The second “Love and the Shadow” blog is about how partners get caught up in each other’s shadows, and what to do about this.
[Alan to her]: You see, instead of being able to sense what is going on in him, you get caught up in your fear of him being angry. Then you project onto him that he is angry, instead of feeling where he is. What could you say to him in that moment? Maybe you could just tell him that you’re afraid that he’s angry.
[Man to his woman]: The problem is I get angry when you’re afraid.
[Alan]: Welcome to relationship. You wouldn’t be together if it weren’t so. It’s the dark side of being able to touch each other deeply. It’s because you touched each other deeply the first time you looked in each other’s eyes that you fell in love in the first place. Light and dark, love and the shadow. You can’t have one without the other! And the touching is reciprocal. So on the dark side of being intimate, couples are very good at hurting each other. This is the dark beauty of relationship. The beauty is that you love each other. That means there is the potential to heal the wounds you each carry in your psyche.
[Woman]: But we seem to be in constant analysis of it.
[Alan]: Yes, we analyse to save ourselves from actually feeling the hurt. Analysis is like climbing onto a rock above the lake of your feelings when it’s too scary to let them overwhelm you. And when it’s both of you confronting feelings you’re not easy with in yourself, it’s hard to help each other. Your fear of his anger; his anger that’s stirred by your fear of his anger. Your fear of crying. It’s so much easier to climb out of it all and sit on a rock and analyse it with each other. Then you start therapising your own relationship…
[Man]: And have therapists as well…
[Alan]: Of course! But if you choose your therapists well they will help you to stop trying to be the therapists of your own relationship and help you to meet where you’re afraid to meet – where you are right now! – both in a sense helpless. What you can share is your mutual helplessness, your fears, your willingness to not have the answer for each other. Right here is where healing happens. This is what deepens your intimacy with each other.