Kiss of the White Bird


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Chapter 12

Relationship as a Path to Wholeness
[The] path to mature love

is simultaneously a path toward ourselves

and toward a deeper spirituality. --John Amadeo

It has taken me many years to realize that the

Sacred is in relationship. Relationship can be instrumental in attaining spiritual awakening and becoming more of who you are--a more whole and integrated individual.

Relationship has been a very difficult path for me. I had so many defenses concerning relationship that I didn’t know what I felt or experienced with a man was real or not. My unconscious mind was leading the way, and I was comatose. Most of my life I found that I was attracted to men who were already committed to other women. I didn’t always know this right away, but non-the-less I was still drawn to this type of man. Let’s put it this way my unconscious mind always knew. It’s hard to believe that I didn’t seem to care about being the “other woman,” and I can’t believe I didn’t even feel guilty over their wives or girlfriends. Since I didn’t know these women, I could hide in my denial. Yes, I was, indeed, unconscious. This pattern of being the other woman came to a halt immediately after I changed my name to Cassandra. The energy had shifted, and this pattern no longer served me.

I first noticed this change while dating a charming weather reporter. He was kind and a lot of fun to be with. After a couple of dates he said he had long-time girlfriend, but he was going to break-up with her. (You’ve heard that before!) It had been years since I found a guy I had fun with, so I gave him the benefit of the doubt--wrong! He was so insecure that he wasn’t about to give up his girlfriend who was a sure thing. This put an end to my pattern of being the other woman. For the first time I was disgusted with infidelity, so I wrote him a juicy letter giving him my piece of mind. It was delicious and empowering for me.

I have never been the type of woman that had to have a man, and I wasn’t really a “looker” either. Because of my discomfort in crowds, I spend most of my time by myself and seldom meet eligible men. I told my friends, “If God wants me to be in a relationship, the man will have to come to my door.”

One day I get a knock on my door. It was Gary, my happy go lucky landlord. Gary was leaving on a three-week vacation and wanted to introduce me to his friend, Mike who would be housesitting for him. Mike gave me a beautiful smile and his dark blue eyes opened wide. His attraction to me was obvious.

I had an apartment on top of the garage, and I noticed Mike constantly peering up at it. When I ran into him on the property, he would always comment on something that I had done earlier. I was very annoyed with this, because I felt my privacy was being invaded. I also experienced a non-inviting ambivalent attraction towards him. Mike was a firefighter for twenty years and had been divorced for ten years. Although he was almost entirely bald, he was handsome and strongly built. He was very nice, but seemed rather needy. He was also single and on the prowl--a combination that causes me to react negatively and shy away from. It was interesting that I didn’t feel this way with the men who I “thought” were single, but were really committed to other women. Another example of how my unconscious knew better. Later I would realize that this negative reaction was my fear of commitment and feeling way too vulnerable.

My defenses trampled any attraction I had for him. I was cold and rather snotty to him. I knew he was the type of man I would end up hurting. Then I got stuck in my head and started analyzing the situation. I said to myself, “It’s not Mike who I’m attracted to, but a projection of my animus (the masculine aspect of my psyche) that I wanted to embrace.” Yes, that probably was true, but I completely null and voided the human aspect.

I tried to sleep that night, but my body was tingling with anxiety and the need to be taken by the masculine. The polarities in my psyche were made known, so I locked my door that night, which I seldom did. I prayed that I could hold this tension of opposites without collapsing into the relationship or escaping from it. I knew if I collapsed into this relationship it would only be a sexual escapade, and I would surely end it, when I got my fill. If I ran away from it I would be living an unconscious process with no opportunity to grow. I yearned for truth. I yearned for transformation. During that sleepless night I wrote this poem:

The Man Next Door

How could my annoyance

My doing anything to avoid you

Change into wanting you?

I can throw you to the wind like old scrap

As quickly as I can make love to you.

I want to embrace you

Feel your muscled arms around me

Body tingling with anxiety

Wanting to be taken.

I am breathless

As I lock my door.

The next evening I watched the movie The Piano. There was one scene that really had an impact on me. I felt it in my bones. Ada goes to see Baines and begins hitting him with all her might. This is how I felt about Mike. I wanted to pound on him over and over again for awakening my desires--desires that I thought were peacefully dormant. I found relief in my acceptance of being alone and the lack of need for a man. My foundation was being shaken, and now all I could think of was wanting to be with him. I longed with desire, while I rode the wave of resistance.

The Piano reminded me that Life was calling for me to become bigger, like the call for Ada when Baines came into her life. My wonderful Jungian Analyst, Marea Claasen explained the dynamics of this movie to me.

Ada sacrificed her piano by giving the key to Baines. Her mistake was giving the key to her child to deliver to him. Her daughter represents the infantile part of Ada’s psyche. The infantile part of our psyches cannot carry such forces. Instead of giving the key to Baines, the daughter gives it to her stepfather, Steward. Steward represents Ada’s negative animus. In anger, Stewards chops off Ada’s forefinger, which represents her power. However, Ada later regains her power when she chooses life over death. This was the scene in which she could have drowned when her piano goes overboard and her foot is caught in the rope. At that point she frees herself from the rope and survives. Baines who represents her positive animus makes her a new finger out of metal. She then begins to talk. She had been mute since she was six years old.

I knew that I could claim my voice if I could let down my defenses and transform the negative animus finger to the positive animus finger. A few days later I meet a woman who lost one of her fingers. Obviously these synchronistic events were life lessons for me. My Mother always had the domineering, intrusive pointing finger. I hated it. I could not see the beauty in the touch of a finger until Marea had me feel the energy from our forefingers as we touched. It was the velvet touch of the divine. This, Marea explained was what Baines was doing with Ada. He was softly touching Ada, and only then did he penetrate her, when they both transformed.

Mike left a note asking me if I would like to go on a hike with him. I reached for the phone to call him, but as I dialed I felt the resistance come in, the complete opposite of the longing I felt for him earlier. The longing would come and go like the hummingbirds that would flutter so quickly by my living room window.

I was reminded of the unifying heart--the non-dual heart that can hold and carry the tension of opposites--where all confusion and ambivalence can rest. It’s like a womb--a place where these opposing forces can gestate and birth into a new creation.

Because Life was calling for me to get bigger, and I wanted to answer that call, I put one hand over my heart and finished dialing. Life was calling me to see him even though I felt I was being torn apart.

Mike and I went for our hike. He could feel my reluctance and the barrier I put up between us. He said, “I don’t want anything from you.” After he said that I felt so much “safer” and how fast the iron curtain slipped away, at least for a time, when he didn’t try to take my reins. “What is it that frightens me so about relationship? I must be frightened in someway if I’ve managed to avoid a committed relationship my entire life. Is my precious independence and privacy that important?” I would ask myself.

How sweet it was for my ears to hear Mike say he was nervous in my presence. It seemed so easy for him to be vulnerable. I, on the other hand, sat strong with my impermeable steel wall around me, so scared to open the wound of loneliness I’ve carried around for so many years. I thought how much easier it was when I didn’t have a man in my life; I didn’t have to feel the rawness in my heart and the gnawing in my solar plexus. It was the pain of knowing that I’ll never find the man (At the time, I firmly believed that) but always holding a crack open that maybe this time it will be different, almost a quarter of a century later!

Mike returned to his own home, but we continued seeing each other. I was, however, determined not to collapse into the relationship. I wanted to take it slow. It was difficult for me to refrain from making love to him. The old pattern wanted to rekindle its flame--wanting to make love to a physically strong man with a sensitive heart…and then knowing I would leave him. I couldn’t handle knowing I could hurt him…and how arrogant that sounded. I thought how much easier it would have been if he had another woman.

I found myself thinking more and more of him, and I don’t believe I’ve ever been so frazzled. I certainly was not on cloud nine, feeling euphoric, and thinking all was beautiful like one usually does in the beginning of a relationship. On the contrary, I felt depressed and absolutely exhausted. I was facing this like a warrior. It would take me a long time to face this with an open heart by allowing and letting go. I would not run away, which I so desperately wanted to do. I knew that in the deepest sense this had nothing to do with Mike at all. He was the instrument to which I could grow.

Mike would often say that I was a free spirit, and indeed I had always thought of myself as such, but was I? Could I really be a free spirit if I couldn’t confront my fear about relationship? I did not want to escape from it any longer, but wanted to fly freely into it.

It was happening too soon…again. My feelings of missing Mike turned sour when he called. I didn’t want anything to do with him. Oh, how easily I could emasculate a man with my sarcastic coldness. How easily my loving woman could turn into a bitch. How easily I could sabotage the relationship and hurt him. And with that was my own inner torture.

The split in my psyche left me in terrible pain. Holding this constant tension of opposites was pulled to the last stretch. The following dream talks about my frustration:

I was driving home from San Francisco. Traffic was a nightmare. There was a lot of commotion ahead of me, and traffic came to a standstill. I stepped out of the car. There was a desk in the middle of the road blocking traffic, surrounded by a crowd of people. When I got to the desk a man said that I had to take a test from the fire department, before I could cross the bridge. I was absolutely livid, but there was nothing I could do. I had to take it. I was fuming with anger. It was a four-page test, more like a “living test” using materials. I was finally able to go over the bridge, but I didn’t know what exit to take. The next day I had to go back for something in regards to this. I was not happy.

The bridge symbolizes the psychological progression from one stage of life to another. This dream was obviously telling me if I wanted to progress spiritually I could not runaway from this relationship. It would, indeed, be a “living test.”

The morning after the dream, Mike and I went horseback riding. When we stopped to rest the horses, I told Mike my dream with much trepidation. To my relief he didn’t reject me and seemed to understand. He told me how much he cared about me, and I believed him. If I had not told him how I felt, I probably would not have broken through the barrier that I had put up between us. He put his arms around me. I felt so safe in his arms and how lovely his kisses were that brushed softly across my face. And how I loved kissing him. It was very difficult for me to refrain from going home with him that evening. I was not afraid of him but for my own passion. Slow, slow, slow--wanting him, resisting him, holding both of those feelings at the same time--Hell!

When we finally did make love, he assumed we were a couple and said, “I’ve been looking for someone just like you.” I froze. I could not accept this couple business. My defenses came up again in full force. In my distorted thinking I could not see our relationship lasting if I couldn’t be with other men (although there was seldom anyone else), but I needed to know I had the option. I thought to myself, “Is it wrong that I still want to make love to him. I am a woman loving the embrace of a man.” I equated myself with the character, Jess Clark who we had just seen in the movie A Thousand Acres the previous night. Jess can’t settle down and makes love to many women. If I lived out that role I might be seen by society as a whore or something of the like. A man is looked at quite differently. It is so accepted, commonplace. He is even called a “stud” in some circles. I thought of the men that I once knew like these, men overflowing with testosterone, foaming at the mouth--only seeing me as some orgasm machine. Mike wasn’t like this, and really, neither was I. It was all a defense against commitment.

The more I got to know Mike I could see how needy he was. I wondered if I was with him because his heart bled, and I got caught in his web of suffering. I wanted to comfort him. Then it repelled me, and I would turn back into the ice queen. I would pray for “the inner bitch” to hold off being at the forefront when I talked to Mike. She could be so cruel. Her presence buried the heart that was so much needed at that time. I prayed to be kinder and gentler and to be a friend to him, which he desperately needed. I began to realize that my anger and disgust with him was a mirror of my own insecurities and of my own neediness. My obsession with independence was compensatory for my own neediness that was too painful to explore.

Regardless of the dream, I felt Mike just wasn’t for me. I was unconscious to the fact that I wasn’t ready to explore my material. I told Mike that I needed someone who was involved in transpersonal psychology like I was. He was so nice and understanding when I told him how I felt. Because of his kindness, I could have easily fallen back into a relationship with him, but I knew the result would be the same, flip flopping back and forth, like a fish out of water. The bitch did not show up this time, but instead a melting heart weeping with compassion. I also knew that he made it easy on me, because he cared so much about me. It broke my heart when he said he knew he wasn’t man enough for me. I prayed that he would find strength within his soul. After our break-up I dreamt that he was at my parents’ house, and I was desperately trying to get rid of him. Being back at my parents’ house was certainly telling me that I was regressing, but I didn’t care. There was unquestionably a lot of charge here, because in normal circumstances I would do anything to grow and become more conscious.

With all my resistance toward Mike, I would still think about him a lot. I wanted to pick up the phone and call him, but I knew it would be fruitless and only end with the same result. It would only add to more pain and confusion for both of us. I just couldn’t understand this pull he had on me. I would ask myself, “Could it be that I’m attracted to the part of him that isn’t the dumb one or the needy one?” I wanted to recapture our afternoon in the woods when we went horsebackriding. It was tearing me apart. “I want you to be the man you are not,” I whispered.

My disappointment with Mike was the same disappointment I had with my father, wanting him to be strong and powerful, but he was not. “God, am I still searching for Father?” I reflected. To a child my father looked physically strong and Mike was certainly in good physical condition, but both were weak psychologically. I just couldn’t understand why I still thought of Mike. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just throw him off like some of the other men I had been with. It was always easy, even when I knew I would hurt them. It was also easy on me when a man no longer wanted to see me. My heart was so closed off.

I couldn’t understand why I felt compelled to see Mike. It certainly did not feel joyous. I was beginning to feel that I didn’t even know myself any longer.

A week later my inner critic who said, “It will only end the same way…in disappointment” left the premises. I had to call Mike. My heart pounded as I rang his number. “Would I hurt him again? Would I feel repulsed? Would he reject me?” I said to myself as I dialed. None of those things happened. However, we were very nervous talking to each other.

In confusion, I consulted The Book of Ruins, which is an Oracle. It said, “A partnership is at hand.” I was still apprehensive that when I saw him I might revert back to my old self and create a barrier around myself again. But to my joy, I didn’t. He looked so handsome to me. His quirks that I felt were wimpy before were endearing. I yearned to touch him. It was so different this time when we made love. My defenses were gone. I felt soft and I loved him. I wanted to tell him that I loved him, but I was afraid. So I only spoke those words in my mind over and over again. I did not want to leave him. I never thought I could get enough of him…and I couldn’t. I had been transformed.

I would still find my defenses cropping up, but I would talk to Mike about it, and with his understanding, I was able to work through them. When I thought of Mike, my heart would yearn to be with him, and I would smile. How different it was before when I really felt no joy when I thought of him. How different it was to make love from the heart. I loved him and I covered my mouth and gasped.

I was softening and it felt strange to be so naked, stripped of the heavy armor that had been around me for far too long. I was feeling quite vulnerable and light. It was only I, wonderful and frightening at the same time.

It still wasn’t an easy ride. I fell in love with Mike, but I was afraid he would soon bore me. I was very involved in Transpersonal psychology and relished in communicating with those who were conscious of participating in the “mystery.” I needed intellectual stimulation. Mike was completely rational, and although very smart in worldly things, he is not a deep thinker. I didn’t know how this relationship could work. My dear therapist, Marea made me understand how a man who is not involved in the depths of the psyche may be more helpful to me. I would find this to be true, until I found more of a balance within myself. He was the grounding force for me, an anchor to pull me back from the rich depths in which I go. I also knew that Mike and I came to each other for a reason. We were here to learn from one another, and maybe just simply to love one another.

My fear of not loving was, and still is much greater than not being loved…much, much greater. Being in a state of love, I can embrace all, even the isolation of no love. Even that is untrue, because by loving I would be receiving the love of God. And isn’t that what loving is all about? Love is about opening the heart, so the love of God can come through. In that way one can never be without love.

I struggled with telling Mike that I loved him. However, it was more of a struggle keeping it to myself. I wondered if by telling him that I loved him would hurt him more if I ended up reverting back. He knew my pattern. We both had a sense this relationship wouldn’t last forever. If we could be totally in the present—in the now—there would be no struggle. I wanted to cry from my gut in frustration, but I couldn’t.

I was in graduate school at the time, and in one of my classes, we discussed the “inner child,” and how important mirroring is. I suffered as a child from not being “seen” by my parents and acknowledged for who I was. I felt that I was just an object to them, or they saw me as just a reflection of themselves rather than an independent individual with thoughts and feelings of my own. This pattern repeated itself when I became a flight attendant. We were not seen for who we were, but repeatedly were told to act, dress and wear make-up a certain way to please male passengers. Part of the reason I have such difficulty being in a crowd is my discomfort of being observed. It is from the many years of not being seen for who I am. However, I am not uncomfortable with psychics, because they can “see” me. Whether or not they see the good, the bad, or the ugly, they are “seeing” me. The pain of not being seen is what I started to experience with Mike. When there were certain things I could not do because of the phobia or physical restraints, he couldn’t or wouldn’t acknowledge or try to understand. His response was as if he was brain dead. I would then verbally attack him for his stupidity and what I perceived as weak. My inner masculine hated weakness, so I would repeatedly invalidate him for it. Not until he finally expressed his anger and stood up for himself did I stop. I respected him for this and finally we were able to have an adult conversation and discuss sensitive matters.

Weakness is something I’ve always detested. I wanted my father to be strong and protect me from my mother, who at times could be physically abusive, but he couldn’t or wouldn’t. He stood by and did nothing. I discovered, however, that Mike also had inner strength. Because I was more focused on his negative qualities, his positive qualities stayed in the shadows. I could be so greedy wanting my lover to be perfect.

I finally told Mike that I loved him. He couldn’t understand how I could change so quickly. He didn’t understand how much of my inner pain and turmoil I had processed. Of course, I was still scared that I would revert back. But I felt the reason I escaped relationship was because I was so raw and could get hurt so easily. When I told Mike that I loved him, I realized how vulnerable I was, and how I didn’t want him to leave me. Before I was doing everything so he would leave me. Oh, how I had built up my defenses. The undressing of my defenses led me to loving him.

In time, however, my overwhelming love for Mike seemed to be dissipating. Our lovemaking was the best it had ever been, but suddenly I found myself in a distant land. I could no longer tell Mike I loved him when he expressed his love to me. I started doubting my feelings for him, yet I still couldn’t break away from him. I felt there was an invisible rope that kept me tied to him.

Marea thought that the reptilian part of my brain kicked in because a part of me felt threatened at a very primitive level. John Amodeo, Ph.D states in his book The Authentic Heart that “’unprocessed’” pain of life comes up most acutely within a context of suddenly feeling loved, just as dark colors stand out in a light background.”1

I felt I was being torn apart, like vultures eating and pulling at my heart. I realize now that Mike added to my confusion. He could be so understanding, authentic, kind, smart, confident, but then he would get on his soap box and be self-righteous, unconscious, dumb, judgmental, critical, and lack in self-confidence--many of the same traits my mother carried. (I would later come to realize that I also carried some of these traits that were buried in my shadow). I was also getting a bit bored with Mike. I wanted a partner to spark and ignite my mind. Mike was so sweet in his simplicity, but I needed more depth, fire, and creativity. I told Mike that I didn’t think it would work out between us.

My push/pull feelings toward Mike came to an abrupt halt when he finally said he had enough and would not subject himself to being hurt over and over again. He was frustrated and angry and rightly so. I needed his assertion to wake me up. I couldn’t continue tossing him around like a rubber ball. It woke me up to the fact that I could lose him. I deeply felt the pain of what I had done in our relationship. He was so understanding and gentle when I expressed my pain to him. However, I was afraid he would remain angry (although he said he was not) or withhold his love for me. At that moment I really committed myself to our relationship and would not run away any more.

After we made love that night my heart became so open--too open, familiar and not familiar. The familiar from some distant time, too painful to deepen into, so vulnerable, full of the nectar of love that I wanted to scream and cry out. I remembered the first time I felt such raw, pristine love. It was when God came to me and through me expressed his love for humanity. It was too powerful to express in words: a love that I felt could shatter my very being into nothingness. I slept so close to Mike that evening, wanting to crawl inside him--heart-embracing heart. Even though I felt such a deep love for Mike I was still haunted with resistance, and the push/pull feelings seemed to be happening simultaneously. Marea said it would be too overwhelming for me to have no defenses at this time. She felt in time that I would be able to embrace commitment. I would find in time that she was right.

I discovered that if I were upset about something Mike said or did and did not reveal it to him, I would become distant and could not imagine loving him. An example was our first Valentine’s day. I was upset with him for his lack of romance and for wrapping my present in the same wrapping paper I used on a gift I recently had given him (a woman thing!). I wanted him to put more of himself into this special day, as I did. The longer I carried this hurt, the more distant I became. When the thought came to me that I was falling back into the old pattern of wanting to runaway from the relationship, I had to express my feelings. I was surprised how quickly my love returned when I told him how I felt. However, it was very painful to see how I hurt his feelings by speaking my truth. The more I got to know Mike, the more I could see how alike we were--two extremely sensitive and loving people. I realized we had a lot to teach each other. I felt that if we could support each other in dealing with emotional issues, and remain open and honest, our relationship would work. I found this to be true. But when the communication between us stopped so did the glue that held our relationship together. I will be going into that later.

Mike and I deepened our relationship and decided to live together. When I completed my graduate studies Mike and I moved to the country, so we could one day have horses. Mike bought us a charming custom built home, where we lived a very simple life. Mike was retired and I was working as a Marriage Family Therapist Intern. We bought an adorable Border Collie and had great fun taking her swimming and on hiking expeditions. We didn’t care much for socializing, so we spent most of our evenings watching movies on the television.

Our life was pretty peaceful, until he started invalidating my spontaneous behavior, such as my excitement about teaching our dog a new trick. Instead of sharing my enthusiasm, he would grunt and say leave her alone. I felt like I was being psychically stripped, blocked, and stifled--the same feeling I got from my father’s invalidation, impatience, and lack of physical touch or emotional connection. The pain and yearning for a connection with my father caused me great suffering. How I wanted to run away from Mike, the “flight” response that I repeated many times as a child by running away from home and attempting suicide. My father killed my spontaneity and childlike ways when I was a child. My mother destroyed all my writing, my art, and the creative projects that I did as a young girl. This was my history. I would not allow Mike to do this as well or anyone else for that matter. I was reclaiming my spontaneity, my creativity, and childlike ways. I would not be squashed. All I asked was to be allowed to be me. I would not and will not be sculpted to fit someone else’s needs or expectations. As a child I had no say, but with Mike I did have a voice. If he became impatient, so be it. He would have to live with it. I would not be a part of it. For example: If I wasn’t ready to go for a walk with him, or if I wasn’t walking fast enough, he would became impatient and begin huffing and puffing. I said, “You’re on your own, I’m not going.” This worked for awhile, and he appeared to be more patient. I can see now how superficial that was. What I should have said to him is that I suffered so much from my father’s lack of patience with me and also of my own lack of patience with myself. Maybe we could work on this together and come up with a plan.

Mike and I were happy together for five years, until we moved to a larger piece of property that was more conducive for horses. I was able to fulfil my dream of having a horse again. My horse brought me such happiness and filled me with peace. During this time I found Mike becoming distant and introverted. Mike changed his mind about getting a horse, saying that horseback riding wasn’t for him. He also informed me that he didn’t like what I watched on TV. He liked violent movies, so he began watching TV in another room. Mike and I were slowing growing apart. He became less and less affectionate and communicative and basically emotionally unavailable (here’s dad again). I am not the nagging type, so I let it go. However, this led to a very superficial relationship, one that I was in denial about.

When my friends and I would talk about relationship issues, I found myself making excuses for Mike’s lack of affection, such as: “Well, he shows me love by hooking up the horse trailer, taking in my groceries, and bringing in the firewood.” However, I found out later that my perception was wrong. He resented doing these things for me. I also realized I was putting whip cream over his subtle sarcasm and irritability toward me. I knew something was terribly wrong when I began writing this book, and I couldn’t see how I could put Mike in the acknowledgments. He was not supportive in anyway and this was a sad realization.

I finally realized I was in a “comfortable relationship,” one that was familiar--the distant father. I still loved Mike, but this relationship was now stunting my growth. I finally confronted Mike and said, “Something has to change. We need to talk.” As usual he became irritable and said, “There is nothing to talk about.” I was very hurt and walked away. Later when he flipped over to his gentle side, he hugged me for the first time in months and agreed to work on it. Unfortunately, this did not happen. It became crystal clear that our relationship had fulfilled its cycle.

When I told him that I was moving out, he said, “The only reason you’ve been with me is for the things that I do for you. You are like all middle-age women. All women want security, so they will settle with anyone who will provide that.” Of course I want security, but I would never sell my soul and be with someone who I didn’t love. This was so far from the truth. I also never felt financially secure with Mike. He was not well off and he certainly was not supporting me. In fact, I contributed to his mortgage, which I admit wasn’t a lot, but nonetheless I wasn’t a kept woman. I told Mike what he said wasn’t true and I was sorry that he thought so little of himself. I said, “I’m leaving you now when my financial status is the worst it’s ever been. I’m unemployed, and now I have a horse to care for. So does the story that you’ve concocted make any sense?” What I didn’t say to him is that not having a home or roots are just about the worst thing that can happen to me, especially with agoraphobia.

Once I made the decision to leave, I felt like I could breathe again. It was as if I had been holding my breath until I left the man I once thought I would spend the rest of my life with. I had no idea how oppressive it was living with someone who is critical of your every move. Mike was also getting more and more critical of other people and saw almost everything in a negative light, to the point of becoming an obsession.

Our lack of communication also showed up in our lack of confrontation. There were screams behind the silence that was never voiced. This led to resentment and misunderstandings, which led to our breakup.

There were many red flags in the beginning of the relationship: the one that caused me to break-up with him back then and what caused me to leave him now. However, I would not have matured and learned so much about myself if I had not followed this magnetic pull to be with him. The synchronistic meeting of Mike and the dreams I had concerning him tell me unquestionably that I was to be in this relationship. Now that I have said all that, I will be more cognizant when I observe red flags in another relationship. I have seen too many people get seduced back into the “familiar” even though the guise may appear different. I don’t need to repeat my lessons learned.

I have grown so much since the beginning of our relationship. I was looking for perfection, but found that there is no such thing. I learned to love the perfection in the imperfection. I actually found a lot of Mike’s imperfections endearing, but Mike did not feel the same about mine. I also completely let go of trying to change him.

Like Marea predicted, I grew to embrace commitment. If there is another relationship for me on the horizon, it will be very different. I will no longer live with a man, unless it is sanctified by marriage, not necessarily a traditional marriage, but one where there is a ritual sanctifying this holy partnership. I will only be with a man if he is willing to continually work on the relationship and who has the eyes to see it as a spiritual path. I will only be with a man who is not afraid to love, one who is willing to laugh with me, (I can’t remember if I have ever heard Mike have a good and healthy belly laugh), to share dreams and aspirations. I don’t ever regret being in a relationship with Mike. I learned so much about life and myself by being with him. How wonderful it is too let go of perfectionism and the fear of intimacy. How wonderful it is to break the spell of the father fixation. I was also able to integrate my own inner critic and appreciate other people more fully. I feel more whole than I have ever felt.

Chapter 13

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