If one was to take a look at their fellow human beings, it would be clear that they are all separate. They each have their own body and this then goes onto to cover their individual preferences, wants and needs.
And as well as this, each person has their own personal reality and an experience that no one else is having. Of course, each one of us lives on the same planet and therefore there will be similarities as a result, but each person is still having a unique experience.
It’s a bit like an area where all of the houses are made of brick. And although this is the case, every house is designed differently. On one side this means that no house is the same and yet on the other side, they all have one thing in common and that is they are made with bricks.
So the human experience is not unlike the example above. We all feel, think and will pass on at some point. Inherently we are all human and yet both our inner and outer experiences can be radically different.
One person can see themselves as being not only physically separate, but also mentally and emotionally. And at the same time, they can still feel part of humanity and connected to the earth and to their fellow human beings.
This means that they will know either consciously or unconsciously that, what is going on within them, is not necessarily what going on in another person. Other people will be seen as having their own inner and outer reality.
As this is different to their reality, it will need to be acknowledged and respected. It doesn’t mean that one person’s reality is true and another person’s is not, it means that each person is having their own experience.
And this is where boundaries come into it, because if one has their own reality, it also means that they have their own personal space. This is an area that must not be crossed, unless permission is given.
At times, one’s personal space will be crossed without another having the intention of crossing it. This is to be expected, as what feels comfortable for one person, won’t feel comfortable for another.
So if other people are separate, it means that when one wants or needs something from another, they are going to have to ask in a way that respects their personal space and is a win-win experience.
To use control or coercion is going to be a violation and could cause the other person to be abused and taken advantage of. One person would go away feeling satisfied and the other would end up feeling victimised.
The Other Way
But respecting another person’s personal space and seeing that they are separate to them, is not always what happens. And there is naturally going to different degrees of this. When this is fairly mild in someone, they may try to control others at times or invalidate their reality during certain moments.
This is not going to lead to someone being labelled as being overly controlling or narcissistic. But it could rub a few people up the wrong way from time to time.
To always see others as an extension of oneself is going to cause problems. Other people will be seen as objects for one to control and as a means for them to get what they want.
Other people are not asked if they would do something, they will be expected to do something. And one will feel that they are entitled to having people do what they want and if this doesn’t happen, all hell could break lose. Win-win is not how they operate, win-lose is how things work with them.
Another person’s personal reality will also be dismissed and denied and one will try to make them take on board their own reality. So who they truly are could be covered up or if this relates to a child, it might never get the chance to see the light of day.
The Loss Of Self
This could then lead to the people around them being enmeshed and having no sense of individuality. Their identity has been created for them and they are not allowed to think or feel for themselves.
And as they see others as an extension of themselves, they are going to have an elevated sense of power. But this is not to be confused with being an empowered human being; this power is nothing more than a delusion.
So if this way of seeing other people and oneself is dysfunctional, then why does it exist? In most cases, the answers lie within ones time as a baby and then as a child. Because when one is a baby, they will see their mother as an extension of themselves.
And this is important, for at that age, one is completely dependent and powerless. So this illusion allows one to feel safe and secure and that they will get their needs and wants met.
Ideally, one will have had their needs and wants met on consistently, so they could break away from their caregiver after a few years. Here, they will come to see this power was an illusion, but this is counterbalanced through them realising their own inner power.
Breaking Away Or Staying Stuck
So they go from seeing themselves as being connected to their mother and having complete power over her, to seeing that they are separate and only have so much power. This is going to require a caregiver that is empathic and in tune with the Childs needs and wants.
If they are not in tune and therefore don’t give the child the right nurturing during this period, then the child can end up being stuck at this stage of their development. And then although they will physically grow up, they will still see other people as they saw their mother.
With their emotional development being stunted and as they didn’t get what they needed many years ago, it is not much of a surprise.
People who are like this will be labelled and this is understandable, as they can and do cause a lot of damage. But what they really need to do is to emotionally grow up and to see other people as adults who are separate from them, and not as a projection of their mother.
When someone is like this, it can be hard for them to get assistance. Denial may appear and resistance could also arise and this can stop them from changing. However, if someone does have this challenge and wants to move on, then they will have some emotional work to do.
The reason for this is that one is likely to have stayed the same emotionally and this is probably the result of one being neglected in some way. And so how one felt all those years ago would have ended up staying trapped in their body.
These trapped emotions can be released with the assistance of a therapist or a healer. And they will also provide the mirroring that one didn’t receive all those years ago.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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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.