Emotional Dependence

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From lecture 157, INFINITE POSSIBILITIES OF EXPERIENCE HINDERED BY EMOTIONAL DEPENDENCY:

Every single human being in this world harbors an attitude of fear and weakness. Because this corner of the personality usually induces a strong shame, it is kept secret, often even from the conscious mind. Many a different device is invented in order to hide this weakness and dependency which makes you feel utterly helpless, unable to assert yourself, and even unable to protect your truth and integrity. When it comes to this area of the soul one is constantly compelled to sell out and betray oneself in order to ward off disapproval, censure, and rejection. The need to be accepted by others is usually less shameful than the means to which the personality resorts to placate and appease others. The ways of defending yourselves are psychologically so fundamental that you cannot get far in your self-purification work unless you work on seeing how they function in your life. All the defense mechanisms you have discovered and perhaps even begun to remove are either your ways of obtaining what you consider to be the apparently vital acceptance of others, or your ways of hiding your shameful submission, often by an apparently opposite attitude of indifference, hostility, or compulsive and blind rebellion and over-aggressiveness.

Few things give human beings as much pain and shame as this inner, fearful, weak spot which makes them feel impotent and compelled to sell out. You already know, my friends, that this area of the personality has remained a child. The child does not yet know that the whole of the personality has grown up and is indeed no longer helpless and dependent. Infants and young children truly are helpless and dependent on the parents. But in the childish corner of your being you either do not know or do not want to know that this is no longer true.

The young child is dependent on its parents for all the basics of life: shelter, food, affection, protection, and, last but not least, for the very necessary supply of pleasure. A human being cannot live without pleasure. To deny this truth is one of the most harmful errors. Body, soul, mind, and spirit wither without pleasure. As an adult you are able to find through your own efforts and resources your own shelter, food, affection, and safety, so you are also able to do the same with pleasure. In all these areas you must have contact, cooperation, and communication with others in varying degrees. You cannot provide yourself with any of these necessities without interacting with other people. But this interaction is entirely different from the passive, weak dependency of the small child. The thoroughly adult person uses his or her own best forces, intelligence, intuition, talents, observation, and flexibility to get along with others in giving and taking. Your adult sense of fairness makes you sufficiently pliable to give in. And your sense of self makes you sufficiently assertive not to be stepped on and abused. The often fine balance in these forces of communication cannot be taught. It can only come through personal growth.

The child is incapable of achieving this balance. It is rigidly one-sided in its insistence to receive, for this is its need. The same applies to pleasure. The child must have the parents’ permission to establish and utilize the source of all pleasure deep within itself. Through the parents’ permission the child will develop the strength and security to make meaningful contact. When you still need another person to permit you to experience pleasure, you are still in the position of the child or infant. I repeat, this never implies that anyone can do without others, but for adults the emphasis is shifted. Mature adults find within themselves an inexhaustible well of wonderful feelings. Insecurity and weakness cannot exist when these feelings are activated.

When part of your development is arrested, you wait for another person, a parent-substitute, to make it possible for you to draw on the deep source of your own rich feelings. You know of and yearn for these pleasurable feelings, but you do not know that you are no longer a child dependent on others for being allowed to activate and express these rich feelings. This is your human tragedy, for you thus move into a vicious circle. Whenever a misconception is accepted as truth, immediately a vicious circle comes into being paralyzing the pleasure forces, which are a good part of the energy available to you. Your life thus becomes dull and lusterless.

To deny the intense pleasure of being, the pleasure of feeling the energy flow of your body, soul, and spirit, is to deny life. When a child suffers such denial, its psyche receives a shock from the repeated absence of pleasure and therefore the repeated presence of unfulfilled yearning. The shock prevents growth in this one area so that the whole personality grows lopsidedly. Your adult conscious mind ignores the fact that a crying, demanding, angry, and helpless child still exists within you. Your adult believes that you have grown up entirely. Yet on the unconscious level where this child exists, you are unaware that you have grown up and no longer need parental permission or a parent substitute as your source of pleasure and life. You do not know that you are free to move toward pleasure, toward your own fulfillment, toward the realization of your own powers to obtain whatever you want and need. This is one of the most fundamental splits in the human personality.

Let us now look a bit closer at this hidden corner of your psyche where all of you have remained children. Where do you ignore this fact and where does your inner child ignore the rights and powers of your adult state? The particular vicious circle I mentioned before is this: When you do not know that everything in the universe already exists, and that you can re-create it all by manifesting it in your own life, you feel dependent on an outside force or authority for all your wants and needs. Because of this distortion of the facts, you wait for fulfillment from the wrong source. Such waiting keeps your need perpetually unfulfilled. The more unfulfilled it is, the more urgent the need becomes. The more urgent the need, the greater your dependency, your hope, and the more frantic your attempts to please the other who is supposed to fill your need. You then become desperate; the more you try, the less you fulfill your need precisely because your attempts are unrealistic. Consciously you know none of this; you do not know what forces drive you nor even in what direction you are driven. You become desperate because in your urgency to have the need fulfilled you betray yourself, your truth, and the best in you. Your frustrated striving and your self-betrayal create a forcing-current.

The forcing-current may manifest in a very subtle way and may not be overt at all, but the emotions are all cramped up with it. This must inevitably affect others around and have its lawful and appropriate consequences. Any forcing-current is bound to make others resist and shrink back, even if what they are forced to do is for their own benefit and delight. Thus the vicious circle continues. The continued frustration, which you believe to be caused by the other person’s mean refusal to cooperate and to give, brings into your soul rage, fury, perhaps even vindictiveness and varying degrees of cruel impulses. This, in turn, weakens the personality even more as guilt comes up. You conclude that your destructive feelings must be hidden so as not to antagonize this other person whom you perceive as the source of life. The net of entanglement becomes tighter and tighter; the individual is completely ensnarled in this trap of misconceptions, distortions, and illusions with all the destructive emotions that follow suit. You find yourself in the preposterous position of craving the love and acceptance of a person whom you hate and resent for having left you unfulfilled for so long. This one-sided insistence on being loved by a person one deeply resents and wishes to punish increases the guilt, for the ever-wakeful presence of your real self flashes its reaction into a mind that is unable to interpret and sort out the messages of the real self from those that come from the child inside.

The fact that your need is not fulfilled by the other also weakens your conviction that you have a right to the pleasure you so much desire. You vaguely suspect that you may be wrong to even want this pleasure. Thus you begin to displace the original, natural need and desire for pleasure into other channels where they are sublimated. Other, more or less compulsive, needs come into existence. All the while you are torn between the force of the deeply hidden original need and the doubt that you have a right to its fulfillment. The more you doubt, the more dependent you become on reconfirmation by an outside authority — a parent-substitute, public opinion, or certain groups of people who represent the last word of truth to you.

The more this vicious circle goes on, the less pleasure remains in the psyche, while unpleasure accumulates. Such a person must increasingly despair about life and doubt that fulfillment is possible. There comes a point when a person inwardly gives up.

There is not a single human being who does not harbor within such a weak area, at least to some degree. In this secret corner, you feel not only helpless and dependent, but also deeply ashamed. The shame is due to the methods you employ to placate the person who at any given period is supposed to fulfill the role of the authority and grant you what you need in the way of pleasure, safety, and self-respect.

The forcing-current says, “you must,” and you make demands on others to be, feel, and do what you need and desire. These demands may not manifest outwardly at all. In fact, on the surface you may totally lack self-assertion. Your inability or difficulty to healthily assert yourself is a direct result of having to hide the underlying shameful and threatening forcing-current. It is threatening because you know quite well that if it shows openly, it will evoke great censure and disapproval and possibly even overt rejection.

I invite all of you to vigorously face this area in yourselves. Some of you have done so already; others are still struggling with it and have only half-heartedly admitted its existence. Perhaps some of you may still have to face up to it. But all of you must tackle it if you wish to realize life’s and your own best potentials, and if you wish to discover your own infinite powers to create infinite goodness in your life.

The stronger the “you must” is secretly thrown at others, the more you inactivate your own powers. The result is that you become paralyzed and inactive in body, soul, and mind. This inactivity keeps you from moving into your own nucleus, the place where all realistic promise and all potential for every kind of fulfillment and delight exists. You inadvertently make yourself hang on to others which must elicit hate in you. Finding the treasure of your own nucleus, on the contrary, makes you free. Then contact with others becomes a delightful luxury that elicits love.

By continually using inner, covert pressure on others because you believe you are dependent on them, you diminish your available energy supply. If energy is used in its natural, correct, and meaningful way, it never exhausts itself. You know this, my friends. Energy only exhausts itself when it is wrongly used. There are innumerable methods which human beings use in order to switch on this forcing-current. They include compliance in varying degrees, passive resistance, spite, withdrawal, refusal to cooperate, forceful outer aggression, intimidation, and persuasion through false strength and assumption of an authority role. Deep down they all mean, “You must love me and give me what I need.” The more blindly you are involved in this way of being, the more you weaken and then further alienate yourself from the center of your true inner life, where you find all that you can ever need and want.

In order to reorient the soul forces toward health and restore their true nature, the following has to happen: let go of the particular person or persons from whom you expect your life fulfillment and whom you simultaneously resent for this very fact. You must all recognize that you place expectations and make demands on others which no one else but you yourself can fulfill. All you need and long for, including real love, can only come when your soul is fearless, and you know that the strength of your feelings with which you can give and receive love is located within you. For as long as you hang onto another person in the way of a child, denying the adult you are, you enslave yourself in the true sense of the word. The more you do this, the less you can either receive or give, and the less real feelings of any sort about any vital experience can find their home within you.

Because fear and anger take up most of the room in your psyche, it is essential to let out these negative emotions in the way you learn to do in the Pathwork where no one is harmed. Letting out fear and anger makes room for the good feelings. So many of you are still locked and paralyzed. Expressing fear and anger is the last thing you want to do. Even if you admit to such negative emotions in principle, you still prefer to act them out in unconsciousness rather than expressing them directly and taking the responsibility for them. You still claim a false perfection — even though you do not really believe that it exists in you any longer — in order to favorable dispose others toward you. Also, you cling for dear life to negative emotions because you fear positive feelings. This is yet another aspect of the same vicious circle.

The less you see yourself as responsible for the negative feelings you still possess as well as for your right and ability to create happiness, the more you must live in fear. Consequently, the more you must do something to eliminate that fear. Thus negative motivation comes about. You live a makeshift life of avoidance rather than create an expansive, unfolding life filled with positive experience and pleasure. You aim to avoid the threat of expressing your own negative feelings because they would spoil your obtaining from others everything which you must in fact obtain from within yourself. You stake your salvation on others from whom it can never come.

Your reorientation to life — apart from the fundamental necessity of recognizing all these negative aspects — must always begin with the willingness to let go. This cannot be forced upon one who has not been made aware of the dependency itself in very exact ways. But once this is the case, it becomes possible to give up what one has been so tightly holding on to. This loosening up must occur to bring about a change in the balance structure of soul forces so that benign circles can begin to perpetuate themselves.

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Thanks:

To my teacher Marieke Mars who taught me self-honesty. To my courageous and loving pathwork helper Dottie Titus.

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