Monday, November 23, 2009
Ah, some healing at last :-)
The way I go about all this is very unconventional, but it definitely works.
So I wasn't sure what the sticking point was with healing myself after the breakup with E. I knew I had not received sufficient empathy. My posting blog posts was my way of meeting that need. I definitely would have preferred to meet it through conversations with him. But where we don't have the participation of the other person, we can still heal ourselves by providing empathy to ourselves. I needed to receive empathy to restore my sense of trust in my world. Mostly, I needed to feel heard in a non-violent way, acknowledging the validity of my own basic human needs such as accountability and reliability.
Still, something was stuck. I was still feeling hurt and angry. A text message from a friend of mine last night helped something click. I realized that I had met my own need for empathy by blogging. But what I had not done is empathize with E.
When I wrote a while back about healing the memory of my kitten, I may have mentioned a surprising discovery. The memory did not fully heal until I had cleared the pain from ALL perspectives. I literally stepped into the shoes of myself as a four-year old, my dad who was there with me, my kitten who was killed by the car, and (this was the really surprising one) the driver of the car, even though we never knew who it was. Only when the grief from all of those perspectives was cleared did the memory lose its emotional charge.
This discovery surprised me because I'd never heard anyone mention such a thing, but it's not all that surprising. Because we are all connected, we play all of the roles in every situation we've ever been in. Healing is not complete for anyone until every person involved in a situation has received empathy and been healed.
Over the past 24 hours, I allowed myself to step into E's shoes. As best I was able, I tried to understand where he was coming from when he did each thing that he did. I found that I had a lot more compassion for his choices. Things did move fast, and we came up against a few unresolved issues that neither of us had fully considered. We both got a little scared, and then a little reactive, and the next thing you know there are a series of misunderstandings. I would do a lot of things differently if I had it to do over again, and I imagine he would, too.
Anyway, once I stepped into his shoes, I noticed that the hurt and anger and blame disappeared. Suddenly he seemed very human again. I realized that even my need for accountability was really a disguised need for empathy. I needed to understand and feel compassion for both of our perspectives.
From my perspective, some very good healing has happened the past few days. In a way, I did the mediation that I had requested entirely within myself. I imaginatively played both of our roles and the mediator's role. As much as I would have liked to resolve this between us privately, there is something magically transformative about public blogging. There's something powerfully healing about being transparent and being witnessed by a community. To read more about the power of this approach, I recommend you google "Dominic Barter Restorative Circle."
Even though both of us could have addressed the situation in a much more loving and forgiving way, I still love and accept him and myself completely.