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Notes to Transformation

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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 another’s 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.

Jim’s 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 mother’s 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 alone.

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 mother’s 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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