September 28, 2020

Trauma Bonding & Love: No Amount of Inner Work can make a Toxic Situation Okay.

There’s no amount of inner work that will make love exist in an unhealthy situation.

If we are trying to get our nervous systems to be good with co-regulating with trauma, this is not love.

If we are trying to do “shadow” work in order to feel okay with being in a misaligned or painful circumstance, our focus and direction on which shadow to give attention to is misguided.

Since we live in a cultural consciousness of narcissism, it’s difficult to unwrap ourselves from many of the codependent patterns we’ve been taught…enabling bad behavior because we “understand” why they are doing it, giving our power away, projecting the “weak” aspects of ourselves that we cannot love into another, or believing that if we just energetically shift our vibration another will finally see us and love us.

All tactics fed to us by self-help and New Age teachings mired in unconscious patriarchal values that gaslight the real problem.

We have fallen deeply into a collective agreement that trauma bonding is love and that if we do the “hard work” on ourselves in these traumatic relationships, we will find the freedom we seek. Until then, we suffer and find ways to numb ourselves from the pain of truth.

I hear this many times in sessions with clients, a deep fear of either belonging to oneself or losing oneself in relationships with others—feeling that one has to choose to be in the polarity of the “feminine” and be weak or be “powerful” in the cold masculine role. We are torn between loving ourselves and being loved—the fear that if truth is honored and love is followed, there will be nothing but loneliness on the other side.

Is this working for us?

I don’t think so.

There’s a deep divorcing of our contract to “love as suffering in the name of healing” we have to unravel, so we can heal this deep split off from love that is living presently in our psyches.

It’s possible for us to love ourselves, be loved and belong.

Unfortunately, this is too foreign to our collective and individual nervous systems (I know it has been for mine), but the rafters and foundations are shaking up the deep hunger for love within our bones—for another interdependent, loving, and egalitarian way of living and loving.

If we look deeper into mythology, we see that Narcissus hated every woman who loved him. He was also the product of sexual assault, not born out of love. He didn’t love himself or the feminine aspects of his humanity. He felt empty—disconnected from love. He was blocked from the capacity to know himself.

Echo, also empty in herself, falls in love with her projection of Narcissus—an empty vessel where there is no love. No connection to anything but illusion of love and the image of beauty and love. She tries to do so many things to “get” love and attention, but none of it works and she loses her own connection to a nourishing, provisioning source of love.

This kills her. It kills Narcissus too.

This is what fuels addiction, which codependency is. A quality of consciousness we have been so conditioned into and keep trying to rearrange, often via overcorrection…for a little relief.

Disconnection from love is the root of shame—the grief of never having been loved and the fear of never being loved.

Shame drives us to either find someone/something to validate our existence, or we happily take on the powerful projections of others in order to further repress our shame.

We want to feel good about ourselves.

This isn’t how to do it.

This unending dance of shadow work and metabolizing pain only helps if it is helping us reconnect to a rootedness in love. This is the mature feminine archetype of the Mother, the nourishing energies of the Earth we as humanity have been cut off from.

We are trying to transcend our humanity and our pain by climbing the ascension ladder, but as we heal our relationship with a loving source, we descend back into this flesh, this matter of our bodies where we realize we matter.

Our bodies, hearts, and the living intelligence of Eros, and nourishing heart-mind guide us in ways to obey love, to exit situations where we’ve done all we can; what love would have us do is leave rather than stay and enable more suffering.

In this, we encounter a great, liberating grief that breaks our hearts open to this condition we’ve been living in and makes space for love to put us back on our soul’s aligned path.

Our body knows the life that is meant for us; we are equipped with all we need to actually head in the direction of our greatest expansion, which will mean some loss—but we can only ever gain in love.

Let us not do all the work to fall in love with the “flaws” we see in the mirror images of ourselves, but to love the one who cannot look upon ourselves with love in the first place.

More love, not less.


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