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The Ego and Pain-Body In Regards to Romantic Relationships

Posted: Tue Jul 15, 2008 12:39 am
by buckeyeboywonder
Hi all,

I am 20 years old; when I was 16 I was introduced to The Power of Now by a friend trying to help me as I was struggling overcoming an unsuccessful relationship.

I have now met someone who I have been talking to for the past couple months, but there are many things that I "overlook" and allow to happen because my ego is so strongly infatuated with this person. I am concluding that the reason I am so attracted to this guy is because 1) all of my friends wanted to sleep with him, but I got him to date me and talk to me, 2) he is physically pretty attractive and it boosts my ego's intensity. When he drinks he can get mean, sometimes yells at me, he has a very sensitive ego; if we go to kiss and I pull away playfully, he gets angry.

My issue is this. When I meet someone like this guy, my ego becomes very strongly identified with the person; ADDICTED would be a better word. It's like a drug I can't kicked; highs when we are together, lows when he hits on other guys, etc. What I am here at the forum for is to seek advice on how to overcome these feelings I have for him. I KNOW they are fake and ego-identified. Yes, I am learning to LOVE the being underneath his ego, which is why I haven't pushed him out of my life, but he continues to set off my ego very strongly and makes me feel like complete crap (strong pain emotion in my heart and stomach: the pain-body), and sometimes slight highs.

What steps can I take to overcome this? I do not want to feel the pain that I feel; I want to be free from my ego's bondage and addiction to this guy, but I can't seem to kick it. I feel that I am being present, but when my ego is set off, I try to accept it by just feeling the emotion but it doesn't go away. I can't find much in Eckhart's works (PoN, ANE) that really talk a lot about romantic relationships.

Can anyone offer some hearty advice on what I should do? Should I break things off with this guy completely, or continue to talk to him and try and work through my ego's reactions to all that he does? I know the pain in my heart is from my own reactions to his actions, (even though I feel his actions are socially wrong: i.e. kissing other people when dating me, talking about me behind my back, etc.), but I can't seem to stop myself from feeling pain. I know my ego is playing victim, but I can't seem to overcome it. And I feel like my ego loves this pain and that it is part of what keeps me sticking to this guy.

Re: The Ego and Pain-Body In Regards to Romantic Relationships

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 7:30 am
by Sighclone
BBW - welcome! At age 20, the ego is pretty powerful. Eckhart has said that there was no way he was open to a spiritual shift in his 20s...he was way too focussed on his 'career.' I know that is probably not any help. But if your ego is strong, that is what is...but it is worthwhile to keep asking "Who am I?"

Perhaps others can comment more meaningfully??

Namaste, Andy

Re: The Ego and Pain-Body In Regards to Romantic Relationships

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 9:51 pm
by dutchred
Buckeye Boy, are you familiar with the work of Byron Katie? Thoughts and feelings can be such intense things, and she has got some some simple, effective tools for easing this kind of intensity. Her website is www.thework.com; many here have found her book useful, but the essentials are on the website.

Just as a quick example, take this thought of yours:

When I meet someone like this guy, my ego becomes very strongly identified with the person; ADDICTED would be a better word.

Katie has you get in a quiet, intuitive frame of mind, and ask yourself:

Is it true?
Can you absolutely know that it's true?
How do you react, what happens when you believe that thought?
Who would you be without that thought?

The effect of working through these questions helps one see that the intensity, the suffering, comes from the thought itself--not the situation you find yourself in. Obviously we cannot control what lovers will or will not do, but the thoughts that come up in response to those situations--they can be examined, and let go of.

At times it seems biology conspires with ego to create suffering. The biology of bonding is pretty intense stuff at any age, and particularly at yours. Reading a bit about it might be useful to you as well. It will help you examine your feelings, and see that they are often generated by bio-chemical reactions. There is no need to identify with them in the slightest--but give yourself bucket-loads of compassion when you do. That sharp pang you get when the guy you've set your sights on flirts with other guys? It has everything to do with the biology of bonding, and nothing at all to do with You, the eternal You. Look at it for what it is, notice how it is causing you to suffer, feel compassion for your body, your little-me, and find rest.

Best wishes--

dutchred

Re: The Ego and Pain-Body In Regards to Romantic Relationships

Posted: Fri Jul 18, 2008 10:28 pm
by buckeyeboywonder
Thank you both for your kind-hearted responses and assistance. I am trying really hard, but that's just it - there should be no "trying." There is, and there is not. I do not know why my struggles with this aspect of life are so deep; the ego tends to exploit them much more than other areas of my life.

I have been familiar with Tolle's teachings for four years now, so I am very comfortable with them and understand them pretty well - it is still hard to step outside of the ego at times. I know that the reactions I have to the situation are what is hurting me; not the actual situation; it just feels morally wrong to allow him to "walk on" me by no action; but it seems to me that that is the ego coming in the back door, saying "do not let him walk on you!"

I want to follow Tolle's guideance and just be present. I want to love someone for the eternal being inside, not the ego or the lustful fake feelings; but that want is also ego, because the I within me does not want or need that: it is love, it does not need it.

I feel that I am uncovering a few things as I type, and I hope this conversation continues on this thread to continue to help point me in the right way.

Re: The Ego and Pain-Body In Regards to Romantic Relationships

Posted: Sat Jul 19, 2008 4:27 am
by dutchred
BuckeyeBoy, you understand the nature of the ego and of suffering. Now you can sit in the silence from which your suffering springs, feel it wash over you, and let it be.

The wind sweeps through the corn of your beautiful state, the cicadas sing, the computer hums, someone steps on your heart. Open yourself up to it, see that nothing is lacking in this moment, and let it all be, just as it is.

dutchred

Re: The Ego and Pain-Body In Regards to Romantic Relationships

Posted: Wed Aug 06, 2008 12:25 am
by AndyD
BuckeyeBoy,

Like you, I've also found little from Eckhart specifically about romantic relationships (I watched and listened to almost all of his talks available) but I did find a teacher who says a lot and was a great help to me and others on the subject by the name of Nick Roach

I've was following Tolle's teaching for a couple of years when I entered into a relationship with someone who also followed spiritual teachings. What was different about this relationship was that I could see the person underneath all the emotion so I didnt react as much to all the 'bad' things they did. However, after 2 years of this person getting ever more angry (usually after a drink) and tryng ever harder to push all my buttons I had to admit that I really didnt want to be with such a person. As much as I could see underneath to the pure woman I loved the external was just too damaging and i could no longer willingly be around this.

It was really hard to cut myself off from her but I stayed with it. It was during this staying with it that I realised some incredable things about myself/my 'self'. I'd actually been justifying everything she'd been doing (some of these things were similar to what your partner is doing) with something been wrong with me - wether it was 'I deserved that-i caused her to be angry' or 'my ego is reacting'. The real truth was that my ego, my identity if you like, was one of someone who could never get anything right so by allowing her to do what she was doing my ego was strengthening not weakening. This was not an easy realisation to take after years of living the role of been 'wrong'.

Of course it is hard to tell what is what as only real experience (and this can really hurt) can tell you that. At 20 years old you've got a lot of experience to get. I''m 36 and still learning :D I hope I've provided something helpfull.

Re: The Ego and Pain-Body In Regards to Romantic Relationships

Posted: Wed Aug 20, 2008 12:12 am
by Suzanne
buckeyeboywonder wrote:When he drinks he can get mean, sometimes yells at me, he has a very sensitive ego; if we go to kiss and I pull away playfully, he gets angry.
Dear BBW,

Welcome to the board.

Eckhart discusses addictions as attempts to cover up pain. So, I would recommed you go back and re-read what he says about addictions and childhood pain. It also sounds like this person's painbody works cemically on yours, so, I'd go back to painbody work and try to replace the case stories with your own details.

Also, there is something important about the emotional response this person makes when he is denied. I think the key to understanding your own addiction starts with this person's emotional responses.

What is it about this anger that rings true in your life? Who was angry when you were young? Could you be replaying some old script with him as a substitute for a previous angry reactor? Most of us attempt to resolve childhood trauma by selecting the parent we need to heal with.

So, instead of making this about you and him, see where it's really located, between the younger you and a person of great importance in your childhood. When you isolate that person, every word of Eckhart's will suddenly relate directly to your own current inner struggle. Then you will know why it holds so much power over you.

The previous advice to be patient with yourself is all good. Most 20-somethings are struggling with these same issues in one way or another. You are ahead of the curve if you are already conscous of the struggle, and especially, your part in the struggle.

Enjoy being young!