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Psychic Aggression in Relationships
Franco: I am okay, but life with Mira is not really easy. It got much better for three or four days (after I told her that I will be leaving the relationship), but then it deteriorated again. After 26 years together, it seems we are getting ready for our near-future separation that seems inevitable. A few years back I wouldn’t have imagined it!
Sundari: Sad to hear about Mira, but it seems that Isvara could not make things clearer for you. It is pointless holding onto a situation that clearly does not work for either of you for sentimental or financial reasons. It is not dharmic for you – and it will keep your hands in the fire. Why would you want to keep suffering when you can trust Isvara to take care of your karma? Our lives must fit the truth, not the other way around.
Isvara is relentless when we are supposed to make a certain move but drag our feet. The heat will be stepped up, for sure! So let Isvara take care of Mira and your needs, all will be well. You know this already, and by the way you spoke about your situation to us it was clear that you were trying your best to accommodate her but your feelings were no longer in the relationship, in fact had long departed. A relationship will never work if that is the case, so why hang onto it? This is no doubt about why she is getting progressively unhappier with you and picking on you all the time – she knows you do not love her and you are supposed to leave.
You know only too well that doing the dharma of another is fraught with difficulty and suffering for both parties, the enabler and the enabled. And the upside of leaving is that you no longer have to think about her and can concentrate on doing what you love and what you are here to do, teach Vedanta.
I wish you all the best and am sure life will arrange everything for you and take care of all your needs.
Franco: Thank you for your sharp message on my relationship with Mira. You cannot imagine the impact of your words. It triggered a series of mechanisms which took me into something very old and deep (jiva stuff).
As a result, I am now feeling very light, unconcerned, free and happy. ☺ I will be writing a report to both of you on what has happened and the implications of that.
Sundari: I am somewhat surprised at your reaction to my last email about your marriage, but I am happy it took you to the right place, even if it was through a dark place. I apologize if I was a bit too direct, I am a straight shooter. I guess I took it for granted that what I said was known to you. It is a strange thing about the jiva, even with self-knowledge it can have blind spots about things it does not want to see, even though they are obvious to others.
Certainly, it has been clear to Ram and me for a long time that love died in your marriage and Mira was punishing you for what you would not and could not give her. An unhappy woman who is not loved becomes a whiner and fault-finder. She needs to see the relationship died for her too. It is probably true that Mira does not really love you anymore either. She is afraid to move on and let you go. It’s just an old habit, a vasana, being together, putting off facing the music and the ramifications of splitting, financial and otherwise.
So clean up your karma, Franco, and take on the world! Fly light. As Ramji always says, leave nothing undone, keep your karma like a little dog on a very short leash, right in front of you, where you always have control of it. Very good advice.
Franco: Your today’s email comes with a bit of nice “spice” to it. You say: “She probably does not really love you either. She is afraid to move on and let you go.” How interesting! In the past few weeks I have been presenting her with the same argument: “As it seems, we do not love and appreciate one another anymore, and for quite some time.” Understandably, she thinks that she still loves and appreciates Franco, although her gestures do not show it for a long time. As far as me I had sensed for a long time that my feelings for her are gone, like you said.
When I first met Ramji last December, I spoke to him about my troubled relationship and he suggested that we should break up, and also that what was preventing me from doing so was “guilt,” my Christian guilt. And he was right on! In my childhood, I had a Christian upbringing, and that, combined with an extremely guilty mother (a master in passing guilt on to others), have cultivated in my mind this sense of guilt and obligation that from time to time comes up in my face.
That’s to say that my attachment to Mira is mainly rooted in this guilt and not so much on financial or emotional security. I am a practical person, and I do have a value for security, but not to the extent of compromising the truth or violating my svadharma. Just the thought of compromising the truth for the sake of this “guilt” was driving me crazy. I felt like Arjuna standing in between the two armies, having you and Ramji as Krishna.
You were also right when you said that I already knew what you were saying about my relationship, but what has happened is that your sentences have intensified the process. Particularly when you said, “Our lives must fit the truth, not the other way around.” And “…the way you spoke about your situation to us it was clear that you were trying your best to accommodate her but your feelings were no longer in the relationship, in fact had long departed.”
Your words have produced a sense of urgency to clear my karma with Mira and move on, while the strong sense of “inner guilt” over-intensified to become very uncomfortable. But a moment of clarity came and I understood that guilt is just a thought, and that I did not need to engage it.
After some good talks with Mira, exposing my feelings and opinions, I understood that there was no reason to feel guilty in the first place, and that moreover, she would be very fine and ready to move on with her life as well. I also got a confirmation for the sense I was having that, as it seems, her feelings for me may no longer be there in any case.
One thing took me into another, and eventually brought me to the memories related my past conditioning, which I never had the chance to share with Ramji. My relationship with my mother was a very classic “love-hate” relationship. A very troubled one, leaving behind a “love-hate” vasana towards women that has influenced all my relationships… with my first wife and all other girlfriends in between. For very long in my life, one of my main goals was to heal from this mental split and be able to truly love a woman.
It was very intriguing to me when Ramji, after having come to know Mira, began instead to suggest to me to make this relationship a sadhana and work it out. He would say, “Love her, why not? Give her your attention...” and so on. He also, more than once, told me that probably I was as much part of the problem. Among other things, I now remember him saying, “I believe you and Mira still have something to learn in this relationship.” How wise my guru!
I have mostly denied being part of the problem until recently, but now I see the truth in Ramji’s words; I am as much part of the problem to the degree that I don’t truly know what loving a woman is. Of course I am also part of it to the degree that I did not put an end to it and moved on with my life. I am not going to bore you both with all the psychological insights I had into this… many of Ramji’s past words kept freshly hitting me, producing more clarity, freedom and happiness.
I also kept remembering that most people find Mira to be a very lovable lady. I often heard people praising their wives and I was always intrigued by the fact that I never did that. In fact Mira feels much envy every time she hears Ramji publicly praising you. Talk about projection, I often used to jokingly say that one may be able to see everyone else as God, but not one’s own wife.
In spite of her difficult personality, Mira is definitely a very beautiful, lovable and loving person, and what started happening since your letter is that I began seeing her with a new pair of eyes. Since weeks now she has been making a lot of effort to control her hostile attitude towards me. But guess what? She is doing much better since I began seeing beauty in her, rather than disapproving her words and behaviour. A very magical shift of perception, I must say! I am now understanding much better her reactions and hostility. And unexpectedly, I begin feeling love and appreciation for her again. Thank you, Isvara, it was about time!
Now, with your last email, you tell me what I have been sensing as well: “She does not really love you either.” How interesting the ways Isvara unfolds the play!
Well, I guess this is all for now, my friend. As I said before I feel much clearer and non-attached about the whole thing, happy to move on with life and with no guilt or fear of change, happy with the prospect of freely being able to love without struggle and fear of being dominated and controlled. There is a nice atmosphere of friendship between Mira and me, regardless of the outcome. I am excited either way, happy with what is opening up in my life. And I will definitely follow Ramji’s brilliant advice, “Keep your karma like a little dog on a very short leash, right in front of you, where you always have control of it.”
Sundari: Our childhood is the origin of most of our conditioning. As I said, no matter how much self-knowledge there is no way we get away with nididhyasana – and there are no areas we can miss if we want to be free and happy. As the saying goes, if you want a nice lawn you can’t reserve a patch for weeds. Unless you like living with weeds.
I am sure all Ramji advised was spot on. I have told you a few things too, but I picked up a while back that you don’t take instruction from women. Mother issues were clear. I also told you that you are part of the problem with your attitude of boredom and lack of genuine attention to Mira. There was no love energy between you and Mira, not to say it cannot be revived if you resolve your jiva stuff, which it sounds like you are.
What is loving a woman? You only ever love the self, YOUR self, when you love a so-called other. Guilt masks suppressed anger, no doubt at “your” mother. Catholic guilt is hard to shake for many. I had the same upbringing, but fortunately the conditioning did not stick to me.
Maybe Mira does love you. Nobody can say for sure what goes on in the sanctity of another’s heart. But as you know, love and need are two very different things that often go under the same banner. And the feeling of love is just a reflection of the love we are. It’s easy to get confused.
Anyway, I wish you both all the best, whatever you decide. Certainly Mira is a very lovable jiva, and I like her.
Franco: I agree with you, self-knowledge only frees the jiva to the degree which it exposes and neutralizes those aspects of jiva-hood preventing the full appreciation of the knowledge.
My anger towards my mother used to be huge. It leaked out into my relationship with other women, as I told you.
I have done decades of hard work on this negative emotion, with some relative progress. Then I was blessed with self-recognition, and later with Vedanta.
I often say that self-knowledge is the greatest purifier because I witnessed it happen to me.
After self-knowledge, most of my negative emotions vanished, and very rapidly. In fact very rarely do I experience anger, and it is not much, and it only comes up with Mira, and as irritation.
I have great appreciation for Ramji, and for you too, Sundari, although I must admit that you push my buttons here and there. It is also my impression that I may push some of yours too.
You are right about the “love” business. Fortunately, I do not long to love a woman anymore – that used to be one of my goals many years back. What I wish is to be totally free from anything preventing me to live a loving and happy life, because that is my limitless nature.
As far as my relationship with Mira, I see things much clearer now, a great feeling of freedom! I am ready to move on my own at any moment, which I sense will probably happen. I’m just waiting for Isvara’s directions. I am sure the Lord is working it all for the good of both of us.
Sundari: I am happy that you have reached clarity about your relationship. No, you don’t push my buttons. It’s just that you are more emotional than Ramji and me; even though I too am of Latin extract jiva-wise, I am the cerebral and not the emotional type. Neither of us respond well to emotionality on the jiva level. It’s just the way Isvara made us.
Since I met you, my first impression was – cultivated, refined, in a measured and deliberate way. Franco has smoothed the turbulent waters of his pain and anger, captured it under lock and key. I picked up the effort your jiva makes in appearing so calm.
I have been writing about psychic aggression. You know, the dance the jiva does in the world, embroiling “others” in its movie – and getting them to act out what goes unseen, while the one holding the projector remains blameless.
When we have hidden anger, it tends to leak out, like radiation. And others in our personal field of existence act it out for you.
Your righteous feeling of unfairness in the way Mira treats you should be seen in a different light. I am not saying stay or leave, just look at things differently.
~ With much love, Sundari