Dealing With Abuse in Love Relationships


Why do people keep making the same bad choices in relationships? Maybe they are attracted to abusers again and again.  Maybe they keep going back into the same abusive situation.  Why?  In the following interview it becomes clear to Sara that the problem is not with other people or external stressors, but her own fear. That fear is sensed by others who use it to manipulate and control her.  What can be done about it?  The answer Sara gives herself in this interview is to first listen to her fear and then fight it when it comes up in relationships.  If she will do so she will connect with a part of herself that will allow her life to glow from within.

Sara: “My boyfriend pleads with me to come back, says he’ll marry me, then once I do he wants me to leave. This happens again and again. I am afraid of being alone and I am so stressed out, I sometimes want to kill myself!”

“All of this brings up fear for me, which reminds me of blackness. When that blackness takes shape it turns into a pirate!”

Here is what Sara’s “pirate” had to say:

“I am a crazy pirate and I’m above Sara. I don’t keep to the road; I go roundabout ways. I like that I can do what I want!  I can cause Sarah tremendous fear.  It gives me a lot of power!  Then I’m happy!  I have rum! While there’s nothing I dislike about myself, I am disturbed in having relationships with women. I don’t treat them well and they don’t treat me well.  We hurt each other; we fight!  I choose my women the way I want and when I’m done I just get another.  I am the part of Sara that has problems with relationships! I personify her fear! I’m not afraid, though, and to be fearless feels super!”

“I would like to be somewhere else. Sarah sucks.  How about treasure hunting on Bimini!

I score myself ten in compassion and inner peace and eleven in witnessing, because I don’t think about anything and drink rum! I am a nine in acceptance and a five in wisdom. I have great compassion for rum, so I a one in compassion!”
“If I were to score tens in all six of these qualities  I wouldn’t be a pirate any longer.  I would be a rum-drinking mermaid! Actually, I would be a normal human being on a boat.  I wouldn’t be fighting with people all the time.  It’s far too exhausting.  It’s quieter and more relaxed to be a normal human being on a boat.  How long it will stay that way I don’t know.  I may want to become a pirate again.”

(Sara is instructed to practice switching back and forth between being the Pirate and a normal human…She finds it difficult…)

“If Sara scored like I do she wouldn’t be thinking so much.  She would be witnessing a lot more.  She would be far more relaxed in this world! I wouldn’t do so much fear if it was my life.  She would do more meaningful things, that are joyful, that are fun, like going to the sauna and relaxing and taking good care of herself. When her fear does come up, if I were here I would massage Sara’s shoulders and tell her “Don’t fear!  When the fear comes, Sara’s shoulders move up and she pulls her head in.  Like a turtle… I would fight the fear!  With my sword! If Sarah became afraid if she imagined she was me with my sword out she would be able to defend herself against that fear!  She would fight by stabbing the fear in the heart!  It would be like another pirate. At that point the fear would turn into a flame.

Would you be willing to stand guard with Sarah to help her protect against her fear?

“No, I’m too relaxed.”

She has to be willing to take up the sword and protect herself?

“Yes!  I don’t want to have to do that.”

“I recommend Sara focus on things that are pleasant and don’t cause her stress because sometimes it’s getting to be too much. What would help her would be to go to get a job, to do things, to work.  That would give her confidence.”

She has been looking.  It’s hard to find a job!  Do you know someone who will hire her?

“She has just found a little job.  It’s super! I would also have her focus on her relationship with her daughter. She’s sad when she takes her home.  She tries to hide her sadness before her daughter.”

“It would be helpful if Sara would imagine she was me when there is stress with her boyfriend.  She would become more relaxed and then she wouldn’t suffer.”

Sara: “What I heard myself say was that the Pirate is fearless, crazy, and doesn’t keep to the road. That he chooses his women the way he pleases.  He does not suffer from relationship problems.  He likes to fight and drink rum!  It doesn’t matter if he fights with women. He is totally relaxed on a boat on the water.  He doesn’t care at all about other people’s dramas and problems.  He isn’t interested in fighting at all.  He recommended that I can fight my fear and that I ought to fight my fear because it’s always in the way.  It makes it impossible for Sara to take care of herself.

Pirate, does her fear make it easier for other people, like her boyfriend and her mother, who covered for her stepfather, who sexually abused her for years, to manipulate her?

“Definitely yes! They can push her around because of that fear.  That’s why it’s important to stab this fear in the heart.”

Flame:  You were the heart of a Pirate that got stabbed, right?  You turned into a flame?

“Yes.  It’s good to be a flame.  I’m nice and warm!  I want to be in her life.  It would be awful if she didn’t have an inner flame.  If she were aware of me all the time then she wouldn’t be afraid any longer.  To have me around more she needs to pierce the heart of her fear when it comes up.”

“I think Sarah needs her fear to stay stuck for a little while in some self-pity before she takes up the sword.  But I can tell you that those times are becoming shorter and less frequent…”

“This interview is telling me that everything is going to be all right.  I do believe that.”

When Sarah shifted roles her sense of self changed.  As the Pirate she was much more confident and detached.  She was no longer letting phony compassion, for example, worrying about the feelings of others and then playing the rescuer, keep her trapped in her relationship fears. When the pirate transformed into the healthy man she added to that profile a sense of relaxation that she is very much missing in her normal, everyday life. Sara tends to worry way too much about things and people she cannot control.  As the “reformed pirate,” she is no longer stressed out by such things.

When Sara confronted her fear she became the flame.  By doing so she connected with a potential that is strong, good, and nurturing.  These connections were inner realities for Sara; no one told her this was how she needed to be.  The fact that they exist within her are undeniable to her and strengthen her confidence and her ability to say no to fear and abuse in relationships.

Such experiences reframe drama and trauma, but they do not remove it.  What they do is help a person to wake up to how they get stuck again and again in feelings, thoughts and actions in relationships that do not satisfy. At the same time, they provide an alternative way to move forward that feels authentic and realistic.  Because these are state awarenesses, they must be re-experienced again and again on a daily level in order to become strong enough to become Sara’s everyday state of mind.  This is why work with another student of IDL or a Practitioner makes sense.  You need someone to hold you accountable, to check in with your “Pirate” or “Flame” to see how you’re doing.  While people often say that they make more progress in one or two sessions of IDL than they did in years of traditional therapy, more than interviews is necessary.  Real healing, balancing, and life transformation requires an integral life practice, and that works best with two support communities: your growing internal group of interviewed emerging potentials and those who are familiar with IDL and are using it in their own lives.

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