Lesson 1: Intimacy Can Heal Anything
“Whatever assails us in a relationship, whatever brings questions, doubt or pain, whatever the problem is, the answer will come when we truly move toward our partner. In fact, joining with our partner and recognizing a new level of connectedness will heal anything. It can heal all of the deadness doubt, boredom, fear, sense of unworthiness, and emptiness that, sometimes, come into a relationship. Moving toward our partner does not mean giving up our own position or our own values; it simply means moving toward our partner, in love.” –Chuck Spezzano, PhD
The recommended exercise is based on doing the counter intuitive. Dr. Spezzano offers that if you are having a conflict with anyone, move toward them. Share the truth of your own feelings, not to try to change your partner, but to say,”I won’t let this come between us. I want to join with you. I value this movement forward, and I value you more than this problem.”
First, I can say that I 100% agree with Dr. Spezzano. And, it’s easier said than done. As my relationship has crashed upon jagged rocks, I have been processing a lot. I have to wonder what my intent has been. Where have I been ruled by my fears? Where have I held back and why?
I’ve been involved with a person who is emotionally unavailable. He has a propensity toward lying and secrecy (which our therapist maintains is truly shame-based), withholding and stonewalling. He would be considered to have an avoidant-attachment style. Naturally…I am the opposite! Navigating this has been excruciating. We get locked into power struggle so often. I plead with him to see our conflicts as a learning opportunity and a mirror into ourselves and he willfully resists any suggestions I make. I often feel that he is actually angry at me for wanting work on things. I, of course, could be totally wrong. In any case, his behavior and emotional unavailability have been deeply painful for me and I know that my pain and hurt feelings make me fearful of moving towards him as I feel that the likelihood of rejection is very high. It is very easy for me to blame him for our inability to establish any kind of stable intimacy as he is intimacy avoidant. BUT, that would not be very constructive. No, I am aware that my anxious-attachment style also prevents true intimacy.
I have a lot to think about in terms of true joining and true communication. I have to think about my real intentions. I know that deep down, in my wounded self, I want to be able to control things; control his feelings about me, control the outcome of our relationship. I have a false belief that only if I’m in control will I be safe. Of course, consciously I know this is totally backwards. I know that I’ll be safe if I simply surrender to my higher mind and trust. But when I look deeper, that belief is not there. My false beliefs are getting in the way of true connection and intimacy. My false beliefs keep me acting in the interests of survival, self preservation, protection, essentially cut off and closed, or at least resistant in my own ways.
I also have a sneaking suspicion that if, deep within me, I truly trusted this tenet, that intimacy can heal anything, I would live it and breath it and trust it so thoroughly that there would be nothing to prove, plead or argue about. Any true leadership I could offer would probably be quite natural and effortless. It’s a hard pill to swallow when you feel like what you thought you had to give isn’t it at all! In the adjustment of letting go of what I thought I had to give and figuring out what I truly have to give, there is a temptation to fall into the illusion that I have nothing to give– a trap! I have to doubt my leadership abilities anyway, because in situations like this, I do often wish the other person would go first. I know that’s not good, but it’s the truth.
In this moment I can’t say with 100% certainty that “I won’t let this come between us” because I obviously have and continue to do so. I am definitely letting my hurt feeling hold me back and mistrust. I do have a good deal of attention on the ways in which I feel used, etc… So, this exercise may require a preliminary forgiveness exercise!
In this moment, I can honestly say “I value you more than this problem” and “I value this movement forward”.
Lots for me to meditate on…