Jun 1, 2015

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Principle V ~ Center: Embrace Opposites Within Us & Between Us & Our Beloveds

Principle V ~ Center: Embrace Opposites Within Us & Between Us & Our Beloveds

opposites_attract-56685Principle V ~ CENTER: EMBRACE OPPOSITES WITHIN US & BETWEEN US & OUR BELOVEDSby Sasha Lessin, Ph.D.

You bond (co-depend) when you and your lovers react to each other as though first one, than the other of you is a parent, then a child. This is natural and inevitable. And, when it’s sweet, you and your lovers enjoy positive bonding; you nurture and protect one another.

But also inevitably, you feel vulnerable–hurt, scared, shamed, stressed, tired, jealous, insecure or threatened–and hide this vulnerability. Then, instead of showing your Vulnerable Inner Child, you respond in a defensive voice. Ofttimes your initial defensiveness touches off a defensive reaction in your lover, to which you respond with further defenses. Hal and Sidra Stone call this duel of your defensive subselves negative bonding.

Example: In the positive part of their bonding, Jim and Sue take turns nurturing each other. The negative phase touches off when Sue keeps yelling till Jim, becoming parent-like, judges and analyzes her critically. She collapses into a helpless, crying child.

opposites_attract_by_seshat22-d335hdcThey end the negative phase when they each express their vulnerability and see the voices the other expressed in the bonding as their own subdued subselves. Thus Jim can raise his voice instead of letting Sue do all the yelling and she can become intellectual and analytic as well. They return to sweet bonding and Center-Center relating.

When you and a lover experience sour interaction, use the cues below to help you learn how your bonding pattern works and how to shift to your Center–the conscious, balanced perspective from which to choose to relate.

Read your partner the cues in red print aloud to the lover concerned. Read anything enclosed in square brackets [like this] silently.

Opposites_Attract_by_altered_worldsSit on this cushion; the position for your Center, where you hear all your inner voices.

Recall, then tell me when you felt pain, fear, insecurity as we related to each other.

Say how we interacted in parent/child ways.

What bothered you about how I acted in relation to you?

Move to a cushion from which you’ll roleplay me. [When your partner has moved, say,]Pretend you’re me; roleplay me. Exaggerate what I do and say. Say what you, as me, fear, think and suspect.

Now move to a cushion where you’ll be yourself in relation to me.

opposites_attract_by_kiba_lover_1995-d4re6x6[When your partner moves, say,] Respond to me as yourself again and say more than you already said to me; tell me how you feel toward me. Express your feelings, irrational thoughts and impulses; exaggerate your feelings; express more.

Now return to your original cushion, the Center.

[When your partner moves, say,] Tell me what vulnerabilities–feelings of insecurity, fear, hurt–you and I activate in each other.

How do I represent a disowned voice for you?

OppositesAttractDescribe your relation with me in parent-child terms. Expand what you told me before about how you and I shift between enacting parent and child roles vis-a-vis each other.

In what ways does the pattern you’ve described with me re-create part of the pattern you had with the people who raised you or a brother or sister?

Stand behind me now, facing the seat in which you enacted voice within you that you projected on me. Maintain neutrality; observe objectively. As I review the main things you said in the disowned voice, sense its energy ### [Summarize what your partner said.]

Weekend4OctOppositesAttractNow return from standing in the Witness position to the seat for your Center.

How can you, Center, nourish your vulnerable, Inner Child without stifling your other voices?

How can you integrate the disowned voices I represented into your life?

*  Adapted from Schiffmann, M., 1971, Gestalt Self-Therapy, Self-Therapy Press, pages 28 -30 and Stone, Hal and Sidra 1989, Embracing Our Selves, New World Library.

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