A lasting and fulfilling love relationship may be one of the rarest things to experience in this life as mere mortals. Couple issues are common and the divorce rate has been exploding all over the world over the past decades. When people needs are moving up the Maslow pyramid, from pure survival to creating a life that feels good, they have higher expectations and they aspire to an emotionally fulfilling intimate relationship. Many people are expert at projecting how good they are doing as a couple to the outside world but as soon as they are home alone, difficult arguments may start. Actually, very few couples are experiencing the following attributes that would characterize a successful intimate relationship:
Feeling loved, seen, understood and cared for
Enjoying spending time together
Heartfelt intimate connection that translates in feeling the other in oneself such as giving to our beloved feels better than giving to oneself
Physical affection including great sex
Lots of laugh together
Such relationships are a very rare gift, and nothing can come even close to bring us intense happiness. Keeping it for the long run is even rarer.
THE LURE OF PASSION
There is a common belief that love stories always end up badly. This is why we say falling in love instead of waking up to love. Romantic love is this intense and all-consuming feeling to merge with another. It is not rational, explainable or conscious. It feels more like a mystical state than anything else. It stems from the depth of our subconscious. It yields incredible power to change the course of any life, and its primary purpose is to break the walls required to promote our inner growth.
Romantic love is a way for nature to urge us into forcing us to solve our unresolved fragments, to bring our shadows into light and to work out our Karma. It is one of the ways for spirit to orchestrate our growth as a spiritual being having a human experience.
First, intense love attractions are about our traumatic past so that we may re-experience them in a different form to bring them back to our conscious mind, and complete healing. Girls with an absent father will automatically look for an emotionally unavailable man. They try hopelessly and futilely to be loved by them. It is their subconscious attempt to get loved by dad again. A man who was abandoned as a child will repeat over and over this pattern of abandonment with his partners. We replay the trauma of the past tragically and we get hurt badly. Some of us are able to reflect upon these difficult experiences to heal our painful past to create a life that feels good. But many of us sink even deeper into addiction, or develop mental and physical health issues.
There is nothing like love to transform us to our very core. Love relationships also act as a strong indicator of the qualities we need to develop within to become whole. We fell in love with someone because they have attributes that we want to possess. They are guiding us through our journey of self-development. We are not even conscious of this process. Attraction is based on how much a person is able to reflect our disowned self. This is why shrewd businessmen lacking empathy are often attracted to highly sensitive women. They represent the heart they have lost along the way of their financial success. Unfortunately, we quickly start doing to the object of our love what we have done to the aspect of us this person is mirroring, the aspect of us that we have disowned. We shut it down, we judge it as weak and incompetent with the repercussions we know to the detriment of the relationship. This is largely the reason why many love stories end up badly.
The first beautiful phase of a romantic relationship shows us what we can become as we achieve our full potential. These states of consciousness include feeling incredibly alive, ego dissolution, feeling one with all, sharing and feeling love with an open heart. So why don’t we go directly towards this magical potential that we all possess instead of getting lured by the reflection of this love in another human being? Why don’t we go directly for the fire of self-love and trust that a beautiful intimate relationship will manifest in this physical dimension to mirror that love?
On an amusing and anecdotal note, many people give up on human love and just buy a dog. They know that no one would ever be able to provide this level of unconditional love exhibited by their pet. Some others just turn towards God, Jesus or Buddha because an imaginary being that they project as perfect could never do them wrong. They just project the pure love potential that exists within all of our hearts to an external projection. And some others again look for self-realization. At the end, it is all the same search for love, to realize that it lays within our own heart.
LOVE AS MANIPULATION
There are many wrong reasons to be in an intimate relationship with someone. We may be afraid of feeling lonely. We may feel incapable of taking care of ourselves financially, emotionally or physically. We may want to look good (or avoid looking bad) to our family, friends or community. We are ashamed of all these reasons so we manipulate to get our needs met. Seduction takes the form of manipulation. We show the other person the aspect of us that will appeal to their own insecurity and lack: we want partners with a sexy body to boost one’s self-esteem, another one with a muscular one to feel safe next to him, a wealthy partner for financial security, a witty boyfriend for fun, an intelligent girlfriend for stimulation or someone empathic for warmth and support. We all intuitively do this as part of the seduction game. So we start the relationship on the promise of what the other person is looking for, but this is a small aspect of us. Quickly, we cannot help showing who we truly are, especially if we live with our lover. All our flaws and all the dark reasons why we wanted to be in a relationship go on the open. This is the moment of shock where the beloved becomes ugly and scary. Unfortunately, we are already hooked and it is too painful to leave. It will remind us possibly of how unlovable or unattractive we are, or of the traumatic childhood event where we were abandoned. We prefer not to say anything, not to rock the boat. Tension builds in the relationship. More distance or activities outside the relationship are required to soothe this terrifying intimate mirror.
However, a relationship that was based initially on something we are not or very partially is doomed. It is simply not sustainable to keep pretending. Less and less of our energy gets invested in the relationship. We start looking at other options, project our own limitations into our lover, and build resentment. We enter the relationship on the basis of manipulation and we get surprised when we get manipulated in return. This is the story of the 65-year-old dating a 25-year-old who gets shocked at the price tag that comes with it. This is a business transaction, not a relationship. One of the most common and unconscious forms of manipulation is the game between the love avoider (typically played by the man but not always) and the love anxious. As long as the woman is not attached, the man showers the woman with attention, gifts, fun outings and compliments. But as long as the woman opens her heart to the man, he gets scared, feels suffocated and the fear of commitment takes over. The woman hurts deeply as a result so she starts detaching. He panics about the lost love and with the extra distance, the man is comfortable again to pour love again into the woman and does everything he can to win her over again. But he becomes commitment-phobic as soon as he wins her back. This game can continue indefinitely.
At worst, romantic love may also become a mirage, a coping mechanism not to face our inner void or even an addiction. At best, it opens the gates of our heart and to the divine.
I have a long-time friend now in his 70s who has a long history of relationships. He has done it all. In the 90s, I knew him in a polyamorous setting with 3 beautiful women. While this could have appeared like a dream for many men reading this article, he told me recently that being alone is better than being with multiple partners. And being with a special person is better than being alone. This was his wisdom after over 50 years of relationships and it was genuine. It is so easy for us to play games, lie to ourselves, get lost in distractions rather than opening our heart to true intimacy.
LIMITS OF COMPATIBILITY
After being burned out so many times with the lure of passion, we may decide to take a different approach. We go online and answer the hundreds of questions of match.com and eHarmony to find a perfectly compatible partner. Enough of the drama, of the crazy step kids and the misunderstandings. We finally find someone with the same interests in life, the same culture, the same sex drive, the same diet, the same vision for life, the same social status and with kids of the same age. The relationship feels good and drama free. We feel we have finally transcended our past traumas to experience a relationship that feels good. We realize we can be friends in addition to lovers.
But after a while, we feel something is missing. We are missing the butterflies in the stomach. We crave for that intense passion that made us lose our mind. We are missing this feeling of fusion where our ego dissolves. We start wondering about the opportunity cost of compatibility. We cannot deal with the grief of missing real love, especially when we have experienced it before and we know how it feels. We may have a great loving friend but we start thinking this may prevent us from meeting our soulmate. A compatible relationship may feel more like a friendship than love. While a strong friendship between lovers makes life much easier to live, there is still the part of us that likes to be out of control and even obsessed about the object of love. This intensity is making us feel alive. When routine takes over, our lover may feel more like a roommate who shares now with us all the stress and burden of our life. At the same time, just meeting for the good times and doing fun things together feels empty after a while. We want something more, a fusion where we are able to share all of who we are, not only the bright side. We starve to be seen fully in all of our light and shadow, and to be loved with all our idiosyncrasies. But we are terrified that our partner would run away if they see our dark side. After all, the personality tests we took were all about our conscious aspects and not the defects we are ashamed of.
In my practice, I see people with high conflict relationships that have been together for a long time, and some that never had an argument who just decide to separate. Conflict is not what ends a relationship. To some extent, we fight for things we care about. To stop caring is what ends a relationship. Some people see relationship just as a way to get one’s needs met. This is so prevalent in this time of consumerism and social media. However, a love relationship is more defined by what we are able to give than by what we are able to get. Love is not rational. It is not about convenience. It is more an art than a science. It is all about feeling, and it is hard to make sense of all these feelings. We like stability and peace, but too much of it makes us feel uneasy. The moments of doubt and uncertainty in the relationship make us remember not to take anything for granted, that we are together by choice and not because we have to. We marvel at that irrational love we cannot explain because it is unconditional. Great sex is based on duality, on the opposites that challenge each other. When we are too similar, the polarity decreases as well as the sex appeal. Sometimes, a lover may even create some futile arguments to spark some flames because she/he becomes afraid that the relationship may become dull.
DEVELOPING DEEPER INTIMACY
Relationships are difficult because we are a multiplicity instead of being a unified whole. There is an aspect of us that is looking for fusion. However, there is another aspect that is looking for individuality and freedom. As a person, we are the composite of many layers of our past development that encapsulate with each other. The baby part wants to find fusion again with mum, and the toddler in us wants to explore away from mum. And we possess many other aspects that contradict each other. To be a human being is complex and it gets worse as we age. This is why it is so important to be introspective to know oneself and become more attuned. This way, we can compensate this inner complexity with good communication to accommodate the needs of both our internal parts and the ones of our partner. Of course, it is easier said than done.
Love starts with getting infatuated with the partner’s qualities that we desire subconsciously, the aspects of us that we have disowned. This is a form of narcissistic love, where we are in awe of our own potential through the mirror of the beloved. I believe however that true love is based on embracing and even loving the other person’s shadows or quirks. This is what is going to make a relationship last.
The reality is that we do not want to work on a relationship. We want to be in the flow. Of course, when children, material and status considerations, fear of abandonment are in play, there are very big incentives to make the relationship work. So we start problem-solving the relationship like a problem at work. We read relationship books looking for the magical recipe to fix the relationship. Love becomes a project. We become roommates or business partners with our mate and the intimacy fades away. We calculate, monitor closely what we do or say to reach an outcome. However, the flow of love requires free expression and spontaneity. It is about creating a container large enough for the person to express themselves fully so that they may be seen in their totality. It is about living in the present without any parachute. It is about reminding ourselves that love is a gift and not a due and it may vanish or come back at any time. It is about letting go off control. This is where self-love is so important. If we do not possess enough self-love, the idea of losing the object of our love is unbearable. Jealousy sets in. Otherwise, we understand that our lovers just reflect the love that is within us.
It is a wonderful feeling to be in a relationship because we want to and not because we have to. This is only possible if we have enough autonomy. Two hearts that love each other in total freedom is magical and it can be so terrifying at the same time. And it is even better when we cannot even explain why we love someone. It is an act of grace. I have learned to enjoy missing a lover and it is a such good indicator of the love I feel for her.
A relationship needs space to grow and this amount of space is dependent on the people in the relationship. Creating space helps to counter the tendency we have to take people for granted, to remember the qualities instead getting stuck on the deficiencies. The time when we miss each other genuinely takes away the natural erosion of life and routine on the relationship.
I go back to the words of intimacy expert Peter Sandhill. According to him, it takes 3 main ingredients for a fulfilling intimate relationship. First, we need love or the powerful subconscious pull that brings two beings together. Every relationship goes through ups and downs, and without this powerful attraction, we simply will not have the perseverance and the commitment to face the challenges coming our way. Secondly, we need compatibility so that we may experience more beautiful memories, enjoyable shared moments and connection time instead of conflicts. This will keep the relationship fresh and limit the natural erosion of everyday life on the relationship. Third, we need the tools which are the combination of our inner work, effective communication and relationship knowledge. We need to stay students of life and commit to become the best version of ourselves because a relationship is nothing else that the closest mirror to the totality of who we are.
What makes love so unique is that there are no rules. It is a continuous exploration. As we evolve and reflect, we have the ability to co-create a relationship that feels good for both partners or part ways. There is no magic formula but we have much power than we can imagine to heal and experience gratifying relationships. We may learn from the experience of others but, at the end of the day, it is really up to us. Authenticity, communication, creativity, commitment, openness are the constants. And let’s remember that love is more about an art than a business where flow, inspiration, courage will always mean more than willpower, problem-solving and planning.
Les cercles de
développement personnel et spirituel parlent souvent des concepts du Moi
supérieur (ou l’âme), de l’enfant intérieur et du besoin d’une personnalité
positive, introspective, reliée aux réalités de la vie matérielle et efficace.
La plupart des ouvrages de développement personnel abordent un seul aspect,
rarement deux à la fois et presque jamais les trois. Si quelqu’un me demande ce
qu’est l’éveil spirituel, je réponds simplement « Vivre le paradis sur
terre », c’est-à-dire la capacité à fonctionner dans cette dimension
physique selon des principes spirituels élevés. De manière pratique, nous avons
en nous trois aspects principaux et très différents : 1. l’adulte, 2. l’enfant
et 3. l’âme, et les trois doivent coexister en harmonie afin que nous puissions
être véritablement intégrés et devenir ce que nous appelons un être éveillé. Le
développement d’un aspect sans les autres est en réalité un danger pour soi et
pour les autres.
adulte intérieur n’est rien d’autre que notre personnalité. Notre personnalité s’est
construite selon notre éducation familiale, notre culture, notre éducation et
notre environnement. En conséquence, elle est pleine de concepts erronés, de
perspectives limitées, d’idées fausses et de contradictions. Par
l’introspection, l’étude des grands sages, l’application des leçons précieuses
tirées de notre expérience, la pensée positive et consciente, nous pouvons peu
à peu améliorer notre personnalité pour mieux soutenir notre vie et celle des
autres qui nous entourent. Beaucoup de livres sont consacrés à nous aider à
développer une personnalité plus efficace afin que nous puissions avoir plus de
succès dans la vie, qu’il s’agisse de gagner plus d’argent, d’améliorer notre
relation de couple ou d’être plus heureux. Un adulte mûr a une pensée claire, répond
aux situations de la vie de manière réfléchie, projette des valeurs positives
et comprend les étapes nécessaires pour atteindre ses buts. Il sait aussi
comment se protéger et protéger les autres. Il est capable de tirer parti de ses
précieuses expériences de vie pour améliorer la qualité de vie de tous ceux qui
intérieur est un concept plus récent. Bien que Carl Jung soit à l’origine du
concept dans son archétype de l’enfant divin, John Bradshaw est en réalité
celui qui a popularisé le travail sur l’enfant intérieur auprès du grand public
dans les années 1980 grâce à ses best-sellers et à ses apparitions aux côtés d’Oprah.
Tous les professionnels de la santé mentale sont maintenant familiers avec le
concept de l’enfant intérieur. L’enfant intérieur correspond à notre essence et
au noyau de ce que nous sommes. C’est un aspect hyper sensible, complètement
ouvert et la source de notre créativité, de notre spontanéité et de notre joie
intérieure. Quand nous grandissons dans ce monde difficile avec des parents
imparfaits, notre enfant intérieur (ou nos enfants intérieurs) est victime de
traumatismes. Ceux-ci vont engendrer une faible estime de soi, une pauvre image
corporelle, des déséquilibres affectifs, l’auto-flagellation, des masques
bloquants, des problèmes d’identité, d’intimité et d’engagement, des dépendances,
etc. Le travail sur l’enfant intérieur a pour objectif de renouer avec cet
aspect subconscient du soi, de revivre consciemment les émotions refoulées afin
que nous puissions aider notre enfant intérieur à poursuivre son développement.
L’âme est notre
moi transcendantal. Celui-ci est déjà parfait, pleinement développé et connecté
à l’ensemble de l’existence. Le moi supérieur est au-dessus du cycle de la
naissance et de la mort. C’est la conscience elle-même. Grâce à cela, nous
pouvons faire l’expérience de la conscience de Dieu. Qui mieux que Rumi, le
mystique soufi du XIIIe siècle, pour nous décrire le moi supérieur ?
« Ces formes que nous sommes sont comme des tasses flottant dans un océan
de conscience vivante. Elles se remplissent et coulent sans laisser de traces.
Ce que nous sommes, c’est cet océan, mais nous sommes trop proches pour le
voir, même si nous y nageons et le buvons. Ne soyez pas une tasse avec un
rebord sec, ou quelqu’un qui chevauche toute la nuit et ne connaît jamais le
cheval entre ses cuisses. » Nous ne travaillons pas sur l’âme, il s’agit
simplement d’élever notre conscience et de nous rappeler qui nous sommes en
tant qu’âme. L’âme est indestructible et ne peut être blessée, car elle est cet
d’illustrer l’évolution de ces trois aspects à travers mon expérience
personnelle. Quand j’étais enfant, j’ai subi une série de traumatismes qui m’ont
conduit à une dépression profonde et à une forte anxiété à l’âge de treize ans.
Ma personnalité adolescente cherchait des possibilités de sortir de mon enfer
émotionnel. Bien que les progrès aient été lents à cet âge, j’ai développé petit
à petit des concepts et des idées pour rendre mon existence plus supportable.
Mes progrès touchaient uniquement le niveau de la personnalité (ou mon moi
adulte). Je suis devenu adulte trop rapidement et j’ai géré ma douleur affective
en devenant le meilleur élève possible à l’école. Je manquais de spontanéité,
j’étais très sérieux et me sentais comme un vieil homme à l’intérieur. À dix-neuf
ans, j’ai passé tout l’été aux États-Unis, ce qui a élargi mes horizons. Je
suis tombée amoureux d’une fille à mon retour à l’université, et une rupture
douloureuse trois mois plus tard a ouvert ma conscience. L’intensité de la
douleur émotionnelle m’a fait vivre pour la première fois un état de conscience
mystique où je me suis senti extatique. Soudain, je me suis rendu compte que la
vie était bien plus grande que le monde visible. Je me suis lancé dans une quête
spirituelle et suis devenu obsédé par cet éveil dont parlent les grandes
philosophies et religions. Pendant les sept années suivantes, sans le
comprendre consciemment, j’étais à la recherche de mon moi supérieur que je
n’avais ressenti que pendant quelques instants. En tant que chercheur
spirituel, je suis tombé dans un premier piège, et j’ai rejoint une secte. Les
sectes sont des organisations toxiques, qui se positionnent comme des
intermédiaires dans notre relation à Dieu afin de nous exploiter. Après en être
sorti trois ans plus tard, et après avoir pris le temps de me déprogrammer,
j’ai poursuivi mes efforts pour m’éveiller. Cela a porté ses fruits et quand
j’ai eu vingt-six ans, j’ai vécu un état de conscience où j’ai vécu un état
extatique ou le pur amour pendant plus de vingt-quatre heures. Cela a ouvert
une porte où j’ai pu retourner consciemment à cet état avec une discipline de
vie spécifique. Tandis que j’éprouvais des états de conscience extatiques, je
me suis rendu compte que j’étais devenu un junky spirituel et que ma vie ne
reflétait pas extérieurement les états de conscience extraordinaires que
j’éprouvais intérieurement. J’ai commencé à me sentir seul et j’ai concentré
mon attention sur la manifestation physique. Sans le savoir, j’avais changé la
focalisation de mon travail intérieur de mon âme à ma personnalité. Pour faire
mûrir cet adulte intérieur, je me suis inspiré de gourous de du développement
personnel tels qu’Antony Robbins, Wayne Dyer ou Brian Tracy. Je me suis marié
avec une PAJ (princesse américaine juive), et j’ai fondé une famille. Je me
suis concentré sur ma carrière pour réussir ma vie. Je suis devenu un
entrepreneur prospère dans la Silicon Valley et le vice-consul honoraire de
lecteur assidu avec toujours pour but de m’améliorer. Mon succès professionnel
était un mécanisme d’adaptation à ma douleur émotionnelle que j’avais continué
à enfouir, et qui se manifestait à travers une relation tumultueuse avec ma
femme. Quand j’ai eu trente-cinq ans, je n’ai plus réussi à contenir ces
émotions sous-jacentes. Je suis entré en thérapie à ce moment-là et ai commencé
à renouer avec mon moi transcendental, car j’avais constamment le sentiment que
quelque chose me manquait. Je suis devenu un grand fan d’enseignants de non-dualité
tels qu’Eckart Tolle, Adyashanti, Krishnamurti ou David Deida. Quand j’ai eu trente-huit
ans, la grâce est venue au travers d’un événement inattendu. J’ai eu une
commotion cérébrale à la suite d’un accident de ski, qui m’a recâblé le
cerveau. Après avoir récupéré de l’accident, je pouvais méditer sans effort et
le sentiment qu’il me manquait quelque chose a alors disparu. Je suis devenu
beaucoup plus intuitif et me suis toujours senti guidé dans mes actions. À ce
moment-là, j’avais fait un énorme travail pour développer une personnalité
consciente afin de soutenir ma vie et ouvrir le chemin intérieur à mon âme. Cependant,
jusqu’à ce moment-là, je n’avais fait que très peu de travail sur mon enfant
intérieur (je n’étais pas au courant du concept à l’époque) et l’écart s’accentuait
entre cet enfant intérieur sous-développé et brisé et le reste de mon être.
J’ai connu une crise de milieu de vie et ai attiré une partenaire encore plus
déséquilibrée que moi-même. Elle était un canal clair pour son moi supérieur,
détenait la connaissance spirituelle la plus remarquable, mais toute sa vie
était en réalité contrôlée et rendue misérable par les traumatismes de son
enfance qu’elle se sentait impuissante à guérir. À cause de ses dons
spirituels, elle pouvait voir à travers moi, et je ne pouvais plus cacher mes
enfants intérieurs blessés. J’avais tellement réprimé la douleur de mon enfance
pour atteindre le succès matériel et spirituel que mes enfants intérieurs
perdus se sont manifestés sous la forme de l’aliénation parentale de mes
enfants réels. Tout au long de ma vie, j’ai fait face à de nombreux défis, mais
aucun n’était comparable à la brutalité de cette expérience. Mon dernier mariage
s’est également effondré quelques temps après. Cette année passée a été
difficile, mais riche en apprentissage. Elle m’a permis de réintégrer mon
enfant intérieur avec ma personnalité d’adulte et mon moi transcendantal.
Maintenant, lorsque mon enfant a mal, je m’assieds en méditation avec la
douleur. Mon adulte et mon âme le rejoignent, lui prennent la main et l’aident
à guérir. J’ai arrêté de le brimer et de le faire taire comme je l’avais fait pratiquement
toute ma vie. Qu’il s’agisse de solitude, de trahison, de dépression, de
colère, de jalousie, de suspicion, de méfiance ou de tristesse, je reste assis avec
lui sans jugement. Avec suffisamment de patience, mon enfant intérieur est en
train de se reconstruire lentement grâce à la confiance en mon adulte intérieur
et à la sagesse et la présence de mon âme. En fait, je n’ai pas découvert un
seul enfant intérieur, mais plusieurs, qui ont entre deux et onze ans. Il est
clair que cet aspect de moi est encore un peu en retard par rapport à ma
personnalité et à ma connexion avec mon moi transcendantal. C’est donc sur cet
aspect que je me concentre afin d’atteindre mon plein potentiel, et ainsi finir
par me reconnecter à mes enfants réels.
partageant mon expérience personnelle, j’aurai
réussi à illustrer l’importance de rester équilibré avec ces trois axes de
travail tout au long de notre cheminement spirituel. Je pense intuitivement que
Wayne Dyer aurait pu faire face à un déséquilibre similaire. C’était un
professeur remarquable, doté d’une personnalité très intelligente et d’une
profonde compréhension de l’âme. Sa troisième épouse, Marcelene, mère de cinq de
ses enfants, a divorcé après vingt ans de mariage, et il est décédé plus tard
d’une leucémie, révélatrice d’un traumatisme infantile non guéri (Wayne était
un enfant de l’assistance publique). De la même manière, Jerry Hicks, l’auteur
inspiré de la loi de l’attraction avec sa sixième femme Esther, est décédé d’un
Les individus qui
font l’expérience de leurs aspects transcendantaux sans faire le travail
nécessaire sur leur personnalité pour développer l’objectivité et l’intégrité
nécessaires, peuvent facilement devenir des leaders de sectes. Leurs
traumatismes non guéris génèrent alors des fausses croyances et des illusions.
Les Amérindiens ont
souvent un lien authentique avec le divin et ont un enfant intérieur en bonne
santé. Malheureusement, le manque de développement de leur personnalité fait
cependant d’eux une cible facile pour l’exploitation, les abus ou la dépendance.
Les personnes ayant
une personnalité très développée, mais peu connectées à leur âme peuvent avoir
beaucoup de succès, voire faire des choses magnifiques dans la vie, si elles
ont un enfant intérieur en bonne santé, mais il y aura peu d’incitation à aider
les gens en dehors de leur famille proche. Celles dont l’enfant intérieur est traumatisé
seront souvent autocratiques avec le désir d’exploiter leur prochain.
dimensions sont faciles à voir chez les êtres éveillés. Par exemple, le Dalaï Lama
agit souvent comme un petit enfant qui adore s’amuser ou plaisanter, mais peut
exprimer des concepts complexes à partir de sa personnalité sans jamais perdre de
vue sa nature transcendantale. Il peut basculer entre ces aspects à volonté en
fonction de ce qui est requis dans le moment présent. Une personnalité
développée peut comprendre et connaître Dieu, cependant seul l’enfant en bonne
santé en nous peut en faire directement l’expérience en tant qu’amour, unité et
créativité. C’est pourquoi on dit souvent que le cœur (auquel l’enfant
intérieur a un accès direct) est le siège de l’âme. Ayant développé cette
trinité en nous, nous pouvons maintenant regarder les étoiles avec les pieds
solidement plantés dans le sol et créer le paradis sur terre.
In traditional psychology literature, the person with BPD (borderline personality disorder) is seen as a hopeless and dangerous monster. While this disorder poses serious challenges, I have realized that it is just as dysfunctional as its codependent counterpart. This reputation is coming from the fact that PBPD (people with BPD) can be very threatening especially as they get into rage. The codependent is much more covert. He copes, plays the nice guy and manipulates. He is not threatening but we could argue that an exposed danger is safer than a covert one even if it may be more explosive.
This is actually the major difference between both disorders. They both struggle with poor self-esteem, fear of abandonment, loneliness and shame. The codependent copes while the PBPD is unable to cope. The codependent children were able to exercise a certain level of control in their environment because there was a certain level of predictability as they found coping or manipulative strategies that yielded results with their narcissistic parents. For example, as a codependent child, I could get positive feedback consistently from my grandfather and father by having good grades. I could affect my mother’s mood in how I reacted to her food. I could get her attention consistently by expressing strong emotions. The BPBD environment was much more unpredictable so they could never develop strategies to get the attention, reflection and love they were starving for. The BPBD were raised in fundamentally and profoundly invalidating environments. My mother was forbidden to use the light at night at her foster home in order to save money. Her grades suffered and she received criticism from the teachers as she kept receiving mixed messages from her environment. She was instructed to only wear poor people clothes because her foster parent was afraid that other parents might be jealous. At the same time, she was criticized the way she looked by her classmates. She was taught to wash only in the dark, as her body was sinful. A couple of borderline partners I have had would receive constant criticism from their mother and sometimes serious beatings. When they would do very well on an activity or discipline, their mother would get jealous and punish them. When the mother is borderline, it is very likely that the daughter will be a borderline too while the son would become a codependent though it may vary depending on family dynamics. Because of the invalidating and unpredictable environment, the child develops hypersensitivity to already be ready for danger and does not learn how to regulate his emotions. Their emotions go from park to 5th gear in no time. Contrary to what some experts are saying, I do not believe that BPD comes from chemical imbalance. It is coming from an early childhood invalidating environment that created this psychological condition in them, which then in turn produced the chemical imbalance. This is not a genetic disease though it often runs in the family. It is a behavioral disorder where parents make their children suffer the same way they have suffered in the hands of their own caregivers. This is coming from the fact that they had to create an internal perpetrator to cope with the caregiver they had to bond with. This ego defense mechanism came from the fact that children that were able to bond with their parents had a much higher chance of survival. Children that would wander away from the parents would be a target for predators. For this reason, the parents can never be bad from the child perspective. The children have to make themselves bad rather than the parents otherwise their survival would be at stake. This was learned through millions of years of evolution. It is safer for their survival or at least it used to be in ancestral societies. This is why children make it always their fault when their parents divorce, fight or abandon them. This is coming from our primitive brain.
People who are invalidated will usually either leave the invalidating environment, attempt to change their behavior so that it meets the expectations of their environment (codependent coping mechanism), or try to prove themselves valid by challenging the environment. The borderline dilemma arises when the individual cannot leave the environment and is unsuccessful at changing either the environment or their own behavior to meet the environment’s demands. Sexual abuse is one of the most severe form of invalidation during childhood. The victim is told that the molestation or intercourse is “OK” but that she must not tell anyone else. The abuse is seldom acknowledged by other family members, and if the child reports the abuse she risks being disbelieved or blamed. It is difficult to imagine a more invalidating experience for a child. As a result, clinical psychologists have suggested that the secrecy of sexual abuse may be the factor most related to subsequent BPD. Similarly, physical abuse is often presented to the child as an act of love or is otherwise normalized by the abusive adult. We have a French expression “Qui aime bien, châtie bien” which is the English equivalent of “Spare the rod and spoil the child”. It means that if children are not physically punished when they do wrong, their personal development will suffer. This type of upbringing is likely to create disorganized attachment which is the attachment trauma that most PBDP are suffering from.
Not everything is bad with the borderlines
Because PBPD are so often vilified, I am going to first play the devil’s advocate by stating what is great about them
Because of their hypersensitivity, they can make great artists, athletes or spokespersons. Vincent Van Gogh, Marilyn Monroe, Robin Williams, Brigitte Bardot, Britney Spears, Taylor Swift, Michael Jackson, Princess Diana, Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Whitney Houston, Christina Aguliera, Drew Barrymore, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Madonna, Mariah Carey, Megan Fox, OJ Simpson, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, Kurt Cobain and so many more that have inspired us, all have or have had, BPD. Many actually manage to get to the top of their field, as they are able to harness their very intense energy towards a creative purpose. When they are on, they are usually incredibly productive as their internal pain allows them to tap into parts of the brain that we typically have no access to.
They are great lovers. Their rawness, wildness and high-intensity make sex with them an unforgettable experience. They give themselves without restraint and because of their internal torment, they have no hesitation in experiencing the darkness and the ego death that makes love-making so spicy and thrilling. They have a unique way to make their partners dissolve into the act of love with them. The femme fatale is borderline. Some experts say that the PBPD is incapable of love because they are narcissistic however in my experience, the “love bombing” from the borderline is actually sincere that can make anyone melt. Unfortunately, because the PBPD does not have a defined sense of self, the adoration can turn very quickly to violent hate and rejection. I recommend you watch the character of Carmen in the famous Bizet opera to understand this archetype. The 1984 movie with Placido Domingo is one of its most remarkable interpretation.
They are more authentic by default as they lack the ability to cope. They are more spontaneous, vibrant, and alive than the rest of us. “Emotional intensity” means that their emotional reactions are amplified. On the positive side, emotionally intense individuals may experience joy more easily, and thus may also be more susceptible to spiritual experiences. Many of them are charismatic and possess unique charm and magnetism. As such, they can challenge societal structures that do not serve us anymore. Their frankness can disturb and sometimes hurt, but there is often a lot to learn from it.
They are the most ardent defenders of the weak and vulnerable because they are able to feel their pain. Children, animals, minorities and more generally; people suffering, echo into their heart. They often advocate for a change of lifestyle to minimize suffering on this planet. They will take that extra step to make a difference in someone’s life. They are less self-centered than the rest of us when they don’t struggle with their very survival. Brigitte Bardot, the French sex symbol of the 1960s, said when she retired “I gave my beauty and my youth to men. I am going to give my wisdom and experience to animals.”
The truth however is that being with a borderline is difficult, and it is up to some of us involved with PBPD to decide if it is worth it or not. Because of my own childhood traumas, I have been in a mission to create happy and fulfilling relationships with PBPD. As a result, I became an expert in loving the borderline which is nothing else than controlling the uncontrollable. I am single today so these efforts ultimately failed, or maybe succeeded, as I regained my autonomy through this healing journey and that I am now able to help others going similar dynamics.
I adore this video. It is based on an actual email exchange between “Mike” and his abusive, BPD girlfriend, “Susan”. I have had probably thousands of similar types of arguments over the last 25 years. Susan is completely in her hurt emotions and Mike is protecting himself by being rational but he is also cut from his emotions as he feels unsafe. The two people are not connecting and they could argue for hours to no avail. What I have learned the hard way is that when a borderline is triggered, there is no amount of rational discussions that would do any good. At this point, the mind of the borderline is completely controlled by their negative emotions so wise thoughts will be pointless. Matching the borderline intensity through the same intensity is never a good option either. The borderline is an escalator so if both of you escalate the argument, you will just end up killing each other. Staying silent, present and looking at their eyes with compassion is a better option however it would not help them release their internal pain and torment. Unfortunately, it would often just reinforce their shame. We need to understand that PBPD feel really bad about themselves and being so much out of control all the time. So staying in control like Mike even in a loving way will just reflect their own inadequacy.
De-escalate the PBPD with heartfelt validation
This is the magic wand and it works! The first thing to do with the PBPD you love is always heartfelt validation. I am saying heartfelt because the PBPD is very sensitive and will be able to feel right away if your validation is not sincere and mechanical. This will just infuriate her even more (I will use “she” for the PBPD because of my own personal relationship experience however some studies say that BPD is just as common in men than in women). She has a very sophisticated BS detector! So you need to be creative and find a way to validate her emotions in a way that is precise and genuine. It is always safe to start with fillers like “you are right to feel this way, anyone in your situation would feel the exact same way”. This will put her in a state of receptivity and at this point, it is best to use your own experience to show how you can relate to what she is experiencing internally. Validation is so important to the PBPD because she carries intense shame so validation is the way to neutralize it. The PBPD was raised in a very invalidating environment where she learned that there is something wrong about herself and how she feels. She has internalized self-loathing as a coping mechanism and this is creating huge amounts of anxiety in her. Let me give you a couple of examples to how validation works. Let’s start with the easier situation when she got very upset with something that does not concern you. It is easier but still challenging because if you do respond to the PBPD in a specific way, a problem that was not connected to you may become all about you, and how insensitive and uncaring you are. So you are still walking on eggshells.
“ I am such a shitty mum. I am just screwing up this child”
“I think you are a great mum. You really care about your child’s emotional well-being like no one else”
“I can only spend with him one day a week with undivided attention. And I feel so drained by the end of my day with him. I am simply not made to be a mum”
“The quality of time you spend with him is more important that the quantity. The fact that he is always asking for you shows that he really enjoys your time together, and how much he feels you care for him. You are really creative coming up with new projects to do together. It is fun and it is helping his development a lot”
“You really think so?”
“Yes, I believe he is really lucky to have a mum like you.. I would have killed to have a mum like you”
PBPD is feeling better. Get closer, hug and connect. Then she naturally goes on her day.
Let’s say now you are not attuned enough to the PBPD that you love, and say instead…
“Yes. Maybe you could try to find ways to spend more time with him. This could help his self worth and development. It seems like he is struggling”
At this point, you have triggered the shame of the PBPD and a discussion that was initially unrelated to you will become solely about you and the relationship
“If you made more money and if you were not such a loser, then I could spend more time with my son.”
“Why are you attacking me? I was just trying to help you”
“You are also such a lousy stepdad. All the pressure is on me because he cannot connect to you.”
“I am spending a day a week with him and I am putting a lot of energy into him”
“Yes, but it feels like you do not want to be there when you are playing with him. And he is feeling it. You have no desire to be a stepdad. This is breaking my heart when I see other men having fun with him. I just wish that were you. It makes me doubt that we should really be together”
“Why are you bringing this up now? This is really hurting me”
“Our relationship is doomed. You say you love me but you cannot connect to my own child. I should have better listened to my instincts. I keep making the same mistake with men”
“This is too much. I have to leave this discussion”
“Yes, get the fuck out of here. We can never talk together. If you leave this room, you may never see me again”
A couple of things happened here. By expressing what you thought was a constructive criticism to make things better, you have triggered the shame of the PBPD. Shame is like a hot potato so she has to give it right back to you. If you are with a PBPD, the chance is that you are struggling with core shame too so she will find a way to get you triggered too by showing how inadequate you are. If this does not work, she will escalate to trigger your abandonment issues that all codependents are struggling with. What is important to realize is that the PBPD is switching the tables on you for her emotional survival, as she cannot regulate her own emotions.
Inability to regulate emotions
Invalidating environments during childhood contribute to the development of emotion dysregulation; they also fail to teach the child how to label and regulate arousal, how to tolerate emotional distress, and when to trust their own emotional responses as reflections of valid interpretations of events. As adults, borderline individuals adopt the characteristics of the invalidating environment. They struggle to regulate negative emotions, have high sensitivity to negative emotional stimuli and show slow return to emotional baseline. As they feel powerless to regulate emotions internally, PBPD attempt to regulate their emotions externally, typically through unstable relationships. PBPD are well known to engage in self-harming behaviors such as cutting. Someone not BPD does not understand this type of behavior. Cutting hurts so why would someone do something so painful to herself? People asking this question have never been through the emotional hell that PBPD go through on a daily basis. Their emotional pain is so intense that physical pain feels like a release. This also explains why BPDs are such great and intense lovers. Sex allows them to get a break from their internal emotional hell and give them a well-needed release. This is the most positive physical release they can get but they need to feel good about their partner for this experience to be healing. The PBPD goes from park to 5th gear with her emotions. Once she is triggered, it is going to take a considerable amount of time and energy to bring her back to a calmer state. Another positive way for a PBPD to regulate her emotions is exercising. Running, spinning or any other type of hard physical exercise where she can exhaust herself will help her regulate emotions that went wild. Unfortunately, she often chooses to fight with her loved ones and fix them as a way to get a release. Their codependent partner is their most common way to regulate their emotions and this is why PBPD are often diagnosed with love addiction. This is coming from their intense fear of loneliness. For that reason, they are perceived to be needy, demanding and entitled.
Borderline individuals, more so than most, seem to do well when in stable, positive relationships and do poorly when not in such relationships. My mother has done considerably better since she has been married to my stepdad, a remarkably caring man. They desperately need connection as their attachment traumas make them feel they are unlovable so they hysterically look for external validation to fill their inner void. When you are receiving the tail end of a BPD crisis, it is hard to realize that the person abusing you is desperately looking for love & connection. She was abused herself by her primary caretakers so she had to internalize abuse as love to survive a very damaging environment. When a PBPD has an urge to cut, I recommend giving her an ice cube. This will allow her to experience physical pain in a safe way and that will help her regulate her emotions. You may want to press very hard her forearms to create the same relief in a safe way. Hugging her very hard can be helpful too as long as you are careful not to injure her. You may try to blast rap music and get her to dance with the rhythm. The key is to help her release the very intense self-destructive emotions. Emotions have gone too toxic to be processed internally and they need a physical release. The key is to empower them to find ways to release these emotions in a way that do not destroy their lives and the people around them. Unfortunately, PBPDs are often tempted with destructive ways to release themselves from their unbearable internal torment. Elevated rates of borderline personality disorder (BPD) have been found among individuals with substance use disorders (SUDs), especially cocaine-dependent patients. This population is very susceptible to addiction with illegal drugs. The addiction with legally prescribed opioid drugs is just as dangerous and kill many of them every year. PBPD are prescribed opioid pain medications at increasing and alarming rates. When they do not overdose from these drugs, the prescribed medications weaken their health through their many side effects, increase dependency and impact negatively their functioning. Our mental health system is corrupted and most psychiatrists spend their time prescribing dangerous opioid drugs instead of supporting patients to heal their trauma. We live in a system that promotes dependency over autonomy because it is financially beneficial to key players of the pharmaceutical industry. PBPD are a vulnerable population that is paying the price often at the cost of their lives for these economic choices. New clinical trials are coming out using shamanic medicine with DMT, MDMA or psilocybin to treat populations with PTSD with very encouraging results. As most PBPD suffer from complex PTSD, these treatments offer significant healing potential especially as they are far less addictive than prescribed opioid medications.
The most destructive way PBPD attempt to escape their emotional pain is suicide. Research has shown that around 70 percent of people with BPD will have at least one suicide attempt in their lifetime, and many will make multiple suicide attempts. Between 8 and 10 percent of PBPD will complete suicide, which is more than 50 times the rate of suicide in the general population. There is not a single day when PBPD are not contemplating suicide, as the thought of putting a term to their lives feels like a release. Because suicide is always a temptation for PBPD, it is critical that they have strong reasons to keep living such as raising a child, not hurting their loved ones or a personal life mission with greater purpose. Take this meaning away from the PBPD, and they will not hesitate to commit the irreparable. People who commit suicide do not want to die, but to end their pain. This is why it is so important to help PBPD to deal with their emotions in constructive ways.
Hypersensitivity & Overreaction
We discussed previously the positive aspects of hypersensitivity but it also poses some challenges. Partings that would cause to feel antsy may precipitate very intense and painful grief; what would cause slight embarrassment for another may cause deep humiliation; annoyance may turn to rage; shame may develop from slight guilt; apprehension may escalate to a panic attack or incapacitating terror.
Actually much of the borderline individual’s emotional distress is a result of secondary responses (e.g., intense shame, anxiety, or rage) to primary emotions. Often the primary emotions are adaptive and appropriate to the context. The reduction of this secondary distress requires exposure to the primary emotions in a nonjudgmental atmosphere, a validating environment.
I have a friend married to a BPD that is an agriculture expert. Summer is for him the busy season and he leaves the house at 6 AM to return after 10 PM every night. His wife expressed her anguish of having him gone so long. He initially shut her down because he makes most of the family yearly income during this time and he knew he could not change the nature of his work for her. This allows them to have a very good lifestyle and some amazing vacations with the children for the rest of the year. Overtime he learned to stop being defensive and to validate her separation anxiety instead of triggering additional emotions of shame and anxiety. This way, without changing anything around the necessities of his job, his wife is experiencing some manageable anguish instead of completely falling apart. He is avoiding crises, hours long disputes and his wife’s emotional breakdown. By improving his communication, he dramatically improved the quality of their life together around this incompatibility. This is fortunate how they really love each other and they have a beautiful family together.
He would say initially “Why are you upset? Who is going to pay for the mortgage and pay for the kids if I do not work my ass off in the summer? I make in one summer what you make in 5 years. I am tired and I need support instead of having you nagging at me for something I have no control over. Do you think I am having fun working 15 hours a day? Can you stop acting irrational?”
This would trigger her secondary emotions of shame and their dispute would escalate. He would then get even less sleep which would make her feel even more guilty. They were in a vicious circle.
His dialog is now much more different “Honey. I understand I am asking a big sacrifice from you every summer. It is really hard to have someone you love gone so much. Everyone in your situation would feel the same way. I miss you a lot too. I am so impressed how you are able to handle the kids, the house, your job and taking care of me during this critical time. I simply could not do it without you. When the summer is over, I promise to make it up to you. I have planned an amazing vacation for all of us in October.” He also mitigates the pressure by getting some of her family & friends visiting during that time and getting additional household support. With his new communication, no secondary emotions are triggered which makes it manageable.
Borderline individuals are the psychological equivalent of a third-degree burn patient. They simply have, so to speak, no emotional skin. If we touch a burn patient, and they start yelling, we are not saying that they overreact. Unfortunately, we dismiss what is not visible to the naked eye so we make the PBPD reactions wrong. This triggers their shame even more and this causes them to lose their temper on a seemingly trivial situation. PBPD are commonly shamed for their neediness. It is quite unfair, as we would not shame an infant or a cancer patient to be needy. Because we cannot see with our physical eyes how emotionally damaged are the PBPD, we judge them as needy, dependents and drama queens. Because PBPD are in desperate need of other people, they have learned to be creative to get people, and this is why many of them have become great lovers, cooks or entertainers. When faced with limited resources, they use their natural talents and charisma to draw people around them in ways that is more socially acceptable.
They carry deep insecurity and have a constitutional incapacity to tolerate much stress, especially in their interpersonal life. Events that might not bother many people are likely to bother them. They are known to make a mountain out of a molehill. If you love a PBPD, it is critical to learn to love her the way she is instead of attempting to fix her. Any of these attempts will just trigger her shame and makes your life even more miserable. If you love a PBPD, you need to ask yourself if you would stay with this person even if they would never change. If the response is negative, it is probably best to end the relationship. A break-up with a PBPD is very painful however both of you will eventually heal while a relationship where both continuously project their shame into each other is permanent hell. The PBPD can also feel if you are with them by obligation or guilt rather than love.
Impaired Thinking from Overwhelming Emotions
Some of the PBPD I know are highly intelligent however, even with them, the intensity of their emotions is overwhelming their thinking ability. Their hurt, anger and other negative emotions are corrupting the objectivity of their thinking. This is why it is pointless to have a rational discussion with PBPD once they are triggered. Our thinking brain (neocortex) is no match to our reptilian brain because it ensures our survival. Some PBPD are able to be more objective once they come back to a calmer state but most feel too insecure and powerless to consider the reality of their dysfunction. They would rather take the role of the victim to avoid the shame related to their behavior.
PBPDs have black & white thinking or “splitting”. They lack the ability to see simultaneously both the positive and negative qualities of the self and others into a cohesive, realistic whole. They tend to think in extremes, interpreting others actions and motivations as all good or all bad with no middle ground. Even when they excel in their professional occupation, they will oscillate between a state where they think they are a fraud, ready to be fired to boasting how good they are. It truly feels as a “split” personality. The same pattern is seen even more clearly with their relationship. Once in a relationship, they idolize their intimate partners, see them as their twin flame, as the best thing that happened to them but once the relationship ends, they demonize them often by making up stories and rallying everyone around them to substantiate their perceived abuse. They refuse to see that they were with the same person at the beginning and at the end of the relationship. It is their perception of their loved one that changed overtime. At the end of a relationship, they frantically discard any sign they ever were romantically involved with their ex in the hope it would take away the pain related to their abandonment and internal sense of inadequacy. They internally wish that their exes fall apart emotionally after the break-up to improve their self-esteem and not face their internal shame of contributing to the separation. This would make them the good guys that tried everything to make it a successful relationship but the partner was simply “too damaged”. It is projection that helps them not to feel abandonment. I knew a PBPD that played mind games with her ex to drive him to the point of insanity. He was still in love with her and coping by drinking alcohol. I could sense below the surface how much she took satisfaction on his addiction. This way, she could easily justify to others the end of the relationship on his dysfunction while she had a large part in it. If you are ending a relationship with a PBPD, do not fall into this trap. Do your healing work and be the first one to get back on your feet. Stay away from the drama and create an environment conducive to your healing. It is part of the psychological make-up of the ex PBPD to get you to sink so that they look good to themselves and others. This is why many PBPDs will continue to harass their exes even years after they break up, and they will use any opportunity to damage your friendships, your career, the connection with your children and your enjoyment of life.
In the treatment of BPD, the therapist would help them see both black and white, and to achieve a synthesis of the two that does not negate the reality of either. PBPD inappropriately attribute all blame and responsibility for negative events sometimes to themselves and other times to others. The goal is to help them to be more objective and to realize that both parties made sincere efforts but also mistakes.
PBPD are constantly catastrophizing, or anticipating disastrous scenarios. They have hopeless expectancies, or pessimistic predictions based on selective attention to negative events in the past or present, rather than on verifiable data. Borderline individuals frequently respond to any relapse or small failure as an indication that they are total failures and may as well give up. Once, I did an awareness exercise with my borderline partner and it was fascinating to watch how she made every stimulus into a negative thought. We are driving on a highway, and she imagines the people that crash at this intersection. She sees a pregnant woman and she feels infertile. I mentioned an exciting upcoming trip and she imagines the plane to crash. Considering the train of thoughts in her mind, I could understand why she was so tormented. As a child, negative focus was their coping mechanism to protect themselves from continuous disappointment, and they bring this destructive mental habit into adulthood. If you forget your cell phone and are coming home late, they will imagine that you died in a car accident about 50 times, and will be intensely angry with you when you show up as you purposely tried to hurt them. They also experience chronic feelings of emptiness and loneliness. The PBPD has a tendency to ruminate about traumatic events over and over again. The rumination not only perpetuates the crises, but can generate new crises whose relationship to the original crises is often overlooked. A PBPD is a bit like an overtired child on a family outing. Once overtired, the child may become upset at every minor frustration and disagreement, crying and having tantrums at the slightest provocation. If the parents focus on trying to resolve every individual crisis, little progress will be made. It is far better to attend to the original problem— lack of sleep and rest. By the same token, it is often more effective to help the PBPD regulate her state first than problem solving right away what she is afraid about. As Albert Einstein said “Problems cannot be solved with the same mind set that created them” so focusing first on improving the PBPD state is sensible.
Any human being in a state of survival stops caring for others, so when a borderline is experiencing an emotional crisis, they may appear narcissistic. It is not so much that they stop feeling others but rather their internal pain is overriding their natural empathy for others. They are naturally quite empathic and compassionate people as they are hypersensitive and feel other people’s pain better than most. However this stops once they get triggered. This is why after they come back to a calmer state, they often experience intense guilt about the harm they caused others during their crises. Or alternatively, they can block their conscience and demonize the other in order not to feel this guilt. However, this type of denial will worsen their mental health.
NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is different than BPD, however these two disorders originate from attachment traumas. Both PNPD and PBPD have intense fear of abandonment, self-loathing and low self-esteem (covert for the NPD).
For this reason, it is common for PBPD, especially the “successful” ones to display NPD symptoms:
An exaggerated sense of one’s own abilities and achievements
A constant need for attention, affirmation, and praise
A belief that you are unique or “special,” and should only associate with other people of the same status
Persistent fantasies about attaining success and power
Exploiting other people for personal gain
A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment
A preoccupation with power or success
Feeling envious of others, or believing that others are envious of you
A lack of empathy for others
In this case, BPD and NPD symptoms will fluctuate in the same individual as different personalities. It is sometimes hard to comprehend how the same person can go from a state where they want to commit suicide, as they feel so completely worthless, to a state of grandiosity where they can get into full rage if others do not consider their superiority. It is simply two sides of the same token where the self feels deeply insecure and unworthy of love. They feel they do not exist or embody evil as they carry an unstable self-image or sense of self and suffer from identity disturbance. Devaluating oneself or devaluating others is in a sense the same thing. This is why so many PBPD have narcissistic traits. They follow a pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
The inability to let go of “being right” in favor of achieving goals is, of course, related to borderline patients’ experiences with invalidating environments. I would often ask my BPD partners if they would rather be right or be loved. This question would irritate them as unmistakably, being right feels the most important thing to them.
Just like with PNPD, when friends, therapists or acquaintances try to share helpful tips or recommendations, they are often experienced as discouraging or as manifestations of lack of love and appreciation. They overact to mild criticism or rejection, so gross that it suggests paranoia or even outright delusion.
Struggling with Accountability
We saw how the step of validating the hurt inner child is so critical as it helps neutralize shame in the PBPD. However if all we do is to dwell on the pain, and identify with the hurt inner child, we will just end up being controlled by an angry, depressed, immature and sometimes mean (internal) little boy or little girl. Recently, a woman posted in a forum how horrible was another woman to get a high margin from her work as a personal organizer, that she felt exploited and decided to go on her own. I praised her for her decision to start her own company but went to educating her on the reality of business not realizing she only wanted validation. She became very angry at me and started personal attacks with a clear intent to hurt. All she wanted to hear was how bad the other woman was and that she should rot in hell. There was no interest in any other perspective and while I made the mistake of not feeling into her before commenting, redirecting her anger to someone else without any self-awareness was not going to support her healing.
The PBPD is often stuck between complete powerlessness and anger, with anger being a higher state. We can think of ourselves as a trinity: inner child, adult and higher self. When we fully identify with the deep emotional pain of the inner child, whether it is loneliness, depression, despair, or anger, it is important to bring our adult and higher selves without abandoning the inner child. The inner adult can bring wisdom and encouragement to the hurt inner child, while the higher self can remind us of our innate perfection and ultimate nature as love. We have to teach all three to work and support each other. Suppressing the inner child is the most dangerous thing to do, as it will manifest externally as tragedy. And I am speaking from experience. The inner child contains our shadow but it is also the seat of the soul and the key in understanding our divine nature. As you dive deeper into it, you will actually meet the internalized aspects of the shadows of your primary caretakers within the inner child. You may be a high-energy successful executive and have a repressed depressed aspect from your mother and a repressed addict from your father side. Under duress, these repressed aspects may take over abruptly to the astonishment of your friends and family. These shadow aspects within ourselves have to be met consciously and ultimately loved for true integration to take place. This is where the step of accountability is so important. It will allow the PBPD to move from anger to sadness with self-awareness, which is where healing actually starts. If the lady mentioned above had gone there, she could have said for example “I am sad that I do not fit into this business world. I am terrified at the idea of finding my own clients and this could involve a lot of rejection. I am afraid to start my own business as the level of administrative complexity overwhelms me”. After experiencing her sadness and fears, she can then naturally move into problem solving.
This is easier said than done. This is why PBPD suffer from inhibited grieving. They have a tendency to inhibit and overcontrol negative emotional responses, especially those associated with grief and loss, including sadness, anger, guilt, shame, anxiety, and panic. For this reason, they are unable to grieve as they compulsively find a way out of experiencing the negative emotion consciously. This is why clinical trials with MDMA or DMT have showed efficacy in treating patients with PTSD. The plant medicine forces them into experiencing the trauma because every resistance is met with unsustainable torment so they have no other option than letting go. Inhibited grieving is understandable among borderline patients. People can only stay with a very painful process or experience if they are confident that it will end some day, some time— that they can “work through it,” so to speak. It is not uncommon to hear PBPD say they feel that if they ever do cry, they will never stop. Indeed, that is their common experience— the experience of not being able to control or modulate their own emotional experiences. They become, in effect, grief-phobic. In the face of such helplessness and lack of control, inhibition and avoidance of cues associated with grieving are not only understandable, but perhaps wise at times. Inhibition, however, has its costs. Borderline individuals are constantly re-exposed to the experience of loss, start the mourning process, automatically inhibit the process by avoiding or distracting themselves from the relevant cues, re-enter the process, and so on in a circular pattern that does not end. For healing to take place, the PBPD has to learn to grieve deeply in order to end grieving. Through accountability, the PBPD needs to confront rather than avoiding the crises they are experiencing.
The slightest touch or movement can create immense suffering for the borderline. Yet, on the other hand, life is movement. Healing, at its best, requires both movement and touch. Thus, the process of healing itself cannot fail to cause intensely painful emotional experiences for the PBPD. The PBPD must have the courage to encounter the pain that arises. The experience of their own vulnerability that sometimes leads borderline individuals to extreme behaviors such as suicidal behaviors. This work is better facilitated when they are surrounded by loving friends, family members or a skilled compassionate therapist. Ultimately, however, they are the ones that need to experience these painful emotions consciously with a slow breathing and a relaxed body. No one else can do this work for them if they are going to learn to regulate their own emotions internally rather than externally. It will feel like at first that they are jumping into the abyss but overtime they will build confidence with this process of healing.
PBPD lack of accountability is often expressed as active passivity behaviors. They have a tendency to passive interpersonal problem-solving style, and not engage actively in solving their own life problems. They make active attempts to solicit problem solving from others in the environment while rejecting all suggestions. This translates into learned helplessness. When they experience intense emotional pain and vulnerability, the PBPD frequently believes that others (friends, family or therapist) could take away the pain if only they would. If they attempt to bring back the responsibility of their emotional state to the PBPD, they will be met with rage as this will trigger the PBPD immense shame of regulating her emotions. Once triggered, PBPD are often unable to distract themselves from the emotion. I had a borderline partner that always wanted to be on the same page. She could not agree to disagree, or postpone the resolution of the conflict to another time. She could not sleep if something was not resolved so intense discussions could go well into the middle of the night leaving us completely exhausted by the morning. When people currently involved with PBPD also fall into the trap of inconsistently appeasing her (basically their matching codependent partner) — sometimes giving in to and reinforcing high-rate, high-intensity aversive emotional expressions and other times not doing so— they are recreating conditions for the person’s learning of relationship-destructive behaviors. For this reason, codependents will make the PBPD mental health worse. They will never incentivize their borderline partners to become accountable too as they benefit from the dependency.
Another trait of PBPD making it hard to step into accountability is apparent competence. They have a tendency to appear deceptively more competent than they actually are. These individuals are typically very gifted and talented in some specific areas so people assume mistakenly a high degree of functioning in all aspects of their lives. As a result, they experience intense shame at behaving dependently in a society that cannot tolerate dependency, so they have learned to inhibit expressions of negative affect and helplessness whenever the affect is within controllable limits. It is hard for a PBPD to step into accountability if they know they are going to be judged and possibly rejected when they share in a vulnerable way their actual limits.
DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) developed by Marsha Linehan is the most effective therapy for BPD that does not involve drugs. It has been called a “blackmail therapy” by some, as patients that do not improve can be let go by their therapists on the basis that “Continuing an ineffective therapy is unethical”. Actually, the real goal is to get PBPD into accountability even if this means triggering their abandonment issues. CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) mostly fail with PBPD because it focuses on changing the patient which is invalidating. On the opposite, DBT is based on the patient’s inherent ability to get out of the misery of her life and build a life worth living. It promotes autonomy and the DBT therapist finds and plays to the patient’s strengths, not to her fragility. The therapist believes in their patients and coaches them in how to resolve the problems themselves.
Reading these two articles on codependents and borderlines may just have increased your powerlessness and anxiety, as you are likely to find some of these aspects within yourself. This is why the third and last section of this series will focus on solutions and how we may be able to heal from these conditions. Actually 98% of the population is struggling with some light or severe form of the 10 personality disorders defined by the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) so we are not alone out there. The same 98% of us have a hurt inner child that requires healing, re-parenting and integration. So we are in an essence a bunch of hurt kids just pretending to be adults 🙂
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 who they are so they are asking to be given a role where they can be used by their narcissistic partner. 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.
Years ago, I went to an Esalen couples workshop and the facilitator shared some wisdom that marked my memory. He said that intimate relationships need three key ingredients to become a lifetime commitment. First, the partners need to love each other. If the attraction is not there, they will never be able to commit and overcome all the obstacles they will inevitably face. Secondly, they need to be compatible as otherwise their differences (cultural, diet, interests, values, social class, etc…) will eventually erode the love they have for each other and turn any passionate romance into a nightmare. Thirdly, they need relationship tools and continuing relationship education to keep increasing their awareness and communication. The third point was an astute and clever way to promote their workshop 😉 I loved that recipe when I heard it. It made complete sense and it felt achievable at the time. I do not feel as hopeful today because I have observed that compatibility and love rarely go together. The person we are crazy about will always push our worst buttons. They will often stretch us to the point of collapse as they are meant to help us re-experience our deepest childhood traumas according the Imago theory. On the other hand, I have witnessed in my life and my friends’ life that we rarely experience chemistry with the people that we get along so well with. They make great friends and companions but poor lovers. We are facing a dilemma. If love & compatibility do not go together, which one is the most important to ensure a happy and fulfilling relationship? Should we favor companionship over passion?
An arranged marriage is a marital union where the families (parents, guardians, even extended families) of the bride and groom decide on the match based on a number of rational compatibility criteria rather than the couple choosing their own partner. In India, historically, most marriages have been arranged marriages. Divorce rates in India overall are pegged at about 1.2 percent vis-à-vis a divorce rate of about 53 percent in the US, a country where love marriages are the norm. Even in India, rates of divorce in love marriages are much higher than in arranged marriages. Actually, as many as 90% of all Indian marriages are arranged and 74% of young Indians (18-35 years old) prefer an arranged marriage to a free-choice one. So if we were to evaluate relationship success by their durability, marriages that were formed through compatibility instead of love were 44 times more successful!
The Greeks had six different words for love. They also valued Pragma (longstanding love) over Eros (sexual love). They did not think too of Eros as something positive. On the opposite, they viewed it as dangerous, fiery, irrational and as an addiction that will surely bring you to your demise. On the opposite, they praised Pragma, which was about making compromises to help the relationship work over time, and showing patience and tolerance even in the absence of love and passion.
Classical French literature shares the same sentiment. Jean Racine, 17th century French dramatist, starts many of his plays with an all-consuming love story that is plagued with external obstacles: refusal from the beloved, family opposing the union, state matters, conflicting feelings such as guilt, leading eventually to tragedy. The other great 17th century French playwright, actor and poet Molière describes passion as a possession state that endangers our discerning and discriminating abilities. Reason should be preferred over passion at all times. Corneille, the other great French tragedian of that time, goes even further. In his plays, duty always wins over passion despite the initial internal conflicts. The hero is a master of himself and stays lucid in any situation.
More recently, in the 20th century, the famous British novelist and poet C.S. Lewis is quite explicit in his book called The Four Loves. Lewis praises too arranged marriages over love unions. “I am not at all subscribing to the popular idea that it is the absence or presence of Eros which makes the sexual act “impure” or “pure”… If all who lay together without being in the state of Eros were abominable, we all come of tainted stock… Most of our ancestors were married off in early youth to partners chosen by their parents on grounds that had nothing to do with Eros. They went to the act with no other “fuel,” so to speak, than animal desire. And they did right; honest Christian husbands and wives, obeying their fathers and mothers, discharging to one another their “marriage debt,” and bringing up families in the fear of the Lord.” Lewis warns us against worshiping a false god in Eros “Of all loves [Eros] is, at his height, most god-like; therefore most prone to demand our worship. Of himself he always tends to turn “being in love” into a sort of religion. Theologians have often feared in this love, a danger of idolatry. I think they meant by this that the lovers might idolize one another… The real danger seems to me not that the lovers will idolize each other but that they will idolize Eros himself.” To Lewis, romantic love is simply doomed and short-lived “And all the time the grim joke is that this Eros whose voice seems to speak from the eternal realm is not himself necessarily even permanent. He is notoriously the most mortal of our loves… What is baffling is the combination of this fickleness with his protestations of permanency.”
Let’s now leave these respectable historical minds and dive into the best seller (just after Harry Potter) of the 21st century “50 shades of Grey” from E.L. James that sold 125 million copies and was translated in 52 languages. I actually only got to see the movie trilogy for the first time with a friend this week. I had low expectations and actually the story plot was well thought out, at least much more than what critics expressed. I believe in the wisdom of popular success over expert opinions. Christian Gray and Anastasia Steele are clearly incompatible. He is a sadistic sociopath magnate that can only get turned on by dominating and objectifying women. She is an openhearted, sensitive and romantic virgin who wants an equal relationship with her man. Mrs Robinson, Christian’s first S&M mentor, is well aware of this incompatibility and attempts to warn the lovers about the futility of their union. Despite all odds, Christian gets actually transformed and healed through their love as he connects more and more to his heart. Anastasia gains a lot of self-confidence and personal empowerment through the relationship. The story shows the cathartic power of love. If Christian and Anastasia had been rational, saw clearly their incompatibilities and believed in them, they would have given up on each other. They chose love over reason and received the ultimate gift. Of course, this is an American novel with a happy end. The lovers get it all: passion and eternal love. Aspects of the story feel far from real life experience. The lovers handle their conflict with too much ease but we embrace this story novocain in our desperate need to believe that true love is possible and can last forever.
It is true that most love stories driven by Eros rarely experience the same joyful fate. The statistics do not lie and love unions are marked by instability and are often short-lived. They are however more transformational and life changing than any other relationships. As I mentioned recently, I fell in love 6 times but none of these relationships have endured the test of time. Despite the pain of break-up, the heartaches, the conflicts and all of the challenges, they all have come with incredible gifts, accelerated my growth and transformed me more than any other experience in my life. Carole led me to the beginning of my spiritual journey when I was 19. I emigrated to the USA because of Laurence when I was 22. I left the cult I was a part of at 23 thanks to Janna. Danielle helped me heal the biggest trauma of my life (mum’s abandonment) and opened my spirituality to a new level. Alina catalyzed my success in the 3D world and gave me two beautiful children. Finally, Teal brought me to my authentic self, among many other gifts. Every one of these women has crushed me and it felt every single time that I would never recover. However, like a phoenix that obtains a new life by arising from the ashes of its predecessor, I have been transformed and improved every single time. They have relentlessly killed the old and the false in me so that I could wake up to my true potential more than any books, workshops, spiritual teachers or organizations could have ever done. I just wish sometimes the process would be more gentle!
So I am going to go against accepted norms here. I am claiming that the center that governs our sexual attractions has actually the fastest and most sophisticated brain of all. In a fraction of a second, it can see the life-changing potential of associating with a partner. It is closely associated with our soul purpose. And soul does not care about pain, permanence or fairness. It only cares about evolution, awareness, inner growth and opening your heart. An intense chemistry is always reflecting a quality that the infatuated person needs to develop. In most cases, they need to open their mind and their heart to what they need instead of what they want. If Christian Grey had stayed stubborn that he needed a person that would accept all clauses of his S&M contract then he would have stayed miserably unhappy in isolation, and continued to destroy many other women in the process. Chemistry denotes a yearning of the soul for an important missing quality in the personality. The problem occurs when the gap between the soul and the personality desires is too wide to be bridged because of unresolved traumas. In this situation, break-ups are incredibly painful. We think we keep attracting the wrong type of partners but in fact we keep sending the wrong type of signals because we are not healed. Let me give you some examples extracted from clients’, friends and personal experience about the transforming power of love relationships.
A shrewd businessman is attracted a very sensitive woman but his lack of attunement keeps hurting the feeling of his beloved. If he is conscious that his behavior is triggering his loved one then this relationship has the potential to restore his sensitivity that was lost in the harsh and cold corporate environment.
An insecure and needy woman is attracted to an independent and self-confident. man. If he shows sensitivity to her feelings and that she becomes aware that her possessiveness and control dramas are coming from her fears then this relationship has the potential to support her self-confidence, healing and autonomy.
A materialistic and down-to-earth woman and a spiritual and introspective man fall in love. If there is enough love between them two, the woman will become more open-minded and introspective and the man will become more grounded in his spirituality.
A strong willed and emotional woman and a quiet, introvert and mental mind fall in love. This is an opportunity for her to use her mind to better channel her emotional state and for him to get in touch with his repressed feelings and become more sensitive.
An over controlling man fells in love with a fiercely independent woman. Through that relationship, he will learn to loosen his grip on control, jealousy and possessiveness. He will learn to become more spontaneous.
A super ambitious, successful and boasting man fells in love with a down-to earth, humble and self-sufficient woman that is able to challenge him when he is off. This relationship will be critical for his ego not to get out of control and take the better part of himself. This way, he will stay connected to people and not objectify them.
Incompatibility with love has tremendous healing power and can support us to become the best version of ourselves. It works best when the partners are aware of their weaknesses and sees how the relationship is supporting their growth.
Am I being the devil’s advocate to praise Eros over Pragma? In the center of my being, I can only hear these words resonate “Fuck Compatibility and Choose Love over Reason”. It may not be for everyone but this is my truth. The poet Khalil Gibran used to say “Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars.”. Too much suffering can also drive a man to the psychiatric hospital. It is up to each one of us to decide how much adversity we can take and transform so that we can live our lives accordingly.
Il y a des
années, j’ai assisté à une conférence sur l’amour dans le couple à Esalen en
California et le présentateur a partagé une sagesse qui a marqué ma mémoire. Il
a dit qu’un couple a besoin de trois ingrédients clés pour vivre le bonheur à
deux sur le long-terme. Premièrement, les partenaires doivent s’aimer. Si
l’attraction n’est pas là, ils ne pourront jamais s’engager et surmonter tous
les obstacles auxquels ils seront inévitablement confrontés. Deuxièmement, ils
doivent être compatibles, faute de quoi leurs différences (qu’elles viennent de
leur culture, leur régime alimentaire, leurs intérêts, leurs valeurs ou leur
classe sociale, etc…) finiront par éroder l’amour qu’ils ont l’un pour l’autre
et transformeront leur passion en cauchemar. Troisièmement, ils ont besoin
d’outils relationnels et d’une formation continue sur la communication de
couple et l’intimité. Bien sûr, le troisième point était un moyen astucieux et
intelligent de promouvoir leur conférence 😉 mais j’ai beaucoup apprécié cette
recette quand je l’ai entendue. Cela avait du sens et semblait réalisable à
l’époque. Je ne me sens pas aussi optimiste aujourd’hui car j’ai constaté que
compatibilité et amour vont rarement de pair. Il semble que la personne dont
nous sommes fous amoureux a toujours cette capacité à nous faire sortir de nos
gonds. Ils vont être ceux qui vous nous pousser à bout car ne sont-ils pas
censés nous aider à revivre nos traumatismes de l’enfance les plus profonds d’après
la théorie bien connue d’Imago. D’autre part, j’ai remarqué dans ma vie et celle
de mes amis que nous sommes rarement attirés par des personnes avec lesquelles
nous nous entendons si bien. Ils font de bons amis et compagnons, mais de pauvres
amants. Nous sommes donc confrontés à un dilemme. Si l’amour et la compatibilité
ne vont pas ensemble, que devons nous faire pour vivre une relation heureuse et
épanouissante? Devrions-nous privilégier l’amitié plutôt que la passion?
Un mariage arrangé
est une union matrimoniale où les familles des futurs mariés décident du
mariage en fonction d’un certain nombre de critères de compatibilité rationnels
mais aussi astrologiques plutôt que de les laisser choisir leur propre
partenaire. En Inde, historiquement, la plupart des mariages ont été arrangés.
Les taux de divorce en Inde est à environ 1,2%, contre un taux de divorce
d’environ 53% aux États-Unis, un pays où les mariages d’amour sont la norme.
Même en Inde, les taux de divorce dans les mariages d’amour sont beaucoup plus
élevés que dans les mariages arrangés. En fait, pas moins de 90% des mariages
indiens sont arrangés et 74% des jeunes Indiens (âgés de 18 à 35 ans) préfèrent
un mariage arrangé à un mariage à choix libre. Donc, si nous jugeons de la
réussite d’un mariage par leur durabilité, les mariages formés par
compatibilité plutôt que par amour auraient donc une probabilité de succès 44
fois plus élevée!
Les Grecs avaient
six mots différents pour parler d’amour. Ils préféraient Pragma (l’amour inscrit
sur la durée et la compatibilité) sur Eros (la passion et l’amour sexuel). Ils
ne voyaient pas Eros de manière trop positive. Au contraire, ils considéraient
la passion comme dangereuse, ardente, irrationnelle et comme une dépendance qui
vous mènera sûrement à votre perte. Au contraire, ils faisaient l’éloge de
Pragma, qui visait à faire des compromis pour que la relation dure dans le
temps et encourageait le couple à faire preuve de patience et de tolérance même
en l’absence d’amour et de passion.
française classique partage le même sentiment. Jean Racine, dramaturge français
du XVIIe siècle, commence nombre de ses pièces avec une histoire d’amour qui
consume tout et semée d’embûches extérieures: refus de la famille bien-aimée,
famille opposée à l’union, conflits entre États, sentiments opposés tels que la
culpabilité conduisant à la tragédie . L’autre grand dramaturge, acteur et
poète français du XVIIe siècle, Molière, décrit la passion comme un état de
possession mettant en danger nos capacités de discernement et d’entendement. La
raison devrait être préférée à la passion en tout temps. Corneille, l’autre
grand tragédien français de cette époque, va encore plus loin. Dans ses pièces,
le devoir l’emporte toujours sur la passion malgré les premiers conflits
internes. Le héros est maître de lui-même et reste lucide dans toutes les
au 20ème siècle, le célèbre romancier et poète britannique C.S. Lewis est assez
explicite dans son livre intitulé The Four Loves (les 4 amours). Lewis loue
aussi les mariages arrangés «Je ne souscris pas du tout à l’idée populaire
selon laquelle c’est l’absence ou la présence d’Eros qui rend l’acte sexuel «
impur » ou « pur »… Si tous ceux qui dormaient ensemble sans être à l’état
d’Eros étaient abominables, nous tous viendrions de souche souillée… La plupart
de nos ancêtres ont été mariés dans leur jeunesse à des partenaires choisis par
leurs parents pour des motifs qui n’avaient rien à voir avec Eros. Ils sont
allés à l’acte sans autre “carburant”, pour ainsi dire, que le désir
animal. Et ils ont bien fait; Des maris et des femmes chrétiens honnêtes,
obéissant à leurs pères et à leurs mères, s’acquittant l’un envers l’autre de
leur «dette de mariage» et élevant des familles dans la crainte du Seigneur.
»Lewis nous met en garde contre l’adoration d’un faux dieu en Eros« De tous les
amours [Eros ] est, à sa hauteur, très semblable à Dieu; donc les plus enclins
à demander notre culte. De lui-même, il a toujours tendance à transformer
«l’amour» en une sorte de religion. Les théologiens ont souvent craint dans cet
amour un danger d’idolâtrie. Je pense qu’ils voulaient dire par là que les
amants pourraient s’idoliser les uns les autres… Le vrai danger ne me semble
pas que les amants s’idolâtrent mais qu’ils idolâtrent Eros lui-même. ” Pour
Lewis, l’amour romantique est tout simplement condamné et de courte durée”.
Et l’ironie est que cet Eros dont la voix semble parler du royaume éternel
n’est pas nécessairement lui-même permanent. Il est notoirement le plus mortel
de nos amours… Ce qui est déconcertant, c’est la combinaison de cette
inconstance avec ses protestations de permanence. ”
maintenant ces écrivains célèbres et plongeons dans le best-seller du XXIe
siècle, «50 nuances de Grey» de E.L. James qui a vendu 125 millions
d’exemplaires et a été traduit en 52 langues. Je suis un peu en retard et j’ai vu
la trilogie la première fois avec un ami la semaine dernière. J’avais peu
d’attentes sur le scénario mais j’ai trouvé l’intrigue bien pensée, du moins
beaucoup mieux que ce que les critiques ont exprimé. Un succès populaire de cet
envergure ne vient pas par hasard. Dans cet ouvrage, Christian Gray et
Anastasia Steele sont clairement incompatibles. C’est un magnat sociopathe
sadique qui ne peut être excité que par la domination et l’objectivation des
femmes. C’est une vierge au cœur ouvert, sensible et romantique qui veut une
relation égale avec son homme. Mme Robinson, qui a éduqué Christian au
sadomasochisme, est bien consciente de cette incompatibilité et tente de mettre
en garde les amoureux de la futilité de leur union. Malgré toutes les obstacles,
Christian devient un bien meilleur homme poussé par son amour pour Anastasia alors
qu’il devient de plus en plus sensible et humain. Anastasia gagne beaucoup en
confiance en elle et de l’autonomie grâce à cette relation aussi. L’histoire
montre le pouvoir cathartique de l’amour. Si Christian et Anastasia avaient été
rationnels, ils auraient vu clairement leurs incompatibilités et se seraient quittés.
Ils ont choisi l’amour plutôt que la raison et ont reçu le cadeau ultime. Bien
sûr, ceci est un roman américain avec une fin heureuse où les amants tirent le
gros lot avec la passion et l’amour éternel. L’histoire semble irréaliste et les
amants gèrent leur conflit avec trop de facilité, mais nous adorons cette
histoire car elle réveille en nous le besoin désespéré de croire que le grand
amour est possible et peut durer éternellement.
Il est vrai que
la plupart des histoires d’amour guidées par Eros connaissent rarement un
destin joyeux. Les statistiques ne mentent pas et les unions d’amour sont
marquées par l’instabilité et sont souvent de courte durée. Ils sont cependant
plus transformateurs et formateurs que toute autre relation. Je suis moi-même
tombé amoureux 6 fois mais aucune de ces relations n’a résisté à l’épreuve du
temps. Malgré la douleur de ces ruptures, des chagrins d’amour, des conflits et
tous les épreuves, ces relations m’ont beaucoup apportées, elles ont accéléré
mon développement personnel et elles m’ont transformée plus que toute autre
expérience de ma vie. Carole a catalysé ma quête spirituel quand j’avais 19
ans. J’ai ensuite émigré aux États-Unis à cause de Laurence quand j’avais 22
ans. J’ai quitté la secte dont je faisais partie à 23 ans grâce à Janna.
Danielle m’a aidé à guérir le plus grand traumatisme de ma vie (l’abandon de ma
mère) et a ouvert ma spiritualité à un autre niveau. Alina m’a aidé dans mon
succès professionnel et matériel et m’a donné deux beaux enfants. Enfin, Teal
m’a amené à mon moi authentique, parmi beaucoup d’autres cadeaux. Chacune de
ces femmes a cependant failli me détruire et j’ai senti à chaque fois que je ne
m’en remettrai jamais. Cependant, comme un phénix qui obtient une nouvelle vie
en renaissant des cendres de son prédécesseur, j’ai été transformé en mieux à
chaque fois. Elles ont implacablement tué le vieux et le faux en moi afin que je
puisse me rendre compte de mon véritable potentiel plus que tout autre livre, conférence,
enseignant spirituel ou organisation n’auraient pu le faire. J’aurai juste
souhaité juste que le processus fut un peu plus doux.
je vais m’opposer ici aux idées reçues de nos culture. Je dis haut et fort que
le centre qui régit nos attractions sexuelles possède un cerveau le plus rapide
et le plus sophistiqué qui soit. En une fraction de seconde, il peut voir le
potentiel transformateur de l’union avec un partenaire particulier. Ce centre
sexual travaille donc étroitement avec notre âme. Et l’âme ne se soucie pas de
la douleur, de la permanence ou de la justice. Elle ne s’intéresse qu’à
l’évolution, à la prise de conscience, à la croissance intérieure et à
l’ouverture de notre cœur. Une attraction intense est toujours le signe que la
personne amoureuse a besoin de développer en elle les qualités de l’autre qui
sont en fait latents en elle. Dans la relation passionnel, nous devons ouvrir notre
cœur à ce qui nous rend meilleur plutôt que de rester figer dans nos désirs
étroits. Si Christian Gray était resté obstiné à l’idée qu’il avait besoin
d’une personne qui accepterait toutes les clauses de son contrat sadomasochiste,
il serait resté misérablement malheureux en isolation et aurait continué à
détruire beaucoup d’autres femmes. L’attraction physique dénote donc un désir
de l’âme pour une élévation de la personnalité. Le problème se pose lorsque le
fossé entre l’âme et les désirs de la personnalité est trop grand pour être
comblé à cause de traumatismes non résolus. Dans cette situation, les ruptures
sont incroyablement douloureuses. Nous ne comprenons pas pourquoi nous
continuons à attirer vers nous de drôles de partenaires, mais en fait, nous
continuons à envoyer le mauvais type de signal parce que nous ne sommes pas
guéris émotionnellement des blessures de l’enfance. Permettez-moi de vous
donner quelques exemples tirés des expériences de clients, d’amis et de
moi-même concernant le pouvoir transformateur des relations amoureuses. Un
homme d’affaires un peu rustre attire une femme très sensible, mais son manque d’attention
et de ressenti chagrine sa bien-aimée. S’il devient conscient que son
comportement blesse sa femme, cela peut lui donner le désir de redevenir
sensible, et de sortir de son univers industriel rude et froid. Une autre femme
instable et dans le besoin est attirée par un homme indépendant et confiant.
S’il est sensible à son égard et qu’elle prend conscience que ses peurs la rend
possessive et paranoiaque, cette relation est susceptible de l’aider à
reprendre confiance en elle, et grandir en autonomie. Une femme matérialiste
terre-à-terre et un homme spirituel introspectif tombent amoureux. S’il y a
assez d’amour entre les deux, la femme deviendra plus ouverte d’esprit et
introspective, et l’homme deviendra plus ancré dans sa vie pratique. Une femme
forte et volontaire tombe amoureux d’un homme calme, introverti et mental.
C’est l’opportunité pour elle de canaliser ses état émotionnel et pour lui de se
reconnecter avec ses sentiments réprimés et de redevenir sensible. Un homme
trop contrôlant craque pour une femme farouchement indépendante. Grâce à cette
relation, il apprendra à relâcher son contrôle, sa jalousie et son amour
possession. Il apprendra à devenir plus spontané. Un homme très ambitieux,
courageux et prétentieux est amoureux d’une femme terre-à-terre, humble et
autonome qui est capable de le remettre en place quand il se croit sorti de la
cuisse de Jupiter. Cette relation sera cruciale pour qu’il ne devienne pas un
leader mégalomaniaque. De cette façon, il restera connecté aux gens et ne les traitera
pas comme des objets. L’incompatibilité dans l’amour a donc un pouvoir de
guérison extraordinaire et peut nous aider à devenir la meilleure version de
nous-mêmes. Cela fonctionne mieux lorsque les partenaires sont conscients de
leurs faiblesses et voient comment la relation soutient leur développement
Suis-je l’avocat du diable pour louer Eros sur Pragma? Oui, je clame haut et fort: «Jetez la compatibilité à la poubelle et choisissez l’amour plutôt que la raison». Ce n’est peut-être pas pour tout le monde mais c’est ma vérité. Le poète Khalil Gibran disait: “Les âmes les plus fortes ont émergé de la souffrance; les personnages les plus massifs sont brûlés de cicatrices.”. Bien sûr, trop de souffrances peuvent aussi nous conduire à l’hôpital psychiatrique. C’est donc à chacun d’entre nous de décider du degré d’adversité auquel nous pouvons faire face et ensuite de transformer ces épreuves pour acquérir des perles de sagesse et d’aider son prochain.
It is a cliché that men and women feel loved a different way, and it is so true in many ways. Most men feel love primarily through sex and the common joke is that men think with their penis instead of their brain. The famous comedian Robin Williams used to say that the problem is, God gave man a brain and a penis and only enough blood to run one at a time.
Women feel love primarily by being seen. They feel seen by getting a gift that shows we know what they like, by doing an act of service that we know they will appreciate (ex. cooking dinner on a night where we can feel they are exhausted, or taking the kids when we can see our spouse needs time for herself), by saying something nice and specific about her outfit or hairdo, by remembering special dates related to our love story, by selecting activities together that she enjoys, by noticing how she feels, by giving her heartfelt compliments about who she is as a person. What is important is that she has to feel unique, special and differentiated to show that you truly see her. This is why if you buy an expensive ring without making a conscious effort why this is the perfect ring specifically for her, the gift may not be appreciated. They will also not feel the love if you buy standard red roses, with a landmark card and balloon for Valentine’s Day or organize a trip a ski trip when she is really a beach person. Men feel always so confused about it and unappreciated. They performed the action, spent the money, made the effort but she is still not happy! It is because there was no conscious effort to make her feel seen in the offering and the man way of showing love was not differentiated. It has to be tailored in a way your partner feels seen as the unique person that she is, that you made the effort to understand who she is, and you have penetrated her inner world to do so.
So men try to make their partners feel seen to get laid. Women give sex to their men with the hope to be seen. It is often a frustrating transaction. How did we get there?
For a very long time, men were mocked to show any type of feelings as it evoked weakness. We were not allowed to show sadness, fear, shame, anxiety, grief, despair or helplessness if you were to be considered a real man. So we had to suppress all of these emotions. We were shamed and ridiculed for our feelings but we were always praised and envied by other men by mating with attractive women. This is why so much of our self-worth and identity has to do with sex. In this process of repressing our emotions, we lost the subtlety of being and the appreciation of the invisible things that make life magical. We lost touch with the incredible love to be experienced when we are seen as a person. So we compensated by being seen in ways that are very tangible and more quantitative: our material possessions, the physical beauty of our wife, our societal status, our medals, the school we are from, our profession, and all of our accomplishments. This may be comforting for the mind but it does nothing to our emotional being. In my career, I have met many very successful people with outstanding achievements but very few carried the radiance that you can see with genuinely happy and loving people.
I spent time recently with a friend and her 11-month-old baby. The baby kept frowning at me, which was funny, cute and surprising. The mother told me that when she saw this funny expression the first time on her baby’s face, she praised him a lot and gave him a lot of attention as she found it so adorable. The baby felt seen at that moment. So he is doing it now to everyone around because he is craving for being seen, as this is one of our most basic emotional needs. He does not understand yet you frown at people you are unhappy with. A lot of the attachment traumas we suffer come from the fact that we either have not been seen enough as a child (neglect) or seen in something unpleasant (abuse). It is so incredibly important for a baby’s development to be seen as a bundle of joy, which means to be adored, celebrated and treasured.
In my own interpretation of the Creation, God divided itself in trillions and trillions of life forms to see Itself. When he was One and non manifested, he could not see Itself, could not know Itself and could not love Itself. God, too, risked everything for the sake of love and fragmented as a result. When someone awakens, it is said they develop God consciousness. Basically, they are able to see God (or themselves) in everything and everyone. Seeing the spark of the divine in all of creation is the highest form of love we can ever experience. Loving is seeing one’s divine nature in the mirror of creation. First, we require very specific mirrors such as a twin flame to experience that state. Later, as our ego becomes more diffuse and less rigid, all of our creation can reflect our divine nature. Poets understand this more than anyone. A dog running on the trail, the scent of a rose, a river flowing, a sunset on the horizon, the smile of a child. All of it can remind us of who we truly are, so that we can feel seen and loved.
As a number of my male friends, I have done poorly in my life making my partners feel seen. This has been an area where I struggled in all my love relationships despite my best efforts. I do not think my children felt seen by me too when they were younger and the same pattern limited so of my friendships for the same reason. My parents did not have parents when they were young so they never developed a sense of what it is to be truly seen, felt and understood. Most of our childhood traumas are more about what was not done to us rather than what was done to us. What is not healed in one generation is passed on to the next and I was no exception. An important event happened this week that may finally shift this pattern and this cycle of suffering. I was sitting with an older and very self-aware friend just trying to connect. For the first time of my life, I felt in my body the conscious sensation of being seen by him. I felt he could truly penetrate my world and see me. He made some insightful comments about me that made me feel differentiated and unique that brought tears to my eyes. For the first time of my life, I could understand somatically why women feel love when they are seen because I was this time on the receiving end and I could feel it myself with my whole being. Before, it had just been a mental concept for me, something I had to do to make my partner happy. I was not aware I had the same need to be seen too. I realized how to see each other is the easiest and more natural way of sharing love. And that sharing love is the most important thing we can ever do in our lives. I was bringing in me the capacity of feeling loved the same way the feminine does so naturally.
We need to be very conscious of social media. Like every tool, it can be used in positive ways to stay connected with family, friends, acquaintances or fans. It can be a learning and marketing tool, a way to share information effectively, or a source of inspiration. But it can also disconnect us from each other. So many people now would rather be on their phone rather than really connecting to the people that are in their physical vicinity. We make them feel small, unimportant and unseen as a result of looking for that small dopamine high. Let’s remember that connection and making each other feel seen is our most powerful way to share love, and there is nothing more important we could do at any given moment. And if you need to respond to an urgent email or text, then consider the other person and consciously ask for their permission to do so.
For millenniums, we dominated women but we lost ourselves as a result. We felt threatened by women because they could create new lives through childbearing when we could not. We felt desperate for the love of women and hated this dependency so we attempted to control them. Jesus was the living example on how to marry the divine masculine and divine feminine within us. The patriarchy that was in charge at that time felt very threatened and quickly eradicated any mention of the feminine from his teachings once they became mainstream. During a meditation, I received the transmission that the sign of the cross that most Christians practice had been in fact corrupted. It was supposed to be:
In the name of the Father (right hand on the forehead)
And of the Mother (right hand on the heart)
And of the Son (right hand on the left shoulder)
And of the Holy Spirit (right hand on the right shoulder)
Father is the Yang energy, fire. Mother is the Yin energy, water. From there, the whole world is created. The Son is Christ consciousness in a human body (Jesus of Nazareth), the union of the divine masculine and the divine feminine in one human body to show us that heaven on earth is possible. The Holy Spirit invokes our own responsibility to live a life that is aligned with our soul direction and the higher principles of this universe. So we felt so threatened by the feminine that we enslaved it. By doing so, we lost touch with the invisible world of feelings and impoverished our life in dramatic ways. We stopped perceiving subtle feelings and seeing the spiritual world. God, angels, guides and demons became myths and fables for the weak and superstitious. Science took over spirituality. While this was healthy in a way, we went too far the other extreme in order to compensate from the abuse of religions. We got trapped in a material world and our own material creations started to dominate us as most of our lives are now driven by material pursuits. We can only reverse this trend by bringing back the feminine. And we can do it by learning to love as a woman, by loving intimacy, being seen and being loved as we are seen for who we are. We can rediscover this truth in ourselves by really getting in touch with what feels good. It cannot be a mental process. Let’s ask ourselves what we are really looking for in a relationship and not forcing the answer. It is time for us to make the invisible a priority over the visible. The feminine is supposed to symbolize pure, unlimited, unrestrained and free flowing energy. The masculine has to do about focusing and directing this energy for manifestation but not controlling it. In the same way, when we try to control the energy of love, it goes away. Love goes with freedom and expansiveness. Through our inner work, we can reconnect with the spark of light that is pure love within us, and look for ways to reflect this light back through all of our relations.
Are you ready to marry the feminine and the masculine within yourself?