This issue of control is an interesting thing. The first two women (the language doesn’t mean that I owned them), post breakup, claimed that I had serious control issues. The second claimed that I had damaged her.
Though now in the same camp as my previous two loves, when we first got together, my former lady friend cited some of the same reasons that my friend did the other day for why those arguments about me being controlling were ridiculous. And at that time, she took ownership for her own well-being, that was what made her different from the other two she asserted.
Now, somehow, that understanding had been transmuted into alignment with those former loves claiming I was simply taking away their power. And now, again, that sincere look of realization in a former lover’s eyes, they now understand what they previously did not; I had duped them with my power. And left unsaid; how lucky they all are to have escaped.
And the same kind of twist as before; that point when they look with sympathy upon me through their newly found insight and their newly found health–I, the sad one who does not see, am so out of touch with reality that they are worried about me.
The sweetness is giving me a cavity.
Like a smoker who quits, but starts eating, some insights are not insights at all, they are just lateral transitions to another illusion.
For all three relationships, we had talked about and agreed that the guiding principle was to be the confluence of independence and interdependence. That in the end we had different ideas about what all of that meant does not mean that the three of them are on the road to recovery and I have been left with my illusions any more then it means that I’m on the road to recovery and they’re left with their illusions.
Let’s get reductionistic.
About working: The theme was to get a job you like and grow in it. Perhaps the other could help.
About money: Each needs their own account that is separate from an “our” account–no adult should have to ask another for permission to have money. However, we had to look out for our mutual economic development.
About sex: It’s not just about one or the other (we each have our own sexual patterns), it is about reciprocity (though difficult to do at times). Sex is not about leverage, unless in play. Sex is a gift, a communication, a sacred communion.
About children: We each have to learn to give credence to our own words without generally relying on the other to handle problems. However, we can each help the other.
About emotions: Neither thoughts nor feelings nor wants are in and of themselves “better,” they’re just thoughts and feelings and wants. Relying on one or the other is to deny the integration of our individual self as well as the “we” part of ourselves.
About cognitions: Learning is always an event that is individual–even if someone helps, one person cannot get it for another; so learn and contribute, it will make it safer for us both.
About spirit: We don’t own it, no one does–we just are it and we get to dance with it, all at the same time.
To manifest these goals and to be in an intimate relationship and still have independence, we had to give attention to three things: the I, the you, and the we.
Similar to the logic Ken Wilber uses to punch holes in the concept that patriarchy was merely a power play by men over women, the fallacy of this argument about my ability to control is that it gives me incredible power by arguing that I’m so good that I effectively interfered with all their rational behaviors. I, who they now assert has trouble managing my own life, could somehow manage theirs.
The worst of it, however is that the argument takes away from them by suggesting that they are so weak as to just roll over, legs apart, jugular exposed. How rational and strong could they have been to begin with (which I apparently took away) if such was the case? Or is the argument that they were all so lost in the first place that they did not possess any rational abilities and that is what I sought out and attempted to keep in place?
In fact, if I want someone that I can have power over, and if I had power over them, then why would I leave that, much less argue for the confluence of independence and interdependence? Was it merely that I beat them to the punch, that I knew I was losing my influence and got out before they could? This would imply that I did not have so much power over them that they could not see through it. So then, they were just temporarily addled by my power, finally realizing on their own that I was tweaked with control issues? And, in reality, my exhorting them to achieve their own potential and to help me do the same was really just a ruse to put them off their guard?
This sounds like the epitome of rationalization. It is laughable, a logic bucket without a bottom to hold anything.
But the truth of it is that I have been the same in many ways. It does not feel good to be blamed, and gentle or not as I might be, I also was guilty of foisting upon them the responsibility for the impassable canyons in our relationship.
There is alchemy in the world. Maybe a leopard can’t change its spots, but people can and do change. Change goes on all the time. When these women claimed we were meant to be together, they honestly believed it. When these women claimed they wanted to change, they honestly believed it. And when I grew to love them, I held them to that ideal.
Change is tough sledding indeed, but it is even harder when one sees on a daily basis just how far away from that ideal they really are. I didn’t make it any easier for them by pointing out, even in the spirit of love, the contradictions of their lives. And in so doing, I came face-to-face with my own. My fragility, my love, another’s sincere claim, is not an excuse to bind people to an ideal that is not likely to be met together. They may have blamed me for their own inadequacies or for waylaying their true selves, but I wound up clubbing them for not holding love scared. And in so doing, I did not hold love sacred.
It is sad, but it sounds as though all four of us have lived a love life steeped in illusion. There is no one who has power over the other, we simply have our own illusions that were not congruent with the other’s illusions. In this, if one was crazy, we all were crazy, and we could not work out our craziness together.
This frightening meanness and anger that arises from deep inside of us when we are not embraced is old in all of us. This default behavior of defensiveness to explain what torture our bodies feel is also ancient.
We are all guilty. It is evident here in my recapitulation. It is evident in their machinations. We attempt to find our worth somewhere. It is a strange affair that we continue to search around in the geography of illusion. And in the territory of illusion, the false positives of insight keep us within those borders, the false negatives keep us busy with the search.