A text by Jeff Foster, specially significant at a moment that my relationship broke because of not being able to see my codependency projected unto my partner.
For me codependency is a major subject in life… I am rather the dependent – meaning that I put a lot of (unconscious) pressure on my partners. Although I am aware that my love does not depend on (the actions of) the other, my inner wound make this hard to handle consciously on a daily basis…
So I tend to fly closely around my partners for attention, love, care and approval.
Obviously as I become more and more aware, the remains of this inner structure complicate my relationships as the pattern is less apparent and I therefore not always detect on time, the true reason for feeling hurt…
Presence, presence, presence… be conscious of your feelings and detect the emotions that you have identified already as part of the pattern.
Then, if you are able, act on your emotions in an adult way rather than react as the wounded inner child that has woken screaming for love and approval.
It takes courage to listen to someone as they share their joy, fear, anger and pain. To be soft and receptive as you listen. To be aware of your own defences – your impulses and urges to attack or withdraw, to suppress yourself or suppress the other – and just stay present, and receive ‘what is’. To hear another’s truth, without trying to fix them or advise them, without trying to change their experience in any way. To hear their joy and their pain, their disappointment and their anger too. To hear the effect something you said or did have on them, even if that triggers a big discomfort in you, even if it makes you feel ashamed, or guilty, or afraid. To be aware of your triggers, to honour them, to breathe into them, to let them into the light, to bless them with awareness, but to keep listening. To make it safe for your friend or partner to be vulnerable, to step into their own courage, to tell their truth, the truth that hurts, the truth that frees, the truth that heals. To give them as much space as they need to share. To hold them as they break, as they burn, as they confess, as they tremble with fear or joy. To give them that gift. The gift of relational safety. The gift of active listening.
And it takes courage to speak up, too! To be clear and assertive and direct, yet remain open and delicate. To listen as you speak. To say “no” when you mean no, and “yes” when you mean yes. To tell your raw truth. To let your friend, family member or partner know what is okay for you and what is not, what hurts and what brings joy, what angers you and what makes you feel loved. To let them know if they’ve crossed an invisible line with you, violated a boundary of yours. Maybe they just didn’t know. We are not each other’s mind-readers. To speak your raw honest vulnerability, without blaming them or shaming them, without name-calling, without attack, but without protecting them from your vision either. It is a fine line for sure, and it requires presence, and slowness, and great humility, and a willingness to drop the need to be ‘right’.
It takes courage to break a life-long addiction to people-pleasing, to putting the feelings and needs of others before your own, to “protecting” the other from your truth, to silencing or shaming yourself in order to avoid conflict or rejection.
It takes courage to a break a life-long addiction to narcissistic self-absorption, to putting your own feelings and needs before someone else’s, to silencing or trying to change someone in order to avoid your own pain, rejection and fear of abandonment.
It takes courage to be fully present with another and fully present with yourself.
This is the highest possibility of relationship: To weave together a co-created nest of presence, where we both feel safe to share our authentic selves. Where we break codependent bonds, stop trying to control or save or each other, or protect each other from the pain and loss and ecstasy of living, and speak our messy truths, taking fierce ownership of our own pain and joy, our own thoughts and feelings, our own urges and desires, our own values and passions.
In a nest like this, true love can surely blossom.
– Jeff Foster
El nido de la intimidad – por Jeff Foster.
Requiere coraje el escuchar a alguien cuando comparte su alegría, miedo, ira y dolor. El ser suave y receptivo/a mientras escuchas. El ser consciente de tus propias defensas – tus impulsos y necesidades de atacar o retirarte, de reprimirte a ti mismo/a o reprimir al otro – y sólo estar presente, y recibir “lo que es”. El escuchar la verdad del otro, sin intentar repararlo o aconsejarlo, sin tratar de cambiar su experiencia en ninguna forma. el escuchar su alegría y su dolor, su decepción y su ira también. El escuchar el efecto que algo que dijiste o hiciste tuvieron en ellos, incluso si eso desencadena una gran incomodidad en ti, incluso si te hace sentir avergonzado/a, o culpable, o con miedo. El estar consciente de tus detonantes, honrarlos, respirar en ellos, dejarlos entrar en la luz, bendecirlos con consciencia, pero seguir escuchando. El hacer que para tu pareja o amigo sea seguro ser vulnerable, adentrarse en su propio coraje, decir su verdad, la verdad que duele, la verdad que libera, la verdad que sana. El darles tanto espacio como necesitan para compartir. Sostenerlos mientras se quiebran, arden, confiesan, mientras tiemblan de alegría o miedo. El darles ese regalo. El regalo de la seguridad en una relación. El regalo de la escucha activa.
¡Y requiere coraje decir lo que piensas también! Ser claro/a y asertivo/a y directo/a, y al mismo tiempo permanecer abierto/a y delicado/a. El escuchar mientras hablas. Decir “no” cuando quieres decir no, y “sí” cuando quieres decir sí. El decir tu verdad pura. Dejar que tu amigo, familiar o pareja sepan qué está bien para ti y qué no está bien, qué duele y qué trae alegría, qué te enoja y qué te hace sentir amado/a. El dejarlos saber si han cruzado una línea invisible contigo, violado un límite tuyo. Quizás simplemente no sabían. No nos podemos leer la mente mutuamente. El contar tu honesta y pura vulnerabilidad, sin culparlos o avergonzarlos, sin decirles nombres, sin ataques, pero sin protegerlos de tu visión. Es una línea delgada sin duda, y requiere presencia, y lentitud, y gran humildad, y una voluntad de dejar la necesidad de estar “en lo correcto”.
Requiere coraje romper la adicción a complacer a la gente, a poner los sentimientos y necesidades de otros antes que los tuyos, a “proteger” al otro de tu verdad, a silenciar o avergonzarte a ti mismo/a para evitar conflicto o rechazo.
Requiere coraje romper con la adicción al egocentrismo narcisista, a poner tus propios sentimientos y necesidades antes de los de los demás, a silenciar o tratar de cambiar a alguien para evitar tu propio dolor, rechazo y miedo al abandono.
Requiere coraje estar completamente presente con otro y completamente presente contigo mismo/a.
Esta es la más alta posibilidad de las relaciones: el tejer juntos un nido co-creado de presencia, donde ambos nos sintamos seguros para compartir nuestro yo auténtico. Donde rompamos los lazos co-dependientes, paremos de intentar controlar o salvar al otro, o protegernos mutuamente del dolor y la pérdida y el éxtasis de vivir, y digamos nuestra desastrosa verdad, apropiándonos ferozmente de nuestro propio dolor y alegría, nuestros propios pensamientos y sentimientos, nuestros propios deseos y necesidades, nuestros propios valores y pasiones.
En un nido como este, el amor de verdad podrá seguramente florecer.
– Jeff Foster
In 2013 a friend and yoga buddy send me an email after a lengthy conversation about differences in opinion, respect for each other and my newly discovered truth; that I preferred to be happy than be right in a conversation.
If you want to know more about this life changing fact, check this post with the youtube video that changed my life.
The text is a excerpt of a conversation between Writer/Professor Paul Rabinow and French Philosopher Michel Foucault.
Paul Rabinow: Why is it that you don’t engage in polemics ?
Michel Foucault: I like discussions, and when I am asked questions, I try to answer them. It’s true that I don’t like to get involved in polemics. If I open a book and see that the author is accusing an adversary of “infantile leftism” I shut it again right away. That’s not my way of doing things; I don’t belong to the world of people who do things that way. I insist on this difference as something essential: a whole morality is at stake, the one that concerns the search for truth and the relation to the other.
In the serious play of questions and answers, in the work of reciprocal elucidation, the rights of each person are in some sense immanent in the discussion. They depend only on the dialogue situation. The person asking the questions is merely exercising the right that has been given him: to remain unconvinced, to perceive a contradiction, to require more information, to emphasize different postulates, to point out faulty reasoning, and so on. As for the person answering the questions, he too exercises a right that does not go beyond the discussion itself; by the logic of his own discourse, he is tied to what he has said earlier, and by the acceptance of dialogue he is tied to the questioning of other. Questions and answers depend on a game — a game that is at once pleasant and difficult — in which each of the two partners takes pains to use only the rights given him by the other and by the accepted form of dialogue.
The polemicist , on the other hand, proceeds encased in privileges that he possesses in advance and will never agree to question. On principle, he possesses rights authorizing him to wage war and making that struggle a just undertaking; the person he confronts is not a partner in search for the truth but an adversary, an enemy who is wrong, who is armful, and whose very existence constitutes a threat. For him, then the game consists not of recognizing this person as a subject having the right to speak but of abolishing him as interlocutor, from any possible dialogue; and his final objective will be not to come as close as possible to a difficult truth but to bring about the triumph of the just cause he has been manifestly upholding from the beginning. The polemicist relies on a legitimacy that his adversary is by definition denied.