Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationships

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MercyGraceOwen
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Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationships

Post by MercyGraceOwen » Mon Sep 16, 2013 10:09 pm

Hi- I have something I need help with. I have a habit of using spiritual practice in a way that justifies me staying in abusive relationships. I understand from a psychological level what I am doing wrong. That I am valuing the needs and desires of my other above my own, and not trusting my own emotions and needs and wants that are going unmet. I have an empathic co-dependent,type personality, and am drawn to narcissistic self-centered types, basically a nice woman but with low self worth who is drawn to assholes.

So...when i start to be unsatisfied with my relationship, and can't change the other person, obviously, instead of leaving for something I KNOW could be less stressful, I start thinking, just as ekhart says,"If relationships energize and magnify egoic mind patterns and activate the pain-body, as they do at this time, why not accept this fact rather than try to escape from it? Why not cooperate with it instead of avoiding relationships or continuing to pursue the phantom of an ideal partner as an answer to your problems or a means of feeling fulfilled?" and i start trying to practice awareness of my feelings when my sadness and frustration and hurt arises, for example, at a stinging comment they made, or some controlling dominating behavior, or lack of consideration. I may tell them what I desire with or without an attacking quality, or I may accept that they are who they are and keep the pain quiet until it passes. I get triggered to anger for sure if someone is terribly angry and belittling toward me.

But I'm confused. What is the distinction between accepting someone else unconditionally, and accepting an "unacceptable" situation? What is the difference between working on your own presence and taking all the responsibility and blame for the relationship upon yourself? Isn't anger a healthy and normal response to mistreatment. Isn't there a way of taking your emotions seriously without over-reacting to them? Isn't it healthy and normal to desire a partner who treats you kindly as an equal and does things you enjoy, and doesn't treat you as a sexual object for example? Or is something like anger always unhealthy? In my experience being with people like this was a lose-lose situation. My last partner was so sensitive to criticism that If I spoke up about my feelings no matter how calmly I would get attacked, and if I kept them quiet I would start to suffer repressive psychosomatic symptoms like urinary tract infections. It seems like the obvious choice to leave, to accept without anger that they are incapable of giving me what I desire, which I can definitely do, I accept that I cannot fix my last partners wounds for them and I still love them, but at the same time, aren't I supposed to be able to be unaffected my desires? Or is true egolessness accepting my own "imperfections" and saying this is enough, I will not be drawn into your drama anymore.

In psychology they would say it is important to balance the needs of yourself with the needs of your significant other, that you have to use that old serenity prayer of changing what you can, and accepting what you cannot, but elightenment thought seems to indicate it is more desirable to have the ability to be happy and only feel love, peace, no matter what and pay attention to needs and wants and thoughts but not necessarily act on them or take them too seriously. However, I used to argue to myself and my partner that even though he couldn't make me Happy so to speak with a big "H". He could treat me with kindness or respect or do the things that were within his power to make me happy with a little "h" and in fact as my significant other you could argue that it was his responsibility with reason to do so as part of the honor of having that position in my life. I would also argue that although perfect equanimity might be a nice goal, I was not there yet, so it would be nice if we could have pity on eachother on this material plane and believe the "lie" be gentle with eachother's vulnerabilities. Also if I wanted something from him, say something simple like for him to go camping with me, or sexual equality, that was not happening because he didn't want to do it, my boyfriend might say "stop wanting it", which of course was just him being defensive, but was he in fact right in the spiritual sense of you cannot really "want" if you live in the now. (I would say to him I've tried but I still want it, so if I can't get it from you, I will either have to go elsewhere, or sit with my wanting, but I know I can get it elsewhere...)

I feel i am much better off without my partner, but there is still part of me that can read a quotes like "But if you accept that the relationship is here to make you conscious instead of happy, then the relationship will offer you salvation, and you will be aligning yourself with the higher consciousness that wants to be born into this world," and feel that I was actually onto something.

What do people think about this conundrum? Is the desire to stay in a relationship that is clearly toxic in order to use it as a spiritual practice when one could easily walk away an egotistical desire born out of both an egotistical need for it to work out (due to attraction, love etc.) and am egotistical need to perfect the self, though the self is already perfect, or is it a legitimate possibly even beneficial choice in the long run though hard work in the short run?? Is there a way to allow your needs to go unmet without it resulting in depression? I told myself it was all my choice to stay, my choice to give up my desires, etc. because Happiness was more important to me than any one thing I wanted from him. I always knew what I was doing, but it didn't work out and it seems very extreme and delusional now. Am I just shitty at practicing presence, or is presence what leads one to make the "right" choice, the logical choice, the only healthy choice, according to society, and get out of an abusive situation.

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smiileyjen101
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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by smiileyjen101 » Tue Sep 17, 2013 5:21 am

HI mercygrace, phew such a lot of questions all vying for attention all at once - are you exhausted?

Breathe out a little and relax. - do you feel 'that' feeling?
The questions are all still there, but within 'that' feeling they just 'are'.

Return to that often, as you allow yourself to focus on the questions.

.................
I do understand the psychological-spiritual divide of these questions.

It was brought clear to me in this way.
In order for there to be a (projected) victim, there must be a (projected) abuser.
In order for there to be a (projected) abuser, there must be a (projected) victim.

If you choose to dance life as one or the other you need a partner in this, one who is willing to play those roles. The 'abuse' is the dance.

The Serenity Prayer is helpful in so much as it allows you to tune into what it is you can accept or change. But it is the notion of accept, change, or remove your self from the situation, that brings it into sane action.

Conversations with God says this of relationships
The purpose of a relationship is to decide what part of yourself you’d like to see “show up,” not what part of another you can capture and hold.
There can be only one purpose for relation-ships—and for all of life: to be and to decide Who You Really Are.
For so long as you choose to show up as a victim you will find an abuser to dance the dance of abuse with.
If you stop being a victim, if you walk off the dance floor and say, No, this isn't who I really am and I don't want to dance this dance any more - not only is there no more you being a 'victim' there also is no more them being an 'abuser' in relation to you - there is just a person standing on a dance floor or dancing with them self. Sure others might say 'Okay, I'll dance that dance with you' and then once again the person on the dance floor can enact those dance steps again - if they choose.

Equally they may say 'Yeah, I'm tired of dancing this dance too, it's not who I really am either.' (albeit that is totally based on their awareness, their capacity and their willingness - not your business.)

Once you know the dance, once you know the steps and decide that it is not who you want to re-present in this world you stop 'presenting' it. If you continue to dance it know that on some level some part of you is still figuring out who you really are, by experiencing who you are not.

The key is to love your self first. Love, honour, cherish and respect your self first, in order to know and present who you really are.
It seems counter-intuitive in the face of all that we've been taught, especially as women have been taught about putting others first, and now put others equal to ourselves.

Suze Orman does a pretty impressive myth busting job about putting ourselves first being 'selfish' and a 'bad' thing. She says in all your life, in all your dealings, in all your choices, in all your doings, in all your relating remember the instructions you read every time you get on a plane.

In case of emergency - put the oxygen mask on your own face first. If you don't you are of no help to yourself or anyone else.

This is an absolutely true statement. Until one gets used to accepting this, going against what has been taught of us, to us, it will feel pretty strange.

This further consideration in what is happening in the dance of abuse from CWG -
As a practical matter—again leaving esoterics aside—if you look to what is best for you in these situations where you are being abused, at the very least what you will do is stop the abuse.

And that will be good for both you and your abuser. For even an abuser is abused when his abuse is allowed to continue.
This is not healing to the abuser, but damaging. For if the abuser finds that his abuse is acceptable, what has he learned? Yet if the abuser finds that his abuse will be accepted no more, what has he been allowed to discover?

Yes ET says in relating that changes made by one will affect the other and the relationship - they will either blend together or separate like oil and water.

So my suggestion is not to 'remain' in an abusive relationship at all - take the abuse out of the dance of relating by truly loving, honouring, cherishing, and respecting your self and those whom you are relating with, by not dancing the steps of abuse but instead dancing the dance of love and honesty.

Another quote that was a light bulb of enlightenment for me was this -
Granting another full freedom (to discover who they really are) does not mean granting them the right to abuse you. Nor does it mean sentencing yourself to a prison of your own devising in which you live a life you would not choose, in order that another may live a life that they do choose.

Yet, granting full freedom does mean placing no limitation of any kind upon another.

You limit what you choose to experience, not what another is allowed to experience.

This limitation is voluntary, and so not a limitation at all.

It is a Declaration of Who You Are. It is a creation, a definition.

CWG
When we do sentence ourself to a prison of our own devising as above, resentment grows, in resentment, the truth of our choosing gets hidden and buried and twisted and tortured and we blame the 'other' for our choices. Whether that be to sacrifice who we really are, or to dance the dance of abuse, or put another as if higher or lower than ourself instead of equal to, or to distort ourselves into 'fitting into' a relationship that less than honours, cherishes and respects both parties.

Co-dependency does this.

Healthy relating celebrates, loves, honours, cherishes and respects the differences that we bring to relating.


ET speaks of Conscious (enlightened) doing/being in terms of states of (genuine not resentful, empowering not disempowering) acceptance, enjoyment and/or enthusiasm; and egoic states in terms of making enemy, obstacle, means to an end of a person, thing or situation.

It's easy to see the difference, don't you think?

If you're enjoying the dance of abuse, by all means keep doing it :wink:
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

karmarider
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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by karmarider » Tue Sep 17, 2013 11:39 am

Suffering is not a spiritual practice. It's your cue to stop suffering.

In the ET quotation you cite, he goes further to say: "For those who hold to the old patterns, there will be increasing pain, violence, confusion, and madness."

Accepting abuse will not make you more conscious. It will make you crazy.

MercyGraceOwen
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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by MercyGraceOwen » Wed Sep 18, 2013 2:59 am

Thank you for the long answer. Yes I do need to breath and not hyper-intellectualize/panic trying to figure it all out. No I definitely do not enjoy doing the dance of abuse, but part of me as always been drawn to extremes, like Kali goddess of destruction, like maybe if I walk through this fire I'll really come out changed. I haven't had all "abusive" partners, so I was surprised to find myself re-enacting this year the same patterns at age 30 as at age 20 after swearing never again. Jung would say clearly there were still unhealed shadow aspects drawing me to this person, and I understand that now that my capacity for self-blame and the need to learn to be MORE selfish is one of those aspects. Seems I can turn anything including nice little philosophies like this, into a way to make myself bad/wrong/not good enough all the time.

As far as simply accepting abuse being crazy making (2nd comment), I think its not always so simple, as it is us who gets to define what the abuse is and what is tolerable for us, the line is different for everyone, yelling at someone sometimes is ok for example, until it goes too far. Withholding sex from someone isn't abusive if they enjoy the tension. Tolle talks about how most relationships have abusive elements and devolve over time and says it is fine to recognize dysfunction for what it is, but its not always straight forward. It is also us who decides whether to step out of the drama mentally or physically, correct? and if we do stay physically what results from our acceptance?

For example if my boyfriend refuses to rub my back which could not be said to be abusive except in a much larger context of only attending to needs, whilst not only refusing to attend to, but actively belittling my needs. Let us say this hurts my feelings and seems unfair there are many paths of "acceptance" here that could all theoretically lead to greater peace: 1) I accept that is something he can't/won't do for me, yet it is important to me, so I get a new boyfriend, either without sadness and anger or accepting my sadness and anger 2) I accept it is something he can't/won't do for me and let it slide for the time being? again with possible acceptance of sadness and anger 3) I could accept my desire was valid and not going away and say something, and attempt to accept his reaction which may be negative 4) I try even accept that it might take further "manipulative" tactics, in a calm way, not a vengeful way, like withdrawing favors from him until possibly he sees his behavior is "unfair". Are all these not valid possible paths which one could take practicing awareness all the while to the best of ones ability? Tolle seems to recommend erring on the side of action, and speaking up, from what I have read.

I know NOW my partner's behavior was part of a much larger pattern and was not going to meet my needs in any of these scenarios nor change and rise up his vibration whether I reacted egoically or didn't react to him, but some quite "abusive" people might change as you change yourself correct? Tolle seems to clearly say this COULD happen as a side-effect. I seems like it takes time and experimentation to realize this, to see from your centered place whether in fact your life is getting better or worse, and make the path forward more clear, and that is part of why I stayed on. Is that reasonable? I did a lot of things in this relationship in the name of an experiment. I just think perhaps I carried it a bit too far because for one thing I was really egoically attached to it working out though the possibility was slim, and for another I really blamed myself for losing consciousness and not being able to resist my pain body becoming activated and attacking, and I thought, well until I cannot do that, I cannot know what this relationship could be. Ekhart writes that the pain is already inside of us, and the relationship only reveals it. So I thought okay feeling pain = working through my inner shit. Why leave if there is still more I could learn from this practice? Do you see what I mean? I put my enlightenment practice above all else, I put Happiness, above happiness. When he said or did something triggering to me, I would for the most part simply sit with it, breathe into it, try to look at whatever it was as something separate from him, not caused by him. Is that not part of what this practice entails? Occasionally I did feel more positive and uplifted and successful in my attempts at acceptance, but there was also a lot of resentment.

What I don't understand is how does one know when they ought choose the easy way of consciously stepping away from someone who activates their pain body continually, vs. consciously using that difficult person as an awareness practice? It doesn't make sense to say you should always step away from suffering because that you can prevent, because in some cases that would just be avoidance. For example if I am shy and I prevent myself from going out to avoid the anxiety it causes it may be unhealthy. Or if I have a goal to be a doctor I may suffer during the long hard hours of my training. Couldn't staying in a stressful relationship for spiritual practice could be seen as similar to sticking your hand in a glass of ice water for mind over matter training? We must decide somehow whether our pain is legitimate and justified, correct? That is what I don't understand I guess, the connection between the awareness and the action. It seems like correct and healthy actions should naturally arise from the Now, but during my time in this relationship I never really had that sort of sense of direction. Maybe I was still too far from my true self because I also never really felt a sense of great peace and aliveness or anything like that, just an onslaught of emotion (I have chronic pain, depression, and anxiety). Ironically I felt the most peace and aliveness lying with my arm around my so-called abusive lover. This is when I would feel the most life force energy and what one might call unconditional love flowing through me, accompanied by a violet light behind my eyes.

I did not until now that I am out of the relationship define his behavior as abusive. I use that word now because his behavior fits the technical definition of "emotional abuse" according to various sources and tests. Also because if you know anything about narcissists, they can be very subtly manipulative and passive aggressive, so you don't even realize the full extent of their dysfunction. I did see myself as a willing "victim" of sorts and so not a victim at all in the midst of it, in an attempt to preserve my integrity. Though now I believe I was not conscious as I thought I was, but driven by unconscious programming to take on responsibility to the point of self harm. I chose to be happy with what I could get, and not dwell on what I couldn't get. This ideal may have worked sometimes, but it also built up resentment, but I also blamed that resentment on myself for not being perfect enough to REALLY be accepting. i.e. I thought I had to just keep trying.

I am a Highly Sensitive Person, and have a lot of strong emotions and physical reactions to situations which when heeded can be used as a guidance, as red flags. This seems like a very valuable, though sometimes obnoxious, part of who I am, but enlightenment thinking seems to encourage one to strive for more equanimity than that. I am very confused as to how this relates to a state of ego-lessness whereby one can only feel peace, joy, enthusiasm, or acceptance. Am I wrong in thinking that emotions like fear, sadness, and anger do not even exist in a state of egolessness? Or do they exist in an impersonal fashion?

I guess the other piece I am missing is who my authentic self is? As a psychologist I would say my authentic self is this person who doesn't want to be treated a certain way, who has these feelings and wants and needs that they should expect to be honored more or less, who has these drives and desires for their future, likes and dislikes, that they should listen to. But then there is this soul, or however ekhart puts it that is always happy and okay no matter what, and I took that to mean that none of my material desires or anything related to my personality or my dreams for my life, or my actions was important, that all situations were on this level playing field, and virtually anything possible. Can you give me some quotes about this? How does my inner soul self relate to this authentic human personality self? And as a very selfish person my ex-boyfriend would most likely have to NOT listen to his wants and needs in order to be happy and to put more stock in those of his significant other, just guessing, so how does he find his authentic self? Or is his need to be selfish entirely legitimate for the person he is right now?

There was a period of two months at the end where I did plan on leaving this person, but was trapped not by this enlightenment experiment mentality but practical concerns. I willingly traded putting up with him a little bit longer, for not having to leave with no money, no plan, and poor health. I suppose these are the kind of imperfect life choices many people have to make. At the start of that period I basically gave up on Ekhart Tolle/Byron Katie style thinking part way through the relationship because a more traditional ways of viewing the world, for example normal pop-culture psychological views about abuse and personality disorders and co-dependency and having a balanced ego, and attempting to find happiness on the material plane, having more of a sense of purpose and fate and destiny, a sort of a new agey psychic worldview, all seemed more healthy and to make more sense, they seemed more practical and realistic than these enlightenment based spiritual teachings which only caused me to question and doubt all my thoughts and feelings and dreams and strive for a state of being that which in many ways seems much more idealistic and fantastical than finding "the one". Yet, I think there is something to these teachings. I just don't quite understand what the connection or balance is between these two worlds.

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smiileyjen101
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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by smiileyjen101 » Thu Sep 19, 2013 1:30 am

Phew again :D and another long reply :D

The 'balance' is in loving self and other/s with honesty, compassion, respect and this little thing in the physical called boundaries. (see my tagline, it's there to remind me)

As in all things this a journey, not a destination. Being in the arms of your lover with no resistance you to him, him to you, felt like home and that's understandable, no pushing-pulling just 'is'. That can be felt in unison or alone, or with nature or anything in which there is no resistance playing out. No thing remains static though, movement will happen.

By capacity, by awareness, by willingness all things as they are in this moment. The 'right' 'wrong' of it is by perspective.
Someone expressing elements of narcissism is how they have learned to BE in the world, to survive in the world, to participate in relationships. No different in the process of someone expressing elements of co-dependency and selflessness.

In these things one can willingly - by capacity and by awareness change if they choose to do so and to the degree that they are capable of and willing in doing so - but one cannot force another to change or to adopt a perspective that is not visible or reason-able to them. If you take away the elements of narcissism from someone for which it is the only way they know how to be in this world you leave them with nothing - no way of being, unless they are aware, capable and willing to make changes them self - by finding other ways to be. This is the same for those who have learned to be co-dependent and think that loving is what they have learned it to be. Only by noticing 'not this' will we start looking around for 'this'. Only then will we be able to see it.

For instance, when you were in the relationship and not labelling the behaviours abusive it was because you were not, in relation to it, standing at the right distance to see it (capacity affecting awareness). When a person is behaving insert anythingthey too are usually too close to see it, affecting capacity to have awareness. Now yes someone 'could' point it out to them.... a person has to notice it them self to 'see' it. From there it goes to willingness and capacity. One cannot for instance expect a blind person to see, a deaf person to hear, a person with diabetes to produce their own insulin, or a sociopath be able to process oxytocin and be all cuddly and emotional. For the things that are possible there must be willingness to change if there is to be any change.

ET notes that in some relating people are not loving, but trading and when the trading doesn't go their way it becomes a battle of egos. Ego 'doing' makes an 'enemy, obstacle to our happiness, or means to an end of .... people, things or situations. In example --- I will xyz if you rub my back; if you don't rub my back I will not xyz.

In this example it is clear this is trading ... yes? no? (I cannot presume to answer for you)
And yet some would say well if he loved me he would rub my back.
Really?
By awareness, capacity and willingness... one does what one does.

Taking the back rub as an example and adding the layer of awareness from the quote above about limitations - you limit what you choose to experience, not what another is allowed to experience. If with holding is the 'experience' then you can choose your participation or not in that. What in effect is happening is expectation - not reality - I expect, that if you love me you would rub my back.

Love however, and again I'm going to quote from CWG because that's just where I found concepts that resonated for me on these issues. (in fact it was photocopied and given to me so that I might 'notice' what love is and what it is not, if I was willing and capable :wink: )

And in order to understand this maybe compare the feelings of laying in his arms, to how you felt when he would not rub your back.
Love is that
without condition
without limitation
without need.

Because it is without condition it requires nothing in order to be expressed.
Because it is without limitation it places no limitation on another.
Because it is without need it seeks nothing not freely given, to hold nothing not wishing to be held, to give nothing not joyously welcomed.
For me, the 'need' bit is a great reminder of when we are being love, as opposed to being fear, when we are being with what is real, and when we are being in expectation of what something 'should' be, in order to fulfil our needs.
And it is free.
Love is that which is free, for freedom is the essence of what god is, and love is god expressed.
Love is the freedom to express the most joyous part of who you really are.
The part that knows you are one with every one and every thing. This is the truth of your being, and is the aspect of self which you will most urgently and earnestly seek to experience.
This too goes back to boundaries in form, and capacity and willingness.
Honesty is the highest form of love.
When one is honest without fear, with self and with other then awareness and capacity and willingness come into their own.
Honesty ekes out what is real, what is expectation, what is being traded, what is being given freely with equal respect.

Yet another wonderful book on love for self and others is The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, who says...
Love, is the equilibrium of gratitude and generosity.
That doesn't mean you feign gratitude for something that you do/would not joyfully receive, nor does it mean that you be generous with that which you do/would not give freely, because that would not be being honest, and honesty is the highest form of love.

CWG has another brilliant reminder about boundaries -
Love asks nothing in return.
It withdraws nothing in retaliation.
It knows no ending but goes on forever.

Love gives a soul back to itself.
For me this means I become aware that I cannot understand and know the full journeying of a soul, not its purpose, not what its capacity and awareness or willingness is in any given situation.All I can do is love, honour, cherish and respect that individuation of god. And at the same time it gives me back to my self, to love, honour, cherish and respect my self. - boundaries.
Mercy said: Seems I can turn anything including nice little philosophies like this, into a way to make myself bad/wrong/not good enough all the time.
May I suggest the Four Agreements, particularly the section on being aware that 95% of what we believe is lies - made up in fear - false emotions appearing real, why we believe them and how we came to believe them, reinforce them and re-enact them. And, learning to be Impeccable with your word - in mind, body and spirit.
Mercy said: What I don't understand is how does one know when they ought choose the easy way of consciously stepping away from someone who activates their pain body continually, vs. consciously using that difficult person as an awareness practice?
The same way one knows when to take their hand out of the ice / fire - when it does not serve you, or them to keep doing what you're doing, when what you are doing is not 'working' in the best interests of both, or either of the parties. To keep a person in a position of an 'abuser' in order that you can over come the notions of being the abused - without their specific understanding and honest agreement (like between a sadist and a masochist for instance) is hardly loving, honest, is it?

Compare that to this -
I felt the most peace and aliveness lying with my arm around my lover. This is when I would feel the most life force energy and what one might call unconditional love flowing through me, accompanied by a violet light behind my eyes.
Without need, without limitation, without condition. There was no role playing abuser-victim in this. In this way true gratitude and generosity can and does flow.
I did not until now that I am out of the relationship define his behavior as abusive..... etc etc
We learn who we are not, by experience. It's no different for anyone, within awareness, capacity and willingness to do so.
There are many layers of an onion to peel. You can only walk in your shoes. Another's awareness, capacity and willingness to peel the layers or to choose to be love is not your journey. Therefore be love for you first.

Love freely but not cheaply is a thing I've just come to - don't devalue what it is to be love, don't turn it into a trading, don't masquerade trading as love. The pointers on need are helpful in this.
There was a period of two months at the end where I did plan on leaving this person, but was trapped not by this enlightenment experiment mentality but practical concerns. I willingly traded putting up with him a little bit longer, for not having to leave with no money, no plan, and poor health. I suppose these are the kind of imperfect life choices many people have to make. At the start of that period I basically gave up on Eckhart Tolle/Byron Katie style thinking .... etc
That's an interesting perspective, because from here it looks like you were employing the first of the Awakened / Conscious Doing principles that Tolle espouses towards the end of A New Earth
- Acceptance - this is what is required of me right now, and I am willing to accept / enact that.
you knew you were doing it willingly within the reality of your situation - no longer empowering the expectations you had been putting your energy into.

You were being honest with your self. You were no longer calling it love - you yourself up there called it trading.

Of course yes there may still have been elements of making obstacle, enemy, means to an end of things - but the peace and power in your acceptance is what allowed you to widen your world view - your perspective of it.

Can I ask, because this will further highlight your 'state' at the time - Did you leave in a 'blaze of glory' :wink: all egos firing, or did you accept some of the responsibility and have a sense that 'this no longer serves me'?

In CWG it says the most healthy / honest end to a relationship or any thing, is to acknowledge 'the current form of this relationship no longer serves me'.

For some this is unkind, unfeeling, etc but for me it's the stripped down reality in honesty. It can apply to romantic relationships, jobs, careers, friendships, living situations, thought patterns and behaviours. One will not change or leave until such time as one recognises that this 'no longer serves me'. Which, by it's very nature denotes that at some point it did serve me, and I called it to myself in experience. Therefore there is no abuser/abused, just two participants playing out an experience.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

MercyGraceOwen
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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by MercyGraceOwen » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:55 am

Thanks for the answer, this is actually very helpful and I am starting to feel calmer and less confused. You seem like you have thought about these concepts a lot for yourself!!! I wasn't sure what quality of response I was going to get from a forum. You know how free internet advice can be...

To answer your question yes I did kind of leave in a blaze of glory, all egos firing. I didn't mean to do it that way. Lead up to the end I had mostly accepted that it was not going to work, it wasn't good for me, etc. But a little part of me clung to wanting it to work out, the maybe a miracle will happen and things will work out...In fact a part of me had to cling to the maybe, because again I put his feelings and needs above mine. I felt a little deceitful, a little evil, a little like I was using him staying on in order to get my life straightened out whilst knowing it was over for me. But if there was a "maybe" there, I didn't have to feel guilty and was doing him a favor because after all, he made it clear he wanted us to be together, he made it clear he wanted a chance to change.

I was during that time and still am prone to anger, sadness, blame casting. If there has been a lesson in this, it has been I am human. And paradoxically, by allowing myself to feel okay to blame him, I end up blaming him less. Its like accepting rather than projecting imperfection. I wanted to leave quietly, purposefully, leave a letter (so as to avoid his drama of begging me to stay and belittling me for leaving him which would surely trigger me in turn). Also we had a shared dog which he hit and would not have taken care of, but still wanted for himself. As I said toward the end I was attempting to get things settled/stable with a plan etc. but we kept having fights that drained my energy so much that it turned out I wasn't spending any time planning, and my health was not improving at all due to the stress.

Immediately after each of these fights I very much wanted to run away but hung on til I calmed down, not because I wasn't absolutely clear about wanting to leave, if anything my anger inspired honesty and clarity, but because I was waiting for things like a check to arrive in the mail. I did not want to move back into my parents house, I wanted to move to a completely new state and get a fresh start, but that is actually what I ended up doing because I just couldn't handle him anymore. It was a very dramatic end. There was a fight. I left him, he stole the dog back from me, I had to trick him into believing I wanted to make up to get the dog back. Again, I felt evil and manipulative, but if you look at it a certain way I was only taking my long-deserved power back from him. Unfortunately I couldn't go through with it and actually convinced myself I wanted to make up. In the end I abandoned him on the side of the road in a state park because he was being an asshole, and I couldn't take one more minute. Once again, I felt like a bad person, and I wish it didn't have to end so crazily but at that point, due to who he was, there were few better options for me. So I have no regrets. It was a very difficult decision for me to make to drive away from him that day, but I could see nothing ever improving. I really felt it was the most loving thing to do for all involved, and I made the choice not to return for him very deliberately.

So What do you think? I guess the answer is it was a mixture of both, ego blazing breakup and accepting that this relationship no longer serves me?? I am so distraught on so many levels, but I also understand he is who he is, and that I cast him in role he wasn't suited for. Do you think all these so called "evil" actions of mine that might seem very egoic and dramatic were actually coming from a better place than I give them credit for? A friend of mine put it this way, "There's no harm in treating an asshole like an asshole" So maybe I am confusing the concept of what I think ego-lessness should look like versus what it actually looks like.

I think whether or not the backrub scenario is a matter of trading depends on one's attitude about it. The way Byron Katie might say it is like a mirroring. "I feel myself pulling away from you..." So it wouldn't necessarily be resentful to "withhold" something if you noticed that was your natural inclination. And for many people it would be a natural inclination, to withdraw from someone who is not equally generous and considerate. If this happens continually, you probably find yourself leaving the relationship altogether. I was also thinking of an instance ekhart uses in one of his cds of saying, well if your roommate snores and that bothers you, maybe your throw a shoe and them, and then notice, well that didn't work, still snoring, so you try something else. So i was thinking it might be applicable to say well, my boyfriend wont massage me and that bothers me, maybe I'll try not massaging him, notice what happens. I think it could be done without ego. Its like the difference between simply knowing your desired outcome and being attached for that outcome to actually occur. What I would say ultimately though is that I did not want to experience having to try a list of tactics to get something very simple which I tried not to expect, but if I was completely honest with myself did still desire, it was simply not worth it for me.

I think the trouble for me was attempting or desiring to be loving, but actually trading at times, and not being able to help it. I guess if you pay attention to your emotions, you know when you've crossed the line because you begin to feel the resentment... and its tricky, because it may not be any one act that you feel resentful about, but the relationship as a whole starts to feel uncomfortable when you step back from it, or you may give the same thing a dozen times without expectations and then finally one day it becomes too much. It can be quite difficult to be honest with yourself, when you have repressed your desires because of some greater psychological impulse. But I would suppose what would happen then, if this psychology is dysfuctional, is you could not experience things "working" for you for very long, because of the human impulse toward wholeness.

Thanks, the honesty part is really key, and makes more sense to me than the "authentic self". That is really helping me to think in terms of honesty. The mind can pull a lot of bullshit excuses about why and how you are doing this and that willingly. For me as someone with a strong mind a big part of honesty is how I really feel, physically and emotionally. Its good when all three match. I wish that happened more often :D

I did not for the most part blame him for not meeting my expectations, but berated myself for having any expectations. That is why it comes back to boundaries and loving the self. Even when i do stuff like The Work, or the 4 agreements, i am more prone to investigate/disprove thoughts that aren't in my favor rather than ones that are, because of my tendency toward self-blame, which is becoming more and more apparent to me. For example I might ask I need my boyfriend to _______ is that true? No. I need my boyfriend to treat me kindly is that true? No. My boyfriend is selfish. Can I absolutely know that is true? No. While I might unconsciously question the opposite thoughts less often like I shouldn't be angry right now. I don't need a back massage. I ought to have no expectations of others. I need to be more loving. I need to treat others kindly at all times. These are things that it would have served me to question, but again it is easy to get caught up in a small incident by incident idea of what it means to be kind and loving and compassionate, rather than bigger picture idea.

I was totally willing to let go of my expectations of how he should be and wasn't being, without being equally willing to let go of my expectations of how I should be and wasn't being. I saw myself as practicing for being much better at both which is obviously future oriented thinking rather than presence. Because of the extreme I actually failed at both when I could have succeeding at both at any point by being more balanced.

This reminds me a little of a dream i had the other night. I dreamed I felt a little dizzy and a doctor lady came up and told me I was almost blind, I had a huge hole in the middle of my iris, but I didn't realize it because the rest of my eye that still worked was compensating for the missing part. I don't know specifically what that means, but it seems relevant to this whole conversation. Like perhaps that I wasn't seeing inaccurately exactly but I wasn't also seeing the whole picture. It seemed like the whole picture, it was a decent representation, but it wasn't real, there was a whole part that was actually missing, illusory, the core in fact, my center. and perhaps still am, as I intellectualize these thoughts, I see pretty clearly, but I am still missing the center.

Actually, my boyfriend was perfectly fine with me using him for my awakening practice (of course we saw ourselves not as victim/abuser, but just two people), and he claimed to approach me from the same place, but as you say this didn't actually serve either of us. It could have, it might have if he were not to use the concept of "I can't make you happy, only you can make you happy" as a shield to hide dysfunctional narcissism, and I were not to use it as a shield to hide dysfunctional co-dependence. It could have but it didn't and that is why I quit the relationship (and dropped the spiritual concepts, which as you point out was probably resulted in them being applied more accurately). When I start to get down on myself for falling into this trap, I remind myself this relationship lasted only 8 months and 2 of those I was actively planning escape, so I can't be that misguided! :D

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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by karmarider » Thu Sep 19, 2013 5:50 am

MercyGraceOwen wrote:...Yet, I think there is something to these teachings. I just don't quite understand what the connection or balance is between these two worlds.
I didn't either. I would guess that all sincere seekers have this conflict--what is the road where awakening meets the practical aspects of life?

My answer started to come to me three years ago when I suddenly realized that the only difference between Eckhart Tolle and me was that Eckhart Tolle had somehow eliminated fear from his mind and I had not. It is fear whose effects are to make a context of mind which is confused and apprehensive and believes that there is something inherrently wrong with life.

I understood the problem but did not have a solution, until I ran into John Sherman and his technique of looking-at-you, which does seem to eliminate fear and clarify the mind. And later, the Conversations with God, were exceptionally helpful to me in clarifying questions that I had about the purpose of life, and about money and relationships and all the practical non-spiritual aspects of being human.

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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by smiileyjen101 » Fri Sep 20, 2013 2:51 am

MercyGraceOwen wrote:
...Yet, I think there is something to these teachings. I just don't quite understand what the connection or balance is between these two worlds.

Karmarider said: I didn't either. I would guess that all sincere seekers have this conflict--what is the road where awakening meets the practical aspects of life?
I like that notion calm man --- what is the road..... it's concrete and warm in the sun, and wet in the rain - albeit sometimes it can look more like the spaghetti freeways than one straight road :wink:

Mercy said: The mind can pull a lot of bullshit excuses about why and how you are doing this and that willingly. For me as someone with a strong mind a big part of honesty is how I really feel, physically and emotionally. Its good when all three match. I wish that happened more often :D
And now that you have 'wished' it - acknowledged your awareness of it, recognised the obstacles to it, and accepted what is required of you to allow it - it will likely happen more often.

All of our experiences are our gift to ourselves, with the help of others. I like your dream awareness. We never see the all of it, not in form, that's part of the design (imho).
Mercy said: When I start to get down on myself for falling into this trap, I remind myself this relationship lasted only 8 months and 2 of those I was actively planning escape, so I can't be that misguided! :D
This made me literally laugh out loud!!! That's barely a speck in the eye in misguided!!!

As Dr Phil says: the great thing is that you didn't spend 8 months and one day in it. And you are right to give yourself credit for that. Obviously you DID learn something from your previous experiences.
So you can tear the bullshit notions up now?
Here's an exercise that you may/may not want to do in honesty - go through your posts here and highlight all the things you have said about your self - look at each one and decide -
keep it and keep experiencing it, or throw it out and replace it with your highest intention?

eg:
I have a habit of using spiritual practice in a way that justifies me staying in abusive relationships.
Obviously that's a throw out because it just ain't true is it? You left already!!

BEing impeccable with your word is you will notice this as FALSE - BULLSHIT when in it arises in your thoughts, in your words, in your intentions and in your actions.

If throw out - what will you replace it with? - it could be something like
a big part of honesty is how I really feel, physically and emotionally. Its good when all three match.
or it could be as simple as
I am human.
You have a lot of 'fodder' in these questions and answers that you are unfolding to yourself.

Namaste Mercy, and stick around the forum, it's full of travellers willing to look at their roads.
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by lilly83 » Tue Sep 24, 2013 1:29 am

Hi,

Many years ago I was in the same situation, I was and still am a sensitive empathic person but back then I was seeing a man who was also spiritual and into eckhart etc. The only thing was, he also was a narcissit and it was a co dependant relationship and I had no self respect at all, which diminshed with this relationship. Not only did I continue to stay, but I also justfified it with ego teachings from Echart. This guy, also used what I call spiritual abuse to keep me from thinking it was always my fault why things were happening and that I was in ego. My answer to you is that, when you respect who you are, you will not put up with abuse from a partner, it is self abuse to stay with anyone who treats you with no respect, there is no spiritual teaching that will ever tell you to stay with an abusive partner, you cannot justify it with the divine source. You divine soul is always looking out for your best interest and highest good, it is speaking to you, you can hear its whispers that tell you to leave, but it is the ego that takes you back to the book and takes poeices to back up your low seld esteem to stay with this person, to stay feeds the ego's hope that the person will treat you well or love you more, but this is your low self esteem seeking an external fix to fulfill you, but it never will. Nothing external to you, will ever fix your low self esteem. It is only through going within, and opening your heart to you, and giving the self love and care you deserve. It is then, when you open your heart to you, will you see that, being in an abusive relationship, is not for your highest good and you will be able to see, in time to come, that this person was a teacher for you, one that showed you how to love and accept your beautiful self - and to know that, when you fill your self up with your own love, you dont need to seek it externally through things that are not for your highest good. Much Love to you on your journey.

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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by magicbutterfly » Wed Sep 25, 2013 6:57 am

What I don't understand is how does one know when they ought choose the easy way of consciously stepping away from someone who activates their pain body continually, vs. consciously using that difficult person as an awareness practice?
I was also in a similar situation. I stuck with it while using it as an awareness practice observing the fear and pain as they arose, not blaming the other but just watching, until I reached the point where we parted like oil and water, still retaining self respect and respect for the other, even love. The relationship just no longer served me. I learned about my part in a relationship and I changed my attitude from feeling like a victim, angry and depressed (why me again) to feeling self honour and self respect. There were no fireworks, no drama, no anger when we parted, only calm acceptance and a feeling of peace, joy and love.

I learned a huge amount about myself in this relationship, about boundaries and about my needs and which ones were crucial to my happiness (love, honour, cherish, respect, forsaking all others until death do us part) and which ones I could satisfy myself. I learned that a relationship can change when only one person changes. I learned about emotions, unconditional love and commitment. I learned about making a mutual vow before getting involved.

I wouldn't have learned all of this if I had left while in pain, upset, angry and feeling abused. I transformed lead into gold.

There was passion in the beginning and there still is strong attraction, but in this world, our priorities are too different to match. Neither of us can change any more at this time and so we parted while still feeling love.
I hear you in the quote above that you also feel that leaving is the easy way out. It is. However you don't need to live with a person to continue having a relationship with them and learning self awareness. This is what I would recommend to you especially since your boyfriend still needs the relationship.

So, if there is passion and love in a relationship, my choice is to stay and to use the relationship for awareness practice. If you don't, I suspect that you will repeat the lesson in the next relationship.
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease." Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now

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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by smiileyjen101 » Thu Sep 26, 2013 1:21 am

Lilly what wonderful sharing - namaste.

Wow butterfly, wow! Remembering sharing some of your journeying and exploring on this level, wow!
These relationships do serve us all, in a gnarly way :wink:
Our rights start deep within our humanity; they end where another's begin~~ SmileyJen
http://www.balancinginfluences.com

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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by magicbutterfly » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:12 am

Thanks, Smiling Jen. Yes it has been a wonderful journey. :D
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease." Ekhart Tolle, The Power of Now

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Re: Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationshi

Post by sardinelover » Fri Sep 27, 2013 11:35 am

"Using spiritual thought to remain in abusive relationships" is an attempt to rationalise staying in such relationships.

"If you find your here and now intolerable and it makes you unhappy, you have three options: remove yourself from the situation, change it, or accept it totally. If you want to take responsibility for your life, you must choose one of those three options, and you must choose now. Then accept the consequences." - Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now
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