Many therapists would say that the victim of narcissistic abuse seems to unconsciously choose abusive narcissists again and again in a bid to correct their own maladaptive behavioral patterns. And that this pattern of behaviour is the victims attempt to resolve old conflicts, and hopefully soothe their old wounds. This is a plausible argument, and personally I can concur with that to some degree, but personally I believe that the phenomenon is a bit more complicated than that.
In our society today, all we hear is the term “victim shaming,” blaming, and apologizing. We never, ever hear anyone just taking responsibility for the situation. We don’t hear enlightenment. But, then this would not be sensational. People who are self-aware do not often get drama or excitement from the press or social media. Not unless you are in a Yoga, New Age, Spirituality, or Meditation forum or app.
This is an excerpt from Polly Young-Eisendrath, Ph.D. in her book “Love Between Equals Relationship as a Spiritual Path” (page 118).
Personal love becomes true love, as you recall, when you can feel at home with your beloved because you trust what you see in the mirror: it’s not too wonderful (or demanding of perfection) nor is it too awful or dispiriting. It’s important to remember, when you are on the path of true love, you both have come to trust what you see in the mirror of each other’s eyes. In order for personal love to become true love, the relationship has to have equality, reciprocity, and mutuality, and the reflections of each other need to be Whole Self to Whole Self, which includes what is ideal and what is limited in both people. Why is equality important on this path? Why do partners have to be equals in order for disillusionment to transform into intimacy and ongoing trust? Because the equality signals that both partners want primarily to be with each other in the reality of what they both are – strengths and limitations. The relationship does not feel like a prison but instead feels freely chosen on the basis of knowledge of the self and other.
If love never fails, according to 1 Corinthians 13:4-8, then why does it? Why do men or women simply give up and walk away rather than choosing to work on themselves and their partnership? To say “I love you,” signifies that this other being holds value for you. That this person is significant to you.
However, just as a person says they are a Christian (or a Jew, Muslim, Buddhist, etc…) does not mean that they hold this value as sacrosanct. Someone said to me that many people hold the word “integrity” as a shield in front of them. I know this to be true because the person who said that was holding a shield in front of them about many things. The concept of being fraudulent and not having integrity is a foreign thought to me. Being mindful about what I say and do is something I hold very dear. However, I see couples in life and in my practice who fall apart because they are stubborn, egotistical, fighting to be right, or they are just not meant to be.
Yesterday, I sat down to watch nearly three hours of this historic fiction that took place between the 1900’s and 1920. From the onset, there is a clear indication of something bad that is going to happen though we have no idea what it will be until they walk onto the barge. Even then, we don’t really know what is going to happen but we can suspect. You are not watching this movie thinking there will be a happy ending as it is somewhat akin to those who watched the Titanic movie. In 1920, it was the end of the Tsar. The entire family had been assassinated; including little children. The communists were most certainly not very humane in their actions. In the aftermath of annihilating the family, they set about to destroy the lives of their soldiers as well. They did not want one single person left behind from the old regime.
I embrace this post with all my heart as it spoke to me and where I am at in my life right now. A holy relationship is a relationship founded in mutual trust, respect, love, passion, commitment and spiritual direction – serving whomever you serve and having a relationship that embraces your beliefs. It is much more but these are just my thoughts in this moment. The special relationship is that which serves the ego.
The new beginning you are called to now is a new beginning that, like all others that you have offered or attempted, will take place in relationship. The difference is that this new beginning will take place in holy rather than special relationship. (A Course of Love, T3:15.9)
We have arrived at a good place now. We are beginning anew, as we have in the past, but with a difference. Our new beginning will no longer be housed in special relationships that only promised us the good but did not deliver consistently. Our new beginning, this time, will come in the warmth of holy relationships. We have found the elixir, and we will not turn back from its bounty now.
How do we know that we are surrounded by holy relationships? We are not out for #1 anymore, at least not exclusively. We love others as we love ourselves, for…
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Tonight, I had two mallards (male and female) that appeared on my front lawn while I was grooming the flower beds. The male was very aware of his position in this animal kingdom. He was dutifully watching over his lover as she nested on the grass. They moved their seats when I got up to cart the weed barrel, down to the road, for the garbage men tomorrow. The male moved carefully behind the female, keeping an eye on her that no one would disturb her. As she foraged under my fir trees, he continued to gaze on her and make sure she was taken care of. What a beautiful sight to behold.
Healthy, authentic love is exactly this. Two people taking care of each other, watching over one another, doting on each other. More is written online about unhealthy, abusive, narcissistic love – it would seem, than healthy, loving relationships and with this, it causes negativity to shine over couples. As a result, they are always picking on one another based on what they read. How can we expect couples to succeed if they don’t know what good honest love looks like?
Hear me, my God, as I voice my complaint; protect my life from the threat of the enemy. Hide me from the conspiracy of the wicked, from the plots of evildoers. They sharpen their tongues like swords and aim cruel words like deadly arrows. They shoot from ambush at the innocent; they shoot suddenly, without fear. They encourage each other in evil plans, they talk about hiding their snares; they say, “Who will see it?” They plot injustice and say, “We have devised the perfect plan!” Surely the human mind and heart are cunning. But God will shoot them with his arrows; they will suddenly be struck down. He will turn their own tongues against them and bring them to ruin; all who see them will shake their heads in scorn. All people will fear; they will proclaim the works of God and ponder what he has done. The righteous will rejoice in the Lord and take refuge in him; all the upright in heart will glory in him!
How can you read this and not recall the ending of “Dangerous Liaisons,” when Glenn Close’s character, the Marquise Isabelle de Merteuil, is being laughed at, after she walks into the opera house. The movie shows us the conclusion of her lies and deception being flaunted in her face. How often though, does this reality occur for us? What is more typical is that the real life bad guys walk away laughing at us, having felt that they have won the day and thinking they reduced us, the victim, to a piece of trash which they have now taken out with the garbage. Take your power back. Walk away with your head held high. Leave with dignity. Fighting back will make you equal to them and you are much better than this. You deserve better.
Love never fails when two people are committed to the relationship. In the “Sound Relationship House,” created by the Gottman Institute, you will see that Trust and Commitment are the pillars that hold up the foundation of the house, wherein the seven principles for making a relationship work (the latter part of this sentence is the title of Dr. John Gottman’s best selling book, only with the word marriage in lieu of relationship) lie within. When either of these two are fractured the partnership “can” fall apart but does not have to. In order for the couple to continue being together they have to revisit the conflict and then repair so that they can then rebuild what they have together. Not returning to the same relationship but to a much stronger and more aware partnership.