There’s no amount of inner work that will make love exist in an unhealthy situation.
If we are trying to get our nervous system to be better at co-regulating with trauma, this is not loving.
If we are trying to do “shadow” work to feel okay with being in misaligned or painful circumstances, our focus and direction on which shadow to give attention to are misguided.
Since we live in a cultural consciousness of narcissism, it’s difficult to unwrap ourselves from many of the codependent patterns we’ve been taught. We enable bad behavior because we understand why they are doing it.
We give our power away, projecting the “weak” aspects of ourselves that we cannot love into another. It’s as if we think an energetic shift in our vibration will cause another to see us and love us finally.
The tactics fed to us by self-help and new age teachings are mired in unconscious patriarchal values that gaslight the real problem.
We have fallen deeply into a collective agreement that trauma bonding is love. We think if we do the “hard work” on ourselves in these traumatic relationships, we will find the freedom we seek. Until then, we suffer and find ways to numb ourselves from the pain of the truth.
I hear this many times in sessions with clients: a deep fear of either belonging to oneself or losing oneself in relationships. There is a feeling that one has to choose to be in the polarity of the “feminine” (being “weak”) or powerful in the cold, “masculine” role. We are torn between loving ourselves and being loved; we fear that if our truth is honored and we follow love, there will be nothing but loneliness on the other side.
Is this working for us?
I don’t think so.
There’s a deep divorcing of our contract to “love as suffering in the name of healing” we have to unravel so we can heal this deep split from love in our psyches.
It’s possible for us to love ourselves, be loved, and belong.
Unfortunately, this is too foreign to our collective and individual nervous systems (I know it has been for mine). But the rafters and foundations are shaking up that deep hunger for love within our bones—that desire for another interdependent, and egalitarian way of living and loving.
If we look deeper into mythology, we see that Narcissus hated every woman who loved him. He was also the product of sexual assault, not born out of love. He didn’t love himself or the feminine aspects of his humanity. He felt empty and disconnected from love. He was blocked from the capacity to know himself.
Echo, also empty in herself, falls in love with Narcissus’ projection, an empty vessel where there is no love. No connection to anything but the illusion of love and the image of beauty and love. She tries to do so many things to “get” love and attention, but none of it works, and she loses her connection to a nourishing, provisioning source of love.
This kills her; it kills Narcissus too.
This is what fuels addiction, which codependency is.
Disconnection from love is the root of shame—we struggle with the grief of never feeling loved in the past and the fear of never being loved again.
Shame drives us to find someone or something that validates our existence or to happily take on the powerful projections of others to repress our shame further.
We want to feel good about ourselves, but this isn’t how to do it.
This perpetual dance of shadow work and metabolizing pain only helps if it is helping us reconnect to a rootedness in love—the Mother’s mature feminine archetype, the nourishing energies of the earth we as humanity have been cut off from.
We are trying to transcend our humanity and our pain by climbing the ascension ladder. But, as we heal our relationship with a loving source, we descend back into this flesh, this matter of our bodies where we realize we matter.
Our bodies, hearts, the living intelligence of eros, and the nourishing heart-mind guide us in the ways to obey love. Love teaches us to exit situations where we’ve done all we can; love would have us leave rather than stay and enable more suffering.
In this, we encounter a great, liberating grief that breaks our hearts open to this condition we’ve been living in. It makes space for love to put us back on our soul’s aligned path.
Our body knows the life that is meant for us; we are equipped with all we need to head in the direction of our most significant expansion. The path will involve some losses, but we can only ever gain in love.
Let us not do all the work to fall in love with our flaws; let’s work to love the part inside us who cannot look upon ourselves with love in the first place.
More love, not less.