Relationships. Co-Dependency. Conflict in Relationship. Unfulfilled Dreams. Handsome Prince. Damsel in Distress. Why looking for something outside us to fill our own emptiness never works out.
In Authentic Freedom – Claiming a Life of Contentment and Joy, I reveal envy as the fifth deadly compulsion and define envy as the actions that come out of our fear that we are not loved – that love has to be earned and that love can be withheld or taken away. On an even more general level, envy is looking outside of ourselves for the person who will fill the emptiness we feel inside. Until we have done some serious self-awareness and healing work, most of our intimate relationships are born out of this envy.
What Drew Me To Him/Her…
Relationships born out of envy start out like this: What drew me to him was his confidence, his creativity, her acceptance, her understanding, his stability, his drive, her advocacy, her strength. While these are all nobel qualities, quite often, what draws us to another are the qualities that we wish we had within ourselves, the qualities that we feel we are lacking in some way. While this, in and of itself, is not a bad thing, unless we are doing the work to cultivate these “missing” qualities within ourselves, that which initially led us to love will eventually lead us to hell.
Enter the Dark Night
When we are drawn to someone because of qualities that we feel we are lacking within ourselves, the secret hope is that in connecting with that person, we will “get” some of their confidence, kindness, creativity, strength, stability, tenderness, etc. etc. etc. The problem, however, is that we cannot “get” these qualities from another person…we can only nurture and cultivate them within ourselves. Until we know this, however, we are compelled to seek this “getting” from the other. This seeking to “get” is the path to hell. After the infatuation wears off and reality sets in, we realize that the person we are with is human, flawed, imperfect, just like we are AND, no matter how hard we try, THEY are not making us feel confident, secure, creative, etc. Because we cannot get these qualities from the other, we eventually find ourselves feeling unfulfilled, frustrated, angry, impatient, depressed. Most often, we then project this unfulfilled inner state on to our partner and BLAME them for making us feel like crap. It’s their fault that we are unhappy, unfulfilled, weak, sorrowful, depressed, anxious, shy, etc. etc. etc. As we are blaming them for our unfulfilled inner state, we then start engaging in all sorts of relationship killers: criticism, complaining, contempt, resentment, withdrawal, defensiveness, etc. Now we are DEEP into the Dark Night of the Relationship.
The Dark Night of the Relationship occurs when reality collides with the illusion that the person “out there” is going to complete us…or make us feel whole. The Dark Night is a painful and challenging time because by the time we reach this place, a mountain of resentment, hurt, even betrayal has taken place. When faced with the Dark Night, many couples are tempted to cut and run. But for those who are courageous, bold and daring, there are miraculous treasures in moving THROUGH the Dark Night instead of running from it. It is in moving through the Dark Night that the real work begins. Here, we stop blaming the other for not being who we thought them to be and start doing the work of completing ourselves, and they in return. Only when we are on the other side, having taken responsibility for our own inner sense of lack; healed our unhealed wounds; identified and cultivated our gifts and our passions; come to know ourselves and what we really want in a relationship; found wholeness within; and forgiven our partners and ourselves; can we enter into a relationship whole and without need. Now we invite our partner to join us because we WANT them in our lives, not because we NEED them.
For assistance navigating the Dark Night of your Relationship, contact Lauri at (920) 230-1313 or firstname.lastname@example.org