Lesson 2: Any Behavior That is Not Love Is A Call For Love
“Be aware of all of the different behaviors that the people around you are acting out. Which ones are loving? Which are not? The behaviors that are not loving are really a call for love. If there is an attack on us specifically, it is a call for our love. Our willingness to respond to that behavior, not by defending ourselves, but by moving toward the attacker and giving to them, will win an ally. This person who was attacking will be very loyal to us in the future, both in good and hard times. Right now, however, they need our love.
Some people are caught in deadness, and others are caught in attack. We are being asked to remember what it’s like to be in need and the cries we have made for help when we could not even speak the words. In the same way, those who are attacking us are also crying for help, asking for our love. If we look around, we will see to whom we are called to respond, whom we are called to move toward, and whom we are called to help.” –Chuck Spezzano, PhD
The lesson says, much like yesterday’s, to think of the person who is attacking you and imagine them with you and imagine yourself moving towards them, responsively, realizing their attack is a call for help. Spezzano also says that in assisting them, you will find that these are the very people who have answers for you, if not now, then in the future…even if only by representing a a part of your own mind, so that by helping them you help yourself.
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So, once again, the first obstacle that comes up for me is trust– trusting that this is really the case. Interestingly, if someone is screaming and yelling at me, it’s much easier for me to see that as a call for help (this is what I’m familiar with with my Dad). But if someone is shutting me out, that is much harder for me to see as a call for help and it’s much harder for me to access the intuitive knowledge of what’s called for and what they need. It’s like their dissociation permeates everything and I start to dissociate too.
I’ve thought and felt a lot about this and I can even hear myself thinking, literally, “Well, I guess they don’t want my help.” Hard to tell if that’s my true answer or a defensive reaction to the situation.
I see this person hurting themselves and others through their withdrawal and shutting out. I see them compounding their guilt each time they run away or fail to take responsibility. I know that he doesn’t feel he has it in him to take responsibility. I know he feels overwhelmed by the hurt he feels he’s caused and overwhelmed by his own hurt. It’s funny, I often accuse him, in my head, of bypassing his pain of loss by focusing on the pain of those he’s hurt and feeling guilty and sorry and ashamed. But I think I really bypass my pain too. Every time I read a lesson like this, I immediately think, “See?? THIS is what HE’s doing.” Then I have to catch myself and say, “And if you can see how this is what YOU’RE doing, you would actually be doing YOUR work and you might actually get somewhere.” Besides, if we really want to help, we can only heal another to the extent that we’ve healed ourselves. In truth, I think this exercise is hard for me because I don’t feel adequate. As much as I understand all this stuff, I haven’t integrated it either, so I feel like a secret hypocrite. I think, “What business do I have trying to help someone else when I can barely help myself?” I know that’s another false belief, but the work starts with admitting that it’s there.
It is really hard to admit our shadows without feeling so terribly embarrassed, immature, ashamed. That’s where the loving, compassionate, inner adult comes in quite handy. It’s true that we are usually harder on ourselves than on others. If I’m harder on myself than I am on my friend and vice verse, well…that’s a really tragic state of affairs.
Seeing it that way, it does seem like the only thing to do is reach out. To forgive, to love, to help.
I grew up with so much “tough love”, it’s a big challenge to learn how to help in a tender, easy, slow, gentle way. My friend’s sensitivity has forced me to see that and start learning. I’m glad of that though, I never felt like the hardness was authentic to me, more like a deposit of someone else’s (my Dad’s) energy. Getting it out is no small feat, though.
Last thoughts…even if there is no one to do this exercise with, I could do it with myself. What if my wounded self is attacking me as a cry for help, a call for love? Could I turn towards my wounded self and help? Could I love myself?