Article Written by Stacy Hoch at www.stacyhoch.com. Thank you very much for your contribution!
I recently had a student tell me that her mother, who was separated from her father often told my student she was just like her father. Inevitably, as projections have it, a self fulfilling prophecy ensued and my student noticed nuances of how she was like him, and decided unlike her mother, she didn’t hate him. Actually, she moved thousands of miles away just to find out exactly how “like” him she was by choosing him, over her mother. See, what her mother was really saying wasn’t “You’re just like your father,” what she was saying was, “You’re akin to something I hate, therefore when I look at you, what I see is hate. Basically, I hate you because looking at you reminds me of my pain.”
What was created in fear, will remain in fear until we meet it at the beginning and recreate it from where we started after untangling years of tied up psychological knots which most people don’t know how, or aren’t brave enough to untangle.
What’s created by way of fear will spiral not out of control, but out of fear, and if we’re lucky, we’ll catch it before dedicating our lives to the spiral for decades.
On the flip side, what was created in love, will spiral “in” love, leaving us mentally and emotionally clear enough to make room for the soul in which desired creation in the first place.
My students mother didn’t love her father. She may have at one time appreciated the role he played, the whimsical nature of imagining his potential hoping with just the right amount of her own “enoughness,” she could mold him straight into it, but she didn’t love “him,” nearly as much as she loved the “idea” of him. If she truly loved him, regardless of how much he’d ended up hurting her, she’d never be able to look at which was made “by” him, and hate it. For the sake of love itself, she’d see her own daughter as an extension from which love spiraled her way, even in physical separation from her symbol of love itself.
We know when we “love” like this and when we’re loved “like” this. To be in a genuine relationship we need that kind of love, on both sides of the street. If we don’t have it, we end up a wilting flower, rather than the bloom we came to know ourselves as.
I know quite a few women (and I’ve been one of them) who are in relationships with men (and obviously this can be reversed) who they’re afraid to leave but are also terrified to stay to suffocate under the thumb of. Right now they’re trees burning at the branches who’re afraid to die by way of fire just as much as they’re uninterested in being totally uprooted and replanted somewhere with unfamiliar soil. After all, they did work at growing these roots for longer than they’d now like to admit, with what appears to be a fruitless, and a burned at the stake, outcome.
They’re still in it, even though they’ve been “out” of it, and so have their partners. They still feel like they’ll betray their own intentions by leaving someone who’s “left” them psychologically and emotionally but catered to their sense of security physically.
In every case I can currently think of, every single woman has told me “they stay, or have stayed for the kids.” One of them is 30 years deep, with grown children.
As a child of a mother who “stayed for the kids” who was also highly intuitive and too mentally keen to not see right through the people who were supposed to see me through, I spent a majority of my life only wanting to see both of my parents happy, and I knew that looked like separation. Both of them were suffocating as far as I could feel and damn it, I just wanted to be somewhere where the air was clean and we could all breath freely.
As a practitioner, I would use a million ways to show someone how this shows up in their lives, because it’s intimately detailed and idiosyncratic to everyone, but ultimately, I don’t believe anyone “stays for the kids.” We stay for maybe self righteous, saving face reasons like not looking like bad mothers, not wanting the other person to have psychological access to our children in our absence for fear of manipulation, not wanting to face the day when our kids look at another woman as a head figure for them, but all of that is about what “we” want because “we” are unwilling to face it. It’s not “for” the kids, it’s in avoidance of our own pain, in hopes our kids can also avoid their pain. Capital B, But here; all of those kids, are already in pain.
I am in no way suggesting skirting out of psychological responsibility for your childrens well being if you have a seemingly workable, healthy relationship. I am suggesting that if you’re a tree that’s on fire, and your kids are in the house, and your partner is presently fueling that fire, your not the only one suffocating.
If for a moment you put yourself in your kids perspective (not what they see nearly as much as what they feel) you’ll free yourself up to recognize that one, they’re already in pain, and two, you aren’t staying for them, but because you don’t know how to leave. Problem is, you also don’t know how to stay.
For their sake, cater to your sake and leave the idea that your sacrifice is “for them,” because our kids don’t want our sacrifices, they want our investments.
If you’re triggered, I apologize, I sympathize, and I’ve also walked the path your on, into a place where I was able to materialize, and I’d never have been able to do that by hiding behind my children without being willing to walk to the front line for the sake of myself, knowing that what’s created in love, stays in love and ultimately, they’d know more love by separation than the fear that kept us together.
I witnessed a gorgeous “divorce ceremony” the other day. Just like a wedding, they ceremoniously walked down the aisle, read over the gifts that their relationship had brought them up until that point. Their kids carried, not flowers, but a painting which they both cut, together, and then repinned together to make the relationship separate but never severed after a quarter century of marriage. They separated, in love. That’s true love. That’s ceremonious of two people who saw to the other person and loved them enough to leave a relationship, with them, not because of them. Sadly, most couples haven’t accomplished the kind of intimacy required for that ceremony, but if you’re reading this, you deserve exactly that kind of intimacy and you know it. It doesn’t always mean you’ll stay together, but if you leave each other in peace, at least you trusted you loved each other truly enough not to wage a war.
That’s the thing. We fear what kind of disrespect will be throw about us in our absence by the same people we fearfully allow to be a part of our everyday, presence. That’s not love.
If we fear someone else will make our lives too difficult to handle if we approach them in love of self and of them, by telling them what we need and they throw blame in our face for having needs, or threaten that if we “act” on our desires for a more intimate life by leaving; they don’t love us for who we truly are. They may like us for who we’ve been to them, but that’s sadly, about as far as we’ve gotten in their hearts.
Ironically, that’s exactly why we’re suffocating by staying. Slowly, we lost all our leaves because they somehow got us in trouble for all of their color. Slowly, the ground beneath who we wanted to be gave way to our partners digging in our dirt and making us wrong for having our own soil. Slowly, we watched them dig a grave for our relationship right at our roots, and we stood by forced to watch. When we stay where we’re unseen and unheard, slowly we kill off the most essential parts of ourselves and ultimately we become buried by them while we’re still alive.
My love, it’s ok not to water a dead plant. It’s ok that you’ve given it your attention, your life, your love, and that it died on your watch. You can’t save what wants to die, even if you spend years of your life committing to CPR, in hopes that one day, what’s now dying will be able to breath again. YOU have to take that breath for you and only you know when you’re willing to exhale every single thing you’ve inhaled while you were suffocating, to feel the honest reception in the breath you not intentionally, but automatically take on your next, super clean, super necessary, inhale.
If you’re staying out of fear, you’ll never know love where you stand. To top it off, everything that’s made while you stay in fear, one day, you’ll end up looking at in hate.
Respect your tree. If you don’t no one else will.
Make sure you have water and sun rather than trying to save a dead seedling by giving it everything you need when you know you’ve got nothing left of your own essence.
Respect the mourning process of shattered illusion, the funeral of where you thought you’d be, and honor the truth by walking boldly in the face of love, even if you can’t see it, while the love you once thought you had, threatens to hate you.
Creating a love story, starts with true love, not fake, looks-good-on-camera love. You know the difference because one makes you feel full, while one empties you. You deserve the intimacy in which you seek, and it starts with being intimate with your truth, with your love, with your vulnerability, rather than tangling yourself in the cobwebs created by being overly intimate with your fear.
You’re allowed to walk away, and you’re allowed to stay. Whatever you choose, make sure you choose to be through it, “in love.”