Partner Relationships and Emotions

 

One day there will be girls and women whose name will no longer mean the mere opposite of the male, but something in itself, something that makes one think not of any complement and limit but only of life and reality: the female human being. This progress (at first very much against the will of the outdistanced men) will transform the love experience, which is now filled with error, will change it from the ground up, and reshape it into a relationship that is meant to be between one human being to the other, no longer one that flows from man to woman. And this more human love (which will fulfil itself with infinite consideration and gentleness, and kindness and clarity in binding and releasing) will be a love between two solitudes that protect and border and greet each other.

~Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Without a doubt, the area where most emotions play a role is the relationship between partners. In a relationship, people tend to project back and forth and expect too much. We will have a closer look at a number of relationships and see that there are two ways of reacting to the same experience. One is then the opposite and the compensation of the other.

Subconscious Expectations Due to a Lack of Love: Dependency and Independency

We come, more or less, fulfilled or unfilled out of our childhood and start to look for a new nest with high expectations of doing things differently and finding our great love at last. Of course, there is nothing wrong with longing for love, but subconscious expectations are a problem. What are these subconscious expectations? We can roughly say that we all hope that our partner will give us what we did not receive or did not receive enough of from our parents: safety, love, attention, and respect. These are the fundamental needs of a child. The more unaware you are of the emotional history of your childhood, the more your experiences will continue to play a disturbing part in your relationship.

Anna had always been mad about her father. He was a charming, easy-going man, who had social standing. He was not at home much. When he came home, Anna was showered with presents. When she became adult, flirting with men and pleasing them had become an important part of her behavior repertoire. When she got married, she constantly went out of her way to keep her partner’s love. Her husband, an older man, felt devoured by her, and after five years decided to leave and a divorce followed. During a Spark of Light Week she came in contact with the little girl who had missed daddy so much. She saw that her behavior was, in fact, the cry of a little girl, ‘Daddy see me, stay with me. Daddy, do you love me?’ From under her tears of deprivation came anger towards her father, who was hardly ever there and who bought off his absence with presents. ‘I don’t want your presents,’ she shouted in anger. ‘I want you!’ By allowing this explosion of anger to happen, she started to feel more independent of men. Her anger made her stand firmly on her own two feet and straighten her back. This gave her the power to lead her life as an adult woman and later to have an adult relationship with a man.

This is an example of a woman who remained a little, emotionally hungry girl, but there are also many examples of men who are still little boys emotionally. We often cannot see it as clearly in men because, in our culture, they have learned to function in the outside world and “be a man.” Yet there will be many women who recognize their husbands in the following example:

Edward is a successful businessman. He is the father of two daughters and has a nice wife who does everything in the home, brings up the children, and manages family life. When Helga reaches forty, she starts to become discontented with their relationship and the division of roles between them. She is fed up with taking care of everything and looking after him. During their marriage, she has felt more and more as if she is his mother. ‘I’m not your mother,’ she sometimes snaps when he expects her to pour him a cup of coffee or lay out his clothes in the morning or when he sulks if she is not at home when he comes back from work. He does not understand what she is [going] on about. He brings in the money and has made sure they live in a beautiful house.

Men especially find it very difficult to become emotionally adult. Men have often a strong mother bond because they are doubly bound to mother—not only was she the first human in their life but also of the opposite sex. This is also the case (and quite frequently so) when the relationship with mother was not good or unfulfilled.

A recent study by the University of Utrecht in The Netherlands in which men were asked about their physical and psychological well-being, showed that “men’s health starts to deteriorate if  ‘mother’ does not squeeze out the oranges or has no time to make her husband’s sandwiches.” The more women work outside the house, the worse men feel. A fifth of men, whose wife worked 32 hours or more, did not feel all that well. They had more stomachaches, headaches, and backaches and felt more depressed. They paid less attention to their diet, started drinking more, and went to bed later. An American study in 2001 confirmed the results of this study.

Socially mature and emotionally immature—it happens more than we want to admit. Nowadays there are many well-trained, emancipated young women who cannot find a suitable male partner because they refuse to play the role of mother. It is often not easy for a man to see his immaturity. It does not tie in with the idealized picture of the successful, well-functioning man, but whoever wants to become really mature, will want to unmask false self-images and get to know himself in his entirety. He will bite the bullet and learn to untie the knot between past and present. Anyway, when you have found yourself, you will not need a self-image. Images are usually illusions and used to camouflage the lack of being. It is exactly these self-images that keep you away from yourself... the ones you started using to make people love you. In the end, it keeps love away from you.

Affective want does not always have to express itself in dependency behavior. It can also express itself in behavior that is too independent. The child that has been hurt says subconsciously: “Contact was not good for me. I do not need anybody anymore.” Often a dependent and an independent type seek each other out. They form a perfect complementary couple. Perfect as supplement, but are they also perfect in their contact? Everything goes well as long as they are not conscious of their survival strategies, but the problem starts when one of them wakes up, and consciousness is alerted. The pattern then starts to slide, and the first conflicts often begin.

Subconscious Repetition Due to Fear: Fight or Flight

Want and longing not only continue to play a part in your relationships, but also your fears and the connected patterns are an indication that history repeats itself. A man wrote the following to me:

I have noticed that a lot of the history I have with my mother continues to play a part in my relationship with Careen. The fact that my mother ‘farmed me out’ when I was six years old and sent me to a boarding school for the children of bargees goes much deeper than I thought. I have always ‘excused’ her behavior because she suffered, too, but my part of the story is feeling fundamentally rejected by her, which resulted in a fear of being rejected by women. All kinds of questions are going through my head now: Why haven’t I ever had a proper relationship and why haven’t I ever really been in love? Damn, that’s why! I notice that while I’m writing, I’m getting really angry about it (alas, no carpet beater at hand). Because of my mother’s rejection, I have been robbed of a lot of healthy human feeling and development. I felt deeply unhappy and lonely in secondary school because I was unable to go about with girls and handle sexuality in a ‘normal’ way. Why did I accept so much from Careen all these years? I know why now because I was scared to death that she would reject me. I always thought I did it because I was such a nice, sensitive young man who understands everything and can be so patient. That element is part of it, and I’m still proud of that. It is not easy, however, to face up to my own responsibility for my own situation. It means that I have to get down from my self-made pedestal and modestly enter into the world of those that are hurt. And yet, it offers immense pure prospects for Careen and myself. I see that my brother has exactly the same problems and is also caught in a relationship that completely drains him. I think that this is a good point of contact, I must stop playing a role here, too, namely that of the big successful brother.

Fear of loss and fear of rejection play a gigantic role in our relationships whether we are conscious of this issue or not. You take your early childhood attitudes towards your parents with you into relationships. There can only be room for really adult relationships when you have not only become aware of the story of you and your parents but have also emotionally digested it. This emotional digestion is really important. Just mental awareness is hopelessly inadequate to unravel your closely-knit old and new relationships.

Next to being petrified by fear, as in the example mentioned above, we see the reaction of the flight into fighting. It will not surprise us that Freddy’s wife has chosen this form of survival. She has primarily compensated her old fears by defying and by testing other people’s limits. Her fears are hidden under anger, as his anger now emerges from under the fear. Relationships are almost always complementary with regard to survival patterns. This is not for nothing. You subconsciously search for a chance to let the snowed under part of you come to the surface because you see it mirrored in your partner. That is the background of being in love; it is primarily determined by these subconscious search mechanisms. Perhaps you think that you are pulling the strings when you chose a partner; sadly that is far from the truth! The true determining factor is your subconscious emotional needs and longing for completeness.

Subconscious Repetitions Due to Conflicts of Power: Power or Powerlessness

Power also plays a more or less open role in most relations. That is not surprising if you realize that childhood is per definition characterized by an imbalance of power. A lot has gone wrong around the subject of power depending on the fact to which extent power and power struggles were prominent. When power was more important than love in your childhood, you will taste the bitter fruits of this in your future relationships, and this means power struggles in all shapes and sizes. Another example:

Anne and Gerard are both primarily people who repress anger. They are both full of old, bottled up charges that try to find a way out of their bastions of suppressed emotions.

Relationships often have complementary patterns: somebody who primarily represses sorrow will seek safety by somebody who represses anger and visa versa. These two patterns will keep each other better in balance than two people who both repress anger or sorrow. But this is not the case with Anne and Gerard; their relationship consists of constant fights about anything and everything. It is, in actual fact, about who determines what. Both have a background of childhood powerlessness against parental dominance without love or respect.

It is possible that you withdraw into powerlessness from old experiences of   misuse of power. People who have primarily repressed their sorrow, often with anger underneath, will tend to have a pattern of powerless. It is, as it were, the Yin side of the same hurt

Jealousy 

Jealousy is a phenomenon that plays a major role in relationships and has also spoiled many of them. This reminds me of a couple who, years ago, came to see me in my practice: they were both desperate because of her morbid jealousy. In the evenings she investigated every hair on his jacket, she listened in on his telephone calls, and sometimes she sent a detective after him. He looked like a dog with his tail between his legs, and he did not know which way to turn. All three of the above mentioned relationship patterns play a role in jealousy: fear of loss, possessiveness (power), and being affectively unfulfilled. As you can see, putting something into a framework is difficult, especially life.

Repetition of Habitual Patterns

We often tend to subconsciously repeat the marriage patterns of our parents, or we offer resistance to them. You may have the tendency to do things exactly as your parents did, or you want to do it in a totally different way. Before you marry, your parent’s marriage is the only reference you have. As a man, you will tend to be often absent if your father was often absent. If your mother cleaned compulsively, you will have the tendency to do the same or oppose this behavior. In either case, you are not free.

Part of your relational liberation process is becoming conscious of what really belongs to you and what comes from one of your parents. Repetition always means standstill and is not original. It is role behavior that has been learned. If you take that behavior out of your relationship and place it where it belongs, your relationship will be much livelier.

Relational Therapy: To Encounter or Incounter

From the previous, it will be clear that we often think that we have married Mabel or Abel, but in reality we have married mummy or daddy. These subconscious marriages are always part of our so-called adult relationships. These subconscious marriages with father or mother determine a great part of the fortunes of our intimate relationships. Yet we often do not want to know! After all, that realization would encourage us to take responsibility for the relationship and Work at it. I often hear of people who have grown apart because they have been in relational therapy. If I continue to ask questions, it turns out that patterns that have originated from the relationship with the parents have not come up for discussion. The therapeutical work was then mostly “horizontal work” or encounter work, whereby it is just about the conscious meeting of two people. This work is, in part, fruitful when people learn to express themselves towards each other and make new agreements. But, as has already been said, subconscious mechanisms play a major role in relationships, and as long as these do not come to light, the effect of a therapy will be restricted to doing one’s best again or separating.

Without incounter there will not be a good encounter. Plainly speaking, this means that horizontal work will not flourish without vertical work into the depths of the subconscious. When I started my therapeutical work in mental health institutions in the Netherlands, I was often at my wit’s end as an arbitrator between quarreling husbands and wives, whereby one said “white” and the other “black,” and they took turns in shouting, “Yes, it is” and “No, it isn’t.” And it was all about events that I had not witnessed! When I had had my own practice in later years, I started doing things in a fundamentally different way. I did not go into current conflicts but went straight into the depths and worked, in turn, with the man or woman while the other was present, too. That worked—a new commitment to each other and insight into the deeper backgrounds of both them and their partners developed, particularly because of being present at each other’s depth Work and at the unraveling of childhood pain—because of this depth work “pennies dropped” with regard to their relationship. Because these insights originated from emotional work in the depth, seeing their own less pleasant behavior was not a threat anymore. My own experience and the experience with many other people has taught me that commenting on behavior is usually threatening. People start defending themselves, or they become complete imbeciles which was my own favorite defense. Suddenly, I could not understand what was going on!

I allow very few so-called feedback rounds during my groupwork, that I called Spark of Light Work, even though they are customary in group therapies. It is not interesting or beneficial to know what we think about each other. Of course, you can learn from your projections if you take them back. But the disaster has usually already taken place, which means the group feels unsafe. My motto, in groups and in relational therapy, is keep your house in order and do your own inner Work under your own supervision. That is healthy emotional management.

Spark of Light Work and Your Partner

Now that we have had Spark of Light weeks for some years, a phenomenon occurs with regards to the partners of those who take part. One of the most important consequences of participation is that you acquire a taste for clearing up everything that stands in the way of the light. The joy of “clearing up” is an important part of our weeks. It is also a revelation to see how intense, frank, and revealing contact is between people who did not know each other beforehand.

When they return home, people have an intense need to share such an experience with the family, usually the partner, but then notice how difficult it is to put the experience across. There are a certain number of partners who feel the need to take part, too. This happens more and more, thank goodness, and it is wonderful to see how old relationships that were usually bogged down in habits and patterns receive a new impulse because people not only gain insight into those patterns, but also because the deepest pain and need come to light in each other’s presence. By sharing each other’s pain, people are often able to become children together again with all the accompanying butterflies in the stomach!

There are, however, also partners who find it threatening that their partners change. Becoming more like yourself often means that you will want to change the patterns that have crept into your relationship. Many relationships are, as we have seen above, complementary. Where one is active, the other is passive; where one is dominant, the other is more obliging. We often see the pattern of the giver and the taker. If you discover the neurotic background of your behavior of giving and going out of your way and want to change this within your relationship, your partner may not like it because it forms a threat to his or her position within the relationship. “I won’t be able to be the Princess anymore,” the partner of a Spark of Light worker once exclaimed honestly. Two things are then possible: your partner opens himself up to the change from neurosis to a more real, complete, symmetric relationship and starts to work on himself, or the partner refuses to change and to grow. In the last case, you can do two things as a Spark of Light worker: you remain faithful to your own growth and development and risk losing your relationship, or you adapt again, to your old, familiar, situation and to the complementary relationship and end the Spark of Light experiences. I have seen both reactions and it is, of course, everybody’s own free choice. However, how free is such a choice? Fear of loss plays a major role. After all, all change is accompanied by fear and the old, familiar patterns are, however unpleasant, appealing.

The Work we do in the Spark of Light weeks is no small matter; it is about the basis of your existence: about the choice for light or dark, for freedom or false security, for depth or superficiality. This choice should be checked again and again and perhaps also accentuated, depending on how serious you are about your inner Work.

Of course there are relationships that have such a good, solid base that intense Spark of Light Work can be shared without the partner feeling the need to take part in such an experience. It will be different for everybody. The nicest road is the road you take together. It is wonderful when, especially on this road, you can stimulate each other to drink deeply from the cup of life. And surely that is what a relationship is about: challenging, stimulating, and helping each other to become whole.

A Few Ground Rules for a Relationship

Here are some ground rules for maintaining a healthy relationship:

  • Give as many “I” messages as possible instead of “you” messages;
  • Realize that every reproach is a longing and express that longing;
  • If sex has become routine or not pleasant, give each other a massage (without sex);
  • Take time for each other: go and sit down with each other, look at each other, hold each other, and tell each other how your day was;
  • Undertake breathwork and test work;
  • Become children together;
  • Differentiate between nourishment and poison, and only chose nourishment;
  • Most important: take turns, on a conscious level, in being a good mum or dad for each other’s needy, hurt child. Get to know the richness of being sometimes as a child, sometimes as an adult, and sometimes a parent with regard to each other.
  • If you do decide to separate, say good-bye properly. This ground rule has three parts: I am thankful for..., I blame you for..., and it is a pity that...

Kahil Gilbran2 said the following about marriage:

Love one another, but make not a bond of love:
Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls.
Fill each other's cup but drink not from one cup.
Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.

Give your hearts, but not into each other's keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.
And stand together yet not too close together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other's shadow.

The Courage to Be an Individual

During my teenage years, the Danish philosopher Sören Kierkegaard was one of my favorite writers who inspired me to start on the path of “Know thyself.” His plea that I should “Go to the place where the real earnestness is to be found, namely in having the courage to be an individual” appealed to me. I disliked fashion and what is right and proper. I hated the mediocrity of daily life and was searching diligently for a path and a freedom that could take me to that place. Although I was outwardly still quite adapted, inside a different path was taking shape. I felt like I was always on my own from a young age onwards and found in Kierkegaard not only an ally but also a teacher who put the sad “not belonging” on a higher plane and showed me its profound advantages: “Is hunting with the same pack, the meaning of living?” he said to his contemporaries. I lapped up these words. Later, in the Gospel of Thomas, I read these words of Jesus: “Many stand at the door, but it is the one alone who will enter the bridal chamber.”3

The realization of the blessed condition of being an individual took years of hard Work at consciousness and liberation. I became aware of how often I ran with the pack because of fear and how I adapted to what is expected in our society. I became aware of how much the expectations of others, especially teachers and parents, were a part of me.

There are so many things that are expected of us from the moment we are born: we have to grow up, be a big boy or girl, do our best at school, be tidy, be nice, etc., etc. In reverse, from birth onwards, we expect all kinds of things from our surroundings: that we are loved, that we are respected, that we are given freedom, food, guidance, and so on. Between these expectancies from both sides, a lively trade by barter springs up. To receive love, we behave in an obedient and well-adapted way. To receive support, we give up some of our dynamic energy and keep quiet and so on. I live according to your expectations and you according to mine, and in this way we have a nice social contract that is based on unfreedom. Everybody survives in this way. But is this life? We are often not aware of how much our behavior is influenced by convention and unexpressed agreements. The influence of fashion and the force of habit is considerable. But even more considerable than the dependency on certain habits is our dependency on that original trade by barter which we call upbringing. To what extent do we live according to the expectations of other people in our relationships? That expectation is, however, always neurotic, a continuation of the childish barter: “If you do what I say, I will love you.” Usually, it is the subconscious demand for the other person to amend and fill in what we did not get from our parents. Living according to the expectations of others is always neurosis and thus slavery! Becoming aware of these patterns of expectation, (yours and as well as those of other people) and liberating yourself is Work that will lead to freedom.

Florinda Donner, a colleague of Carlos Castaneda, says in her book Being-in-Dreaming, “An iron discipline is needed to become a dreamer [she means a person with a heightened awareness]. With this iron discipline, I do not mean that we have to keep to exaggerated, strict rules, but that we should not pay attention to what is expected of us.”4 I agree wholeheartedly with this definition of discipline. I do not care about other definitions! This is the true definition!

The fear of being on one’s own, of being a solitary individual, also within a relationship, is one of the greatest obstacles on the path to becoming light. The realization of light is a unique and individual struggle that everyone must undertake in his/her own unique way. It is the path of becoming true to your own wise heart that knows its own way, whatever people say of you, and how many may walk away from you. It is a dangerous way, not one for followers and hangers-on but for the brave individuals who dare to go their own unchartered way and take risks by letting go of socially esteemed certainties. It is a path for those who dare to be self-sufficient and stand completely, also emotionally, on their own two feet.

Fritz Perls, the founder of Gestalt therapy, once recited the following poem:

I am I and you are you

I am not here on earth to live according to your expectations

And you are not here to live according to mine

I am I and you are you

If we meet each other, it would be nice

If not, so be it

Fear of Swamping

At the basis of all problems between men and women lies the deep fear of being swamped/overwhelmed—the man by the woman and everything she stands for, and the woman by the man and everything he stands for. The tendency to allow herself to be swamped has expressed itself during the last centuries in dependency behavior and being compliant. Women have developed less trust in their power because of what has happened to them during the hundreds of years of patriarchy. It would be getting too far off the subject to discuss this history more deeply. (There will be more about this in my following book). Men have just as great a fear of swamping, but that is expressed differently.

Men tend to distance themselves emotionally and do not really get a feeling for the world of women. The man chooses the bastion of dominance and the benevolent patriarchy to camouflage his fear of being swamped. But deep under this dominance lies a fear of delivering himself up as he once had to do during matriarchy. Under this fear, the anger of old humiliation lies hidden—the anger of being just an errand boy for women.

These deep, ancient, imprints influence us more than we realize. It is good to be aware of them, so the current learning game between men and women can also be seen in the framework of that old light and darkness. It helps to put things in perspective, at least with regard to your own limited story of relationships in relation to the larger story of male and female polarity here on earth. This is what Jung calls the amplification method: looking at the archetypal background of your own personal story so it not only becomes clearer, but also more bearable. You can then wink at each other and say, “Yes, you are a different species, and that is rather scary.”

Proceeding from this fact, it is important that women’s groups and men’s groups exist. In a men’s learning group, a man can learn what authentic male power is; and in a women’s learning group, a woman can learn what her unique female power is. An encounter with mutual respect is possible when it stems from our own power, but not any sooner. True power carries vulnerability. It is the vulnerability of the pain that has been overcome. True power has to do with the discovery of your unique manhood or your unique womanhood. The man does not have become womanish nor the woman mannish. Because of the mutual encounter and fertilization, the man can embrace his inner woman and become wholly man. In reverse, the woman can learn to embrace her inner man and become wholly woman.

We do not really know what being a man or woman really means at the moment. As long as we do not know who we are ourselves in full completeness, we will put all kinds of images of men and women between us out of fear. It is important to treat each other’s fears carefully and with respect from the knowledge that these are very old traces of imprints that carry further than our limited self. It is up to us to learn what real manhood and womanhood means.

Male and Female Partnerships

Up till now, I have spoken about the male-female relationship because the polarity of male-female energies is essential in a marriage. With this, I do not want to deny the value of male partnerships and female partnerships. I, myself, have lived for the past 25 years-and still do- very happily together with a woman. What is important in relationships is that we learn to bring the male and female energies within ourselves in balance and integrate them. We can do that in a male-female partnership, but just as well in male or female partnerships. We are all a very unique mix of male and female energy, and sometimes it is more meaningful and pleasant to start this work of balancing with somebody of the same sex. It is also the case that “this Work” should be done with a man at certain times in your life, and in a different phase with a woman—all entirely according to your own taste and choice.

Not having to live strictly according to traditional rules is a blessing of our modern, Western world. There is room for many variations of living together according to taste and preference. The process of liberation has caused people to identify themselves with their sexual preference. “I am a homosexual.” I think that this is a limitation just as all identification is. By saying that you are heterosexual or homosexual, you close something off. You can, of course, say that at this moment in your life you prefer to have a relationship with a man or a woman. You then let the door of your heart open for other possibilities and enriching experiences. The Dutch cultural sociologist and trendwatcher Carl Rohde has an interesting view:

All kinds of sexual forms have secured a place in our times. The role that the consumer society plays is obvious. All impulses that can earn you money should be possible. The consumer society has contributed to the emancipation of homosexuality in this way. Men were really only seen as breadwinners up till the 1950’s. They worked their socks off and hardly realized that they had a body. This was the way he looked after his wife and children. In exchange he received care and attention (also sexual) so he could go back to work again. That started to change in the sixties. In the consumer society, men have suddenly learned that they are also allowed to buy things and to enjoy themselves.5

I shall outline the various possibilities of male and female partnerships. According to me, there are three backgrounds from which people chose such a lifestyle.

1. There are people who strongly identify with a specific sex from a past life and continue with this identification while they are of a different sex in this one. These are men who look feminine and would like to live as women. There are also women who would like to live as men and also look male. This category likes to identify with their homosexuality.

2. There is, subsequently, a very large category whereby problems with father and mother play a role (just as in male and female relationships as described above). It can be very beneficial for this category to live together with a partner of the same sex. It is more difficult for a woman to make up for the lack of mother love with a man than with a woman. It is necessary that this need for catching up is consciously done and that this lack is also made up for in a conscious way. In the first place, this means that you become aware of the differences between your need as a child and as an adult, and that you subsequently approach your partner as that needy little child. It is also possible that a man has such a great need for a father figure that he prefers to be intimate with a man. The same applies here. For both, the opposite is also possible; a woman can have such negative experiences with regard to her father that she does not want anything to do with men. Likewise a man may have had a very domineering mother or their bond was so strong that he cannot make the transition to the second woman in his life. If you do not become aware of the underlying dynamics, stagnation may occur.

3. Finally, there is a group of men and woman who choose each other because their bond is from a previous life, and they want to continue it whatever the sex may be; they choose a certain person or soul. These people identify the least with homosexuality or heterosexuality. They would rather call themselves bisexual, if they did have the need for a label.

I would, finally, like to remark that life is more complicated and richer that what is captured in this outline, and that people often have a mixture of these three backgrounds. What is really important is that we, through relationships, get to know ourselves and love in all our richness of male and female qualities.

Male and Female Energy

I shall end this chapter with a description of male and female characteristics. These should be seen as completely separate from men and women. It does not matter if we are a man or a woman in this life, what is important is that we find our balance between both energies. Especially if we realize that we were both men and women in previous lives, our womanhood or manhood will be put into perspective. What are female qualities? Marcy Foley6 has a striking description:

Female energies refer to pure creative power before it has obtained a form and the possibility to produce energy. Female energy is present in our intuition, inspiration, creative impulses, openness, receptiveness, compassion, empathy, tenderness, and in all forms of artistic talent. Male energies refer to the ability to give form to that which the female principle inspires. They give us the possibility to set limits. They are present in our clarity, courage, power, grounding, assertiveness, structure, focus and in our linear, scientific, and mathematical way of thinking.

The aim of the learning process of relationships is to merge both these qualities within ourselves, whatever nature they may have.7 The school of relationships should be seen in the light of this background. The more we are aware of this learning process and the more courageously we commence this Work of balance, the more pleasant, significant, and fulfilling a relationship will be. Also applicable here is the fact that life will become more pleasant and endlessly richer when you face your shadow of subconsciousness.

 more in my book: the liberating power of emotions.

 

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