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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

What is Undefended Love Part 3

This is part 3 of the excerpts from the book Undefended Love by by Jett Psaris, PH.D and Marlena Lyons, PH.D.

Agreements: How they can prolong closeness and prevent intimacy

A partnership rooted in the healthy closeness stage values equality; the couple places an emphasis on creating and maintaining a foundation of "shared-power" as opposed to "power-over." Since we choose to take someone else's desires into account, we negotiate instead of simply taking or being taken from. This ability and desire to compromise, however, can lead to more sophisticated approaches to maintaining our defense structure. Surprisingly enough…

Because making agreements is based on a couple's common interest in resolving a problem or issue, this method surpasses the fighting and despairing experiences that are common at the level of unhealthy dependency. This capacity reflects an increase in the maturity and flexibility of the partners. When an agreement is not kept, they generally go back to the bargaining table and negotiate, compromise and barter in order to get the relationship back on track.

This ability to forge and keep agreements is a prerequisite to undefended loving. However, instead of helping us find ways to dismantle the walls between us, making agreements leaves them unchallenged and intact. If we wish to move beyond healthy closeness we must shift our focus off agreements and onto what we are trying to "get" by making them. For example, when an agreement breaks down, rather than re-negotiate a new one, we can instead use the opportunity as a gateway to new levels of personal growth.


Dissolving our defenses

If we are to realize our potential to know ourselves as whole and loving, to express the open, present beings we are, and to love ourselves and others from the undefended core of our being, we must turn and face all the places where we are stuck, wounded, withholding and contracted. We must…

…work directly with all that we fear, resist, vilify, disown and reject. This includes our primitive or undeveloped aspects, negative self-images, emotional attachments, what we project as "other" and deny within ourselves, our self-doubt, judgment, greed, hostility, shame, confusion, and anything else that we consider negative or unpleasant.

It is in grappling with these "demons" rather than avoiding them that we dissolve our shields. Undefended partners do not conspire to eliminate emotional pain and uncomfortable feelings; they are allied with each other in learning how to use whatever presents itself - unresolved losses, disappointments, dissatisfactions, needs, unworthiness, boredom, loneliness, depression, resentments, lust - in ways that allow them to reveal their essence to themselves and each other.

Embedded in the desire for intimacy is the understanding that our potential includes a wide range of experience, whose expression brings out the richness of all that is human. When we live within the comfort zone of our defended personalities, we confine our existence much in the way a pianist would be limited if the only key he could use was Middle C. The journey to the heart of undefended intimacy is about regaining the use of our entire keyboard, not repetitively banging out our Middle C identities.

Intimate allies


Exposing ourselves to what we expect will be emotional annihilation is not easy. It means staying with an issue in the presence of our partners when continuing is the hardest thing to do. It means stretching to stay open even if shutting down is our main line of defense. It means …

…speaking about what we are feeling when we are paralyzed with fear. And it means remaining fully present without lashing out when we experience our partners as critical, blaming or attacking. It even means staying with feeling bad, inadequate, less than or lacking without doing something to distract ourselves so we can feel better.

In an undefended relationship, instead of bandaging the symptoms, we make a conscious choice to perform the operation that will get to and remove the cause of the pain. We are committed to helping each other dissolve, not resolve, our issues. We encourage each other to dive into the truth of our raw inner experience - encountering the core emotional belief that we are unwanted, "less than" or flawed - certain that shoring up the personality's defenses is not going to serve either of us in the long-term.

While our partner's role is to resist the temptation to fix or distract us from what we are feeling, our role is to endure the resulting discomfort until we unearth the root of our distress. We realize that all our fears and inadequacies are demons we need to encounter on our way back to our open hearts.

2 comments:

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Teen Webcam said...

"While our partner's role is to resist the temptation to fix or distract us from what we are feeling, our role is to endure the resulting discomfort until we unearth the root of our distress." Very well said! Thanks!

 

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