When it comes to a relationship there are typically two people involved. And what goes on in this relationship is primarily between these two individuals. This could be between: lovers, friends, colleagues or family.
And this relationship it is almost certain to lead to moments or stories being shared and expressed to other people.
This is a natural part of the human experience; what is shared could be to do with the good times that have been experienced and even the challenges that have been faced together.
The Good Times
When the good times are shared with other people, no drama is likely to be created; with there simply being an exchange of what has happened with another person. Of course, if the good times are shared to elicit a negative reaction from another person, then this may not be the case.
Perhaps one is trying to make the other person jealous or desirous of the experiences that have been shared with another person. However, when it comes to sharing the good times or the times that are functional to one’s life, it is usually with the best of intentions.
On the other side of the equation, there will inevitably be moments that are challenging. And this could range from mild to extreme abuse; to a situation that has caused annoyance or stress.
With one then talking about what the other person has said; to how another has acted and their behaviour. Relationships are where our growth as humans begins is; so this is normal and not something to feel ashamed or gully about.
Here one could be asking for another’s advice or opinion on how to respond or deal with a challenging situation. Or one might be just looking for another person to listen and mirror back what they are feeling.
And if this is done in a way that results in a solution being achieved and not in sides being taken; then it should result in one’s well being and internal equilibrium returning.
When this doesn’t happen, it will inevitably lead to a relationship triangle. And what this means, is that instead of a solution or progress being made; things will probably get worse. And although it originally started or as a two way problem there is not another person involved.
And it doesn’t have to stop there; it could also extend into many more people. This is a recipe for drama and dysfunction to ensue. Drama is the operative word here and this is because relationship triangles will often only create more problems. One of the primary reasons these types of relationships exist, is due to nonexistent boundaries.
Boundaries are what allow one to know where they begin and end and where another begins and ends; this is one’s own personal bubble and sacred space. Here one knows the difference between others thoughts and emotions and their own thoughts and emotions for example.
When these don’t exist or have not been developed to a certain degree; it will lead to people not being able to recognise another person’s boundaries and personal space. And just like when there is not a fence or marker around someone’s garden or property; violations are going to happen.
This also means that due to the other person only hearing what the person says who is creating the triangle; there will be very little objectivity and awareness around the whole story. Here one will be seen as the victim and the other as the perpetrator.
And this then elevates one to the level of being innocent and the other as being at fault; which in turn removes the triangle maker’s responsibility.
Our ego mind has associations of what everything means. And these associations will be coloured by everything that has occurred up until this point in our life. The relationships we have had, the pain and pleasure we have experienced and the type of childhood that we had; will all play their part in influencing our associations.
What a word means, what an action means, and the behaviour others are all being interpreted through our ego mind. The challenge here is that the associations one’s mind has are not the truth. They could relate to what is going on, but they can just as easily be completely wrong.
This is another reason relationship triangles create more drama. Here the third person is highly unlikely to understand what has happened, especially as there are only hearing one side of the story. So at best they are working with incomplete information.
And with relationships being a vital part in one’s life, it is clearly important gain as much clarity as possible and to look at both sides. The third person will interpret everything they hear through their own ego mind and this means that their projections will be thrown into the mix.
However, in order for this person to get involved in a triangle in the first place, it shows that they have boundaries problems themselves and are not very aware. So this triangle becomes an opportunity for them to release all of their emotions onto something else and to avoid taking responsibility for them.
What should have been between two people has extended out and has ended up including more people. This shows that there are communication problems to begin with. And as a result of this, one has looked outside for assistance.
This could be due to many reasons: perhaps this person doesn’t want to face what is happening and so looks to others for support. It could be that their ego mind has held onto a story and will therefore cause one to seek only people that will agree with their version and to avoid anyone who will disagree.
The ego mind will do this because it has associated ones version of the story as what is safe and to see another side will then feel threatening to their ego minds sense of safety and survival.
The ability to be objective and to see another person’s point of view will then be lost. And the ego mind only cares about being right, as being right means surviving.
To be a conscious human being means that we are the observers of our mind and that we don’t have to be trapped by it. Of course we are only human and can’t do this all the time. But by being aware of how our ego mind works we can chose another way.
One can hold onto their ego minds view and create triangles, that ultimately create drama and pain or one can seek proper assistance through a friend with functional boundaries, or a psychologist or therapist or even a book. And this assistance will lead to a resolution and this could mean that end of a relationship or a deeper and more fulfilling one appearing.
The reason one creates these triangles in the first place is probably due to observing their caregivers when they were younger and then copying this behaviour. This then becomes the only model they have. These models can change and this is why awareness is so important.
Emotions can be pleasurable or they can be painful and being human means that we have the potential to experience the full spectrum of emotions. I say potential, because there are ways that we can stop them from appearing.
Pleasure and pain is something we are all familiar with and this dynamic is playing a big part in what we allow ourselves to experience and what we don’t.
Pleasure And Pain
However, what one interprets as either pleasurable or as painful; is not necessarily absolute and the same for every human being on the planet. There are likely to be some emotions that we feel comfortable with and others that we don’t.
For example, anger may not be perceived as pleasurable for some, but for others this may be an emotion that one feels comfortable and safe with.
And sadness or grief is another emotional experience that may be acceptable for some and for others this will be problematic.
There are also some emotions that are culturally acceptable for men to feel and to not feel. And some emotions that are acceptable for women to feel and not to feel.
Our ego mind will have associations around every emotion. And it will be these associations that will define how we deal with an emotion or an emotional experience. This is the result of the ego mind associating every emotion based on if it is familiar and therefore safe.
And these associations are not based on what is true and what is not true; they are purely associations that the ego mind has formed over the years of our existence.
Negative And Positive Emotions
There are often labels given to emotions and these labels will depend on many different factors. The culture that one was raised in, their family background and their social group will all have an effect on how they see their emotions.
And this then leads to many different views on what emotions are negative and what emotions are positive. These are value judgments made by human beings; passed on from one person to another and from one generation to another.
An Unconscious Agreement
These then become the ways in which one filters their life and their relationship to their emotions. If one was made to feel ashamed or guilty for having a certain emotion as a child, this will then be associated as not being safe and ‘negative’ by their ego mind.
And the emotions are that were encouraged and validated as a child, will then be associated ad being safe and ‘positive’ to the ego mind.
The Childhood Environment
If ones caregivers were comfortable with their emotional spectrum and this means their positive and negative emotions; then one is likely to feel comfortable with their emotions. However, if ones caregivers were not comfortable with them, then this pattern is likely to have been passed onto the next generation.
Here, ones caregivers have not developed the ability to regular their own emotions; to simply sit with them or to have the assistance of another to regulate them. And out of this inability to regulate their emotion; they are forced to either repress them or to act on them unconsciously.
And this behaviour is more than likely the result of the associations that their ego mind has formed around the emotions. With the emotions being neutral and the associations around them, creating the conflict.
What we are then left with, is the model our caregivers used in dealing with their emotions. And this could have been to act our certain emotions and to repress others; as well as numerous other behavioural tendencies that they may have had.
Through the people around us validating, mirroring and acknowledging our emotions during our younger years, we then develop the ability to sit with our own emotions and to regulate them ourselves.
This means that we don’t have to repress what we are experiencing and neither do we have to react and unconsciously act out what we are going through. And if we can’t regulate them ourselves, then we can have the courage to ask for another person to assist with this process.
The Alienation Begins
So these early experiences will play a large role in how we deal with our emotions. As emotions are part of being human, to reject them is to reject part of ourselves. And this will of course affect our ability to function as a whole human being.
For example, if we can’t feel the so called negative side, it is going to be difficult to experience the so called positive side of the spectrum.
A Matter Of Interpretation
As soon as an emotion is judged as being negative it will create conflict and tension within is. And from here we can feel regret, guilt or shame and our whole wellbeing can be affected. This whole process goes against what it means to be human and to embrace all that this means.
Positive and negative or good and bad are labels that the ego mind uses. And this is because it believes they can be removed; when all that can be achieved is the acceptance of both. To try to remove these two sides, will only lead to further pain and struggle.
Through judging an emotion, it can also lead to be attached to the emotion. So instead of experiencing it once or for a short while and then letting it go, by judging it we will be pulled into experiencing it again and again.
Emotions will come and go, but the part of us that observers, will always remain. To be able to regulate our emotions, instead of reacting to them or repressing them, will require patience and persistence. Finding a good therapist or healer will also make a massive difference here.
There are many types out here, from psychologists to hypnotherapists; the important thing is that we trust our own guidance in who to work with and to do our own research. The assistance is there, we only have reach out for it.
Associations have incredible power and they are occurring in many areas of life. Ones relationships with: family, friends, lovers and professional relationships are all being affected by associations. As well as ones experience with the world and to material things.
Brands rely heavily on the power of associations to create familiarity and loyalty to their product. How valuable and sought-after something is, will often be the result of what is associated to the brand.
And this whole process of association is not only happening externally, it is also happening in our minds.
The Ego Mind
The way the ego mind filters everything, is through associations. I only have to mention an object for the ego mind to conjure up all kinds of associations and these associations may have very little to do with the object itself.
And one of the reasons our early childhood years are so important in how we function as adults, is due to the associations that were formed during this time. As they are the first experiences that one has, they become deeply rooted in our unconscious mind.
When the ego mind has been exposed to something for the first time; it begins to form associations around the experience. This could be through continued repetition or through a one of event that was traumatic or emotionally charged. From here the ego mind will see the associations as familiar and therefore safe.
When this process happens as a child, one doesn’t have the awareness or the ability yet to question what is happening. So this means that the associations that are formed during this time can become how their ego mind perceives everything.
Once these associations are formed, one doesn’t have to think about them and this means that they are likely to happen out of one’s awareness.
Now, depending on what these associations are and what they relate to; this could be beneficial or it could be detrimental to one’s life.
For example, when we are younger we form associations around many things and some of these can be classed as dangerous and some as harmless. This could be to do with: doors, hot water or with putting our hands in certain places.
The warnings and advice that our caregivers gave us around these aspects were important and meant that we didn’t have to constantly think about these things. These actions became natural and unconscious. And this then made our life a lot easier and allowed it to run a lot smoother.
If we had to constantly think about how to open a door or to not put our hand under hot water, it would not only take a lot longer; it could lead to a lot of unnecessary pain.
Above we can see that associations play an important role in ensuring that our lives run smoothly and without unnecessary problems. The challenges arise when these associations are not to our advantage and only lead to feeling disempowered.
We can have associations around: men and women, success, relationships, money, power, health, who we are, what we can do and can’t do, what we do and don’t deserve and many other things.
To the ego mind, all the associations it has formed will be the absolute truth and it will even have all the evidence to back this up. This is because the ego mind perceives reality based on these associations and if it is something that doesn’t correspond with these associations, it will go unnoticed or rationalized in some way.
If one is completely identified with their ego mind, it will be more or less impossible to see how these associations are defining one’s life. For until different associations have been formed, these associations will stay in place.
With our early years playing a massive role in how we perceive so much of our life; this is an incredibly important time. During these years, the associations that our mind formed were created out of our need to survive. And this means that they were beneficial at this time.
What creates the suffering latter on is that our childhood environments are not the absolute truth. They are just associations of what was going on in that environment. However, the ego mind works in polarities; so even though the childhood environment is just one example, it is interpreted as the way the whole world is. And this can work in so many other areas.
If ones mother or father were unpleasant or abusive in some way, then these associations could be how one perceives other men and world in the world. And these will also define how one behaves and how one interprets the behaviour of others.
How We See Ourselves
The ideas that we have about who we are and what we are capable of is typically a combination of different associations. These are not right or wrong, they are just what our ego mind has identified with. And ultimately we can change these associations and see ourselves however we chose.
This also means that we can change are associations of anything else, if it is not empowering us and leading to our true self expression.
What can stop one from seeing how these associations are at work, is through the identification to the ego mind. It could also mean that one has emotions and feelings that need to be processed and acknowledged first. As, if one is emotionally overwhelmed; it is unlikely that any observing will be done.
If this is the case, a therapist or a healer that allows one to go into their feelings will be required and once this is done to a certain level; a more cognitive approach could be enough. But the most important thing is that we follow our own true and do what is best for ourselves.
And once this weight has been lifted and our ability to observe is achieved; it will be a lot easier to change these associations.
Abuse is usually something that starts of as external in nature. This means that one is abused through the people around them and this could be limited to one environment or it could happen in a number of environments.
The type of abuse that I am talking about here is the abuse that goes in one’s mind. However, due to the nature of this kind of abuse, it is often hard to notice that it is taking place.
It is natural to think of abuse in terms of what is going on externally and what is going on internally is often overlooked. And this is perhaps a result of it being invisible to the naked eye. One has to be aware of the different clues, when it comes to recognising internal abuse.
There are undoubtedly extremes when it comes to describing what abuse is and the meaning that I will be using here, is anything that makes one feel unworthy or alters ones internal wellbeing,
Because no matter where on the spectrum this abuse is, it will lower ones sense of confidence and how they feel about themselves. And if this is something that has always gone on, then it may even seem normal and how life is.
How This Can Look
Self abuse can be experienced in many ways and this will depend on numerous factors. One may continually behave in ways that lead to the opposite of what they want to achieve and into situations that compromise who they are.
The thoughts that one has could be classed as negative and disempowering. And this will mean that one then becomes a prisoner and not necessarily of other people, but of their own mind.
And along with this; one’s emotions and feelings could be overwhelming and unsupportive of who one is or who one really wants to be.
There may also be the tendency for one to engage in destructive habits’, which sabotage ones true nature and act as a validation to this internal abuse. This then becomes a self fulfilling prophecy and not because this internal abuse has any validity or truth to it, but because one has identified with it.
These habits’ or behaviour tendencies can include, but are not limited to: excessive drinking, over and under eating, drug addiction, self harm and many others.
If one is internally abusing themselves, it is unlikely that they will value who they or the time that they have on this earth. To value our time, we have to value ourselves. And to have to experience all this internal pressure, it is going to be difficult to appreciate what is good and to be grateful, if one is overwhelmed by such inner pain and suffering.
The ego mind will use everything it can to escape from the pain that is being experienced and this is what has its hand in the self sabotage mentioned above. On one side there is the urge to escape the pain and to regulate oneself through external stimulation. And on the other side there is a feeling of being comfortable with the pain.
Although the act of escaping from this inner pain provides a certain amount of relief, it never lasts. And through the mere fact of running away from it, the pain will only get stronger and gain in its intensity.
To say that one feels comfortable with this internal abuse sounds absurd and on the surface this does sound ridiculous. With people who are abused in relationships for example, there is often a pattern of this person being continually attracted to abusive partners. And it is also not much of a surprise to see this person go back to the abuser after a break up.
This all looks very dysfunctional and illogical. And this is because the ego mind works on what is familiar and once something is familiar, it becomes associated as what is safe.
The External Mirror
As a result of the external abusive, mirroring what is already going on inside, it is not much of a shock to that person. To the people on the outside, the abuse may seem destructive and dysfunctional, based on their outlook, but to the individual that is being abused, it is probably no different to what is going on inside their own heads.
The ego mind can identify with or attach to anything. This is why it is often described as a parasite. And like a dog with a bone; it will hold onto whatever it is familiar with. This makes the ego mind very simple in one way and yet complex in another. Simple in how it functions, but often challenging in changing what it is functioning on.
In order for one to let go of the internal abuse and the external abuse, what the ego mind associates as safe has to change.
And if one is abusing themselves internally, it has probably gone on for a long time and for so long that it might not even be questioned any more. It might be the only thing their ego mind knows.
What the ego mind comes to associate as being familiar and therefore safe; is typically formed in ones childhood and even in the womb itself; according to the latest research done by Bruce Lipton and others. However, no matter where it actually started, these early moments create our perception of others, ourselves and the world.
The ego mind then identifies with them and from that moment onwards, the lenses through which we see life out of will be set.
Fortunately we are more than our ego mind and this means that how we perceive ourselves, others and the world - can change. We are the watchers of our mind and this means that we can chose what we identify with. If our perceptions don’t work, they can be changed.
In order to realise this one may need the assistance of a therapist, coach or trusted friend. Because through all the emotional build up and through all the ego minds defences; our awareness and the ability to observe is likely to have been blocked. And like ice, it will gradually begin to melt and our true nature can be revealed.
There are two types of identification that can come to mind when this word is heard.
The first is known as a defence mechanism and occurs when one appreciates or values the behaviour of another person. And from that moment, one chooses to follow or express through their behaviour, what they see in the other person.
This might be a sports star or actor who comes across as strong or confident. And through acting in the same way, one can begin of feel these things.
The reasons for this identification could be due to one feeling underdeveloped in an area that this star is developed in. On then internalises what this other person has, by copying their behaviour.
The other type of identification is a lot broader and is going on continually. Here, the ego mind can identify with certain words, emotions, feelings and behaviour. These then create how one perceives who they are, who other people are and their reality.
And from here, many areas of one’s life can be affected. These can include, but are not limited to: the types of relationships that one has, the environment ones lives in, the job that one has, ones level of self worth and their health; will all be affected by what their ego mind has identified with.
This could either be through one projecting their internal reality onto what they see and interpreting it through these perceptions or through manifesting there reality based on their perceptions.
A Natural Process
And yet in order to know this and to notice how this process if being carried out; one has to be aware of it. What makes this difficult is that this is usually a habit that one is used to and has come to experience as normal. Whether we look at the general conditioning that is carried out in the childhood environment or in our society at large; it is rare for there to be awareness of how identification works.
If one were to remember their childhood for example, there may be moments where they were told that they should not feel certain emotions or think certain things. And in our society behaviour is often looked at as who someone is and from that moment they are labelled in a certain way.
And from this constant conditioning or labelling of our thoughts, as being who we are or our emotions and behaviour being who we are; we become attached to these aspects. Ones whole sense of self becomes formed and is created as a result.
To mention that we are not are ego mind and that we are the observers of it, is then hard to comprehend. Especially as the ego mind is like a parasite and it can completely take over. And before long, what at first looked like something that doesn’t belong, now looks as though it has always been there. It has a role to play, but it is not meant to be the master of our lives.
In order for the possibility to exist of being aware of this in the first place, it shows that we are not our mind and that we are the observers of it. And like anything, this process of being aware doesn’t happen overnight and neither does it end overnight. It is something that is constantly going on and progressing in each moment.
Like any skill or talent, it has to be continually developed. Just as one moment one can be aware, in the next one can be unaware. As this process goes on, one can become more aware, of when one is not aware.
Above I have mentioned about the influences of society and our early years, and how these can shape what we have identified with. And the most powerful environment of all is typically the childhood environment. It is here that one will begin the process of identification for the first time.
There are many ways that identification can happen here. As a child, the people around us are our role models; they show us how to act, how to be and what life is all about. This could be through their behaviour towards us and through their behaviour towards other people.
And this behaviour will then have consequences that will shape our ego mind. There will be slight differences in how each caregiver brings up their child and this will of course have an effect. Each family has their own culture and what they believe is the right or wrong way.
What will also play a role in shaping what one identifies with, are situations that were traumatic and painful in their early years. These will have left a mark on ones ego mind and created a way of perceiving life.
Although such emotionally charged events can lead to the ego mind forming identifications, it could simply be the continued repetition of certain conditioning. As a result of being exposed to something enough times as a child, one will begin to feel familiar with it and this means one will feel safe.
And it doesn’t matter what one is continually exposed to or how functional it is. To the ego mind all that is required is that it is familiar; it will then be associated as being safe. This is how identification works; with the ego mind holding onto all that is familiar.
It is through realising that we are not our mind, that we can see how this process is shaping our life. What we attract into our reality and what we repel is being defined by these associations.
The Power Of Choice
So this does not necessarily mean that one will stop the process of identification completely. What it can mean, is that by being more aware, one can change what they are identified with. Through seeing that we have a choice, is what allows one to feel a sense of power. And this is what awareness can do; without it, one can feel trapped and enslaved.
What is known as our story is created through the ego minds identification. This is combination of our past experiences and the thoughts, words, feelings and behaviours that have been formed as a result.
But this story is not the truth or who we are or what we are capable of. It is simply what the ego mind has associated as what is familiar and therefore safe. If our ego mind is what can create a prison, then awareness is what supplies the key.
Needs are something each and every one of us have; they are part of the human experience. And although this may be the case, it doesn’t mean that they will always be fulfilled. At times, one will have to go without having their needs met.
This may not be a problem for some and this could be due to their ability to regulate themselves, when this doesn’t happen. However, while going without getting their needs met on the odd occasion may be the norm for some people, for others, it may seem that they constantly have to go without having their needs met.
And for this person, the word need is unlikely to have many positive associations. The word need may seem like a bad word to them. And as something that makes them feel ashamed and/or guilty about. It is incredible how much of an effect needs can have on our emotional and mental wellbeing.
So what are needs? The needs that I am referring to here, could include the need to be; touched, supported, held, heard, and acknowledged; as well as many other mental, emotional and physical needs.
Good Or Bad?
These needs are part of being human and are not negative or dysfunctional per se. And neither are they something to be ashamed of or as something one should feel guilty about for having.
A decision has to be made as to whether they are detrimental to ones general wellbeing or if another person if being compromised because of them. If the above is true, they then become a problem not only to oneself, but also to others.
So for one person this may manifest itself in a tendency to completely ignore ones needs; for another person, their needs may have become oblivious to them and for others it might mean being more aware of the needs of others than they are of their own. There could also be a combination of the three; with one switching from each one, depending on the situation or person.
What this will then lead to is feelings of: anger, frustration, hopelessness, disempowerment and even despair. This is only natural, if one feels powerless when it comes to the fulfilment of their needs or in having the ability to influence their life.
How Life Is
However, this may be a pattern that has gone on for so long and it may be the only way that one has known. For this person it may seem to be the only way life can be and that there is no other possibility.
The people who are getting their needs met will likely be perceived to be lucky or different to how one is. And due to how one perceives reality, people who do get their needs may seem to not exist. This will mean, the ego mind could filter out any chance of one seeing that is it possible to have their needs fulfilled.
It Is Familiar
If one were to step back, detach and observe what is going on here, one will see that these experiences are constantly repeated. And whether this means one ignores their needs, compromises their needs or is unaware of them; this will be a pattern that one is extremely familiar with.
What the Ego mind attracts and repels, is based on what is has associated as safe and familiar. This means that on the surface, one may experience great pain and suffering through not getting their needs met, but the ego mind is simply doing its job.
And this job is to keep one safe, based on what the ego mind has been conditioned to perceive as familiar. If one is not aware of their mind or of the patterns that the mind is constantly creating; then it will seem that one has no control over their reality.
It is during the first years of one’s life that one’s perceptions of their needs are formed. All the meanings and associations will have been formed here. If one sees needs as good or bad, or right or wrong, this will be due to the early conditioning that one received.
How did our caregivers respond to our needs and how did our caregivers respond to their own needs? These are two important questions when it comes to understanding our relationship with our needs today.
Were our needs perceived as: important, special and precious? Or were they seen as a burden and as something to feel guilty and ashamed of for having? Did our caregivers ignore and deny their own needs? Or did they take care of them in a functional and empowered manner.
If ones caregivers were having difficulty in getting their needs met and were emotionally undeveloped, it is likely that they passed this on. As A child one would have had to have denied, compromised and repressed their own needs for their own survival.
What can then happen are ones attention and awareness then becomes externalized and focused on other people. So in the very beginning one is learning to dissociate from their needs and to perceive the needs of others as being more important.
At such a young age, one is powerless and completely dependent on others for having their needs met. So this means that the feelings of; powerlessness, hopelessness and helplessness that were felt during those moments, that had to be pushed out of conscious awareness, will return whenever one doesn’t have their needs met. Here one can regress to feeling like this powerless child and as a child that has no choice.
Now, as an adult, one does have a choice. A choice as to whether they get their needs met or not. And whether one regresses to this wounded inner child, will largely depend on how much repression has occurred over the years. If there are a lot of feelings and emotions, for example, that are waiting to be acknowledged and validated; then there will be the tendency to regress and to feel powerless.
These are patterns of the past and do not reflect who one is today. So this may mean that one needs to find a therapist, healer or someone similar to allow them to express these feelings in a safe environment. Or through another way, that allows one to be conscious and to leave the emotional charge behind. With this, one can be in the present moment and be who they want, as opposed to how their past dictates.
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.