Exercises for the Art of Intimacy

One of the main things we do, after we have gone through the romance stage of the relationship, is that we get close to each other and then find a way to destroy the closeness. Examples of this, as we come closer to a weekend, or a few days that we have the opportunity to be alone with each other, we create some way of getting into a fight, then spend the next two days processing the event.

When we become aware of this pattern, we begin to shift the pattern by acknowledging that it is no one’s fault, there is no blame, and we begin to look at the dynamics. What are the patterns and how do these patterns keep us from intimacy?

As humans we yearn for unity and for individuation at the same time. And both needs are fundamental to personal growth. Yet most of us have painful memories of getting close and getting separate. These memories can be taken to from our childhood and our relationships with our parents at the very beginning of infancy. Relationships parallel infancy — in the first six months of our lives we need closeness to survive, to get our needs met. It is apart of being. The next six months is learning doing. The infant learns to explore and to act on the environment in many different ways.

So in relationships we do the same thing — first we are learning whether we can trust this other person. There is a lot of body contact, eating together, sleeping together, dancing, and walking. Then we move into the need for space and autonomy. We find out if this relationship can withstand closeness and allow us to be ourselves at the same time.

I cannot begin to count the number of times I have heard — “They changed.

At first everything was so great and then he had/ or she had a different personality all of sudden.” This where the real relationship begins — and the real work. This is where growth occurs — expansion of the self is prime. At this point the controlling self, the dependent self, or the violent self emerges and the struggle begins.

And when couples work through this part with love and commitment, there are no boundaries to where the relationship can go.

We have not been educated on how to communicate, to solve problems or how to deal with feelings. This all causes pain — and what do we do with pain?

We remove the stimulus and blame it on the source — . The other one.

This is the key — We are not victims.Much of the pain we experience is not due tothe action of others but on how we see the world.

A few issues that surface at this time are:

  • Fear of being abandoned
  • Fear of being overwhelmed, engulfed
  • Rage about childhood violations
  • A desire to be taken care of completely by another person
  • Hypersensitivity to criticism

And none of these issues would cause the problems if people took responsibility and said something like this: “Honey, I just became aware that I have a deep fear of abandonment that is coming up now in our relationship. I hereby commit myself to taking full responsibility for clearing it up” I don’t think so — and yet something like that is the intention of this article. What really happens is the other persons is at fault. They are to blame. This is projection.

Projections — . What are they? Projections are when A blames B for something that actually belongs to A. Example: Susan blames Ted for flirting with Carol at the party. Ted blames Susan for being on his case and trying to tell him what to do.

But the “Real” issue is that her Dad abandoned Susan and her Mom. So she is hyper-vigilant toward any move by Ted that looks like he might leave. This is abandonment waiting to happen. Ted on the other hand grew up in a military household with a very authoritarian father. So where does he go with Susan’s reaction? That makes him hypersensitive to any one telling him what he can or cannot do. He is a criticism waiting to happen.

Many people prefer to stay stuck or stay locked in a power struggle rather than look into the true source of the struggle within themselves. Begin to look at what you complain most about in others and then apply it to yourself.

Get out your journals and write these questions.

What is it about  me that keeps creating this situation?

What is within me that is contributing to this problem? Not Why is this other person (and the world) dong this to me? That is a victim statement.

This is the foundation to growth and it requires courage, commitment and practice. It’s easier to blame or to point the finger. So ask yourself each time you feel you are ready to blame the other or holding to a position out of control — .Do you want to be happy or do you want to right?

Mirroring is another way of saying projection. There are seven ways we mirror in others so that we may continue to grow as human beings.

What we are at the moment.

  1. We judge someone for the constant talking and not listening — could it be that we also do that and are not aware?
  2. That what we judge is the moment.If we judge someone for unethical behavior, is it something we have great anger about? Is someone else and perhaps it showning up in our lives to let go of the reaction to it?
  3. Reflection of loss — that  which has been taken away, lost, given away, portions of the self.Like was stated — abandonment, control, criticism, yet the male or female side of self. What do I see in this person that I have lost, given away, had take away or forgotten within myself?
  4. Reflections of our most forgotten love.Our greatest fears are made manifest when we look at what is the forgotten love aspect of the self, what we truly desire in life. This can also explain the need to anesthetize ourselves in order not to feel the pain associated with this loss. Addictive behaviors around relationships, power, money, sex, living in lack, illness, drugs, alcohol, and cigarettes can provides us with an opportunity to experience exactly the opposite of that which we desire. We have a gift to be able to look at addictions as a way to see the patterns, as the things that we hold most dear slip away, resolve the underlying fear, and release the charge holding the patters in our lives — or we can allow the pattern to continue for so long, that our greatest fear so up in our lives, over time, in degrees.
  5. Parents are mirroring the most important relationship of all — it shows us if we are lovable or not — if we have let our parents down.

Characteristics of parents

  • Aloof
  • Judgmental
  • Self-absorbed
  • Egotistical
  • Liars
  • Drunk
  • Doing the best he or she can
  • Good friend to others.
  • Integritable
  • Really trying
  • Teacher of aesthetics
  • Loyal
  • Truthful
  • Add more…

What is happening in your life right now? How is your relationship with your mate?

  1. Reflection of the Dark Night of the Soul.You may be drawn into experience everything we fear the most.
  2. Greatest act of Compassion. Once all the fear is healed — all that is left is compassion.

Universal Fears

  • Abandonment and Separation— Relationshipswhere we are devastated when they fail, or always being the one get that gets left, or always leaving a good relationship before getting hurt.
  • Not Worthy— Issuesof low self-esteem, or creating relationships of career or friendship and romance that match our experience or not being good enough.
  • Surrender and Trust — The inability to surrender to our experience, or relationships that mirror our expectations of the world as being unsafe or unworthy of our trust.
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