Updated: Sep 10, 2019
I have to watch myself and make sure that I don't start conversations in my head with people that have hurt me and done damage to my life in the past. When you start a dialogue in your head, you move right back into the dysfunction of whatever that relationship or situation was. On the other hand, if I stay quiet and just let it happen because I have been told to be quiet, then I remain a victim, then no one that has sent me messages over the last week would have had the revelations and healing they have had. I said something and saying it changed something for someone(s). Because I said "NO, I will not let your pain and your rage control me." someone else will get out sooner and they will heal faster.
(For the rest of you that are resonating with the other aspects of this series, I've got more for you just a little ways down as well.)
Real quick though, as one last parting gift to those of you out there that are healing from psychological injuries or are still in a situation where you are injured on a regular basis, and are in need some kind of anchor to get your reality back - I will say a little more and then I am moving on from this part of the story. I don't want to stay here, I am very serious about feeling this, forgiving this and moving on from this. I don't want to spend more time on it than is needed. (If you need to know more, you can get book “Why does he do that?” by Lundy Bancroft.) The stress response that is triggered in a person that endures psychological abuse has to be recognized in our society in order for us to really understand how to properly protect and care for people in situations like these. The cost of not recognizing the physical damage of non-criminal harassment is enormous. (Countries like Ireland have already changed their laws about this. Canada needs to get on it.) I have made it a personal and professional mandate to change the way we understand this collectively and, eventually, legally. (Watch me, seriously) I see the cost of this in my office on a regular basis, it's expensive.
I believe that one day, the person that has spent so much time and energy trying to make me miserable will realize that I was mostly a mirror that the universe was using to show them what is that is actually hurting. Then maybe they can heal too. I honestly wish that for them. This is not who they really are. They were amazing for quite some time. There were red flags, I ignored them. Once they ran out of other people and events and circumstances to direct their never ending anger at, and I stopped letting them control me, they turned on me. It's typical. Once they have nothing left to blame on me, the next one will get it. It's a classic pattern.
Denial of one's reality and denial of things done to you is difficult, it's been the hardest part of all of this for me. For those of you struggling with that I would suggest that you take a look at the definition of gaslighting. If you are a victim of this, it could change the way you see your life.
I am forgiving the layers of what happened to me these past few years, I'd forgive even quicker if there was acknowledgement of what happened. But it's unlikely, so I choose to let that go and move forward in it anyway. But I do know that we all have our wounds and I know that some of the most innocent things we do trigger old pain in others. If we do not recognize where the pain is actually coming from, then we build an overblown and often inaccurate narrative in our heads. At this point, what usually happens is the force of all the pain that came up from the past is used to retaliate in the present. It usually bypasses our logic centres and we have no control, the force is too great. And if we know enough about the person we are punishing for something that someone else did in the past then we can dig pretty deep and really hurt them.
Remember I questioned whether or not we needed to accept that we will sometimes be the recipient of the 2nd half of Newton's Law that was instigated by someone else's crime? The truth is, I do believe that that is exactly what we all need to accept. We do not have to think it is okay, we do not have to be okay with it, we can do our best to remove ourselves from it when it’s in our control. But we cannot escape it.
One of the people I have loved the most in this life also hurt me more than anyone else every had. That's usually how it goes, many of you would go, yup, same. I think there was another law at play there, and it is another reason for so much breakdown of relationships in our society: you absolutely cannot love someone more than you love yourself. It is not possible. If someone does not take care of themselves properly, they will not be able to take care of a relationship properly, period.
I have such a solid conviction in the knowing of this, I've seen it play out in some many lives, including my own. We cannot authentically give what we do not have. When we give what we do not have it is borrowed or stolen, it creates a deficit. If we try to love someone more than we love ourselves we go into love debt. When the debtors come to call on all that love you gave away that you did not have to give, you automatically try to find it somewhere. Most likely we demand it back from the person we gave it to. They can't give more because they have probably given as much as they can, or are in debt themselves. And the breakdown starts. Add in the paradigms about love programmed into use before we are 8, any trauma and losses, etc, that I mentioned in part I, and it's quite the mess.
Please hear me on this though, because it's important: As the person who is the trigger, so to speak, it would be easy to just say 'well, they didn't accept the gift I offered by triggering them and do what they were meant to do with it, so I will just be on my way, or I will just be offended, or I will stay in the right, because I am not responsible for any of this,' but that's not the truth. At all. That’s self-development ego, spiritual ego, it’s gross. It goes both ways. If I feel those things I am also being triggered, my lesson is to not move into ego, take a humility pill and to let go. I cannot force someone to hear something they are not ready for, and at end of the day, it is not my place to judge the timing of that person’s life or to even assume what it is they need to learn – that’s pure ego – where they are at is absolutely none of my business.
I chose to let this experience show me what archetypes are operating in my life to my detriment, which outdated programs were still running and needed an upgrade. That doesn’t mean they have to or were even supposed to, that’s none of my business. I can only wish them well. Over the last two years my entire operating system got an upgrade, so I am glad about the choice I made, I do not concern myself with the choices of others. It was the right choice for me because it was either that or I probably would have become all the things they said I was. Where attention goes, energy flows. If I had accepted someone else's narrative about me, it would have formed in my life.
So here’s a comment I have on relationships and the healing vehicles that I believe they are meant to be. When two people come together it's because there is a resonance. On a less conscious level we are attracted to the triggers that exist in someone else that we need to loosen what holds us back and be free. It's what attracts people to one another on a very deep and subtle level. When you just HAVE to know someone and are willing to go outside your comfort zone to know them, that is a big indicator that they have both pleasant and unpleasant gifts for you. We all have keys to unlock each other’s potential, we need each other to be mirrors - to mirror back to us our own brokenness, our own self-doubt, the traumas that have crippled us on the inside, the paradigms that have crippled us on the inside. We have what each other needs to heal. We also have the capability to mirror back to each other our best parts, the magical creatures we are, the enormous ability to love that we have. It goes both ways.
A fundamental scientific law that I learned in grade 10 was this:
"You can't get something from nothing."
I see that as backing up what so many of my teachers have taught me, which is that 90% of the time, no one can make you feel hurt about something that was not there before. If someone calls you horrible names and tells you that you are worthless and you do not have anything inside that resonates with that, you will walk away. You won’t even think twice, it’s over. If someone emotionally abandons you on a regular basis, you will only put up with it if there is something familiar about it.
This is where consciousness and mindfulness can be powerful tools. If you can learn how to stand back and be your own witness to the things that get triggered inside you, if you can ask yourself the honest questions, then you can start to heal. Some of those questions are:
What does this actually feel like? (meaning, I feel hurt – but what is underneath that? Is it rage? Is it unworthiness? Is it humiliation? Then – where is THAT feeling coming from?)
Where in my body am I feeling this? If I breath into that part of my body and let that feeling get bigger, what is it saying to me?
Why did this hook me? Where in my past, my daily thoughts or feelings, is this pattern?
What events or patterns in my family, that happened before I was 8, does this remind me of?
And so on, there are so many questions. Those of you out there that know me a bit, know that I am usually much more interested in asking the right question than finding an answer to the first question. If an answer is hard to find it generally means that you are not asking the right question. If you pause, go inside and find a better question, I can promise you that the answer will come easier. It may be harder to feel and allow the knowing of that answer – but it will come easier if you let it.
Our gifts to each other in community are to be mirrors for each other, to be triggers for each other, to be empathetic and kind buffers of the forces that throw pain (that we may not be responsible for) out of people and into our faces sometimes.
Maybe try thinking of it this way:
If all of the hurtful and sad things in my story that I have told you were physical daggers in my heart, would you not want to grab hold of them and pull them out for me to save me no matter what the impact to you? You would. And it would be messy. And your clothes would be ruined, you may get spatter in your eyes, you may be a bit traumatized from the watching the bleeding, but you'd do it.
THAT’s what we are also meant to do for each other with our emotional injuries and wounds. And actually, that IS what we do for each other - but so far, most of us are not aware of it. Words and psychological traumas are like daggers. They inflict real tension, instigate real hormonal cascades that are corrosive in the body and do much damage. They need to be extracted so the poison stops spreading. Other words and actions need to be spoken and instigated to a.) find exactly where the dagger is, and b.) loosen its grip so it can come out. The problem with us not being conscious of this process is that once it’s out, if we don’t understand what we are doing, we don’t have the wherewithal to apply band-aids and disinfectant to help it heal without creating ANOTHER wound and more scar tissue on top.
That’s why I was so determined to let myself be triggered by another man and to do so consciously – because I need that poison out of my body in a way that flushes out the infection completely and then puts pressure and antibiotics on it so it heals properly. We all know already that I was not ready for the amount of damage and the force behind it in this case, so collateral damage occurred. I can also tell you that if I did not appreciate what this unsuspecting soul did for me, I would chalk it up to another guy that hurt me and let the hurtfulness and feeling of abandonment and humiliation scar over, setting me up for an even worse reaction next time someone does me the same favour. However, I am at least conscious of it and I have the tools to navigate it well enough to allow it to still heal me. I can’t control what the other person does with it all, I can only take responsibility (Part 2) own it and hope that I will be forgiven and that some good comes it.
Good people get hurt by good people all the time. People with tremendous pressure on the inside lash out - the problem is we live in a culture that is so self-centred and self-reflective that we’re constantly looking at our own pain that caused the reaction and using it as an excuse. (Part 2!) I believe on some level that we volunteer subconsciously to help others all the time. The only problem with doing it not consciously is that we are then not conscious when the back lash comes and it hurts us more than it should. If we did so consciously, it would change everything, it would allow a deeper connection, it would create an environment between two people that feels safe, that then allows even more of the same to happen which deepens trust, connection and safety. It allows empathy and non-judgement and, the more it happens, the better you get at it. The more you intentionally practice this, sooner it becomes no different that helping someone get a sliver out of their feet, it just becomes something you do as part of the team.
We trigger each other with our own wounds – my wound could be a ‘gift’ to open up someone else’s and give them an opportunity to work with their own ‘stuff’ but that does not make what I did okay. That’s the duality at work here. It can feel confusing, I know. If two people that are attracted to each other on a deep level, enough to give a relationship a go, can consciously understand that they could be each other’s healer and teacher and lover all at the same time, relationships get easier to navigate. You will always find an element of this in successful relationships whether they are conscious of it or not. The duality we feel within ourselves, the two parts of us that are at war with each other can find peace and partnership if we can move into this kind of conscious connection. The key ingredient is vulnerability. The soul medicine that often helps here is what Clarissa Pinkola Estes would call ‘Skeleton Women.’ More on her in Part 5 – but if you want a sneak peak, get the book Women Who Run with the Wolves and read ‘Skeleton Women.’ ;) This particular soul medicine is up for many men and women right now. If you are a man struggling with these things, if you feel divided, this kind of ‘medicine’ could help, a lot. For women, what this medicine is for you is an opportunity to heal the masculine archetypes that operate in your psyches and better understand yourself and the men in your life.
For now I will leave you with a few quotes from the 'Skeleton Woman' chapter of WWRW:
“Skeleton woman is always thrown over the cliff when one or both lovers cannot stand her or understand her. She is thrown over the cliff when we misapprehend the use of transformative cycles: when things must die and be replaced by others. If lovers cannot stand these life/death/life processes, they cannot love one another over and beyond hormonal aspirations.
Throwing the Life/Death/Life nature over the cliff always causes the woman lover, and the soulful force in men, to become a skeleton, bereft of a genuine love or nourishment.”
“It goes something like this: two people begin a dance to see if they would care to love one another. Suddenly, Skeleton Woman is accidentally hooked. Something in the relationship begins to diminishing and slides into entropy. Often the painful pleasure of sexual excitement is abating, or one sees the other’s frail, injured underside, or sees the other as “not quite trophy material,” and that’s when the bald and yellow-toothed girl rises to the surface…. This is the time when there is real opportunity to show courage and to know love. To love means to stay with. It means to emerge from a fantasy world into a world where sustainable love I possible, face to face, bones to bones… to stay when every cell says ‘run!’”
“It must be said too that sometimes as a man becomes more free, and closer to the Skeleton Woman, his lover becomes more fearful and has some work of her own to do regrading untangling, observing… learning to trust the Life/Death/Life nature. When both are well initiated, they together then have the power with which to balm any hurt, outlive any pain.”
And that’s it right there – when two people learn this dance, when they accept and love their own brokenness and are willing to be seen and see the other, all sides of who they are, they become unstoppable. It's not just the parts that hurt though, we also magnify the awesomeness of the other person as well and bring out their best qualities. It's just that we have a harder time with the not so great stuff - but it's where the greatest largely untapped potential lies. The light and the dark. These two people that can figure this out are a force to be reckoned with. When two people own their story, embrace their pain and their love, their good qualities and the not so great ones, get stubborn about being vulnerable and are willing to let the other be their partner, teacher and healer, then you have what Every. Single. Person. on this earth is looking for. Intimacy and authentic connection.
Lately we've been trying to read through the lines Like bars between us, a single room holding two lives I had this dream and I couldn't reach through the fire
Lately we've been staring demons in the eye Made a habit of looking past all the white lies
Oh, just be honest, has it ever been fine?
As all these minutes slow down, all I want now is to find you again
We all just want to be seen. To be fully seen is to be accepted. In order to be seen and accepted we have to be willing to see and accept ourselves – when we do this we feel enough safety to be vulnerable enough to allow ourselves to be seen.
That is the deep intimacy, or into-me-see, that we are all longing for.
Light – Dark – Light
Life – Death – Life
Good – Bad – Good
Love – Fear – Love
It’s not you, it’s me.
It’s not me, it’s you.
Oh. It’s both of us.
It's all of us.
And the right question is just over the next hill.