Excerpted from a personal session in which the client shared the shock of her partner of 14 years leaving the relationship without exploration or discussion and in the last day, denying that he was indeed leaving.
As you've shockingly found out, sometimes we don't see change coming; we don't get the hints. It was hidden and something happens to us. Sometimes we are not the action agent in our own lives. Sometimes someone else totally has their own agenda, their own way, their own walk and even if you had seen it or perceived it, your actions still may have had absolutely no impact on another's.
It's a typical view of psychology that one always has something to contribute and that it's always two people in a situation. That is useful and accurate on the whole, but sometimes it's not accurate. Sometimes the other person really is in their own place in their own way and that is what happens. We have to accept actions we simply don't see, don't comprehend, cannot fathom. And such acceptance is the hardest of all . It leaves one feeling vulnerable. As you wisely said, 'I sort of knew it was personal and yet somehow it was not.' And this observation lets you begin to consider a bigger perspective. You asked, 'What am I not seeing?' You gave yourself permission to say, 'I didn't see this.' We want to remind you to say as well, 'And maybe I couldn't have seen it.'
Acknowledging that one may not 'see' is its own scary thing. We may not be able to 'see' in many situations. It happens on purpose where people con people, lie to them for their own advantage, etc. It happens where people hide or obscure unconsciously. It happens when people simply are isolated within their own space. And sadly, people can enter that space and not hold others as a priority any longer; they do not care in a way they may have once done.
What also arose is the companion feeling of 'I can't discern who to trust.' Logic may take us to that assessment, but we see that you have continued to make the choice we would recommend to others. You have lived your life saying, 'I will give trust as I can. I will use what I have to discern and if its not enough, so be it.' There have been people who hid from you and themselves their true feelings, their true self. You have had people who take you as you are, but don't always take or see the truth of you as you are. They related to 'their' view of you, emerging from their own interpretations, emotional buttons and reactions. Yet, you were able to because you extend trust, carry and a great capacity for empathy and compassion toward the other. Even so, at times it is very painful to learn that our understanding, compassion or empathy towards another does not, in and of itself, prevent disappoint or shock or directly nullify our own pain. Yet, most importantly, through it all you kept finding a way to be a person who trusts in this world. We smiled when you said, 'I don't know how it is, but there are two different things at the same time – understanding and pain.' You are absolutely right. This seemingly paradoxical aspect of reality is what challenges most people and being with such paradox is the heart of most spiritual teachings.
In this case, you have a person who came to the end of his energetic road with you. He made a turn in the road and basically left. And when he made that turn in the road, not the bad history, but actually the 'good' history simply wasn’t enough. It wasn't any longer two, is wasn't 'yours'; it was now one. He came to belief that the 'survival of me' was at stake. From there people can move on not noticing their effect, or considering what their actions create, what is being left behind, etc.
We are taught in ideals to see both sides. In particular, those we refer to as Empaths want to find the 'win-win' solution, have resolution and continued connection, even if there need be separation. All are good ideals, but sadly, not always available or what others can participate in or what is most useful for them.
Many people hold the idea of Unity in a way that they find they are often not well prepared to see how others may truly be different than us. It is a challenge to see that the ideals that flow through us and create the eyes we see through, may not be universal, may even not be as present under the right circumstance, with someone we thought we shared them with. Emotionally, many people take the route that they should have done more, said more, and so forth.
It is very difficult for you and other empathic people, to let other people be responsible for their own stuff. Try to move, for awhile at least, into the clear emotion of 'This was done to me.' The experience here is to stop your own judges and patterns that want you to take it on the responsibility, not to take those words to confront the other person. With this, we are trying to interrupt the inner blame pattern. We also want you to question what was said to you. To question your own judgment that you 'failed' to see what was going on.
In your case, early woundings add to your sense of responsibility and so it is for many others. You spent a great part of your life being the image of father's perfect daughter. You learned to be the facade that was liked best – his sparkling, winsome person. And yet, what was not seen, were all the other parts – the complex parts, the difficult parts, the sad parts, the afraid parts, the strong parts. You had to find ways to allow them for yourself and be with them, and you did. But the strengths that did evolve were still built upon the fear that they might not work and the feeling that 'they don't see me and I am doing this all by myself. I'm somehow invisible.'
In your life you have grown and healed so many of these aspects and found many ways to be in the world. But such early wounds are part of us and they become part of the developing brain and so when these chords are shockingly struck – all the past resonances come up. And some of it just has to be felt. The biggest job we face, is to remember that as real as the pain feels, it is not the whole truth and the whole present.
'Whole' is the keyword here. If you say to yourself that these feelings are not true, aspects within may say, 'They are damn well true' as they resonate with past pain. They know there was a truth to that pain. But when we say 'It's not the whole truth,' the whole being recognizes that as well. And even if you can't sort it out, you know that there is more than the pain you are feeling right now. This creates a kind of spaciousness to allow something else, a movement, a next feeling, to emerge.
It is difficult and painful when someone does not or cannot tell you the truth of where they are. You are simply not being given an opportunity to do things differently, to change the situation. But this is not exceptional nor uncommon. This person was essentially running away. It's not quite like those people who go out to the store and don't come back, but emotionally it's the same energy. They are saying, 'I don't want to be responsible to you. I don't want to be responsive to you. I am thinking of me and to share with you is too hard.'
The language you shared together was that he was different than he had been in the past, where he also abruptly left a relationship. In your time together, he was different, you were different and your relationship was different. All seemed true and was so, until it was not. It seems there is a core element with this person where they get to a point that to care for themselves, they must not care for the other. Perhaps a young child who had to overcome his own fear and pain to care for the abusive or frightening mother or father. And eventually, perhaps when the child was old enough, they learned that the only way to safety is 'out of here.' And to this they can bring every rationale, every thing to support that as the acceptable action.
Of course, his actions puts the lie to how you thought you were both living the relationship and that is very painful. It wasn't a lie really. Rather, it means that when certain deep patterns came up, whatever else he may have learned, was not integrated and the old pattern emerged. That is why what you struggle with the fear of 'What do I do that makes this happen?' And that idea is what we want to challenge. That is the child's world.
You cannot be responsible for someone not being able to integrate, internalize, to grow as you have, even if it seemed you were doing it together. You find that you grow in relationship. You are aware of how this person impacts you and what you can take from it. But you have been surprised before that the other person has not taken in what you thought you both were experiencing. In a way, your willingness to see 'we're in this together', while beautiful, can leave you unprepared when the other does not match you.
Can one really 'see' it? We're not sure. Perhaps what happens more often is that you choose to trust with the caveat, 'Well, I hope what's happened before is not going to happen.' There is nothing wrong with that choice except perhaps being even more clear to yourself that your 'hope' may have to change. Would it have been easier if you saw it when the answers became 'nothing for you to worry about.'? What is evident is that he didn't want to talk. He didn't want to be diverted from the choice he had already mad. [Client: But why would someone want to shock someone like that?]
People at this place are not trying to shock. They are pretending to themselves that they are not shocking. They simply don't want to feel or be responsible. The road taken says 'it's too painful for me to tell the truth to this person.' They don't want to examine the truth, they just want to leave. Many people leave relationship because, paradoxically, it's gotten too intimate, not because it's become less intimate. It's gotten to place where they have to go further – deeper within themselves, deeper into the person and to some depth of core place that at first feels uncomfortable. You have done this and taken yourself new depths and said, 'Damn, I've got to work with this.' But many people do not or cannot do that. And now the culture often says, 'if it is too difficult, I may as well just go.'
Relationships do change and come to ends and one may need to make a break. Most people do try to leave in a more caring way, trying to understand what is happening, trying to learn from this change. But again, this ideal is not the only way of being and relating. Another person may say, 'Don't explain. Just go.' It may be easier for them to just have it happen to them. And people who want to hide from themselves or are not in touch with themselves, may feel it's better for the other person if they just leave or they get angry that the other person doesn't understand them. It all comes down just making that break is an easier way for them.
You yourself are always trying to find the empath-preferred 'win-win' way to do something. You have even found unconventional solutions that ended up working well. Because you are able to articulate where you are, you try to share that. Yet, some people don't want to hear another's explanations because they are not getting what they wanted and any other option doesn't satisfy them. So they don't agree to your 'win-win' proposal. Again, we are asked to remember to try truly look through different eyes.
The truth is life is not one way and people are not one way. We all know this simple truism, but keeping it fresh in our awareness is challenging. It asks us to step back and look anew and often just when we don’t want to, just when we are on auto-pilot emotionally or our sense of 'rightness' and 'alignment' feels most pronounced. We find empaths and other receptive, sensitive people really struggle with this clarity.
Empaths tend to relate primarily to some core aspect of a person which is very evident to the empath and to potentials. The catch is it may not be as evident to the person observed or is only one of many aspects. The empaths are often surprised when the other persons actions are not connected to the core essence the empath relates to. The empath does not realize they are not seeing the person fully. This is a common struggle.
The path to staying aware of one's capacity to not fully see is to keep present the idea that if a person doesn't really 'get' what you see, pause and consider that you really have to pay attention to what is actually happening in front of you, not just the potential you sense and respond to. It may feel paradoxical to understand that what seems superficial to you may be as important to pay attention to as the deeper elements. Many people are not connected to their own authenticity or depth. Thus what you might feel is their 'outer person or personality' is 'real' to them. Sometimes you are asked to meet people where they are, not where you sense they can go.
All these differences are part and parcel of being human. It is challenging, even shocking to experience, but it is not unique and rare. And we hope that considering this broader view of influences in connection may support you in feeling, perhaps sad and loss at such a disconnection, but not shocked. You have also had a truth revealed which centers around paradox. The world is completely filled with paradox and humankind has a great capacity to have mixed emotions, two different programs, pushing and pulling within ourselves at the same time. We're afraid and we're brave. We're sad and we're happy. We want to do it and we don't want to do it – all at the same time. In this instance, something within you didn't want to recognize that paradox had shown up. Of course, if you had said to him, 'You know I think you are in two minds about things, is there any way we can work with that?,' it doesn’t mean it would have helped. What he was essentially saying was 'I'm just this and I don't want to go any deeper or more or have to relate to someone deeply.' He simply go to the end of a certain kind of intimacy.
Again, what is challenging here is for you to accept what is his. He didn't want to talk or discuss. He really didn't want to be open to another possibility except the one he came to which was movement. [Client: Why did he lie and say he was coming back? For all the same reasons – he doesn't want to be responsible, he told you what he thought you wanted to hear. It's not as if he wants you to have pain. He is in paradox and making a schism – he doesn't want to deal with you or take actions he doesn't want to, so he says, 'Yeah, sure, I'm not leaving.' It's called lying. Lying first to one's self and then making a rationale. This is simply what people do in their divided selves. 'I don't want to get upset at this moment, so I'll just say I'll be back and go.' It made it a lot simpler for him, but not you. So you took him at his word. In a fact, you had to take him at his words, because if you pushed the issue, he would just tell you more of the same kind of words. Part of how one balances these situations, is in recognizing 'I can't really get anything else here. I can't get any other energy from this person.' Facing that is also part of the pain, as we face our powerlessness to make a change in a situation when another is simply not meeting us.
He had a journey with you did involve a lot of change, but he hit his limit and again, he did not integrate the changes. The truth for him was that the changes he made during your time together, were somehow predicated on his interaction with you. When he found he could not do that any longer, those changes felt as if they were not his and unavailable to him. It's as if someone became a vegetarian because their partner was one as part of their religion, but when they break up, the person goes 'back', as it were, to eating meat. This is because the change was built on the circumstance of the relationship and the person did not truly connect with it personally. If they had, they would probably continue being a vegetarian. You may want to go deeper to wonder 'Why do I do that?' He instead says, 'Well, that's just what happens.' He doesn't want to go any further in why and how I am me. When people can tell the truth, it is easier for the other person to give up their own movement toward 'let's try to work this out' and accept the change.
[Client: …I said if you are not coming back, please be kind...don't say you are, if you are not...Don't give me false hope…And he did it anyway.]
He didn't want to be 'kind' because that is where he is afraid. It's the kid that doesn't want to face what they've done and they run away from home. They are more afraid of facing what they did than the fear of being on the run. Obviously he kept hiding his own choice - not coming back – from himself. When you asked him to be kind - a very powerful word, it doesn't ask for love or understanding, just kindness – the part of him that doesn't want to be responsible to another person was totally afraid that if 'I respond I will lose everything I have', and he completely shut down. He simply could not respond. Being kind threatened that he wouldn't be able to leave. He is now only in self-preservation mode. Anyone else is simply just not in his consideration. The history didn't matter, time spent didn't matter. At that moment it was simply not available to him to care for the other person. Empathy is not available; self-preservation and protection is. And what drives him is that if he shows any empathy, he will lose self-preservation.
To us, this is a child who probably wanted to run away from very difficult things in the family and as soon as he cared for either mother or a sibling, he didn't get to run away. Little children cannot run away. They are compelled to stay in the situation. At some point when he was older, he learned that when he feels in this kind of emotional danger, just stop caring and take care of yourself. The pattern had an early reality to it which then becomes unconscious. For him it's true and he doesn't see any other option. If you had that kind of compulsion, you might think, 'I might examine this because I think there may be another way to be in the world.' He tried that introspective way of living and hit his wall. And some people cannot. It's not available to them. It doesn't help them to process in that way.
Now you are learning to balance your 'sense' of someone's essence and potential with equal attention to their outer personality and actual actions presented. And you are also reminded to remember that other people simply may not see what you see. Many things can interrupt the experience of potential - history, culture, issues and woundings. Empaths often readily focus on the bright energy of potential, but paradoxically, they may not have a certain empathy to see and accept a persons limits or boundaries. Further, they may not be able to see that there are other ways of being in the world. There are people who don't want to explore what you see as the obvious inner dynamics of their lives. They don't believe in it. It doesn't resonate. It's not an available path of inquiry. Most people still want to hold that any kind of emotional issue is something you just get over. They don't understand how patterns can be pervasive. or that examining these things is really useful or important.
It can certainly be shocking to discover how other our intimate people can be from us, but it is true and it is reality. One thing is to just say to yourself, 'I really didn't understand a lot of stuff there. It was the weirdest thing to discover that someone could just keep all their feelings to themselves and not let me in.' And that is the end of that story. This person could really live in a different place that I didn't have a clue about. No matter what I asked, no matter how I tried to express it to me. He simply kept it to himself. He lied to me, but doesn't seem to think he did.'
You can take this experience as an encounter with a different emotional culture, which looked like your own culture for a long time. One cannot know the deepest inner images people carry of themselves if they do not share them or do not know of them themselves. People who have deep issues and difficult experiences and never explore them by themselves or with others, are very vulnerable when they come into the energy of a similar situation. They can be paralyzed. They can go back to the compelled child who has limited options. That is why exploring ourselves gives us some way to make what drives us at least somewhat visible to our conscious self. If one never does such work, you simply are not aware of it and it stays unconscious and we are left with only the options formed at the earliest time. In this case, your partner didn't feel like himself. He may not even know what that actually means and by not sharing, there is no way for anyone else to effect it or help him find what does that mean. If you make an observation which you think may help the situation, it cannot go anywhere because it will not resonate because the situation is not open to him, and thus, there isn't receptivity to consider change or other options.
You are now thinking about yourself and other people and how this experience effects things. Following that energy you will feel expanded and fuller. This situation cannot happen again in the exact same way. You are learning. You will come to any similar situation in a new way. To us your energy is growing and is going to take all this and grow. Orion
Excerpted and edited with permission and thanks