Advice

(on your bad relationships – if you need it)

Life is discipline
The problem you are having is making any kind of useful distinction between what is real and what is not. Here’s what is real:
There is only one relationship in your life that requires any work. And there is only one person in this relationship – you. You are split into two: the you of your traumatic back story; the you of now.
All your relationships with other people are versions of your relationship with yourself.
All hatred and anger and manipulation and blaming and hoping for love and hoping for understanding that you direct at others are in fact details of your bad relationship with yourself.

When you experience the pain and anxiety of others being out of your control, it is in fact, and only, you being out of your own control that is causing the pain.
Your bad relationship with yourself is projected into a bad relationship with another, who meanwhile and similarly is projecting a bad relationship with him/herself into a
bad relationship with you (the game of four halves).
This kind of contract of folly is sealed with erotic rewards, ie, the contract is bound to a fundamental pleasure in order to give it serious meaning and longevity. (Look at how the erotic element breaks down when the energy for maintaining the contract of folly weakens.)
Good relationships with others can only happen when your relationship with yourself is fixed and well. Here’s what a good relationship with someone else looks like: I like myself. There is no split between past me and present me (because past me no longer needs to exist). The love and acceptance I feel for myself is sufficient to emanate in the direction of another human being who meanwhile accepts and loves him/herself, experiences no traumatic split, and emanates abundant love in my direction.

What to do.
Step 1. Do nothing. React to nothing. Imagine nothing.
Step 2. Accept everything.
Step 3. Train yourself to master your out of control feelings. Get them under your control. Look away from them when they arise, do not feed them. They will fight back for attention, but look away again and continue to resist feeding them. At first, this is difficult (because you think the only reliable relationship you have is with your painful feelings). With time and determination, this becomes easier.
Step 4. Learn meditation, which, even at its early stages, places all things very quickly into a calm and still perspective. Complaining, wishing, begging, demanding, blaming, failing, panicking, grieving – all go. Sentimentality, our aid in all things unreal, also goes.
Step 5. All therapies are for achieving this result. If they take time, working steadily through the stages of observation, analysis, acceptance, realisation and healing change – fine. What they are not for is feeling that at least you're developing a decent relationship with one other person, ie the therapist. And they are not for weekly respite from your bad relationship with yourself or for validating that bad relationship in a caring environment. If those things are happening within the therapy, it’s because that is how you're using the therapy. You must seek therapies that work, and do the work they offer.
Life is Discipline

A Panel, Oil on canvas 270 x 210 cm, FStapleton 2008

Stapleton_A_Panel_2008

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