designed by nature
to calcify, because we cannot maintain intimacy when there are still
levels in us that are being protected. The day-to-day connections
between couples may appear very complex, but the underlying energetic
patterns are usually simple.
Ian keeps his distance, bright and bushy tailed, and seems to hail
Kate from afar. Kate takes on the pose of the ice queen. Ranged
between them is a barrier of her own creation, her children. The
more children she has the more successfully she can hide behind
them. Ian is there to sire these children and support them. For
Kate this is his major purpose. But as he fulfils his required role
the barrier between them becomes more insurmountable. Kate feels
safer now and can be more friendly to him, in an almost sisterly
way. Ian, trying even harder to have contact with the sexual Kate,
moves more and more into sparkling clown mode in order to be seen.
Meanwhile the physical presence of the children, with another on
the way, restricts any further intimacy.
Kate came from a family in which mother played a virginal role,
and though she bore the children she hated dirtying her hands with
the nappies. Kate became the workhorse for her mum and found it
easy to be the workhorse for her own kids too. But she also took
from her mother the energy of the untouchable icon, rising above
the flood of the household, separate and pristine in an otherwise
unavoidably grubby world. Ian came from a family in which the everyday
grittiness of life was lost in a twittering fantasy land of Enid
Blighton-like characters. He was isolated with the greatest niceness.
So he was happier in an unreal world in which he was content to
watch Kate doing the nappies. She was like one more literary character,
playing out life on some distant screen in which Ian could be heroic
spectator, earning the real dollars that kept it all afloat and
injecting the occasional semen as required.
But meanwhile, he was being moved relentlessly onto the sidelines
while she was becoming increasingly deep-frozen and distant. His
anger was directed against his own children who got their mothers
love while his inner infant had not. Another happy family! Two tender
backgrounds coming together in a relationship in which the deepest
vulnerability lay under the fantasy world that was their common
reality. To disengage from their images as spectators, clowns and
ice-queens involved a massive switch. It was through their relationship
that they were able to see what it was they had been programmed
to do. This is not a specially unreal pattern - on the contrary,
it is fairly normal.
Hermits who isolate themselves from others can rarely get as far
on the spiritual journey as those in relationship, as illustrated
in the story of one who spent ten years meditating alone in his
cave and then came down to the market place and was appallingly
irritated when somebody bumped into him! He had explored his soul
but had not discovered his own anger. Relationships make sure we
never forget our home issues. Then we regain the capacity for the
intimacy we knew when we were first in love, which we will need
if we are to connect with the Self.
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