In a relationship, the biggest reason for endings is the Ego. Werner Erhard once said “When your right, that’s what you get to be. Right. That is, not necessarily loved, or anything else nice: Just Right.” To succeed in couples counseling, both parties need to be willing to work on their ego, with the knowledge that both are making mistakes.
How are we able to delve deeper into our psyche? Breathe fresh air into our consciousness and let go?
This is the hardest task we must both follow in a relationship. The one thing that will make or break a couple. Can they let go of their need to be right or continue to just fight? Do they love each other and want to grow as a couple? If you want to grow, you both have to be willing to listen and learn. Otherwise, you have nothing.
“Love is a many splendored thing, Love lifts us up where we belong.” from Moulin Rouge with Ewan McGregor and Nicole Kidman in a duet. I love listening to raw music sung by people who are not necessarily singers but are quite good. I love love, I love being in love, I love feeling love in all its glory. And yet, for most of my life it has come to an end. In fact, it has felt like the end from the beginning. I have lived with several men in my life and never once felt like I was in my own home. Passionate, immature, cocky, egotistical, frightened, PTSD love that was once my life. Now, for once in my life, I am in love with a man who I can be uncomfortable with and this allows me to grow. Someone who allows me to be myself so that I am able to come into myself as a woman. I feel safe and secure, being in love. It feels like it took forever to get here. And yet, we have taken things very very slow. Like it should be. And it makes so much more sense!
Over forty years ago, hundreds of people went to their death in a country called Guyana. Back in 1978, I was a teenage girl in high school and two years later wrote my first paper on the topic of “Religious Cults” which would transform my life. On May of
FILE – This Jan. 1976 photo shows the Rev. Jim Jones, pastor of Peoples Temple in San Francisco. Dozens of Peoples Temple members in Guyana survived the mass suicides and murders of more than 900 because they had slipped out of Jonestown or happened to be away Nov. 18, 1978. Those raised in the temple or who joined as teens lost the only life they knew. (AP Photo/File)
2011, I published “The Child of the Narcissist,” on my blog post and began working with survivors of narcissism in my practice. There are different phases that I see. One is the denial phase which is when the person has not yet let the person go. Second, is the acceptance phase which is when they are in realization stage and feel angry, frustrated, duped, taken, had, and wonder “How could I have been so stupid?” Or the child of a narcissist will say “Can they be helped?,” or “Am I destined to become this way?” Thirdly, I see the healing stage when they begin to set boundaries and take back their power and their life. The third stage is a place that they will be in the rest of their life because you must always be conscious, mindful and awake when you meet someone that seems to have certain qualities.
The people of Jonestown are no different than a woman who meets up with some guy who is playing her. People who fall for a narcissistic type are vulnerable, desperate and yearn to be loved and accepted. These type of people (parents are a different category because you aren’t choosing them, though this could be argued from a metaphysical perspective), are very aware of their power over men and women. They have learned – from the cradle – that they are entitled in some way. This can be from a self-imposed entitlement to protect themselves (by self-soothing) or an entitlement given to them by a parent. I have known and learned of parents who say their child is perfect and will do whatever it takes to protect them. This takes away from a child learning when they make a mistake. It takes away from a child growing and evolving over time. A friend’s father was a criminal attorney in Los Angeles and he once told me that mother’s would take second mortgages out on their homes, sell their cars, jewelry, whatever assets they could give up to pay his fees and get their kids off. When I watched the movie “Guyana Tragedy: The Story of Jim Jones,” I remember noting that he was engaged in animal cruelty as a boy.
These past few months have been a struggle for everyone. And yet for some, it has been more difficult than others. This reminds me of the first sentence of Anna Karenina which now rings more true than ever.
All happy families are like one another; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. Leo Tolstoy
Interpreted this can mean that each unhappy family brings different baggage from their own families of origin. Two households merged into one from four parents and siblings. The unhealthy dynamics that played out, inside this home [of origin], were interpreted individually. When a crisis hits a family, each member deals with it in their own separate ways. Thus, bringing all of these family parts, of each couple, into their own domain and without therapy to support these persons, you will have nothing but chaos during this virus (though the relationship started out this way, the virus is just adding to the mess). You are stuck with each other 24/7 and you aren’t retired. One or both of you may be without a job. You may or may not have children, either way being in an uncomfortable situation with someone you are not happy with; it can’t be easy. If you were happy with your partner pre-virus, you are probably doing fine now. If there were lingering problems or elephants in the room; it is much worse by now.