We also betray ourselves out of the illusion and pursuit that security can be achieved in the relationship.
One of the ways to be definitely not secure is to make my life dependent on a certain emotional reaction of my partner. I then fall into the trap of feeling helpless.
In a sense, the only thing that can make you feel unsafe in a relationship is the demand that you will never be rejected...
Sometimes the fear of the other person accepting me as I am, is as scary as the possible rejection. So, what would happen if you were really accepted? At some point, you're glad you were rejected. That way you don't have to work on yourself.
Why is that? What do we no longer have to work on ourselves if we are rejected?
Here we are, ready to be rejected, and we can't stand not being rejected.
Well, we can stop working on being open. We don't have to work at defending ourselves. We are so used to defending ourselves that it feels like work not to be in the defensive posture.
If I'm accepted for who I am now, that's nice, right? But I don't know who I'm going to be tomorrow. It's very scary for someone who really wants to be real to meet someone who accepts him/her now, but will he/she be able to always "provide" that acceptance? It's almost like it feels like an obligation to be accepted. "Now I have to keep it up"....
When I build a relationship with my partner and all my efforts are directed towards him not rejecting me, I increase the likelihood that he will: I am not being real, I am not giving him/her myself, I am trying to manipulate him/her into not rejecting me, I am not breathing. So, the only safety I can really create in my relationship is not to worry about being safe with my partner.
This requires faith. Faith that nothing will end. If we want to have an intimate relationship with someone and we don't trust, but we know we'll be able to tolerate whatever comes our way, we're much more vulnerable and free. We say, "It's okay, I don't trust my relationship with my partner enough to breathe through it, but I can be and hold the discomfort of not trusting / not knowing without doing anything to re-gain an "illusory" security”.
But what we do instead is we try to pretend that we trust, we try to convince our partner that we trust them, we try to convince ourselves that we trust them.
We have to learn to live with the uncertainty that there is no security. If we don't learn that, we will end up trying to build an illusory security that leads to control; control over situations, over outcomes, over how I or my partner has to be in order to get that safety.
So, we should accept where we are, including the fact that we don't want to be where we say we want to be. "I want to be with you, I want to be with you all the time." What a lie. More correct would be, "Now I want to be with you, but tomorrow I don't know if I will." "I trust you 100% in everything!".... is that true? Can it be true? How can we know that they are always trustworthy? Tomorrow they might surprise us.
So, if you promise yourself that you will trust someone forever, you will not enter into a relationship with him/her. If you really trust them, you are willing to let them to know that there are moments where you don’t trust them. If you truly trust them, you have to be fine with moments when you don’t trust yourself, otherwise you don’t trust them.
That is the willingness to accept any kind of experience.
If we always trusted, we wouldn't think about trust, right?
We trust that our hand is available when we want to reach for a glass of water. We don't think about it, we just reach for it. We trust our leg to be there when we want to get up, we don't ask, "I want to get up, do I trust my leg to be there for me?"
When I'm vulnerable, I stop thinking about it, I'm just vulnerable: I open my mouth, I talk, I want to connect emotionally or physically, etc.... The mind is not there. When the mind is there in decision making, that's fear. That is the moment when you become helpless.
Very often we say, "I want to be with you," and that's partly true, but because I'm also afraid of being vulnerable and surrendering to what might come out of that space of deep intimacy, the mind steps in and decides how it has to be so that I'm safe. And for me to feel safe, the other person must meet certain expectations and he or she must be the man or woman of my imagination, the person I have idealized. The mind rationalizes the impulse.
This may work for a while, because the other person controls him/herself so that he/she can be the chosen person of my imagination. But then what happens to the relationship? It dies. So, we go to the next partner and then recreate a similar situation to the previous one..
And we know what that does, right? Either we decide that there is something wrong with us, or we decide that there is something wrong with "the men", "the women", "the little ones", "the rich ones", "the non university graduates", whatever we are looking for. Or is it different for you?
Questions for Reflection
- In what situations or with what characteristics are you afraid that your partner will reject you, look down on you, humiliate you, etc.?
- Where do you stop being you to avoid this hurt?
- In what situations do you not express your "YES" or "NO" to create a "false" trust/security? What are you trying to control?
- Can you identify the situations or personal characteristics in which you don't trust your partner? Does your partner know that you don't trust them in certain ways?
- Can you identify the patterns you have adopted to create a sense of safety in your partner? What risk are you trying to mitigate?
In the next article I will go into the definition of the "lower self", vulnerability, the experience of the true "I" (my real self) and we will discover what is our deepest need in life.
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- Erena Bramos Teaching on “Helplessness vs. Vulnerability” at the Core Energetic Institute Greece.