Life as a human being is tough, and we are often given more than we can handle. When under stress, our psyche is determined to help us stay safe so that we may survive and overcome challenges coming our way. There is a large variety of common defense mechanisms that we employ to protect the ego, and they operate at an unconscious level to help ward off unpleasant feelings. Our defense mechanisms are another way we cope with anxieties. In psychoanalysis terms, coping mechanisms arise because we feel threatened, or because our id or superego (in psychoanalytic terms) becomes too demanding. Some psychologists differentiate between defense and coping mechanisms. According to them, a defense mechanism is unconscious and automatic, while a coping mechanism is a conscious attempt from the psyche to deal with a difficult situation.
mechanisms are natural and normal. We will always be using them when external
situations that feel threatening and outside our control arise. As we grow
older and hopefully wiser, our goal is to respond with more mature and adequate
On the other hand, because of past traumas, and
unhealed aspects of ourselves, we are often displaying defense mechanisms that
are not adapted to our external reality. In this situation, most of the focus
has to be on releasing and healing the past traumas to minimize and eventually
eliminate the trigger of the defense mechanism.
Finally, our lack of self-love, personal honesty, and self-awareness are responsible for many other maladapted defense mechanisms. The ego is terrified to see its shadows and will do anything to avoid seeing the truth about itself.
Initially, before changing anything, we need to
develop an awareness of the coping mechanisms we use and observe our psyche
without judgment. Eventually, through self-observation, we will be able to
respond with better-adapted defense mechanisms to enjoy a happier and more
Not all defense or coping mechanisms are created equal. We can categorize them in four main categories:
Pathological: There is a loss of contact with reality. We are in the realm of noticeable mental illness and irrationality. There is potential danger, harm or abuse for the individual and the people surrounding him/her.
Neurotic: Fairly common in adults, it offers short-term advantages in coping, but can often cause serious long-term problems in relationships, work and in enjoying life over the long run.
Immature: Acceptable with adolescents, they are unfortunately far too common with adults who have not developed their emotional intelligence and self-awareness. They are maladapted to the environment and the external reality.
Mature: They are only found with adults with high EQ, and they optimize success in life and relationships. They are respectful of others. They promote personal integration, resilience, creativity, learning and wisdom.
Part I – Pathological defense mechanisms
Delusional projection, paranoia, grandiosity
This is often found in schizophrenia. The person lives in her/his own imaginary reality and is suffering from grossly frank delusions about external reality, often of persecutory nature. It is often found in cult leaders who have adopted a grandiose idea of the self, and are looking for weak followers to adopt their insane beliefs. For example, using my own personal experience, Robert Burton from the Fellowship of Friends believed he was an angel trapped in a human body. During dinner, he would often leave an empty space for his « buddy » Leonardo Da Vinci whom he saw as his divine father. I have another acquaintance who sees himself fighting evil forces with the Son of God. According to him, he constantly fights antichrists, vampires, demons and hundreds of thousands of Chinese, American and Nazi soldiers but he feels relieved having 100,000 pages of prayers to help him (his own words). I also had a former girlfriend who was convinced I was attacking her psychically after we broke up.
Splitting, also called black-and-white thinking or all-or-nothing thinking, is the failure in a person’s thinking to bring together the dichotomy of both positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. It is quite common in romantic relationships where the object of love often turns into an object of hate. People suffering from borderline personality disorder will have a tendency to see their partner, as all good at the start of the relationship, or all bad, typically after the relationship is over to deal with their fear of abandonment. Brad Pitt was Angelina Jolie’s soul mate but after they separated, she could only see a child abuser in him. The person using splitting carries an enormous amount of shame and has low self-esteem. As a result, they are unable to see their own shadow and will project it back to the former lover or close friend. Splitting is also one of the marks of parental alienation. The alienating parent’s weak ego can only identify with the positive aspects of being a protector so s/he will turn the children into victims in order to make the targeted parent a dangerous perpetrator. Splitting is a defense mechanism that helps to attach to someone, detach from someone and deal with the anxiety related to rejection and abandonment as we are wired to run away from the bad and dangerous person, and bond with the nice and safe person.
People are so afraid of their own physical, moral, or psychological deficiency that they project it onto another individual or a group. This is also known as scapegoating. Adolf Hitler was a repressed homosexual for most of his life but he arrested over 100,000 of his fellow gay and lesbian German subjects on the basis of their sexual orientation. The most homophobic people are often homosexual themselves. This type of defense mechanism where we project onto others what we do not want to see in ourselves is also called reaction formation. Sometimes, multiple defense mechanisms are at play at the same time. In family systems, parents will project their good parts onto the golden child while projecting their shadows onto the identified patient, who serves as a scapegoat for the whole family. One of my former girlfriends, who survived horrendous abuse in her childhood, started seeing me towards the end of our relationship as her childhood abuser and a dangerous psychopath. By the same token, the most jealous people are often the ones having affairs on the side.
It is the refusal to accept external reality because it is too threatening. We ignore anxiety-provoking thoughts by stating they are invalid. In the BBC documentary The Secret Swami, Isaac Tigrett, the founder of Hard Rock Café, stated that he believed that there was truth to the rumors of Sathya Sai Baba’s actions of pedophilia and sexual abuse towards thousands of his young male followers. But he also stated that such behavior would not change his faith in Sai Baba as he had to preserve his self image and his relationship with the guru he had donated over $100 million. All cult members rely heavily on denial to turn the other way when confronted with overwhelming evidence of the deviance of their guru. Children raised with an abusive parent also resort to denial to make this parent safe to feel safe themselves. I had an acquaintance who was sexually abused by her father all of her childhood and she still believed that no one in this world had loved her more than her father. In 2015, 12 years after the infamous invasion of Irak, still half of Republicans believed that weapons of mass destruction were found in Irak.
Addiction is a psychological and physical inability to stop an activity or consuming a substance, even though it is causing psychological and physical harm. There are various degrees of addictions, and in its light form, it can be considered neurotic but the addiction can unfortunately often take a pathological turn. The most common addictions are alcoholism, smoking, drugs (both illicit and prescription drugs), overeating, gambling, sex, coffee, video games, workaholism and social media. I covered this topic in-depth previously. People, politicians and institutions often fail to realize that the addiction is only a symptom or a coping mechanism and not the core issue. As a consequence, in order to heal, we need to look and heal the emotional dynamic that the addiction is trying to block. Addiction to smoking is often linked to premature weaning, which resulted in poor self-image. Substance abuse is usually connected with the fear of being alone, and feeling disconnected with people. Genuine healing can take time so going to a less harmful coping mechanism can help tremendously too. Many alcoholics who were destroying their lives and those around them have turned to dogmatic religions (ex. Born Again Christian). This still represents a big improvement in their quality of life.
self-injury, often simply called self-injury, is the act of deliberately
harming your own body, such as cutting or burning yourself. It is typically not
meant as a suicide attempt but rather a drastic way to cope with extreme
emotional pain, intense anger and frustration. One can only fathom the degree
of emotional pain one must experience to feel release or even pleasure in
self-mutilation. Unfortunately, while self-injury may bring a momentary sense
of calm and a release of tension, it’s usually followed by the shame provoked
by this behavior and the return of painful emotions. Teal Swan who used to be a
cutter as a way to cope from a very traumatic childhood is one of the rare few
who dared to talk about this taboo subject.
Harmless victims feel so powerless in the hands of their perpetrators that they develop a psychological alliance with their abuser as a survival strategy. As they see their perpetrator as all-powerful, there is nowhere to hide. Unconditional compliance feels unconsciously the only way to stay alive. Patty Hearst, the granddaughter of publisher William Randolph Hearst, was taken and held hostage by the Symbionese Liberation Army, “an urban guerilla group”, in 1974. She was recorded denouncing her family as well as the police under her new name, “Tania”, and was later seen working with the SLA to rob banks in San Francisco. She publicly asserted her sympathetic feelings towards the SLA and their pursuits as well. It took years of therapy for satanic ritual abuse poster child Teal Swan before she could acknowledge that her abuser was not her real father. A lighter and more common form of the Stockholm syndrome will get people with abusive parents to select similarly abusive partners in their adult life. Their wires have been crossed, as they had to create the association danger=love to survive their early life of mistreatment.
Excessive control, dominance, jealousy and possession
A person may feel so powerless from within, that they may compensate by exercising absolute control over other human beings, and sometimes animals. The most common form is the jealous husband or wife who gets into rage if their spouse speaks with someone of the opposite gender. They have an innate need to control all aspects of their spouses’ life. This control can also be seen in cases of parental alienation where the alienating parent is exercising full emotional control of their children, who have become their narcissistic objects. The same behaviors can be witnessed in the workplace where an authoritative boss is dictating the life of their employees for his/her personal benefit rather than advancing the company vision. Harvey Weinstein used his position in the movie business to sexually assault hundreds of young actresses such as Salma Hayek, Angelina Jolie or Gwyneth Paltrow. Cult leaders fall into the same category as they take full control of their disciples’ life for their personal benefit. In the David Berg’s cult Children of God, women were nothing short of slaves. In addition of raising children, taking care of the household, cooking, cleaning, they had to give themselves willingly to the elders (“sexual sharing”) and at night, they had to enroll new members prostituting themselves if required (“flirty fishing”). Dictators have the most negative impact with this pathological coping mechanism as they exercise absolute control over entire states. Colonel Muammar al-Gaddafi who was Libya’s supreme leader for 34 years was one of these despicable human beings, but there are so many more today creating hell for their subjects. Actually, there are 50 countries in the world with autocratic government and this contributes to billions of people’s misery.
This is a more controversial defense mechanism that I am listing here however I have personally witnessed it on numerous occasions. Demonic possession has both terrified and fascinated humankind since the beginning of time, and this is why so many movies have been inspired by it. Under very severe stress or abuse, the front personalities may vacate the body, leaving an empty shell for demonic entities to take over. It is a defense mechanism, because it is a desperate attempt to survive by exiting the current reality. Unfortunately, when the front personalities come back into the body, they typically have to face, with indescribable shame, the horrible actions committed by the dark entities in their absence. Actually, many serial killers say that they were possessed by a demon that takes control of them when they are about to commit their heinous crimes. This type of personality dissociation is well known of satanic cults that use torture and the most extreme of sexual and physical abuse to insert demonic entities in children to transform them into obedient mind-controlled slaves. I became more aware of this sad reality as I fell in love with a woman that had been abused by a satanic cult all of her childhood.
Similar to a sociopath, a psychopath has lost all ability for empathy because of repeated and extreme childhood traumas. Whereas a sociopath is still striving to be a good and a moral person from their mind, the psychopath is immoral and has given up on restraining his dark pulsions. He has typically formed some insane dogma to justify his deviant actions. An example of this can be found in the book Mein Kampf that Hitler wrote before he took control of Germany. Because the psychopath has fully disconnected from his heart, he is also fully disconnected from other people and sees them as separate of himself. This is the basis of Satanic cults where exploitation and vampirism are seen as a way to get stronger and more powerful. In this gloomy view of the universe, energy is limited and each one of us is alone so needs to use others as objects for personal gratification. Psychopaths have very deep buried traumas within them but they have completely shut down so as not to feel them. They only feel alive when they torture, abuse and brutalize their victims to mirror the internal aspects of them that are in hell. The more horror they perform, the more they disconnect emotionally to cope with the little left of their conscience and the more deviant they get. A tragic dismal path of destruction surrounds them.
Disclosure: I am not a licensed therapist so I am not qualified to use these terms in a therapy setting. I have however studied this topic very closely as a tool for self-improvement and self-observation. I am just sharing my own understanding and experience on this matter with the hope it may heal your own relationships and help you to love yourself at a deeper level.
My mother was a discouraged borderline and my father was a codependent. My sister is a borderline, my brothers are codependent and I have been on a life long journey to heal my codependency too. Almost all of my intimate partners have struggled with borderline personality disorder. I am hopefully closer to live a more authentic life as I have brought awareness to my subconscious patterns.
I have shared with you in my previous blog how my attachment traumas made me a match to a cult. The same attachment traumas made me a match to dysfunctional intimate relationships. A number of us with personality disorders can actually be high-functioning according to societal standards. You will find many successful CEOs, performers, top politicians that are narcissistic, borderline or active co-dependents. These personality disorders can best be seen in our personal and intimate lives that suffer greatly from these personality disorders coming from childhood attachment traumas.
I can see that my intimate relationships have been plagued with negative core beliefs coming from an early age. Initially, as a young man, because of my own abandonment traumas, I was deeply avoidant as I was convinced to be unworthy of love. I believed that it was just a question of time for my intimate partners to leave me. I would push them away and they would break-up with me, as they felt unloved. I felt unloved and unlovable as a result while these partners would actually deeply care for me. It was a vicious circle feeding self.
Because I felt unlovable as I was, I decided subconsciously that I need a hook for my loved ones to stay with me and not abandon me. I entered a rescuer phase. As a friend jokingly put it, I became “Captain save a hoe”. In my early twenties, I fell in love with an impulsive borderline in a desperate situation. She had a son with a thug in the northern suburbs of Paris. He was a gambler that would still money from her while she did not even have enough money to feed the child. He used the child to control her. He would sometimes take the child out of the balcony of the 20th floor and threaten to drop him if she did not obey his demands. After I started a relationship with her, my heart broke when I felt the pain of this child. I took many risks to get them out of this desperate situation and we eventually managed to immigrate to the USA together. The relationship eventually ended. I was shut off emotionally past the limerence stage as I continued to focus on external activities to be worthy of love instead of emotionally investing into the relationship. I had no clue that my partner actually wanted to be with me but I felt so unlovable that it seemed like a foreign concept. My partner eventually cheated on me as she was starving emotionally and struggling with her own issues. I felt deeply betrayed and was so confused. How could she leave me after everything I had done for her? As this was not enough, I repeated the exact same experience with a Russian woman and her son a year later. She lived with a violent man who abused her physically. I helped them immigrate to the US as well. Our relationship ended up in the same miserable way and I felt taken advantage, unaware of my own part in the dramas that were unfolding.
These painful experiences made me change my strategy for partners. I felt attracted to stronger and more successful women. However, there needed to be something about these women that was difficult to be with. Something that would keep other men away so that they would not cheat on me. Something that only me could handle so that they would be less likely to abandon me and repeat the abandonment trauma with my mum. The high functioning borderline met these criteria as they share the same abandonment traumas as I did.
Codependents and borderlines are a very common pair. This relationship dynamic allows the codependents to slip into “caretaker” roles, giving priority and focus to problems in the life of the person with BPD (Borderline Personality disorder) rather than to issues in their own lives. No one’s ego likes to see its own dysfunctions as it brings up shame, something especially excruciating for a codependent with a weak sense of self. In these kinds of relationships, the codependent will gain a sense of worth by being “the sane one” and “the responsible one” as he makes the borderline “the crazy one” or “the sick one”. High functioning borderlines are often more narcissistic too. Codependents can provide the narcissist with an obedient and attentive audience that matches the needs of the self-absorbed narcissist. Among the reciprocally interlocking interactions of the pair are the narcissist’s overpowering need to feel important and special and the co-dependent person’s strong need to help others feel that way. Actually, borderline/narcissistic people are only able to create relationships with codependents. A healthy individual with an authentic self could not alternate the roles of perpetrator, rescuer and victim that the borderline requires. Only the codependent can do this as a personality split is required. Their lives together are an endless roller coaster and they alternate control during crises. The codependents submit and weather the storm as the borderlines/narcissists get into their rant or rage. They know however that it is just a matter of time for the borderlines/narcissists to crash. At that time, they can play their favorite caretaker role and get back in control once again. For this reason, it is in the interest of the codependents to worsen and not improve their partners’ mental health. This is a dark side of codependents that only few people understand. This is why they are called enablers. They are enabling and feeding on the most dysfunctional aspects of their partners instead of keeping them accountable for their harmful actions. The borderline is seen in most psychology books as the evil one and the codependent as the good one but the reality is that their shadows are a perfect mirror of each other. The codependent is actually more dangerous as his darkness is more covert. I have worked with many women that had violent and sexually abusive fathers. I have found that they experienced even deeper traumas with their own mothers as they looked the other way and made excuses for their husbands’ behaviors all during the time the abuse was taking place. The child would feel hope as the codependent mother would complain about the father behind his back but felt betrayed over and over again as the mother showed her loyalty to her husband first in her actions. The borderline and the codependent mirror each other attachment traumas, core shame, lack of self-esteem and pathological loneliness. These attributes are directly expressed with the borderline and repressed with the codependent.
Through introspection and the observation of codependents through the diverse communities I have been part of, I have dived deeper into the characteristics of the codependents that I will share with you below. I was able to see the horror of my own psychological make-up through external mirrors and started healing it as a result. I hope you can do the same as you see aspects of yourself in a vulnerable way through the examples below.
No sense of self, low self‐esteem, poor boundaries, absence of conscience
In its broadest definition, a codependent is someone who cannot function from their innate self and whose thinking and behavior is instead organized around another person, or even an organization, or substance. This condition originates from childhood trauma. In the dysfunctional family, the child learns to become attuned to the parent’s needs and feelings instead of the other way around. As a result, the child becomes disconnected from his authentic feelings, as there was no space for the essence of who he is. Codependent people are fixated on another person for approval or sustenance and need to attach themselves to a stronger personality. Poor self‐esteem lowers your expectations of being treated well so we accept the unreasonable demands from our narcissistic/borderline partner with little resistance. Growing up in dysfunctional families, we learn to not trust our perceptions and what we know. We just abide by the narcissist. Most codependents find themselves in relationships where their primary role is that of rescuer, supporter, and confidante. These helper types are often dependent on the other person’s poor functioning to satisfy their own emotional needs and this is the only time they find a sense of self-worth. The codependents cannot believe they can be loved for they are so they are asking to be given a role where they can be used instead of contributing through the natural expression of their talents. They hope to make themselves indispensable through this role so that they would not be abandoned. Their abandonment fears and core shame overpower their conscience so they have lost their inner compass to what is right or wrong. They have delegated it instead to the narcissist, the organization of the substance. As a result, codependents lack authentic and inner accountability. Instead, they do things to stay out of trouble from their partners. They have the feeling to always walk on eggshells as they spend their lives to please their partners and loved ones from the often contradictory feedback they receive externally instead of relying on their inner guidance system that they have shut down to survive their early childhood. Let me give you a couple of examples that I have witnessed personally.
A confidante of a spiritual teacher was asked to lead a group through a process. She started working with the group but in the middle of it, she felt her presence was required next to her teacher so she left without notice leaving all attendees open, vulnerable & incomplete in their healing.
In the cult the Fellowship of Friends, a woman who was struggling raising her child for both financial and emotional reasons asked the narcissistic cult leader what to do. The leader never had children, did not like to be around children and was a sexual predator. He told her to give him for adoption to a couple he designated. Though they were taken by surprise, all parties complied. This left the child with severe abandonment traumas.
A man fell madly in love with a woman but she came from a higher social class. They married and had a child but he compensated his social status insecurity by becoming a workaholic and building/running a successful trucking business. One day, the child died in a car accident. When his wife informed him of the tragedy, he responded he would come after he was done with all his meetings of the day. When he finally came home, he told his wife that nothing could be done, as the son was already dead so life had to go on. The wife left him, as she felt her husband was as sensitive as a cold stone. He later collapsed emotionally and became homeless.
A son visited his dad after not seeing him for 2 years to celebrate his grandmother birthday with him. He spent a day with him then asked to have a walk with him to talk. The father who was afraid that he would get in trouble with his wife (his stepmum) to spend more time away from her encouraged his son to leave right away. The son could not tell him in person that he was getting a divorce with his wife.
As a prank, I showed the most ridiculous video once of an individual portraying himself as a tantric master and I told the manager of a spiritual teacher that she wanted to work with him and invite him to her facility. Though he was conservative and in any other circumstances would have been outraged at the video, he expressed that he was impressed with the tantric teacher and would do the necessary to bring him. I was in complete disbelief that the prank worked so well with no resistance on his part.
A community member of a spiritual teacher fell in love with a woman. He wanted to have children with her but his teacher could not handle having children around him. His teacher required him to continue living with him at the same time. He complied and buried the issue. His girlfriend eventually left him as she understood her family life and her needs would be always second to the whims of his partner’s spiritual teacher.
Enabling the dysfunctional relationship by feeding the partner’s shadows
As we have learned previously, the codependent is an enabler that does not make his narcissistic partner accountable in any way. As a result, the partners’ mental health continue to decline and his narcissistic and paranoid tendencies get worse overtime. While this is true that the narcissists’ natural tendency would be to be comforted in their drama, and have little interest for personal accountability, the codependent enabling tendencies make it much worse. There is a famous quote from Edmund Burke “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing”. The codependents are these “good men” that do nothing. Codependents and narcissists feed each other false selves as they grow more unhealthy dependency with each other. To survive the dysfunctional environment, the codependent has learned not to challenge the narcissist and on the opposite to play with their shadows to ensure his safety. In return, the narcissist gets addicted to the false validation he gets from the codependent. They both isolate from the rest of the world so that they may not be challenged in their vision of reality. As the borderline/narcissists get more controlled by their addictions, shadows and inflated sense of self, the more they may be controlled by the codependent. Edmund Burke said also “Flattery corrupts both the receiver and the giver”. Why it is one thing to boost our loved ones’ self confidence, it is another thing to feed their inflated sense of self. By using flattery on his narcissistic partner, the codependent understands he can kill two birds at once. He gains his favor while isolating him from potential rivals. I remember a situation where a follower was shamed for hours by a spiritual teacher and his codependent manager for recommending a change of schedule where another teacher would come on the last day of the program. The codependent manager of the spiritual teacher insisted he was the best of the world so that he had to conclude the program. The spiritual teacher fell for it and went on a rant for hours how this so-called fan could even dare to propose this change of schedule. He was very insecure and insisted for anyone around him to always say he was the best in the world. If anyone would see the value in another spiritual teacher, they would have to face the borderline rage of the teacher that was fueled by the codependent manager. Over time, he developed paranoia for anyone who could potentially compete with him so he got rid of his best disciples, which also comforted the codependent manager who felt insecure with anyone who could have direct access to the teacher. A “royal court” was formed around the teacher that isolated him from reality, and consequently his mental health declined at a rapid pace as his narcissism turned into megalomania.
Denial is prevalent for both the borderline/narcissists and their codependent partners. By staying as victims, they avoid facing their own shame. They both play an elaborate dance to construct a reality that boost each other ego but isolate them from the rest of the world. While the codependent gets rewarded by praise, appreciation, a sense of control, attention and often financial security from their dominant partner, the narcissist gets a sense of security and personal power as their self-concept stays unchallenged. As the pattern amplifies, the chance for this duo to build or maintain any authentic relationship become smaller and smaller. The narcissistic partner thinks he is the one in control however the more their ego get inflated, the more controllable they become by their co-dependent partner that lead the way from behind the scenes. The codependent feeds on the partner’s mental health issues. They may get drown and overwhelmed at times by their partner narcissistic episodes but they know it is just a matter of time for them to regain control as their partners’ steam run out. The narcissist cannot have friends. He can only have employees, followers or fans, basically transactional relationships.
The codependent pattern will encourage the negative behavior “I am serving your father a glass of Whiskey because he needs to relax after a long day” while a more healthy partner will set a clear boundary “If you continue drinking I will have no other choice to leave though I love you very much”. A friend of mine contacted me recently. She broke up with a boyfriend she loved very much because he started being abusive with her. It broke her heart to do it but she knew this was the only way to wake him up. This is the difference between codependent and healthy relationships. The codependent will feed your shadows to be in control and create more unhealthy dependency. Healthy partners will not hesitate to confront you on your shadows even at their detriment. An intimate relationship is the closest mirror we can have. Do you choose to mirror your partner light or darkness? And remember by doing this, you are doing else then mirroring your own light and darkness. By committing to support your partners to become the best version of themselves, you are doing the same to yourself. Codependents choose to do the opposite because of their own insecurity.
The codependents cannot meet their needs directly so they manipulate
This came from childhood trauma. The codependent was simply an accessory to their primary caregivers narcissistic needs. They never received the mirroring they needed to discover their authentic selves. Not only are they unable to meet their needs directly but they are simply completely unaware of their needs. They are actually terrified to figure out what their needs are as this would mean they could be rejected or ridiculed for wanting what they need. It feels so much safer to say their needs do not matter or focus instead on the needs of others. They place a lower priority on their own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with other people needs. For this reason, many codependents learn to be self‐sufficient and to deny their emotional needs, and this is not sustainable. They match perfectly their narcissistic partners that are self-focused on their own needs. If your important emotional needs were shamed or ignored in your childhood, would you not grow up shutting down the feelings associated with those needs? Why would you feel a need if you do not expect it to be filled? It is less painful to deny it entirely. However, no one can un-need what they need so they live in state of emotional starvation and develop manipulation strategies to meet their needs indirectly.
Manipulationthrough communication triangulation, being double faced, alienation and” Divide and Conquer” strategies
Codependency is more about why and how you do things than what you do. Their actions are often driven by not getting in trouble with their partners instead of doing what feels right according to their authentic self (that they do not know). They rarely perform any action from their heart instead they expect something in return. They have a transactional mind. Codependent parents would often remind children of all the sacrifice they endured to raise them to adulthood. If they want to be touched by their partners, they would offer to give them a massage instead of asking directly for their needs. The massage would not feel good because of the feeling of expectation. And if the partner does not reciprocate, they are then punished emotionally through withdrawal. If they want a night girl out, they would ask their male counterpart if they would be interested to spend a weekend away with his friends. If they would like to bring their parents over, they would encourage their partners to have their parents visit. Once their partners express their own needs, then they feel they are allowed to express their own needs. It is an exhausting way to live life and they are continuously set-up for disappointment. A relationship is not about keeping counts but it is about meeting each other needs in a mutually beneficial way. When someone does not express their needs directly, the probability for someone else to meet these needs go drastically down. Because of their deep shame, they spend a lot of energy justifying why they need what they need. They react often in a passive aggressive way when they unexpressed needs are unmet. I knew a woman that was in love with another woman but she could not face the truth that she was a lesbian. She made herself her caregiver. Once she felt she had leverage by becoming more indispensable, she would threaten she may leave to find the love of her life (often described as a male). This would make the other woman panic however it was obvious that she did not intend to go anywhere. She eventually succeeded in splitting her with her husband by becoming what she felt the other woman really wanted and by showing her the incompatibilities she perceived with the husband the other woman loved. These types of relationship are doomed and I can speak from experience. I have too attracted lovers and partners by pretending to be what they wanted to see. However we can only hide for so long. Once the real us come out, our partners feel duped and they make our lives impossible. A common ploy for codependents interested in a woman that is a single mum is to build rapport with her children. They understand the intense guilt the targeted partner is experiencing from not providing a full-time and caring father to her children. Overtime, however, the single mum often realizes that the new partner never truly cared or had true ownership with their children. And if the man leaves the relationship, there is no interest in maintaining the relationship with the children.
The codependent cannot be trusted because he is double faced. He shows a different face for every different person he is interacting with. He is a people pleaser and adapts his messaging accordingly. I am also guilty to have played the same codependent game with my company executives in the past. A vice president would come to my office complaining about the behavior of another executive that they would consider bossy, disrespectful and unprofessional. I would empathize with her and would confirm the flaws she had noticed in him. Then the other executive would stop by my office complaining about the immaturity and lack of experience about the first one. I would validate the same way, happy to get rapport through opposition. I felt good and important as the rescuer. However I was undermining my management team spirit and cohesion. Then I was acting surprised why these grown-up executive cannot get along and keep fighting! Overtime, they lost trust with me as they could feel my lack of authenticity.
During one of my divorces, I trusted an individual to act as an intermediary of my wife to act on her behalf, as she was too emotional to take care of legal details of the split. He was very nice and amicable with me while I realized only months later, he was disparaging me behind my back as friends made me listen to voice mails he was leaving about me. Instead of making things better with my ex wife, he kept putting oil on the fire to antagonize each other behind our backs. Both she and I felt very thankful to him at the time to act as a mediator as the other party seemed crazy and ill intentioned not realizing he was largely responsible for the increased strife between us through triangulation. The intermediary ended up getting married to my former spouse!
The codependent learned at an early age to manipulate their caregivers to survive emotionally in a dysfunctional environment. They are excellent at identifying the blind spots to the people around them for their benefit. The can place shame on others to manipulate a situation and then use charm to come off caring as their typical fashion to get what they want from others. They are experts in alienation and playing on people fears. They identify a weakness in a rival and makes a crack looks like a canyon while they state how different they are. Sometimes they just make things up and hope they will get away with it. A friend of mine did not know anything about finances so her business manager puts doubts in her mind that her husband was embezzling money to create a rift in their relationship as the manager was in love with her. He also showed her how her husband was a liability to her career while at the very same time he kept complementing the husband on his contribution to her business. The wife fell for it and divorced the husband while she was away from the husband on a business trip while the manager took on the savior role. The manger continued to ensure there would be no contact between them so that she would never figure out the manipulation that had taken place. “Divide and conquer” is the favorite power dynamic of the codependent.
I knew a lady that lived with her best friend and his girlfriend. Both girls used to get along very well. He was very codependent and made his girlfriend feel he cannot fully present to her because of the commitment he has towards his best friend that was also his employer. He made his friend/employer insecure that telling her that he cannot be really there for her because of his relationship to his girlfriend, which he claimed was the most important thing in his life. As a result, the two ladies that really adored each other started feeling threatened with one another.
When we did not receive enough nurturing or had your feelings respected, we may attempt to fill this void with an addiction. Addictive relationships or substances serve as a substitute for real connection. Some people are caretakers who hope to receive love in return but are unable to be vulnerable about their own feelings, which is necessary to maintain an intimate relationship.
Many who don’t recognize their needs for support and comfort isolate — especially when they’re hurting. Even with awareness of their needs, asking someone to meet them can feel humiliating.
As a result, many people turn to some addiction. Many of my clients had a codependent father or mother that was alcoholic. I had an uncle that was a gambler to compensate for the lack of intimacy in his marriage. I became a workaholic and the high intensity of running a Silicon Valley business was my own way of compensating. Some men escape in following sports on TV while many women do the same with their soap operas. The options of escape are endless to avoid feeling the lack of intimacy and connection that we are experiencing.
The goal of the addiction is to prevent us from experiencing painful feelings, often originating from childhood traumas. It is critical we allow ourselves to sit with these painful emotions and do shadow work when they come up instead of falling for an addiction to escape. As we experience consciously these difficult feelings, we will start healing and eventually generate the desires to make the necessary changes in our life to create a life that genuinely feels good.
Replaying trauma from childhood
Codependency is often associated with abusive, addictive, or controlling home environments. Or it may be the product of emotional neglect and absence. Any painful experience from childhood has the potential to become a trauma that can affect our present actions. Fortunately, there are many modalities today that can support soul retrieval so that you do not need to manifest into your life the original trauma. I knew a woman who suffered incest from her brutal father all of her childhood. As a child and teenager, she kept fantasizing that mum would leave dad to save her. Unfortunately, mum was very codependent and an enabler to the abuse so the rapes continued into adulthood. She brought that intense desire into her adult self and she became a close confidante to a married woman. The wife had suffered a lot of abuse too in her childhood in the hands of a psychopath. They both replayed their drama and made the husband the bad guy they had to escape from. The husband was ostracized overnight and completely cut from his family. Even months after the separation had taken place, they were still making lists to demonize the poor fellow. The husband was abandoned by his mum when he was a child so this is why he was a match to this experience as well. There are no bad people only people who have been traumatized. If their childhood traumas are not healed, people will have a tendency to replay them in their adult lives. If they are unable to heal, their traums will unfortunately repeat into the next generation, the lives of their children. This is why soul retrieval and trauma healing are the most important thing we will ever do.
Unhealthy dependency instead of autonomy
Human beings are a social species so we need each other to live a good life. There are healthy dependencies and unhealthy ones too. The codependent has the later form of dependency. Their fear of loneliness would keep them in abusive and dysfunctional relationships instead of looking for better options for partners. In a codependent relationship, the codependent’s sense of purpose is based on making extreme sacrifices to satisfy their partner’s needs. Codependent relationships signify a degree of unhealthy “clinginess”, where one person does not have self-sufficiency or autonomy. One or both parties depend on their loved one for fulfillment. In romantic relationships that do not involve children, we need to remember that the individual in the relationship is more important than the relationship. There should be no coercion in such relationships. The codependents need to be committed to put themselves first and accept that it is better to be alone than being with people that are not ready to accept and love their authentic selves. Of course, they first need to figure out what this authentic self is all about. Once they make this step, they will be on their way to create a life that feels good. Thich Naht Hanh said “You must love in a way that the person you love feels free”. To become autonomous is to able to share a life with a loved one without trying to possess or control him/her. We do not need to possess him/her because they live within us. It is not anymore a relationship where two become one, but two become three: the two partners and the relationship. They create a conscious relationship instead of being consumed by it.
How bad can codependency get?
The Selena story
Selena Quintanilla-Perez was an American singer that achieved international fame. Her story was immortalized in the Selena movie starring Jennifer Lopez. As Selena’s singing schedule became more demanding, she came to rely on Yolanda Saldivar, a San Antonio nurse who had founded her fan club in 1991 and was a devoted follower of the band. The family did not realize how much of a sycophant she was. Shy, plain-looking, and eleven years Selena’s senior, Saldivar made herself indispensable, taking on the job of managing the boutiques and eventually becoming Selena’s confidante. Selena had a caring but narcissistic father that was ruling the whole family. As a result, Selena desperately needed a confidante outside her family circle. That’s when Yolanda stepped into her life and made it seem like she was taking care of everything. Yolanda appeared to everyone like someone sweet, like a mother figure. She used to mother people around her and ask, “Do you need anything, m’ijo/a?”. Yolanda managed to gain a lot of importance in Selena’s life. Whether Selena realized it or not, Yolanda became her filter and gatekeeper. Selena had lots of friends working for her at the beginning of her career. Once Yolanda came on board, she got rid of Selena’s friends one by one. Anyone who captured Selena’s attention, she eliminated. After the family found out that Yolanda was taking advantage of her position to steal money, she felt her life was over and shot Selena to death as her life felt meaningless without Selena. By killing her, Yolanda assured that her name would be associated with Selena for eternity.
Wild Wild Country: Osho and Sheela
A recent documentary Wild Wild Country narrates the rise and fall of Osho Rajneesh, a gifted and controversial spiritual leader that set-up a community in the US state of Oregon. Osho’s passion was teaching spirituality and waking up his followers through various healing modalities. He trusted a young and a very ambitious early disciple of his: Ma Anand Sheela to deal with all the material and organizational aspects in creating the community. Osho liked reclusion and long periods of time for meditation and contemplation so he let naively Sheela take more and more power. For a very long time, she was the only one meeting with Osho and through communication triangulation, she was able to dictate all important decisions in the community. People started to fear her. Power went to her head, as she obviously did not have the experience, integrity and wisdom to handle this level of responsibility and decision-making. She created her own group of devotees and instructed some of them to perform unethical actions. For example, he convinced one of her close follower to kill a doctor that she felt was getting too close to Osho. Unbeknownst to Osho, she built a multi million dollar center to spy on all community members. She armed the community, brought thousands of homeless people from all over the country to win county elections and poisoned the water of the nearby town. During this time, Osho was doing a 3 years’ silent. The whole state of Oregon that had been antagonized by Sheela’s actions was on high alert to bring the community down. Sheela was finally arrested but US officials felt it was safer to bring Osho down too. He was arrested too, and suffered such bad treatment in custody that he died a few months later.
These are some of the most extreme forms of codependency and everyone can see how dangerous it can be. Idolatry can flatter the ego but everything is a transaction for the codependent. It is just a matter of time that they will come for their due once the dependency is complete. Every relationship is a mirror and one cannot be controlling in a relationship without being controlled oneself. We eventually receive what we give in a relationship. How do you recognize a dysfunctional relationship from a healthy one? The dysfunctional one puts you down while the healthy one will make you a better human being.
I have fallen in love 6 times in my life. Falling in love feels like a higher state of consciousness where all we care about is spending time with our beloved, where our happiness is her happiness as we would do anything to earn her grace. In that state, time ceases to exist as 10 hours with our lover feels like 2 minutes. Eating, drinking and sleeping are deemed non-important when we are love-intoxicated. It is a very powerful state that can induce fears among the person’s entourage as someone in love appears suddenly so unpredictable. For that reason, psychologists have described this state in less favorable terms as infatuation or limerence, denoting a state of obsession, unreasoned passion or even addiction. In my personal experience, it is a very beautiful state that needs to be cherished, enjoyed thoroughly and extended as long as possible as it is so precious. Reality eventually kicks in, and it always feels too early when it does.
The Universe is very interested in our growth and it knows that there is nothing better than an intimate relationship to boost our self-awareness. So, it baits us with the magnificent feeling of falling in love. When we merge with someone else, we die and we are being reborn. The person we are going to fall madly in love with is the person that has the potential to maximize our inner development. Unfortunately, we all know from our lives that the times when we grew the most may have been the most challenging, and this is true for intimate relationships. I fully subscribe to the Imago theory that was developed by the Hendrix’s. It says that we are attracted to partners that will help us relive and eventually heal the unresolved traumas from childhood. Sometimes partners are able to go through that growth and healing together. However, some other times, one partner may run away from the other and will see the break-up as the most conducive to their healing. It is a matter of individual choice, and it is best to honor the person’s free will rather than pretending we know better by emitting judgments. Nevertheless, breaking up from an intimate partner is one of the most painful experiences of our existence down here, only comparable to the death of a loved one.
Paradoxically, my most difficult break-up was with my first love when I was only 19. I did not make a formal commitment to her such as an engagement. There were no legal or financial complications. We were both very young and our break-up only impacted us emotionally with very little consequences for our friends & family. How is it possible that my break-ups involving children, parents or splitting all of our assets could have felt less difficult to handle? This confirms that our life experience, the healing tools at our disposal, and mature thinking are critical in supporting the grieving process of break-ups. For this reason, I want to share with you what I have learned in this process in hope that it may be helpful to you.
Follow the waves instead of resisting them
The process of uncoupling is brutal because it involves many parts of us: physical, emotional and mental. As we lose this special person in our life, our body may go into shock as we cannot hug them, touch them or cuddle with them anymore, especially if this aspect of the relationship was really fulfilling. We may miss sharing our feelings, the small attentions, feeling loved or their emotional presence. We may miss the long, passionate and intellectually stimulating conversations. It will really depend on the specific relationship dynamics. In any case, this leaves a big void in our life. It is best to acknowledge it and completely feel it rather than denying it. I would like to share a quote that was sent by a friend of mine: “Grief, I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.” – Jamie Anderson
People who cannot move on from a relationship are people who cannot grieve because they refuse to feel the pain associated with the loss. Their ego refuses to experience this suffering because it would make it mean that they contributed to the failure of the relationship, that they were flawed, that they were bad, that they are meant to be alone, that they are unlovable, that they deserved to be abandoned, and so on, and so forth. It is all about unhealed attachment traumas. Instead they become negatively obsessed with the former object of love that they used to glorify publicly. They attempt to appear as a victim, forgetting they entered the relationship full heartedly with their freedom of choice. We do not need to be perfect to be loved. To be human is to be imperfect and we make mistakes. I gave all that I had to my important relationships so I hold no regret. Yes, I made mistakes but I did not know better at the time, so there is nothing to dwell on.
After we have broken-up from a partner we loved, the pain will be acute, and the first waves will hit us hard. Last April, after I had just landed in France, if one of my friends would ask me how I was doing, I could not say a word but started shedding tears as the dissolution of the marriage had just started. This was healthy! After getting some sleep and recovering from jet lag, my mind was again in control and I lost touch again with my emotions. I had brought back my heart walls so as not to feel the pain of the break-up. Fortunately, my friend Jacques made me realize that I was getting in the way of my own grieving process. My mind was so afraid to feel out of control that it had started shutting down the feelings of loss. This was unhealthy. Societal expectations are therefore the opposite of what we need for our grieving process. The down waves may take the form of feeling unlovable, isolated, anxious or depressed for example. These emotions have to be experienced fully and somatically (with the body) with no judgment. The big mistake we make in our healing process is to overuse our mind while the body is so much better equipped to release trauma. Crying, shouting, shaking has done more for my healing than all of my analytical processes. Analysis should follow healing from the body and the emotions but not precede it. Fortunately, we have the ability to take advantage of our emotional suffering for healing purposes. So we can always benefit from a difficult and painful situation.
In my personal experience, the up and down waves take on average a week, and the waves’ intensity get lower over time to eventually stabilize back to a normal state. Recently, during one of the down waves, I started feeling very heavy energy. I went to lunch with a friend anyway but the plumber called me just as I was about to order lunch. I had to come back home right away. I realize this was a wake-up call to make the healing process the priority instead of daily activities. We went into the healing room and I started expressing the raw feelings without any filters. In this case, it was about that I felt that people I loved the most saw me as a monster. I let my body purge these emotions, and could come back to the original childhood fragment related to my sister. My parents lacked emotional maturity and did not prepare her well for my venue into this world. She saw me as the newcomer that was stealing from her the small crumbs of love from our parents. She developed hatred towards me that I had to internalize to cope. So I developed self-hatred and I created in my reality situations to reflect that belief. I was able to let go somatically of that belief during this session. I worked on changing that belief during another healing session. Interestingly, at the end of that session, one of my loved ones that is demonizing me called me unexpectedly and we had a nice exchange. I knew then that my inner work was starting to work on the fabric of reality.
If you are getting a divorce, chances are that not all of the relationship was rosy and aspects of it were rather difficult. So the good news is that you will be experiencing up waves too! If your partner was over controlling and possessive, you may feel a sense of exhilaration from your newfound freedom. If your life was drowning in drama, you may feel relieved about experiencing peace and quiet again. If you were constantly criticized and always walked on eggshells, you may enjoy being again in an environment that is both supportive and nurturing. If you did not particularly enjoy your wife’s close friends, you may be happy to be away from them. Use these up waves to your advantage. Make sure to create opportunities for yourself to do the things you could not do when you were in the marriage to fully experience some of the benefits of the break-up. This will make you feel better about the divorce. On my end, I took a month in Europe to reconnect with old friends and family. There was nothing more healing than being surrounded by people who loved me and appreciated me for who I am. Healing is about having the opposite experience. I got inspired by doing things I was not able to do when I was married. This helped me to see the glass half full instead of half empty. Also we can only receive after we empty our cup so let us develop a sense of wonder of what is coming next into our life after the loss of love.
We have been conditioned in this society to do everything on our own. So naturally, when tragedy strikes, we have a tendency to isolate. This is not healthy. We are social creatures and need each other. After breaking up an important relationship, our emotional balance goes off so we should not make things worse by denying our most basic human need to feel supported, loved and cared for. I felt very fortunate that some good-hearted people showed up in my life and kept me company when I needed it the most. Good people naturally want to help especially when their support is appreciated. It feels empowering to them and they are often healing themselves through this process too. The key is to be authentic with your pain and your needs, and you will be surprised by the amount of goodness coming your way.
Real pain versus imaginary pain
As I mentioned before, break-ups are some of the most painful experiences we can go through. However, we can make the process of grieving easier or harder on ourselves with the quality of our thoughts. The feeling of loss is real and takes time to heal. However, there are a lot of other emotions that are not real in the sense that they are fabricated by erroneous thinking. Without the faulty thought, some of the negative emotions would not even exist. This is where our mature inner adult (IA) can help our hurt inner child (IC).
IC: “This person destroyed my life. I will never be able to recover. This person took everything away from me.”
IA: “This was a difficult experience and I chose it out of my free will. There are important lessons to learn from any painful relationship.”
IC: “What’s wrong with me that I cannot have a healthy and nurturing relationship? I am forever doomed. God hates me.”
IA: “I have learned important lessons of this past relationship and I am much better equipped as a result to attract the right type of person into my life. Though it was painful, I see this person as an important teacher. There are often many layers of healing we need to go through to manifest what we truly want.”
IC: “This person has to pay for what he did to me and my children. I will make him pay for the rest of eternity so that he does not hurt anyone like he hurt me.”
IA: “I hope this person can be happy in their future relationships. I am glad I am not in his life anymore so that I can attract a relationship that feels better. If the same pattern appears again in any future relationship, I will know that the problem may be more related to me than him.”
If the inner child is really hurt, it is best for the inner adult to start validating the inner child before sharing his wisdom. For example, in the first situation, this would look like “I feel that this person destroyed my life and took everything away from me. Sometimes I may feel that I will never be able to recover. However, I have been through similar difficult break-ups in the past and I have survived. I actually keep attracting better partners. I can see this was a difficult experience but I chose it out of my free will and no one forced me into it. There are some important lessons I learned from this relationship”. Use your intuition to balance effectively your IC and IA. If you were to let your toddler run the show in your household, things would be quickly out of control and your sweet child would turn into a high-chair tyrant. Meet all the emotional needs of your inner child but do not lose yourself in the process. An important role of the IA is to educate the IC to grow-up. Emotional validation has to come with accountability so that we do not get stuck in a victim role, which is one of the lowest vibrational states.
Keeping contact or not after a break-up?
People who break-up that still love each other will feel very hurt. It is often very difficult for them to stay in contact, and any exchange with the estranged partner may feel like re-traumatization. In an ideal world, especially if there are children involved, it would be best for former partners to stay friendly and on social terms. In my experience, it is however only feasible when the love has faded away for both partners and they have moved on with their respective lives. There is no sense of loss anymore or hard feelings. This can take time. How likely is this when a couple has just broken up? Very unlikely. If one person is not in love anymore but the other person is, then the situation is just as difficult. I am of the opinion that people need to do what is best for their personal healing. However, if children are involved, put the children’s healing first while not succumbing to ex-partner control dramas. I have kept in touch with a couple of the women I have been in love with in the past, and I have found these relationships rewarding. However, it often took years before we were able to reconnect. This should not be forced, as the newly gained friendship would need to be unconditional and away from all the failed expectations of the past. So in most cases, a clean cut in the short-term may be preferable to support the emotional healing of the recently broken up couple.
Gratitude as the ultimate healing tool
By doing important healing work in Europe supported by friends and family, I found the resources to write a blog about the end of the marriage in a way that was genuinely grateful. And this time, I was not bypassing. I could appreciate all the wonderful times and all the gifts that came from the relationship. It was now up to me to create in my life and in myself all the things I previously adored in her. When we are grateful, we cannot be resentful. When we are grateful, we cannot feel like a victim. When we are grateful, we cannot feel revengeful. When we are grateful, we are looking forward to a bright future and we are not lost dwelling on the past. When we are grateful, we do not close ourselves off and on the contrary, we keep our heart open to new possibilities. We should not rush ourselves into this state however. Before we can reach genuine gratitude, all raw emotions of powerlessness, anger, resentment, sadness and loss have to be experienced. And sometimes, we have to go through these emotions multiples times through various cycles. Our emotions need be true, and we should not pretend we are feeling something that we are not. This is a big part of living an authentic life. We need to find the courage to express openly how we feel when we are in a safe environment unconcerned of the good opinions of others
How long does it take to heal from a break-up?
If we are committed to our healing, have a supportive environment, and can rely on a wise IA (Inner Adult), I think one month per year of the relationship is a fair expectation. Otherwise, it may take much longer and actually some people never get over some past relationships. Sometimes the grieving or pulling away will actually start when you are still in the relationship. During the grieving phase, strict celibacy is most recommended. Our sexual energy is the finest energy at our disposal and this energy can be turned inward for healing. This will work marvels and help you shift to a new level. If we genuinely listen to our body during a grieving cycle, we will notice that the body has no desire to expand its energy sexually. Only the mind may do so in order to prevent experiencing difficult emotions as it follows an addictive pattern. Our mind is a good servant but a poor master. Our heart and body wisdom are far more reliable to know what is best for us. Do not rush your grieving process. Slower is often faster.
How about you? I am interested to know more about your own break-up stories, what you learned from them, and what helped your grieving process.
French translation below – Article en Français ci-dessus
Je suis tombé
amoureux six fois dans ma vie. Tomber amoureux, c’est comme vivre un état de
conscience extatique où tout ce qui nous intéresse est de passer du temps avec l’être
aimé, où notre bonheur est son bonheur, et nous ferions n’importe quoi pour
mériter sa grâce. Dans cet état, le temps cesse d’exister, et dix heures avec l’être
aimé passent si rapidement. Manger, boire et dormir sont relégués au second
plan lorsque nous sommes dans cet état d’ébriété amoureuse. Une personne
amoureuse suscite des craintes au sein de son entourage, car elle apparaît
soudainement imprévisible. Pour cette raison, les psychologues ont décrit cet
état amoureux en des termes peu favorables dénotant un état d’obsession, une
passion irraisonnée ou même une dépendance. D’après mon expérience personnelle,
c’est un très bel état qui doit être chéri, apprécié complètement et rallongé
aussi longtemps que possible, car il est si précieux. Le quotidien et la
routine reprennent le dessus sur cette passion toujours trop tôt.
Il n’y a rien de
mieux qu’une relation intime pour notre croissance intérieure et développer
notre conscience personnelle. Les périls sont importants, et la nature nous appâte
par ce sentiment magnifique d’être amoureux. Lorsque nous fusionnons avec
quelqu’un d’autre, nous mourons et nous renaissons. La personne dont nous
allons tomber éperdument amoureux est celle qui a le potentiel de maximiser
notre développement intérieur. Malheureusement, nous savons que les moments de
notre vie où nous avons grandi le plus ont peut-être aussi été les plus
difficiles, et cela est d’autant plus vrai pour les relations intimes. Je
souscris pleinement à la théorie Imago développée par Harville Hendrix. Il dit
que nous sommes attirés par des partenaires qui nous aideront à revivre et
éventuellement à guérir les traumatismes non résolus de notre enfance. Le
couple est parfois capable de s’aider mutuellement à revivre ensemble ces
traumatismes de l’enfance afin de catalyser leur guérison intérieure.
Cependant, bien trop souvent, l’un des partenaires prend peur, abandonne ou
considère que la rupture est la condition la plus propice à cette même
guérison. C’est une question de choix individuel, et il est préférable de
respecter le libre arbitre de la personne plutôt que de prétendre que nous
savons mieux qu’elle en émettant des jugements et des critiques. Néanmoins,
rompre avec un partenaire intime est l’une des expériences les plus
douloureuses de notre existence ici-bas, comparable à la mort d’un être cher.
que je n’avais que dix-neuf ans, j’ai ressenti la fin de mon premier amour comme
la rupture amoureuse la plus difficile que j’ai vécue. Je n’avais pourtant
aucun engagement formel, comme des fiançailles. Il n’y avait aucune
complication juridique ou financière. Nous étions tous les deux très jeunes, et
notre rupture ne nous a touchés que de manière affective, avec très peu de
conséquences pour nos amis et notre famille. Comment est-il possible que mes
ruptures impliquant des enfants, des parents ou la séparation de tout notre
patrimoine aient été moins difficiles à gérer ? Cela confirme que notre
expérience de la vie, les outils de guérison à notre disposition et une pensée
mature sont essentiels pour la guérison des cœurs brisés. Pour cette raison, je
souhaite partager avec vous ce que j’ai appris au cours de ce processus, dans
l’espoir que cela puisse vous être utile.
Le processus de
découplage est brutal, car il implique de nombreuses parties de nous-mêmes :
physique, émotionnelle et mentale. Lorsque nous perdons la personne que nous
aimons, notre corps peut être sous le choc du fait que nous ne puissions plus
les embrasser, les toucher ou les câliner, surtout si cet aspect de la relation
était épanouissant. Il peut être aussi douloureux de ne plus partager nos
sentiments ainsi que les petites attentions du quotidien, de ne plus se sentir
aimé, et leur absence nous pèse émotionnelle. Les longues conversations
passionnées et stimulantes sur le plan intellectuel peuvent aussi nous manquer.
Les souffrances de la rupture sont vraiment spécifiques à chaque relation. Cependant,
cela nous laisse avec un grand vide dans notre vie. Il est cependant préférable
de reconnaître et de ressentir ce manque plutôt que de le nier pour notre
guérison. Je voudrais partager avec vous une citation qui m’a été envoyée par
un de mes amis : « Le chagrin, c’est de l’amour. C’est de l’amour
que vous voulez donner, mais il n’y a plus personne pour le recevoir. Tout cet
amour non partagé se rassemble dans les coins de nos yeux, dans le creux de
notre gorge et dans cette partie vide de ta poitrine. Le chagrin est un amour qui
n’a nulle part où aller. » – Jamie Anderson
Les personnes qui
ne peuvent pas guérir et donc faire le deuil d’une rupture amoureuse sont celles
qui refusent de ressentir la douleur associée à la perte de l’être cher. Leur
ego refuse de vivre cette souffrance, car cela voudrait dire qu’ils son
responsable de l’échec du couple, et donc qu’ils étaient défaillants, qu’ils
étaient mauvais, qu’ils rendaient l’autre malheureux, qu’ils méritaient d’être
abandonnés et ainsi de suite. Il s’agit de traumatismes d’attachement de
l’enfance non guéris. Au lieu de cela, ils s’obsèdent à détruire et critiquer cette
personne qu’ils glorifiaient auparavant. Ils tentent maintenant d’apparaître
comme une victime, oubliant qu’ils sont entrés dans cette relation amoureuse
avec leur libre arbitre. Nous n’avons pas besoin d’être parfaits pour être
aimés. Être humain, c’est être imparfait, et nous faisons des erreurs. Je me
suis donné entièrement aux femmes que j’ai aimées, et je n’ai rien à regretter.
Oui, j’ai fait des erreurs, mais j’ai agi au mieux en fonction de mes
compréhensions de l’époque. Il n’y a donc pas de quoi s’attarder à refaire le
Après avoir rompu
avec un partenaire que nous avons aimé intensément, la douleur est aiguë et les
premières vagues de chagrin nous frappent durement. En avril dernier, peu après
la rupture avec ma femme, si l’un de mes amis me demandait comment j’allais, je
ne pouvais pas dire un mot, mais commençais à verser des larmes. C’était en fait
une bonne chose ! Après avoir dormi un peu et récupéré du décalage
horaire, ma tête était à nouveau en contrôle et j’ai de nouveau perdu contact
avec mes émotions. J’avais à nouveau blindé mon cœur pour ne pas ressentir la
douleur de la rupture. Heureusement, mon ami Jacques m’a fait comprendre que je
m’opposais à mon propre processus de deuil et donc de guérison émotionnelle. Ma
tête avait si peur de perdre le contrôle qu’elle avait commencé à enfouir mon
chagrin. C’était malsain. Les attentes de la société reliées à la non-expression
des émotions négatives sont donc le contraire de ce dont nous avons besoin pour
notre processus de deuil. La perte d’une relation intime peut prendre la forme d’une
dépression, d’une lourde solitude, de l’angoisse ou d’une tristesse
inconsolable, par exemple. Ces émotions doivent être vécues pleinement et
somatiquement (avec le corps) sans jugement. La grande erreur que nous
commettons dans notre processus de guérison est de tout résoudre et analyser
par la tête alors que le corps est tellement mieux équipé pour libérer un
traumatisme. Pleurer, crier, trembler a plus fait pour ma guérison intérieure que
tous mes processus analytiques. L’analyse doit suivre la guérison du corps et
des émotions, mais pas la précéder. Heureusement, nous avons la capacité
d’apprendre de nos souffrances émotionnelles pour devenir des personnes avec
plus de sagesse et de compassion. La vie nous donne justice, car nous pouvons heureusement
toujours bénéficier d’une situation difficile et douloureuse.
expérience personnelle, les vagues montantes et descendantes de souffrance
émotionnelle prennent en moyenne une semaine, et l’intensité de celles-ci
diminue progressivement avec le temps pour finalement se stabiliser à un état
normal. Récemment, pendant l’une des vagues, j’ai commencé à ressentir une
énergie très lourde. Malgré cela, je suis allé déjeuner avec un ami, mais le
plombier m’a appelé au moment où j’allais faire ma commande. Je devais rentrer
à la maison tout de suite. Je me suis rendu compte que cet appel était un signe
que je devais mettre en priorité mon processus de guérison plutôt que mes
activités quotidiennes. Nous sommes allés dans la pièce de la maison réservée
aux guérisons émotionnelles et avec le soutien de mon ami, j’ai commencé à
exprimer sans filtre toutes mes émotions négatives. Dans ce cas précis, je
ressentais que les personnes que j’aimais le plus dans ma vie me considéraient
comme un monstre. J’ai donc laissé mon corps purger ces émotions, et j’ai pu alors
revenir au traumatisme initial de mon enfance relié à ma sœur. Mes parents qui manquaient
de maturité émotionnelle dû fait de leurs propres traumatismes et ne l’avaient
pas bien préparée pour mon entrée dans ce monde. Elle m’a perçu comme un intrus
qui lui volait les petites miettes d’amour venant de nos parents. Elle a montré
tout de suite une haine envers moi bébé, que j’ai dû intérioriser pour y faire
face. J’ai donc développé un dégoût envers moi-même et j’ai manifesté dans ma
vie des situations pour incarner cette croyance. J’ai heureusement pu
abandonner somatiquement cette opinion négative grâce à deux séances de
guérison. Fait intéressant, à la fin de la deuxième session, un de mes proches
qui me diabolisait m’a appelé de façon inattendue et nous avons eu un bon
échange. Je savais alors que mon travail intérieur commençait à travailler sur
le tissu de la réalité.
Si vous divorcez,
il est probable que la relation n’était pas toute rose et que certains aspects
étaient plutôt difficiles. La bonne nouvelle est donc que vous ferez également
l’expérience de vagues émotionnelles montantes et joyeuses également ! Si
votre partenaire vous traitait de manière trop possessive et contrôlante, vous
ressentirez peut-être un sentiment d’exaltation relié votre nouvelle liberté.
Si votre vie était submergée de drames constants, vous serez alors soulagé de
retrouver la paix et la tranquillité. Si vous étiez constamment critiqué et que
vous marchiez toujours sur des œufs, vous apprécierez d’être à nouveau dans un
environnement à la fois positif et encourageant. Si vous n’appréciiez pas les
amis proches de votre partenaire, vous serez alors heureux de vous en éloigner.
Utilisez ces vagues ascendantes à votre avantage. Assurez-vous de faire à
présent les choses qui n’étaient pas possibles pendant le mariage afin de
profiter pleinement des avantages de la rupture. Cela vous permettra de mieux vivre
le divorce et de voir le verre à moitié plein au lieu de celui qui est à moitié
vide. De mon côté, j’ai pris un mois de vacances en Europe afin de renouer le
contact avec d’anciens amis et ma famille. Il n’y avait rien de plus apaisant
que d’être entouré de gens qui m’aimaient et qui m’appréciaient pour qui je
suis. Guérir, c’est vivre l’expérience inverse du traumatisme. Selon la sagesse
bouddhiste, nous ne pouvons recevoir qu’après avoir vidé notre tasse, alors
laissez-vous remplir d’un sens d’anticipation et d’émerveillement de ce qui va arriver
dans notre vie après la perte de l’amour.
Nous avons été
conditionnés par la société à tout faire par nous-mêmes. Alors, naturellement,
lorsque nous sommes blessés, nous avons tendance à nous isoler. Ce n’est pas
sain. Nous sommes des créatures sociales et avons besoin les uns des autres.
Après la rupture d’une relation intime importante, notre équilibre émotionnel
se dégrade, nous ne devons donc pas aggraver la situation en niant notre besoin
humain le plus élémentaire de se sentir soutenu, aimé et pris en charge.
J’étais très chanceux que de bons amis et des personnes aimantes me tiennent
compagnie quand j’en avais le plus besoin. Il est naturel pour la plupart d’entre
nous d’aider son prochain surtout quand notre soutien est apprécié. Cela nous
donne une image positive de nous-même, et aider l’autre, c’est aussi souvent se
guérir soi-même. Le plus important, c’est d’être authentique dans l’expression
de votre douleur et de vos besoins, et vous serez alors surpris de toute la
bonté venant vers vous.
Douleur réelle et
Comme je l’ai déjà
mentionné, les ruptures sont parmi les expériences les plus douloureuses que
nous puissions vivre. Cependant, nous pouvons rendre ce processus de deuil plus
ou moins facile grâce à la qualité de nos pensées. Le sentiment de perte de
l’être aimé est réel et cela prend du temps à guérir. Cependant, beaucoup
d’autres émotions n’ont pas vraiment lieu d’être dans la mesure où elles sont
fabriquées par une pensée erronée. C’est là que notre adulte intérieur(AI) peut
aider notre enfant intérieur (EI) blessé.
EI : « Cette
personne a détruit ma vie. Je ne pourrai jamais m’en remettre. Cette personne
m’a détruite. »
AI : « Ce
fut une expérience difficile, mais je l’ai choisie de mon plein gré. Il y a
d’importantes leçons à tirer de toute relation douloureuse. »
EI : « Qu’est-ce
qui ne va pas chez moi, je ne peux pas avoir une relation saine et
enrichissante ? Je suis maudite à jamais et je serai seule pour le reste
de mes jours. »
AI : « J’ai
appris d’importantes leçons de cette relation passée et je suis beaucoup mieux
équipée pour attirer le bon type d’homme dans ma vie à présent. Bien que cela
ait été douloureux, je considère cette personne comme quelqu’un qui m’a
beaucoup apporté. Je sais maintenant beaucoup mieux ce que je recherche chez un
homme et ce dont je ne veux plus. »
EI : « Cet
homme doit payer pour tout le mal qu’il a fait à moi et à mes enfants. Je vais le
faire souffrir pour le reste de l’éternité pour qu’il comprenne. »
AI : « J’espère
que cette femme pourra être heureuse dans ses relations futures. Je suis
heureux de ne plus être dans sa vie, car il y avait beaucoup trop de conflits,
et je peux maintenant attirer à moi une relation qui me convient bien mieux. Si
le même schéma réapparaît dans toute relation future, je saurai alors que le
problème vient de moi et non d’elle. »
intérieur est blessé, il est préférable que l’adulte intérieur commence à
valider l’enfant intérieur avant de partager sa sagesse. Par exemple, dans la
première situation, cela ressemblerait à ceci : « Je sens que cette
personne a détruit ma vie et m’a tout pris. Parfois, je m’égare à penser que je
ne pourrai jamais me rétablir psychologiquement. Cependant, j’ai vécu des
difficultés similaires dans le passé et j’ai survécu. En fait, je continue
d’attirer de meilleurs compagnons. Je peux voir que ce fut une expérience
difficile, mais je l’ai choisie de mon plein gré et personne ne m’y a forcée.
J’ai appris quelques leçons importantes de cette relation. » Utilisez votre
intuition pour communiquer harmonieusement avec votre EI et votre AI. Si vous
laissiez votre bambin tout diriger chez vous, cela tournerait rapidement au souk,
et votre doux enfant deviendrait un tyran en landau. Écoutez patiemment tous
les besoins émotionnels de votre enfant intérieur, mais ne vous oubliez pas
dans ce processus. L’un des rôles importants de l’AI consiste à éduquer l’EI
pour qu’il grandisse. La validation émotionnelle doit aller de pair avec la
responsabilité afin que nous ne restions pas coincés dans un rôle de victime,
qui est l’un des états vibratoires les plus bas.
Rester en contact
ou non après une rupture ?
Les personnes qui
se séparent, mais qui s’aiment encore seront très blessées. Il est souvent très
difficile pour eux de rester en contact, et tout échange avec l’ex-partenaire
peut être ressenti comme un nouveau traumatisme. Dans un monde idéal, en
particulier s’il y a des enfants, il serait préférable que les anciens
partenaires restent courtois. D’après mon expérience, cela n’est toutefois possible
que lorsque l’amour du couple n’est plus là et que chacun a tourné la page. Il
n’y a alors plus de sentiment de manque ou de rancœur. Cela peut prendre du
temps. Quelle est la probabilité que cela se produise lorsqu’un couple vient de
se séparer ? C’est très improbable. Si une personne n’est plus amoureuse,
mais que l’autre personne l’est, la situation est tout aussi difficile. Je suis
d’avis que les gens doivent faire ce qu’il y a de mieux pour leur guérison
personnelle. Toutefois, si des enfants sont impliqués, accordez la priorité à
la santé émotionnelle des enfants sans céder aux drames et au contrôle de votre
ex-partenaire. Je suis resté en contact avec quelques-unes des femmes que j’ai
aimées par le passé, et j’ai trouvé ces relations enrichissantes. Cependant, il
a souvent fallu des années avant de pouvoir créer une amitié après la fin de
l’histoire d’amour. Cela ne peut être forcé, car l’amitié nouvellement acquise
doit être inconditionnelle et éloignée de toutes les déceptions de la relation
passée. Donc, dans la plupart des cas, une coupure nette est préférable à court
terme pour permettre la guérison émotionnelle du couple récemment éclaté.
comme outil de guérison ultime
En effectuant un
important travail de guérison en Europe grâce au soutien de mes amis et de ma
famille, j’ai trouvé les ressources nécessaires pour écrire un blog afin
d’annoncer notre divorce d’une manière réellement reconnaissante en pensant à
tous les bienfaits et les moment merveilleux qui ont accompagnés notre relation.
Et je ne faisais pas la politique de l’autruche. C’était maintenant à moi de
créer dans ma vie et en moi tout ce que j’avais adoré auparavant chez elle.
Lorsque nous sommes reconnaissants, nous ne pouvons pas être en colère. Lorsque
nous sommes reconnaissants, nous ne pouvons pas nous sentir victimes. Lorsque
nous sommes reconnaissants, nous ne pouvons pas nous venger. Lorsque nous
sommes reconnaissants, un avenir radieux nous attend et nous arrêtons de vivre
dans le passé. Lorsque nous sommes reconnaissants, nous ne nous fermons pas et
au contraire, nous gardons notre cœur ouvert à de nouvelles possibilités.
Cependant, nous ne devons pas précipiter le processus de deuil en soi. Avant
que nous puissions atteindre une véritable gratitude, nous devons faire
l’expérience de toutes les émotions crues d’impuissance, de colère, de rancœur,
de tristesse et de manque. Et souvent, nous devons vivre ces émotions négatives
plusieurs fois au cours de différents cycles. Nos émotions doivent être authentiques
et nous ne devons pas prétendre ressentir quelque chose que nous ne ressentons
pas. C’est cela que de vivre une vie authentique. Nous devons trouver le
courage d’exprimer ouvertement ce que nous ressentons lorsque nous nous sentons
en sécurité sans se soucier de l’opinion d’autrui.
Combien de temps
faut-il pour guérir d’une rupture ?
Si nous voulons
vraiment guérir, si nous vivons dans un milieu sain et si nous pouvons compter
sur un adulte intérieur qui a de la sagesse, je pense qu’un mois par année de
la relation est un délai raisonnable. Toutefois, cela peut prendre parfois beaucoup
plus de temps et d’ailleurs, certains individus ne surmontent jamais certains chagrins
amoureux. Il est aussi possible que vous fassiez le deuil de l’être cher alors
même que vous êtes encore dans la relation. Pendant la phase de deuil, le
célibat strict est très recommandé. Notre énergie sexuelle est la plus fine des
énergies dont nous disposons, et vous avez besoin de tourner cette énergie
créative vers l’intérieur pour votre guérison. Si nous écoutons réellement
notre corps pendant un cycle de deuil, nous remarquerons que le corps n’a
aucune envie de dépenser son énergie sexuellement. Seule la tête peut le faire
afin d’éviter de ressentir des émotions difficiles, car cela suit un schéma de
dépendance et de peur de la solitude. Notre tête est un bon serviteur, mais un bien
pauvre maître. La sagesse de notre cœur et de notre corps est beaucoup plus
fiable pour savoir ce qui est le mieux pour nous. Ne précipitez pas votre
processus de deuil.
Je suis intéressé
à en savoir plus sur vos propres histoires de rupture, ce que vous en avez
appris et ce qui a aidé votre processus de deuil. N’hésitez pas à partager vos
histoires et vos questions ci-dessous dans les commentaires.