Thursday, October 29, 2009

Exposing the Ego ~ Counterfeit Relationships

The ego knows only two ways to have relationships -- and both are dishonest.

One is the type we've already looked at -- the "special hate" relationships ... wherein we blame others for our own stuff, attack them for showing us our stuff, and then banish them from our lives, to alleviate our guilt for having our stuff.

But what's even more insidiously damaging, and far more subtle, are the "special love" relationships. We're talking about a counterfeit "love" here ... not real love, but that which seeks to *get* rather than to *give*.

To recap: It all starts with the belief that there's something inherently wrong with us ... that something is broken, missing, beyond-repair, and must be kept hidden at all cost -- from ourselves and from others (oh - and bonus points for fooling God, too..!). We live in unbearable dread, believing that we are inherently incomplete and destined to bee unfulfilled.

This colors our world with a sense of "lack" ... "limitation" ... "scarcity." The background music for most humans is the sound track of "there is not enough [of anything] and I must grab my share, at the expense of others."

And, being a self-fulfilling prophecy, this is how we will *experience* life ... we will indeed experience lack/limitation/scarcity, and we will indeed see others as competitive-threats to having our needs met.

Of course, our ego, which must keep us guilty in order to justify it's "existence", tells us "of course you're right -- you're a worm, a depraved creature, worthy of being despised ... inherently flawed, and hopelessly so. Yes, indeed, you are missing something vital to life."

Now, what the ego does *not* tell us is that what's missing, is God. For, if we let God show us how He fills us, the ego could not exist. (All too often, the ego masquerades as God, whether in our thoughts, or in religion -- and we think that it's GOD who is telling us that we're wretched, and separated from Him...!).

So, the ego affirms that our darkest suspicions are correct, and while it tells us that there is no solution, it whispers to us that it knows a way to numb the pain ... an endless variety of ways, actually ... from diversion, to distraction, to denial, to depression, to addiction, to performance, to co-dependent relationships ...

Let's look at that last one, the one that *seems* to be such a wonderful solution...

Here's how it works: I have believed that I am "flawed" and I have special needs - but God (whom I have made a separated-enemy) cannot meet my needs, and so I go looking for a "special someone" to meet my needs. I have a check-list for this special someone ... but basically, the only requirement is that they enable me to feel better about myself. So I (the flawed one) find you (the special someone), and I determine that my special needs will be met by your special qualities. When you meet my needs, then I will love you. And when I, in turn, meet your needs, then you will love me. We will enter into this mutually-dependent relationship, and all will be well, happily ever after, right?


First of all, at the truest level, this won't work because we are violating God's reality ... when we seek outside of ourself for a solution, we are creating an idol -- a substitute for God. And ONLY God, within me, can meet any of my needs, real or imagined.

Secondly, when you seem to meet my perceived needs, I subconsciously render you a symbol of the (erroneous) guilt I'm trying hard to not face. I associate you *with* my perceived guilt. And I make you responsible for keeping my guilt hidden from me.

This word-picture may be helpful (this did not originate with me ... credits to follow):

Imagine the mind as a glass jar. My desire, my job, is to keep all of my perceived (but erroneous) guilt IN that jar -- I do not want to see it, or be aware of it (not realizing that looking at the "guilt", really looking at and through it, shining Light on it, causes that fluffy bit of darkness to evaporate, being absorbed by the Light ... but this is the ego's perspective). When I go looking for that "special someone" I am really wanting someone to be the "lid" that will keep all the guilt safely in that jar, without leakage. Must. Not. Have. Leakage.

The very fact that I *need* someone to be the lid continually reminds me (on a subconscious level), that I "am" guilty in the first place, so I'm never at peace with that special someone ... in fact, things get quite complicated ...

You see, people don't stay the same. Have you noticed? ;) And when that special someone starts to change (as is inevitable), they no longer meet my needs in quite the same way as they once did. As they start to change, the "lid" starts loosening ... and the guilt becomes more threatening, rising to the surface of the "jar" and escaping ... and I am reminded, again, of how terrible I believe I am.

The experience of confronting how terrible we believe we are is so overwhelming that we will do ANYthing to avoid facing it...! The panic that we feel is the source of many (all?) of the relational conflicts we experience ... for when we feel this overwhelming panic, we nip it in the bud, and lash out.

So, when this special someone dares to go and change on me, and the lid is loosened, and the guilt is escaping, and the panic is rising, my only goal is to GET THAT LID BACK ON TIGHTLY...! My solution is simple: make the special someone return to how they once were, when things were "working" in my favor. And I will resort to what works: manipulation via guilt.

"What's happened to you?!? You've changed in a horrible way! You used to be so nice, so kind, so loving and thoughtful ... but now you're selfish, self-absorbed, insensitive..."

You know the drill -- you're likely both given it, and received it.

Now, if the other person plays the same guilt-game, they'll fall for it, and they'll enact out their portion of the "script", keeping with their side of the "bargain." They will acquiesce, and comply and I will love them again.

But if they *don't* play this game (if they have grown, become more aware, have awakened to reality), then I will become enraged (for unchecked fear turns to fury), and my "love" will turn quickly, on a dime, into hatred. Actually, this is just the veneer of faux-love being peeled away ... this is my true colors coming out ... for it was always hatred in the first place, thinly disguised by conditional "love" -- which is never love. If it has conditions -- it ain't love.

Thus endeth the honeymoon ... whether it be a literal marriage, or a friendship, or a parent-child relationship, or a boss-employee relationship, or any human relationship.

But, my relentless ego, ever seeking faux-solutions to avoid a real solution (dealing with my own perceived guilt), will simply find "another" ... and there is an endless supply of "anothers" for me to use.

Whenever we use others to meet our needs, we objectify them. We use others as "vehicles" for the meeting of our own needs ... we end up idolizing/worshipping them, and then we inevitably turn on them when they let us down. By doing so, we don't see them for Who They Really Are -- we do not see Christ in them. It all becomes about manipulating others into getting our needs met ... and we call it "love" in our confusion. We don't let ourselves see the Light in the other ... we're too busy trying to match our own darkness with another's corresponding darkness (ego-meeting-ego). Focused on the imagined darkness, we miss the Light ... we see what we behold.

There are "special" (i.e., egoic) relationships, and there are holy relationships. I can experience the latter only when I have examined and questioned my "guilt" ... thus freeing me to truly learn to love, without conditions.

Here are some hallmarks of each type of relationship:

"Special" ~
- Manipulative
- Guilty
- Exclusive
- Jealous
- Competitive
- Getting
- Demanding

Holy ~
- Cooperative
- Freedom
- Generosity
- Inclusive
- Trusting
- Sharing
- Giving
- Honoring

To the ego, "love" is quantitative -- it's limited, and if someone has it, someone else is lacking it. To the Spirit, love is qualitative -- it embraces and includes all people, with no one lacking.

Of course, there are those who are chosen in our lives ... those given to enable us to learn forgiveness, and to remember God's love ... we will experience more intimacy with some than with others, but this intimacy will not diminish the love we can experience with others as well ... just in different expressions.

Next, I'd like to invite you to explore and unpack the incredible depths of forgiveness ... only in a way that's perhaps new to us ... at least, it's quite different than what many of us have been taught by the traditions-of-man. It may take a couple days or more ... but it will be well worth it. There's freedom to be had ... can you feel it?!?

Shalom, Dena

P.S. Some may have already guessed, and for others it may be a bit of a surprise, but these understandings are from A Course in Miracles ... a book/course I'm exploring. It's been on my radar for a long while, and now is the time to delve in. I've been led to such a time as this. I'm sharing as I go ... which is part of how I learn. Please feel free to chime in -- I learn that way too...! And I don't want to miss out on a thing (as IF that were possible, LOL!)

1 comment:

MysticBrit said...

Our only 'need' is to know that we have no need, that all we have is all we need, and that there is no 'special other' who will supply all this imaginary need.

We are completely, utterly, totally sufficient to our Selves, being in the image of Him Who Is The Source Of All, and the only healthy, real love is where we all share that glorious sufficiency with all around us. God sharing God.

And fear disappears from our vocabulary.