When we are ready to look at ourselves
As a psychotherapist, we learn as much as we can about the psyche, obviously. I can see things, I understand things with my mind…but this week showed me that I’ve been blind to myself. When we are ‘in’ it, in ourselves, it’s hard to see out. I can see dynamics in others that I can’t see in myself. No amount of personal growth courses, yoga, meditation compares to relationships to get into the flesh and bones of growing as a person.
A very good friend of mine came to visit for a week from Spain. In Spain we have our co-living down to a pat: two women caring for each other, enjoying each other’s company and giving each other the luscious freedom to be.
Until she came to my house. This was the first time I’ve had a place for her to come to, the first time I’ve been in England, the first time we even spoke in English. It was so confusing. She didn’t know what I know. She was in the weak position. I was ‘in the know’. All the dynamics changed.
Suddenly I was exhausted, claustrophobic and counting down the days. Why? Because as much as I know about complexes being triggered, I had never been conscious of it in my body, in my reality. I thought it was her.
I am so happy to be her friend, she was so wise, so straight, so sensible – when I could only collapse. I projected onto her and she didn’t project back. I was swamped in a father complex of needing to control everything so that all plans turn out per-fect-ly (and exhaustingly for me) and my mother complex of feeling that I need to maintain con-stant emotional connection else I’m letting everyone down with my selfish need to recuperate alone.
When my friend had gone, I realised, that she had simply come to visit. That’s it. Nothing more, nothing less. My soul had made a complete show, a grotesque cabaret of the whole thing. My experience had nothing to do with reality. My inner life was pleading with me to be seen. And I did. Thanks to my friend not making a big deal of me making a big deal out of things. She simply held up a mirror for me to see my rejected parts. Then she gave me courage.
We reject parts of us that we see that we don’t like. It’s a biggie for little kids seeing things in their parents they don’t like. They can’t leave, so they repress. And then as adults, if we don’t bring these shadowy parts out of the locked play box of our psyche, they play havoc…attracting us to others who represent these parts like irresistible magnets. Hence we tend to be attracted to partners who are like our parents, often in the ‘worse’ possible way. Our soul needs us to reintegrate what we have left out of consciousness of ourselves. I want to see these parts in myself so that I don’t need to see them with the people around me. I want to be free.
So, next time that I’m completely ‘out of sorts’ I’ve realised that I will react -probably- but I want to develop the skill to not to react to me reacting. To not extrapolate the scene into a exaggerated diaster zone (aka smoke screen to my own shadow). I want to be able to simply, calmly watch my inner world screaming out for ‘drama’, for ‘reaction’, for actions to be able to ‘survive’…and reduce the situation to the world of real. It requires me not to go with practised ego drives, to realise that I’m OK, the other is OK, and that here there is nothing actually to see at all, apart from life truths: we can’t control life. Life is a wave of varying emotions. Things happen unexpectedly. We don’t always win. Trains are cancelled. We make mistakes.
And in the inner chaos of the world outside simply being the world outside (often, normally being quite calm not dramatic at all) I want to get into the habit of withdrawing and asking what is going on inside of myself. And if it’s a male voice wanting to control everything, maybe have a chat with him explaining that actually I’d prefer to chill. That the male within (the animus) may be a part of me, but it isn’t me. And the same with my feminine inner voices trying to control through connection. I can sit down with them and have a little chat and say that I really need a little time to myself right now, and it’s ok.
Life is not what I imagine it is. Life has ups and down. Disconnection. Chaos. Things coming together and fallng apart…and ultimately-if we allow ourselves to go through tough times together so showing ourselves not only in our cut-and-pasted photoshopped limelight- there also exists that illusive thing we all yearn for: real connection.