"I love her, I hate her. I hate her, I love her. I love hating her and I hate loving her." This is the sort of relationship which is unaligned. This is the sort of relationship which has been so often touted by Hollywood as being the "answer" to our woes as human beings and yet this is the sort of entangled, codependent, enmeshed, childish, emotionally needy (choose your own term) situation that leads to so much of our frustrations and woes and which is antithetical to a healthy spiritual relationship that is grounded in true principles and honoring God. The first tradition of the 12 Step groups talks about "Our" Common Welfare must come first. This principle applies to the relationship as much as to the group and the individual. When I put "me" first then I can be headed for trouble because I am forgetting that the relationship really "belongs to God" and that it is only a temporary arrangement like everything else that is of this world. In truth, we are all One and so by honoring my partner I am honoring myself.
A man once asked me what I thought was the "purpose" of having a relationship. In my immature mind (though I was probably quick to hide this so as to make the impression that I was more spiritual than I really was) I thought that the "purpose" of a relationship was sensual gratification and a "you take care of me" sort of need to stay in a victim role. I thought that anyone lucky enough to be graced with someone as wonderful as I am has a whole lot of "giving" to do in order to earn their keep, so to speak. I later found out by studying Dr. Hawkins that this was narcissistic self-obsession and that the core of the ego in all of us is innately narcissistic and that if I wanted to experience any true happiness in relationship with others that I had to start looking at what I could "bring to the table" rather than what I was getting out of the relationship. Kennedy got it right when he said that we ought to, "ask not what our country should do for us but what we should do for our country." When we get complacent and quit walking our talk, I believe we forget that it is our duty to have an attitude of service in all of our relationships. I believe that the best leaders are servants because they understand that it is about "we" and not "me". A lot of the best selling business books these days talk about this idea of "servant leadership" and use Jesus as the model, so I am grateful that the business world is catching on to the practicality of the spiritual.
So the man who asked me the initial question about what the true "purpose" of the relationship is later suggested to me what seemed a novel idea at the time. He suggested to me that the real "purpose" of a relationship was to "enjoy the other person's company." Another way of saying it is that the purpose of relationship is to "rejoice in the other". Now I was such a dependent personality at the time that the prospect of being grown up enough to feel secure enough in myself to be able to be focused on the happiness of others seemed a long way off, but I have found that I am not alone in this struggle and that it is only a matter or willingness, patience and labor to get to a place where I am able to "rejoice in the other". As long as I am attached to "getting" and am caught up in the emotionalized drama of the "Love and Hate" dynamic then I cannot be present enough to enjoy the other person's company. This has been my experience and the Good Doctor really nails it in this lecture.
Bill Wilson, in his book 12 Steps and 12 Traditions, also wrote about a tendency for individuals who feel inwardly weak (paraphrasing) "to seek out stronger personalities". This is where underdeveloped instincts or excessive instincts on rampage can too often lead to our emotional problems and frustrations in the unaligned relationship. Both parties must be firmly grounded in their own relationship with a Power Greater in order to avoid this unhealthy power dynamic from developing. The core ingredient to any lasting relationship, I believe, is Trust. I must trust you and I must also trust that you trust me. Oftentimes this imbalance of a stronger personality seeking to dominate a weaker or a weaker seeking to control and manipulate a stronger stems from this lack of trust, which is really a lack of real Self-reliance. This is too often accompanied by much of what we would call the "passive-aggressive" behaviors where I have a "hidden motive" behind a lot of what I say. For instance, I ask my partner "where where you?" and there is a hidden implication that "I don't really trust you anymore". Then the individual who has been secretly "indicted" needs to become "guarded and defensive" because there is a fear of being "judged" when the individual may have done nothing to merit such an attack. In truth, feeling "judged" hurts inside and it erodes trust. The more inventory work I do, the more able I am to catch this sort of subtle manipulating, because at the core of it is the belief in victimhood. When I see myself as a victim, I am not able to trust because I am not really self-honest and so I do not really trust myself.
Since there is no such thing as a victim in Reality, as we are aware of past lives, I believe that we are called to be "victors" and not "victims". Unless this past emotional baggage in the form of victimhood is resolved, we carry these sorts of "perceptual distortions" into all of our relationships. It is an insidious addiction to this idea that I am a victim because I refuse to believe in past lives and the inherent justice of the universe. Even though we can get pretty far in this world today based upon the lie that we are victims, and there are a lot of people who are only to eager to buy into our victim stories (due to their own unresolved victim stories), we are really only fooling ourselves at the end of the day. Real power and integrity comes from being honest about ourselves and while we may be able to fool others for some time, it "all comes out in the wash" at the end of the day as "every hair on our heads is counted."h
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