Maybe why you argue with your partner?

Uncategorised Oct 24, 2019

Back in 1984, I lived in the pathwork community in upstate New York, where these extrordinary lectures were given – this is one of the most incisive, exploring the link between the part of us that that can argue with our partner  trying to force him or her into giving us the love we believed we failed to get as a child. However, the belief is based on deeply erroneus assumptions – as this lecture explores..
Our last discussion was about the fear of loving. The subject of love was presented at great length and from various angles in past sessions. You will remember that I frequently mentioned how the child desires to be loved exclusively and without limits. In other words, the child’s desire to be loved is unrealistic. Yet it is also true that the child would be very satisfied with real mature love. In fact, if it were given, the unrealistic demand for exclusive love would be diminished considerably. However, the capacity for tendering genuine mature love is rare.
Since children so seldom receive sufficient mature love and warmth, they continue to hunger for it throughout life unless this lack and hurt is recognized and properly dealt with. If not, as adults they will go through life unconsciously crying out for what they missed in childhood. This will make them incapable of loving maturely. You can see how this condition continues from generation to generation.
The remedy cannot be found by wishing that things were different and that people would learn to practice mature love. The remedy lies solely in you. True, if you had received such love from your parents, you would be without this problem of which you are not really and fully aware. But this lack of receiving mature love need trouble neither you nor your life if you become aware of it, see it, and rearrange your former unconscious wishes, regrets, thoughts and concepts by aligning them to the reality of each situation. As a consequence, you will not only become a happier person, but you will also be able to extend mature love to others — to your children, if you have any, or to other people in your environment — so that a benign chain reaction can start. Such a realistic self-correction is very contrary to your present inner behaviour, which we shall now consider.
All people, including even those few who have started to explore their own unconscious mind and emotions, habitually overlook the strong link between the child’s longing and unfulfillment and the adult’s present difficulties and problems, because only very few people experience personally — and not just recognize in theory — how strong this link is. Full awareness of it is essential.
There may be isolated, exceptional cases where one parent offers a sufficient degree of mature love. Even if one parent has it to some measure, very likely the other does not. Since mature love on this earth is only present to a degree, the child will suffer from the shortcomings of even a loving parent.
More often, however, both parents are emotionally immature and cannot give the love the child craves, or give it only in insufficient measure. During childhood, this need is rarely conscious. Children have no way of putting their needs into thoughts. They cannot compare what they have with what others have. They do not know that something else might exist. They believe this is the way it should be. Or, in extreme cases, they feel especially isolated, believing their lot is like no one else’s. Both attitudes deviate from the truth. In both cases the real emotion is not conscious and therefore cannot be properly evaluated and come to terms with. Thus, children grow up never quite understanding why they are unhappy, nor even that they are unhappy. Many of you look back on childhood convinced that you had all the love you wanted just because you actually did have some love.
There are a number of parents who give great demonstrations of love. They may overindulge their children. Such spoiling and pampering may be overcompensation and a sort of apology for a deeply suspected inability to love maturely. Children feel the truth very acutely. They may not think it, or consciously observe it, but inwardly children keenly feel the difference between mature, genuine love and the immature, over-demonstrative variety offered instead.
Proper guidance and security are the parents’ responsibility and call for authority on their part. There are parents who never dare to punish or exert a healthy authority. This failing is due to guilt because real, giving, warming, comforting love is absent in their own immature personalities. Other parents may be too severe, too strict. They thereby exert a domineering authority by bullying the child, and not allowing its individuality to unfold. Both kinds fall short as parents, and their wrong attitudes, absorbed by the child, will cause hurt and unfulfillment.
In children of the strict parents, the resentment and rebellion will be open, and therefore more easily traced. In the other case, the rebellion is just as strong, but hidden, and therefore infinitely harder to trace. If you had a parent who smothered you with affection or pseudo-affection, yet lacked in genuine warmth, or if you had a parent who conscientiously did everything right but was also lacking in real warmth, unconsciously you knew it as a child and you resented it. Consciously you may not have been aware of it at all, because, when a child, you really could not put your finger on what was lacking. You were outwardly given everything you wanted and needed. How could you draw the subtle, fine borderline distinction between real affection and pseudo-affection with your child’s intellect?  The fact that something bothered you without your being able to explain it rationally made you feel guilty and uncomfortable. You therefore pushed it out of sight as far as possible.
As long as the hurt, disappointment, and unfulfilled needs of your early years remain unconscious, you cannot come to terms with them. No matter how much you may love your parents, an unconscious resentment exists in you, which prevents you from forgiving them for the hurt. You can only forgive and let go if you recognize your deeply hidden hurt and resentment. As an adult human being you will see that your parents, too, are just human beings. They were not as faultless and perfect as the child thought and hoped; yet they are not to be rejected now because they had their own conflicts and immaturities. The light of conscious reasoning has to be applied to these very emotions you never allowed yourself to be aware of fully.
As long as you are unaware of this conflict between your longing for a perfect love from your parents and your resentment against them, you are bound to try remedying the situation in your later years. This striving may manifest in various aspects of your life. You run constantly into problems and repeated patterns which have their origin in your attempt to reproduce the childhood situation so as to correct it. This unconscious compulsion is a very strong factor, but is so deeply hidden from your conscious understanding!
The most frequent way of attempting to remedy the situation is in your choice of love partners. Unconsciously you will know how to choose in the partner aspects of the parent who has particularly fallen short in affection and love that is real and genuine. But you also seek in your partner aspects of the other parent who has come closer to meeting your demands. Important as it is to find both parents represented in your partners, it is even more important and more difficult to find those aspects which represent the parent who has particularly disappointed and hurt you, the one more resented or despised and for whom you had little or no love. So you seek the parents again — in a subtle way that is not always easy to detect, in your marital partners, in your friendships, or in other human relationships. In your subconscious, the following reactions take place:  since the child in you cannot let go of the past, cannot come to terms with it, cannot forgive, cannot understand and accept, this very child in you always creates similar conditions, trying to win out in the end in order to finally master the situation instead of succumbing to it. Losing out means being crushed — this must be avoided at all costs. The costs are high indeed, for the entire strategy is unfeasible. What the child in you sets out to accomplish cannot ever come to realization.
This entire procedure is utterly destructive. In the first place, it is an illusion that you were defeated. Therefore, it is an illusion that you can now be victorious. Moreover, it is an illusion that the lack of love, sad as that may have been when you were a child, is indeed the tragedy that your subconscious still feels it to be. The only tragedy lies in the fact that you obstruct your future happiness by continuing to reproduce the situation and then attempting to master it. My friends, this process is a deeply unconscious one. Of course, nothing is further from your mind as you focus on your conscious aims and wishes. It will take a great deal of digging to uncover the emotions that lead you again and again into situations where your secret aim is to remedy childhood woes.
In trying to reproduce the childhood situation, you unconsciously choose a partner with aspects similar to those of the parent. Yet it is these very aspects, which will make it as impossible to receive the mature love you rightfully, long for now as it was then. Blindly, you believe that by willing it more strongly and more forcefully, the parent-partner will now yield, whereas in reality love cannot come that way. Only when you are free of this ever-continuing repetition, will you no longer cry to be loved by the parent. Instead, you will look for a partner or for other human relationships with the aim of finding the maturity you really need and want. In not demanding to be loved as a child, you will be equally willing to love. However, the child in you finds this impossible, no matter how much you may otherwise be capable of it through development and progress. This hidden conflict eclipses your otherwise growing soul.
If you already have a partner, the uncovering of this conflict may show you how he or she is similar to your parents in certain immature aspects. But since you now know that there is hardly a really mature person, these immaturities in your partner will no longer be the tragedy they were while you constantly sought to find your parent or parents again, which of course could never come to pass. With your existing immaturity and incapacity, you may nevertheless build a more mature relationship, free of the childish compulsion to recreate and correct the past.
You have no idea how preoccupied your subconscious is with the process of re-enacting the play, so to speak, only hoping that “this time it will be different.”  And it never is!  As time goes on, each disappointment weighs heavier and your soul becomes more and more discouraged.
For those of my friends who have not yet reached certain depths of their unexplored subconscious, this may sound quite preposterous and contrived. However, those of you who have come to see the power of your hidden trends, compulsions, and images will not only readily believe it, but will soon experience the truth of these words in their own personal lives. You already know from other findings how potent are the workings of your subconscious mind, how shrewdly it goes about its destructive and illogical ways.
If you learn to look at your problems and unfulfillment from this point of view and follow the usual process of allowing your emotions to come to the fore, you will gain much further insight. But it will be necessary, my friends, to re-experience the longing and the hurt of the crying child you were once, even though you were also a happy one. Your happiness may have been valid and without self-deception at all. For it is possible to be both happy and unhappy. You may now be perfectly aware of the happy aspects of your childhood, but that which hurt deeply and that certain something you greatly longed for — you did not even quite know what — you were not aware of. You took the situation for granted. You did not know what was missing or even that there was anything missing. This basic unhappiness has to come to awareness now, if you really want to proceed in inner growth. You have to re-experience the acute pain you once suffered but you pushed out of sight. Now you have to look at this pain conscious of the understanding you have gained. Only by doing this will you grasp the reality value of your current problems and see them in their true light.
Now, how can you manage to re-experience the hurts of so long ago?  There is only one way, my friends. Take a current problem. Strip it of all the superimposed layers of your reactions. The first and most handy layer is that of rationalization, that of “proving” that others, or situations are at fault, not your innermost conflicts which make you adopt the wrong attitude to the actual problem that confronts you. The next layer might be anger, resentment, anxiety, frustration. Behind all these reactions you will find the hurt of not being loved. When you experience the hurt of not being loved in your current dilemma, it will serve to reawaken the childhood hurt. While you face the present hurt, think back and try to reconsider the situation with your parents:  what they gave you, how you really felt about them. You will become aware that in many ways you lacked a certain something you never clearly saw before — you did not want to see it. You will find that this must have hurt you when you were a child, but you may have forgotten this hurt on a conscious level. Yet it is not forgotten at all. The hurt of your current problem is the very same hurt. Now, re-evaluate your present hurt, comparing it with the childhood hurt. At last you will clearly see how it is one and the same. No matter how true and understandable your present pain is, it is nevertheless the same childhood pain. A little later you will come to see how you contributed to bringing about the present pain because of your desire to correct the childhood hurt. But at first you only have to feel the similarity of the pain. However, this requires considerable effort, for there are many overlaying emotions that cover the present pain as well as the past one. Before you have succeeded in crystallizing the pain you are experiencing, you cannot understand anything further in this respect.
Once you can synchronize these two pains and realize that they are one and the same, the next step is much easier. Then, by looking over the repetitious pattern in your various difficulties, you will learn to recognize the similarities between your parents and the people who have caused you hurt or are causing you pain now. Experiencing these similarities emotionally will carry you further on the particular road toward dissolving this basic conflict. Mere intellectual evaluation will not yield any benefit. When you feel the similarities, while at the same time experiencing the pain of now and the pain of then, you will slowly come to understand how you thought you had to choose the current situation because deep inside you could not possibly admit “defeat.”
It goes without saying that many people are not even aware of any pain, past or present. They busily push it out of sight. Their problems do not appear as “pain.”  For them, the very first step is to become aware that this pain is present and that it hurts infinitely more as long as they have not become aware of it. Many people are afraid of this pain and like to believe that by ignoring it they can make it disappear. They chose such a means of relief only because their conflicts have become too great for them. How much more wonderful it is for a person to choose this path with the wisdom and conviction that a hidden conflict, in the long run, does as much damage as a manifest one. They will not fear to uncover the real emotion and will feel, even in the temporary experience of acute pain, that in that moment it turns into a healthy growing pain, free of bitterness, tension, anxiety, and frustration.
There are also those who tolerate the pain, but in a negative way, always expecting it to be remedied from the outside. Such people are in a way nearer to the solution because for them it will be quite easy to see how the childish process still operates. The outside is the offending parent, or both parents, projected onto other human beings. They have only to redirect the approach to their pains. They do not have to find it.
Only after experiencing all these emotions, and synchronizing the “now” and the “then,” will you become aware of how you tried to correct the situation. You will further see the folly of the unconscious desire to recreate the childhood hurt, the frustrating uselessness of it. You will survey all your actions and reactions with this new understanding and insight, whereupon you will release your parents. You will leave your childhood truly behind and start a new inner behaviour pattern that will be infinitely more constructive and rewarding for you and for others. You will no longer seek to master the situation you could not master as a child. You will go on from where you are, forgetting and forgiving truly inside of you, without even thinking that you have done so. You will no longer need to be loved, as you needed to be loved when you were a child. First you become aware that this is what you still wish, and then you no longer seek this kind of love. Since you are no longer a child, you will seek love in a different way, by giving it instead of expecting it. It must always be emphasized, however, that many people are not aware that they do expect it. Since the childish, unconscious expectation was so often disappointed, they made themselves give up all expectations and all desire for love. Needless to say, this is neither genuine nor healthy, for it is a wrong extreme.
To be fruitful and bring real results, the process of giving up the recreation must go beyond mere intellectual knowledge. You have to allow yourself to feel the pain of certain unfulfillments now and also the pain of the unfulfillment of your childhood, then compare the two until, like two separate picture slides, they gradually move into focus and become one. Once this happens, the insight you gain, the experience you feel exactly as I say here, will enable you to take the further steps indicated.
To work on this inner conflict is of great importance for some of my friends who have made sufficient progress on this path. They need these instructions to give them a new outlook, and gain further clarification beyond the point at which they have arrived. My words will enable them to proceed in the proper direction. For others who are not yet that far advanced or for those who have not really begun a self-search, these words may perhaps be somewhat obscure. Intellectually you may understand quite well, but you will be unable as yet to apply them to your own emotions and life problems. Nevertheless, I urge you all to think about this:  the time will come when you will glean a new understanding about yourself from these words. Perhaps an occasional glimpse even now, a temporary flickering emotion that these words may cause in you, will be of help and open a door toward knowing yourself better, toward evaluating your life with a more realistic and more mature outlook.
Now, are there any questions in connection with this lecture?
QUESTION:  It is very difficult for me to understand that one continually chooses a love object who has exactly the same negative trends that one or the other parent had. Is it reality that this particular person has these trends?  Or is it projection and response?
ANSWER:  It can be both and it can be either. In fact, most of the time it is a combination. Certain aspects are unconsciously looked for and found and they are actually similar. But the existing similarities are enhanced by the person who is doing the recreation. They are not only projected qualities, “seen” while they are not really there, but are latent in some degree without being manifested. These are encouraged and strongly brought to the fore by the attitude of the person with the unrecognized inner problem. He or she fosters something in the other person by provoking the reaction that is similar to the parent’s. The provocation, which of course is entirely unconscious, is a very strong factor here.
The sum total of a human personality consists of many aspects. Out of these, let us say three or four may be actually similar to some traits in the recreator’s parent. The most outstanding would be a similar kind of immaturity and incapacity to love. That alone is sufficient and potent enough in essence to reproduce the same situation.
The same person would not react to others as he or she reacts to you because it is you who constantly do the provoking, thereby reproducing conditions similar to your childhood for you to correct. Your fear, your self-punishment, your frustration, your anger, your hostility, your withdrawal from giving out love and affection, all these trends of the child in you constantly provoke the other person and enhance a response coming from that part which is weak and immature. However, a more mature person will affect others differently and will bring out that in them which is mature and whole, for there is no person who does not have some mature aspects.