We’ve been trying to coexist since the cave days. Every which way, we seek control and harmony. Maybe the problem is right there in that sentence. We are on a quest to have two non-compatible elements rule our existence.
Coexistence happens between lovers, friends, roommates, workplaces, siblings, offspring, and any relationship that involves more than one person and a need or desire to function as a unit. Easier said than done. Counseling is the word of the day. A place and a person that helps us define what is wrong with us and how to fix it. Regardless of the can of beans, you’ve been sold, counseling is mildly helpful, something like a bandaid on a dripping wound. This is why we spend decades returning for more counseling session after session while we spend money for this bandaid. Hey, it’s better than nothing.
Personally, I found counseling confusing, manipulative, and deceiving. I won’t be returning any time soon. This does not mean that I don’t wonder why relationships are so corrupt, even with one’s analyst.
During a conversation with a colleague on this very subject, she mentioned the difficulties she was having with her mother and stepfather. Dysfunctional doesn’t even start to describe them. They appear to have a symbiotic relationship, meaning they seem to lack the ability to function without each other. This could make sense with couples that have been together for half a century. What is different about how they interact is how they condone unacceptable behavior in each other in an attempt to never stand against each other. It’s odd to watch. Are they happy? This is a difficult determination to make since we cannot see who they really are. They seem to play good guy, bad guy games with people close to them.
My friend’s father lost his mother to cancer when he was five years old. His father later passed when he was a teenager, and he was raised by his older siblings. This situation would cause trauma in any person. He married his wife during his early twenties and called his wife “Mom” since the day they married and continues to fifty years later. Clearly, they established a Parent-Child relationship as described in Transactional Analysis. So, the husband-wife bond mutated into a Mother-Son bond. Freud would approve.
The wife’s story is also complex since she had lost custody of her baby son when the child was three years old.
This union of this man and his wife merges two profound traumas. He lost his mother. She lost his son. Their joint dysfunction began and continued to grow for fifty years.
This particular story made me wonder if our traumas rule our lives completely. Relationships that unfold in a scenario where my trauma wants to coexist with your trauma could have a better-suited foundation than sharing the same faith and other external criteria.
Love and attraction may have less to do with forming a solid union than dulling our inner pain by matching our traumas. All other aspects of the relationship could be rendered useless once the needs of each person’s trauma have been satiated. It sounds insane, but clearly, this makes some sense.
Relationships that do not survive could find that they are not properly matched in their traumas.
Had my friend’s stepfather married a woman who had not lost a child, the relationship could have ended since his need to replace a mother lost at a young age was not being met. Had the woman married a man who had no need for her to mother him, she would remain in pain, suffering the loss of her child since she was unable to replace this child. The void was alive.
I don’t mean to sound trivial, but maybe dating sites are missing the boat entirely when matching people since these very relevant aspects are not a part of their equation.
Imagine, for one moment, that my thinking has some foundation, all the pain and suffering that could be avoided by knowing what you need and why. There is no shame in having a need. It is a shame that they cannot be met for lack of methodology.
Identifying your personal trauma requires sincerity and patience. Contrary to what you may think, I’m not proposing you cure your incurable trauma. I am proposing that you find the right match for it. This type of match would make coexisting easier and could be conducive to some serious loving.
Thank you for reading.