I first started drafting this article over two years ago under the working title of, “Being the reflection of our lover,” as life looked a lot different then.
At the time, it was intended to be an uplifting piece because I was inspired by love’s potential to elevate us to new heights that match the best qualities of our lover—an effect of genuine connection.
However, I chose my partner poorly, as I often have in the past, and it wasn’t a genuine connection. So, the piece ended up being shelved. I felt like I had experienced a mirage. I felt duped. I couldn’t write about the sham it all was—until now.
Twenty eight months have passed, which is enough time to be disillusioned, enough distance to recognize my blind spots, and enough space to have perspective.
More importantly, I’ve returned to this piece with a psychologically damaging magnitude of darker experiences that primed me with more pressing and compelling things to say.
Much like sex and love, power is a positional thing—it doesn’t operate on linear logic or values. So, the most dangerous position for us to be in is one of mirroring our lovers—or rather, our mistakes when we have chosen our partners poorly.
Mirroring mistakes compounds violently. Imagine putting a mistake in a room of infinity mirrors. As such, I’ve adjusted the title to reflect the discoveries that I’ve paid dearly for, in the hope that my hindsight may be considered your foresight.
The first thing that must be established is: we, as human beings, forge connection over common ground.
Think about how strangers become friends—whether serendipitously, or a forced icebreaker—human connections are formed over shared interests and commonalities. Those commonalities are what determine the nature and strength of our connections, which in time develop into relationships.
When we have picked our partners poorly, but don’t realize that fact, we tend to stay in these relationships to our own detriment—because familiarity is comforting—even if it’s bad for us. As such, our reptilian brain engages us with the familiar, instead of what’s correct.
This is how mistakes happen, and happen again, because we are wired to make things work, instead of confronting all the parts that don’t work with great reckoning.
Secondly, we need to stop searching for answers in our head, because it doesn’t make sense—it’s not supposed to. How could any part of the complex design stand on rationality when none of the elements—power, attraction, sex, love—run on circuits built on logic? Instead, they seize our emotions, and when we don’t know better, we are crippled.
And the victimizing experiences are just that—victimizing. We often take the easy way out, blaming the villain, swearing off love, closing ourselves up—and eventually, the same thing happens again and again.
Most healing processes are superficial, and in all the gentleness they exude and bubble wrap us with, it’s difficult to come to terms with the fact that it is we who allowed the monsters in, and it is we who then started mirroring our bad habits, which causes us to derail and downward spiral.
It’s a lot to face, and most of us have too much compassion for ourselves to be subjected to this level of pain again. So many of us carry on, living with a level of unresolved pain that bad actors can sniff out, recognize, and capitalize on.
The third thing, and perhaps the most important, is that we don’t know what we don’t know. I never knew just how dangerous and damaging mirroring our bad choices could be—particularly because it’s neither dangerous at first, nor are we the ones doing the mirroring work.
Just the opposite. When we are identified as prey, and aggressively pursued as targets, we could be as unattractive as we imagine ourselves to be, and those with darker intentions would still mirror us and light us from the most agreeable angle—and light, even manufactured, multiplies when mirrored. And we are suckers for shiny, sparkling, and flashy things.
We all like to present ourselves in the best light possible, and stay in it for as long as we can, but when we are dancing with the devil, we don’t need to be overly charming or interesting to accomplish that. There is every effort on their part to mirror us—their first play of a series of beguiling moves.
And it works. We are made to feel like a million bucks without even trying. All the attention, zero effort. Whatever batsh*t crazy thing we say, they’ll agree and spit out an identical story, just to say, “me too.” When we are down, they curse the skies for us, and sometimes, that can be all we need to start falling.
Artificial behaviour, like artificial anything, is used to trigger the same emotional responses from us. Unlike organic things that take time, artificial connections dive directly and deeply in the first moment they sense doubt in us.
It’s easier to kill the doubt than let it grow. When time is hijacked by them to break down our walls, we have less of it to build them back up, and less wall to build from.
The magic of mirroring is in its literal alignment and agreement—conniving methods used to ease into us, to start the subconscious control of us as they erase our guards, because why need them when we are on the same team? And because imitation is the greatest form of flattery, when there is literal alignment, we feel compelled to respond to all the similarities, and we do so by falling for them, and falling for all the traps they’ve so perfectly designed for us along the way.
We think it’s the closest thing to magic we can get.
Thanks to our reptilian brain, we are hardwired for security, and matching pictures give us that—in both commonalities and predictabilities. We respond to matching pictures with affinity, trust, and great enthusiasm, because in them we find safety and security.
This is why, when we feel assaulted by our partners, setting boundaries doesn’t usually work—we only experience a foreign energy in our space when there is either a matching picture or an agreement that it comes in on. And most of the time, we let it in, because we have this indescribable attraction to symmetry and synchronicity.
But there comes a turning point: when they’ve established that they’ve got us hooked, their mirroring efforts start to diminish, or vanish altogether. At this point, we’ve gotten so used to all the mirroring, that we don’t really want to stop experiencing that emotion or energy, because symmetry is a very soothing thing.
So instead of articulating who we are, or what we stand for, we end up mirroring our bad choices, because sex in female biology triggers attachment hormones, and gets branded as something else—service. And so, the balance of power starts to tip away from us.
At the same time that we are diminishing in power, to make up for the status quo, we start to give more of ourselves—a result of care, and a process that further engenders care, which is why most of us feel depleted. No one is in a position to give more when they have less—but we do it anyway.
We are not really chasing the reflections in the mirror as much as we are chasing that feeling—the soothing and safe feelings of synchrony and symmetry. But when we have picked partners poorly, those feelings are not there—they never were in the first place.
Back in our imagined infinity room, we are left with only echoes of emptiness, and most of us don’t know how we ended up here—we were once made to feel like a million bucks, and we want that feeling back. We stay when we shouldn’t—our own egos have shackled us to the infinity room.
While we don’t start out this way, this is often what we are left with. We all go through these same steps of a journey so subconscious and damaging. By calling the steps out, perhaps more of us are able to identify the stages of subtle damage that end up violently destroying us.
The process is very much like osmosis, the kind we all studied back in grade school science class:
- When we fall, we will have our feet swept off the ground. So the first thing we lose is balance and grounded perspective.
- Bit by bit, they will chip away at our walls. We let our guards down, subconsciously giving permission to be brainwashed.
- As they inject us with what to think, we will lose sovereignty over our thoughts.
- By sheer effect of mirroring, we will make their issues our issues.
- We will make their beliefs our beliefs.
- We will make their goals our missions.
- We will end up carrying their burdens, because as mirroring compounds over time, so does care.
- Withdrawal of care triggers the opposite in us—we will mine ourselves in all the ways, of all the benefits that we can provide, just to have the same mirroring feeling.
- We will become out of touch with who we used to be.
- We lose our original stature, our authenticity, and become a carbon copy of our bad choices. We take the form of all that is projected onto us.
“Experts in authoritarianism advise to keep a list of things subtly changing around you, so you’ll remember.” ~ Amy Siskind
This is not a list of healthy attributes of a relationship—it’s layer after layer of breaking us down—it’s the trajectory of our downfall. These are the steps in which our wiring subtly changes, as does our DNA.
They haven’t just simply connected with us, they’ve effectively replaced every sense of who we are, from the inside out, so that we are deconstructed to be a vessel of benefits—to fit what they need. Because of how gradual this chipping away of our authentic selves happens, and how engaged we stay throughout each step of the process, the end result can become terribly difficult to come to terms with.
At the core of it all, how we position ourselves communicates who we are and what we stand for.
Consequently, the most dangerous position we could put ourselves in is to be mirroring our own mistakes.
How could we declare even the slightest sense of self, when we are but a reflection? And as a reflection, what are the meanings we’ve attached ourselves to? These fundamental questions bring us to a loss, but we shouldn’t be ashamed of this result, because it is the deliberate process by our poor judgment that mutes and erases all the qualities and attributes that make us who we are.
But that’s not all. The most assaulting realization is that every step of our downfall is caused by our own actions and choices. The hedonic pleasure of resonating with others produces both hormones and neurochemistry that push us against an arc of tragedies, the way history has documented in millions of formats and narratives, and will continue to document as long as there remain those of us who don’t know better, and those of us who don’t know what we don’t know.
So how do we learn about what we don’t know?
We need people to tell us.
I didn’t have any, so I’m writing every day now, so that the same mistakes may not be repeated by people who my words have touched.
Because curiosity kills the cat, we also need tools to help us navigate through the wars and assaults of both mindsets and energies. We need tools to help us cope with, and respond to people and things we are not sure about, so that we may respond differently. We also need literature to help us understand and uncover both our empathic tendencies, and how that gets abused by human darkness.
But deep down, we always know. We have our gut instincts and never have I come across a case where our instincts have failed us—only the other way around. Except, we don’t treat our gut instincts with authority—we forfeit that universal, directional guidance.
As I rewind the years, I start to remember when my instincts felt there was something “off”—and that started at the very first encounter.
Please, we’ve got to unf*ck ourselves!
When we meet that person we find ourselves so infatuated with, who we have an overarching tendency to mirror, perhaps rethink the possibility that maybe it’s not synchrodestiny. Perhaps we should approach this circumstance not with fervent excitement, but with a palpable dose of skepticism and caution.
Every story has an arc. A healthy trajectory is one where we grow, evolve, and become more, organically, without the effects and artificiality of the infinity room.