When it comes to my journey of self awareness, there are some people who stand out when I look back on where I have come from. And one of those people is Tracy Holloway.
This is someone who is based in England and is an internationally renowned teacher, inspirational speaker, writer, presenter and broadcaster.
In 2007 I had the perspective that it was all about beliefs and that these were what needed to change. So I searched on Google, going over and over numerous pages, looking for information on beliefs.
I wanted to know how they could be changed or removed. And this is when I came across Tracy’s website. There was the option to have one to one appointments over the phone. So I soon decided that this was the next stage for me to take.
The First Person
When I look back on all of the people who have assisted me, Tracy stands out. And one of the reasons for this is that she was the first person truly I reached out to.
At first I wasn’t sure what to expect or what she would be like. However, this soon disappeared and was replaced with a sense of appreciation and shock.
This was someone who was: warm, compassionate, understanding and supportive. During this time in my life, I was amazed that a woman could be this way.
After working with Tracy at a one to one level, I soon attended different courses that she taught. It was here that I first started to connect to people who were also on the path.
I didn’t have many people around me who were supportive or who were encouraging me to take this route, but I knew that I had to do it; regardless of what the views of my family were.
One of the most valuable things I gained through working with Tracy was validation. To know that what I was going through was ok and that there was nothing wrong with me.
As I was in an environment that was far from a conscious environment, this made a massive difference to my life. She was a supportive hand during those challenging moments in my life.
I would say that Tracy is someone who was born to impact the lives of many people. With her kindness, love and presence; she is a beacon of light in this world.
And I know that if it wasn't for her assistance in the very beginning of my journey, my life would have been very different. To find out more about Tracy, go to - http://www.tracyholloway.com.
To be human is to be vulnerable, but that doesn’t mean that accepting this is therefore easy.
To surrender to this truth can be an incredible challenge; that is if one even wants to. And as a way to avoid this truth, one can create all kinds of walls and defences. But while this may allow one to avoid feeling vulnerable, it can only lead to more pain.
I believe that one of our greatest needs is to be who we are. And to do that means being vulnerable. There is no choice in the matter; we cannot be our true self, if we are not willing to be vulnerable.
They go hand in hand and our interrelated. However, when it comes to being vulnerable, I believe that there are two meanings. One is true vulnerability and another is the result of trauma or pain that has been experienced
When we feel things, we typically feel them in our heart. This is the area where our sense of vulnerability is primarily felt and experienced. And it is here that pain can build up and weigh us down.
The heart wants to give and express itself and if this is stopped due to the fear of being vulnerable; it is going to create suffering. The intention may be to avoid suffering, but the thing that is trying to be avoided, is nevertheless experienced.
Here, one knows that there is no way to avoid being vulnerable and accepts this; as they are not willing to deny who they due to the fear of what may happen to them. And if something bad does happen, then it is often secondary to the good that is experienced by being vulnerable.
This is not to say that one goes about this without thought, it means that one has the discernment to know when it is right and when it isn’t. To show how one feels and to be who one really is without a second thought.
While it is clear that this is the ideal, there are often many blocks involved that stop one from doing this.
Although being vulnerable can mean something that is empowering and fulfilling, it can also mean many other things. Ones ego mind will have formed many associations round what it means. And if one doesn’t feel comfortable being vulnerable, it could be due to the ego mind having formed the following associations:
· That one will be taken advantage of
· That one will be rejected
· That one will be abandoned
· That one will be hurt
· That one will be humiliated
· That one will be controlled
· That one will be betrayed
These associations and many others that I haven’t mentioned, will be see seen as the truth by the ego mind. When it reality, they are often what has become familiar and therefore safe to the mind.
However, while at a basic level this is all they are, the affect that they are having is monumental. These associations are what will define how one perceives reality.
At an external level; with the situations that one attracts and the people that one meets. And internally; with how ones feels, thinks and the sensation that arise in one’s body.
The causes of these associations are probably in ones childhood. Later adult life can also have an impact on one’s ability to be vulnerable.
How ones caregivers, siblings, and grandparents responded to one as child will play a massive role. As a child one is completely vulnerable and has no way to protect oneself. The kind of environment that one was brought up into also matters. Was it safe and peaceful or unsafe and hostile?
And then the kind of experiences one has had as an adult in relation to being vulnerable also matter. The kind of relationships that one has had and if they have allowed one to be vulnerable or not, will all play a part here.
The ego mind is simply doing its job of keeping one alive and although these associations may be creating problems now; at the time they were probably what kept one safe.
To let go of the past and to have a more balanced approach to being vulnerable, one may need some kind of assistance; either from a therapist, healer or a coach. It may be enough for one to just become aware of what their mind is holding onto and to change it through thinking and acting differently.
When it comes to my journey of self awareness, there are some people who stand out when I look back on where I have come from. And one of those people is Simon Rose. This is someone who originates from Australia and now travels the world teaching courses.
In 2009 I was looking for answers and I came across a blog. And this was all about healing and getting to the root of the issue. After reading this post and going over everything else on the blog; I soon got in touch with Simon.
This method of healing was called Reference Point Therapy. I was soon convinced that this was something I had to experience for myself. However, as Simon was unavailable at this time due to his teaching commitments; I worked with another practitioner.
A short while after this, Simon came over to London, England. Once here, he would be teaching levels one to three of the Reference Point Therapy technique. As I had only heard about him through his blog and through emails, I wasn’t sure what he would be like.
What I soon came to conclude after taking part in these two courses, was that here was someone who was smart, sharp and knew what he was talking about. When I thought about healers in the past, I often imagined someone who was a bit airy fairly and anything but grounded.
And yet, here was someone who was talking about healing and had a very practical and grounded nature to them. What he was talking about was based on solid science.
The Healing Day
After I had done the first two courses, I was thinking for a number of weeks about whether to do the final course in Belgium. During this time, I took my late father Ron and my friend Brian to a free healing clinic at a university in London.
This was where the final course was taking place in London and the people on the course had a period of about two hours where they could assist others. These were people who were not taking part in the course and who would enable the students to gain valuable experience and feedback.
Simon spoke to my father and said something like - Oliver is doing well and is committed to his own development. And, after being at this event, I knew I had to go to the course in Belgium.
Although I had already formed an opinion of what Simon was like, I soon started to see other things. Simon had good boundaries and was assertive. I think this was probably the first time I had actually seen someone who was assertive in a functional way.
He wasn’t pushy and neither was he a walk over; it was right in the middle. And a great example of what it looks like to have boundaries.
This was also the first time that I had heard of boundaries; as this is what Simon talked about a lot throughout the courses. And I now realise how important they are.
So I am grateful for the support that Simon showed during those moments in my life. To find out more about Simon Rose and Reference Point Therapy (RPT) go to - http://www.referencepointtherapy.com/.
There is no doubting the importance that relationships have in life. They have the power to create incredible happiness, meaning and fulfilment. And they also have the power to create extreme unhappiness, pain and emptiness.
For some people, the good that a relationship brings, outweighs the bad. They desire to be with a man or women, depending on their sexual preference. Although it may create challenges, these challenges are not enough to make one avoid a relationship altogether.
And then there are some people who have relationships even though they bring more challenges than anything else. As well as the people who avoid them altogether.
Now, it could be said that the people who have fulfilling relationships are luckier than those who don’t have them. And that they have something that they don’t have.
This is a rationalisation that the ego mind can come to. And although this may give one a short term relief; it is unlikely to lead to have having a relationship that is fulfilling and meaningful.
And while we are all human beings, we can all have different meanings of what things mean; with this being how the ego mind functions.
The ego mind creates associations around everything in one’s life. And these associations then become what something means and this meaning is often seen as the absolute truth. These associations are what are classed familiar and therefore safe.
It doesn’t matter if these associations are empowering, healthy or accurate. All that matters to the ego mind is that they are familiar and to change them would mean death.
So let’s take a look at what some of the associations around relationships can be:
· That others can’t be trusted
· That relationships only create pain
· That one will be abandoned
· That one will be abused
· That one will be taken advantage of
· That one is unworthy of having one
· That one will be controlled
These are just a few examples of what one can believe at a deeper level. They are not the truth, but to the ego mind, they are the truth.
Through the ego mind having formed these meanings, it will cause one to attract people who reflect these associations. Or one will interpret their behaviour in a certain way, so that it does reflect them.
The associations will also trigger emotions, feelings and sensations and this will then define how one behaves and sees their life. At a basic level, they are just associations, but the effect that they have can be enormous.
These associations are typically formed during ones childhood and later in ones adult life. Howe one saw their caregivers treat each other and how they were treated by them, can all have a massive impact on how one will go on to see relationships.
And if one has experienced relationships as an adult, that were dysfunctional and unhealthy, it is likely to have lead to one forming associations that may not be to healthy.
For as long as one is not aware of how their inner world is shaping their outer world, it will be unlikely that any real progress will be made. However, as one becomes aware of how their own inner world is shaping their outer, change will begin to occur.
By simply becoming aware of how this is so, one may well be on their way. And yet for others this may require the assistance of a therapist, coach or a healer. There are many good books that go into this and these can aid one in changing their outlook.
A big part of being intimate involves being able to share ones reality with another person. Here, one will share what they are feeling, thinking and sensing.
And while this may sound clear enough to understand, it is not always the easiest thing to do in a relationship. One of the primary reasons for this is due to one not feeling safe enough to do so.
If one doesn’t feel that it is safe for them to open up and to share their reality with another; there is going to be very little chance of authentic intimacy taking place. And then, the natural need to share oneself with another person will not take place.
So on one side, one has to feel safe enough to reveal who they are and that the other person will accept them as they are. And on the other side, this will involve the other person sharing who they are and with one accepting them as they are.
This would mean that through accepting each other, there would not be the tendency for one person to try to change the other person. Or that what one person was experiencing was wrong and inappropriate. Each person’s reality would be respected and honoured.
When one has boundaries, it allows them to know where they begin and where they end. And where another person begins and ends. This then leads to the understanding that one’s reality is different to another’s reality and that they each have their own experience of life.
And through knowing who they are, it means that one can feel safe enough to open up and to have the discernment to know when it is not safe. When one doesn’t have boundaries, there is the potential for one to either enmesh with the other person or to keep them at a distance.
When They Don’t Exist
This is likely to be the result of one now knowing where they begin and end and where another person begins and ends. And through not having this inner sense of who they are, one is going to have great difficulty sharing who they are with another person.
Here one may choose to avoid sharing who they are at a deeper level, as a way to avoid losing themselves. Or one may become enmeshed with the other person and lose their own reality in the process.
Another consequence will relate to respecting and acknowledging the other persons reality. Through each person not having a strong sense of their own reality, there will then be the likelihood of invalidating and denying what the other person is experiencing.
While it is a natural need to open up and to share ones reality with another person; there can often be fears that get in the way of this occurring. Consciously the desire is there, but what is going on unconsciously is sabotaging this need from being fulfilled.
And this will come down to the associations that the ego mind has formed around getting close to another person. The ego mind forms associations through what is perceives to be familiar and therefore safe.
This is not necessarily based on what is healthy or functional; it can be the result of traumatic and emotionally charged experiences. So this means that it is important to look at how one feels about sharing their reality with another person.
At a deeper level, this could lead to the following associations being triggered:
· That one will lose who they are
· That one will be taken advantage of
· That one will be invalidated
· That it is not safe to do so
· That one will be ignored
These could have been formed through ones early interactions with their caregivers and through adult experiences.
And for anyone who has experienced any of the above; they won’t need to be reminded of what it feels like to share their reality with another person. As the ego mind has formed these associations and therefore feels safe with them; it will often cause one to attract people who will trigger them.
It may be that the other person is not allowing one to share who they are or it could be that one simply perceives them as being that way. And all because of what is going on within themselves.
To create boundaries and to feel safe enough to share who one is with another, it may require letting go of what the ego mind has associated as being safe. Through this, one will start to form a healthy sense of who they are. And will then be a lot easier to open up to healthy intimacy.
There are many ways of doing this and this will all depend on how much of a challenge this is for someone. Therapy, healing or coaching are possible options. As is reading about this area or speaking to a trusted friend.
When it comes to living life in the present moment and being free from attachments to the past and to specific outcomes in the future; letting go is often spoken about as the ideal. And through letting go, one can then allow life to flow. Also, as a result of this, a lot of the stress that can accumulate by holding on will disappear.
However, while this sounds like a wonderful idea and one that is extremely appealing; it is often far from what feels comfortable and natural. In fact, to do this can feel uncomfortable and something that has the potential to be extremely dangerous.
So although letting go can make life a lot easier, more effortless and allow even better things to happen than one would have expected; It might seem strange that letting go is not the naturally approach to life.
The meaning of letting go can sound very good through reading about it in a book, in an article or through a teacher and at a conscious level. But, this is not to say that it is associated to be positive at an unconscious level.
And this is the meaning that makes the difference in one’s life; the personal meaning. Other people can describe it as the ideal and as what one should aspire to. And yet, this is unlikely to make any difference if it is in conflict with what’s going on at a deeper level.
A Deeper Level
Here, the ego mind forms associations around everything and once these have been formed; they will define what is classed as familiar and therefore safe. These are often formed during ones childhood and through certain experiences that one has as an adult.
Now, at the time, these would have been what allowed one to feel safe. The challenges are created when what kept one safe at one point in their life; go on to create unnecessary pain and suffering.
So let’s take a look at some common emotional experiences that can occur when one thinks about letting go. The ideal meaning of letting go is to feel supported, safe and that one can trust in the whole process. However, letting go can also mean the following:
· That one will be taken advantage of
· That one will have no power
· That one will be abandoned
· That one will lose all control
· That one will be forgotten about
· That one will be ignored
· That one will end up being controlled
· That one will end up alone
· That one will lose everything
· That one will lose themselves
These are some examples of what letting go can trigger for people. And upon seeing what some of these are; it is then not much of a surprise as to why letting go can be such a challenge.
For as long as the ego mind associates letting go to mean any of the above or to mean anything else for that matter; one will continue to avoid letting or they will have a hard time doing it.
Internally these associations will be fired of and lead to uncomfortable sensations, emotions and words for instance. And externally this can result in one attracting situations that will mirror and validate these associations.
And before one feels comfortable letting go, it may be necessary for one to let go of what has accumulated within. If these associations are operating within, one is going to find it difficult to trust in the process.
The best way to do this will depend on many different things. And one of those is how challenging this is for someone. It could be that some kind of therapy, coaching or healing is needed. Or it may be enough for one to simply become aware of what letting go means to them and then choosing another way to be.
When it comes to understanding what is going on in the world, the media has generally been the source that one has looked to. This has been the case for many, many years. But this has very recently changed and this is primarily due to the fairly introduction of the internet.
In the past, the main sources were Papers, Radio and Television. And in the modern day world, although these options still exist; there are numerous others sources that can be found on the internet.
This has meant that a wider range of news is now available. One is no longer constrained by what the mainstream media says is occurring in the world. The option to come to one’s own conclusion about what is happening is now available.
However, while all these new sources are now available to give one a more balanced and objective opinion; it is not necessarily going to mean that everyone will then question what the media says about the world.
For many people, it has become a habit to listen and to believe all that the media says. To question or to disbelieve what is being said is something that is not always considered.
After being exposed to the mainstream media from more or less the moment we are born and until the moment our times comes to an end; it is not much of a surprise that one can become completely consumed by what the media says.
One forms a relationship with the media and from this moment on; one then looks to this media to tell them what is going on. Complete trust is then bestowed upon the media. There is no question of if what they are saying has any truth to it or if there is another perspective.
The thought that the media could have a hidden agenda, is often the last thing that one is going to be thinking about when they hear the news. Besides, they are meant to be on our side aren’t they!?
For many years, all one had was what the media was saying about the world. But as a result of the internet, one now has many different views and opinions available. So it is no longer a case of there being one ‘truth’ available.
And yet, when it comes to what the media is saying about the world and how they position themselves, it would be hard to comprehend that they actually have an agenda.
However, having an agenda is often part of being human and this is not essentially a negative thing. One can have an agenda and be open and transparent about it. At least then one can come to their own conclusion about it.
The challenge here is not that agenda exist; it is when an agenda is being hidden from people. And as the media has such power and influence over so many people’s lives and minds: there should be complete transparency.
It is often said that perception is reality. And it’s not always a case of one being able to simply observe what the media is selling as the truth and not be affected by it. Through taking in what is being said, two things are often taking place. Firstly, one is taking in what is being said and secondly, one is then creating different associations about the world.
The ego mind functions through associations. These then become what are classed as familiar and therefore safe. And once this happens, it will be what the mind expects to see in the world. It will actively look for what is has come to interpret as familiar.
And this will not matter if these associations are accurate, healthy, functional or beneficial. All that matters is that the mind interprets them as being familiar.
Now, this is not something that happens through viewing the mainstream media once; this is a process that has probably been going on for ones whole life. Due to the familiarity that one often has to the mainstream media, one is unlikely to have their critical filters up.
So what is being said often goes straight through any kind of critical analysis. And as what the media says is often designed to create an emotional reaction; this is not much of a surprise.
And while one is being overwhelmed with emotion, it enables the media to insert their view of reality into the deeper layers of one’s mind. This means that through this process, the ego mind is forming associations that will then go onto become perceptions.
Although at first something may have been what the mainstream media portrayed as the truth and nothing more; it then becomes what takes root in one’s mind. But once this has occurred, it is no longer an idea or a news story; it is how one sees reality.
And as this is what is going on within, it will then become what is going on without. The ego mind has become familiar with these associations and therefore feels safe. So this means that it will actively look for all that will validate these associations. If something goes against these, it will edit them out in some way.
We live in a time where there are so many sources available to choose from. And something that really matters here is ones mental and emotional wellbeing. These are things that need to be protected and looked after.
The mind can believe anything and this means that one has to be careful as to what goes into their mind. Even though it goes in easily, it is often hard to get out. So the importance of having a critical mind cannot be emphasised enough.
Although relationships are often seen as two people sharing who they are with the other each and with both of them being on the same level; this doesn’t always take place. And when this doesn’t happen, one of the reasons can be due to one person trying to rescue the other.
Now, in order for one to be a rescuer, there needs to be someone who needs rescuing. There can’t be one without the other. And while it may seem that the rescuer possesses a lot more power than the person that they are rescuing; these are ultimately two sides of the same coin.
The difference is that each person is expressing themselves in a different way; with one person appearing to be stronger than the other. And this is not limited to intimate relationships either, it can also relate to relationships with: family, friends and colleagues for instance.
And while the rescuer is trying to save another person, this can take on, many different forms. This could be to do with finances and to propping another person up financially. It can also include trying to rescue another: emotionally, mentally and physically.
So perhaps the other person is in debt or never seems to have any money; which leads to the rescuer always being there with money. Or it could be that the other person is suffering mentally and emotionally and therefore the rescuer seeks to fix them in some way.
And it may be that the other person is putting themselves in danger, through some form of self harm or violence and needs to be continually monitored or saved.
What is clear here is that one person is putting in more effort than the other person is. One person is the continual saviour and the other person is perpetually helpless. For some, this may be a way of life and for others; this will be a role that they take on during certain circumstances.
And if we take a step back from these roles, what it starts to look like is a relationship between a parent and a child. One person is the strong parental figure and the other is the dependent child. And there will be some relationships that are extreme examples of this and some that have certain elements of this.
However, as we are human and therefore not perfect or meant to be perfect; to have moments of feeling dependent or hopeless is normal. To embody this behaviour on a consistent basis is likely to lead to problems.
So while one person is taking on the identity of the rescuer and that all is well; they are also negating their own needs in the process. It’s as if they have no needs and are needless.
And for the person who needs rescuing and is showing that they need help; it’s as if they are powerless and can’t help themselves.
So then, the rescuer is not comfortable showing that they have needs. Their primary focus is being there for the other person and to take care of their needs. And their own needs are denied and ignored.
On the surface, this doesn’t make any sense. However, this is how the rescuer gains approval and feels worthy. For, it’s not that they don’t have needs; what it comes down to, is that they feel that their own needs are not important. And if they were to show them, they fear that they would be abandoned.
The reasoning is – ‘if I am there enough for them, then maybe they will be there for me and I won’t be abandoned or rejected.’
At an unconscious level, there is often the fear of another person getting too close. Consciously this is what they long for, but this is in conflict with what is going on within them. So by keeping the focus on the other person, it enables them to stay at a comfortable distance.
And the person who needs to be rescued has no problem in showing that they have needs. This person has no concern about the needs of the other person. If they were to act another way and to hide their needs; they question if the other person would notice them.
So while the rescuer feels that they need to hide their needs to avoid being abandoned; the person that needs to be rescued shows their needs due to the fear of being abandoned if they don’t.
The reasoning is – ‘if I show how needy I am, then someone will always be there for me and I won’t be abandoned or rejected’.
At an unconscious level, there is also the fear of another person getting too close. Consciously this is clearly what they seek, but this is in conflict with what is going on at a deeper level. So by them being so needy, it often leads to the other person leaving them. Here they can return to what they are comfortable with.
This means that both have challenges when it comes to trusting that another person will be there for them. The need to be constantly validated by the other is something that is needed by both people. One achieves this by being at another’s beck and call and the other one person does this by showing how needy they are.
In the short term this may well create a sense of satisfaction between the two people or should I say a sense of familiarity. But when it comes to long term happiness and the chance of a healthy relationship: it is unlikely to be beneficial.
Sooner of latter, the person who is rescuing the other is going to become frustrated and angry that their needs are being ignored. One may look for another person to rescue for example; with the belief that they will finally take care of their needs.
And for the person that is being rescued, their fears about being abandoned and not having someone there is likely to arise. And while the conscious intention is to bring the other person closer; it could lead to them being pushed further away.
To see this kind of behaviour can be confusing to say the least, but through taking a look at childhood development, this can become a lot clearer. As children, we are completely dependent on our caregivers to take care of our needs.
Now, although we can have these needs, it doesn’t mean that they will be consistently taken care of, or taken care of at all. And this can lead to two things occurring. It can be that one is forced to be there for their caregivers needs and to ignore their own. And another option is that one’s needs are ignored and that they are not used to fulfil their caregiver’s needs either.
For the person whose needs are ignored as a child, and has to be there for the parents needs; there are going to be certain associations formed about their needs. And these could be that one’s needs are not important and one may feel ashamed and guilty for having them.
Here one is learning at an early age that other people’s needs matter and their needs do not. And that to be close to another means being smothered and engulfed. Due to being overwhelmed by their caregivers needs.
And for someone whose needs are ignored and who is not used to take care of their parents needs; they will have different associations. They will also feel that their needs are not important.
They are learning at an early age that their needs do not matter and no one is there for them. Learning in the process that they can’t just be themselves and have their needs met; something extreme has to happen to gain another’s attention. And yet to have someone become to close may lead to the fear of being smothered or engulfed, because one is not used to another person being there.
These things may well have happened many years ago, but they remain due to them being familiar. At the time of the experiences; the ego mind associated them as familiar and therefore safe.
We all have needs and they are nothing to be ashamed of or to feel guilty about. And in order to let go of the minds associations and to feel comfortable with having needs; one may need to seek some kind of assistance.
This could be a therapist or a healer, or it could be a trusted friend or a book.
While there can be general meanings to words, there can also be personal meanings to words and intimacy is no different in this respect. Intimacy is generally described as what occurs when one person is close to another. And although one can be close to friend’s, family or colleagues for example; when one thinks of intimacy, it usually relates to someone of the opposite sex.
For some people intimacy can mean being close to another and sharing who they are. And this is in a way that one will feel safe and respected. It is something to be embraced and enjoyed.
This is not to say that intimacy is always easy or that there are no challenges. But what it does mean is that for this person, intimacy is something that has been associated as something that is generally positive and empowering.
However, even though there are some people who associate intimacy as being a positive, there are also people who do everything they can to avoid intimacy. And this is partly due to this person having different associations of what intimacy means.
To share oneself with another, in a way that one feels safe and protected, is unlikely to be what they have experienced or expect to experience when they are with another person.
A Natural Need
And as being intimate is a natural need and one that is an important part of the human experience; it is inevitably going to lead to pain and conflict being created. This may cause some people avoid intimacy altogether and others will still go after intimacy regardless of the pain that it will lead to.
So on one side let’s say that there are some people who do all that they can to avoid intimacy and others who still seek it. Although there are these two extremes, there will also be other dynamics involved.
Even though one may fear intimacy, the need for connection and to share who one is, will not simply disappear. And this often means that other options will be sought and one will settle for other types of relationships that allow for a sense of connection to be gained, but without their fear of intimacy coming to the surface. Common examples of these can be: open relationships, one night stands and casual encounters
This could be described as having the pleasure without the pain, and yet these are two sides of the same coin. And while these situations, where one has instant love, may be pleasurable in the short term, in the long term one just experiences more pain. And all because they are not meeting their natural need to have a real connection with someone.
Here one can feel close enough to someone to feel a sense of closeness, but not too close that their fear of intimacy will be triggered.
On one side intimacy means something positive and on the other it can mean something negative. And as something that only creates pain and suffering. So what is clear is that for the person who avoids real intimacy, their meaning is radically different to the person who embraces it.
And this typically comes down to two reasons. For people who have an unhealthy model of what intimacy is, there meaning could be that intimacy means: one will either end up being abandoned or they will end up being engulfed.
So, if one sees intimacy as being this way, it is not much of a surprise that they continually sabotage any chance that they have of experiencing healthy intimacy. This is not to say that it’s black and white and that one will either be one way or the other; one can alternate between the two.
What this often leads to is certain behaviours being created as a result of the two styles. For example: for the person that fears being abandoned, they will often be the person that is needy when it comes to intimacy. And for the person that fears being engulfed, they will often be the one that is distant or aloof.
It is then easy to see why relationships are often so dysfunctional and full of games. For if one person is doing all they can to keep the other person there and the other person is doing all they can to keep a distance; it is inevitably going to lead to all kinds of unnecessary drama and pain.
A Closer Look
However, although on the surface it may seem that one person wants to be close and the other person doesn’t, there is more to it. At a conscious level that is what they are experiencing. But at a level that they may not be aware of; there is something else going on.
The person, who is predominantly needy and appears to want intimacy, also has a fear of getting to close to the other person in case they are engulfed. And therefore are attracted to someone that is distant to avoid being engulfed.
And for the person who is primarily distant, they also have fear that stops them from leaving the person completely and that is the fear of being abandoned. So being with another person that is incredibly needy allows them to regulate this hidden fear of being abandoned.
The causes of these dynamics are likely to have come about through ones childhood and then built up through ones adult experiences. Having a caregiver that generally abandoned one as a child, is what is likely to have caused one to feel needy as adult.
And having a caregiver that had poor boundaries and therefore smothered one as a child, is likely to have caused one to avoid the same experience happening as an adult.
The Ego Mind
As a result of the power of these early experiences, it formed ones perception of what intimacy was like. And the ego mind formed associations of this type of behaviour being familiar and therefore safe. So even though these associations are creating pain and suffering, to the ego mind they are what feels comfortable.
And for as long as the ego mind holds onto these associations, one will continue to attract people who mirror and validate what the mind has identified with.
This does not mean that one is destined to create the same experiences over and over again. The associations can be changed and what has happened in the past doesn’t have to define ones present life.
Now, this can mean that one has to do some serious work on themselves, or it may mean just becoming aware of what one usually does and doing something else. There is plenty of assistance out there, from books, to coaches and therapists.
To have a relationship that is healthy and functional is something that most people want in this world. Now, for some people this is reality and for others; this is often nothing more than a good idea and something that eludes them.
And while there are people who have fulfilling relationships and others who want them; there is also another dynamic that goes on. These are people who may develop a relationship with someone or meet another person who is appropriate and who treats them well, and yet the relationship doesn’t last.
On the surface, one may have the need to be with another person that appreciates, respects and values who they are. However, although this is what is going on at a conscious level, there is a clear difference between what is actually happening in one’s life.
One is aware of what they need, but this is having very little impact on one achieving that which they truly desire – a fulfilling relationship.
What’s Showing Up?
It is often said that if one wants to understand what’s going on at a deeper level and all that is out of conscious awareness - one should look at their behaviour. And aside from ones behaviour, is what is showing up in one’s life and the kind of relationships that one is attracting.
For the person that sabotages a healthy relationship or the chance of having one: it is clear that something is out of alignment.
What will make a big difference here is now aware someone is of what is going on. While for some, this may be a process that goes on out of their awareness; for others this will be all too clear.
If this process is not known, one is likely to feel frustrated, angry and powerless. And even if it is known this, can still be experienced. But for the person that is aware, it will likely include a sense of hope that it can be different.
However, if one is in a position to attract someone who is functional in the first place, it may be as sign that they are fairly aware already.
One of the big challenges here for people who sabotage functional relationships is that what they say they want is not necessarily what they are attracted to. On one side they can describe the person they want and yet emotionally this is not pressing their buttons.
And so even if they meet or end up with the type of person that they say they want; the all important attraction element is missing. The interesting thing about attraction is that what one can be attracted to, is not always functional or healthy.
The mind may come up with different reasons as to why this is. These will often be rationalisations or justifications and other defence mechanisms that the ego mind will use as a way for one to stay in their head and to avoid what is really going on for them.
As a result of the ego mind, these could then create the following ’reasons’: that one finds the other person to be boring; that they have nothing in common or that they don’t have ‘feelings’ for them. One may have the awareness to see that while they do find the other person to be right, there is internal resistance taking place.
Attraction is often seen as something positive and what happens when one meets someone who is right for them. And yet for people who have been attracted to someone who latter went on to abuse them or take advantage of them; it becomes clear that being attracted to someone is not always a sign of compatibility.
So on one side, one feel say that they are not attracted to someone who is right for them and on the other side feel attracted to people who they later find to be abusive and inappropriate.
Now consciously, this can make very little sense. If one is attracted to someone then it feels natural to go with it and to not resist the desire that is being created.
The Main Challenge
Although this process may feel right and the body may crave this person; it doesn’t mean that this will lead to a functional or a fulfilling relationship. And one of the biggest reasons for this is that what is classed as attractive is what is often classed as familiar.
Now, the ego mind creates associations of what is safe around what is familiar. This is usually through repetition or it could be due to an experience that was traumatic and through the intensity of it, it became interpreted as familiar.
And what is classed as familiar can be functional, healthy and fulfilling and it can also be dysfunctional, unhealthy and unfulfilling. So if the ego mind has come to associate certain behaviour and experiences as familiar and therefore safe, these will be what one is attracted to.
The body can then crave to be around people who are not right for them and also cause one to feel withdrawal symptoms if they are not around them; similar to how a drug addict will feel without their regular dose.
The childhood years are often cited as being where one will form their associations of what they are attracted to and what they are not. And as these years are so powerful in shaping who one is and how one will see the world; it is not much of a surprise.
And as the caregiver that one has during this time is not always functional or healthy, it can set one up to be attracted to unhealthy people. The ego mind doesn’t say ‘this is not healthy or functional, so I’m not accepting this’, all it can do it create associations of familiarity around what is happening.
The experiences that one has in latter life can build on what happened in ones childhood years. So one can then end up creating a greater tolerance for abusive relationships; as a result of the early wounds that were created. And then it could be that due to certain adult traumas, one became vulnerable to unhealthy relationships.
When it comes to attracting someone who is right, it is important that one feels together internally. If one feels that part of them wants one thing and yet another part of them wants something else; it is a sign that letting go needs to occur.
Being aware of this is the first thing and the next stage is to do something about it. For some people it may be enough to read about this or to speak to a trusted friend. And for others, healing or therapy will be needed.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant - With Over 2,000,000 Article Views Online.
That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.