Issue 108 –
Where Has Love Gone Part 13
Bonding Through Our Judgmental Selves
Hal & Sidra Stone
This world is a world of judgments, and we think it is safe to say that one of the primary ways people hook into bonding patterns is through the judgmental parent that criticizes other people, or through the inner critic that criticizes one self. The combination created by the teaming up of an outer judgmental parent in one’s marital partner and a powerful inner critic within oneself guarantees abject misery!
Judgment comes through the judgmental parent selves. Discernment comes through an aware ego. It is a task of the first order for each of us to catch hold of the difference between these two selves. By doing so, the power of the aware ego is greatly enhanced and our whole relational system is markedly affected.
The people who get bonded into our judgmental selves represent the selves that we have disowned. As we have shown previously, one of the ways that we can discover our disowned selves is to ask the question: “Whom do I judge?” The people we judge are direct representations of our disowned selves.
Sara cannot stand powerful women who act in an authoritarian, judgmental, and dominating way. Sara is much more identified with her loving feelings and has a tendency to be at the mercy of a strong inner critic who criticizes her for any deviation from warmth and compassion. We automatically have a series of bonding patterns set up here between Sara and any strong judgmental female that she happens to meet.
Let us say that she meets Sue, a strong, opinionated, and dominating woman. Sara immediately enters into a bonding pattern because her vulnerable child is activated by the judgmental mother in Sue. Since she cannot handle her vulnerability, Sara’s own judgmental and rejecting mother takes over. It may never be expressed verbally, but she can feel its judgments inside. The feelings from this side cause her great stress, and the inner child feels correspondingly more vulnerable because it fears retaliation, attack, and abandonment.
In a situation like this, Sara bounces back and forth between vulnerability on the one side and feelings associated with anger and judgment on the other. These kinds of bondings are responsible for a large portion of the stress we feel in relationships in general. Let us add to this an inner critic that says to her: “You shouldn’t be feeling angry; you should be handling this situation better; when are you going to grow up?” Sara is now thrown more deeply into the vulnerable victim daughter and feels more and more helpless in relationship to Sue. It is in this way that our disowned selves, in projected form, invariably become our persecutors in life by becoming dominant factors in our bonding patterns, much as Sara’s did.
Dean is a strong, effective, and powerful man who is a physician. Control is essential for him. He places great demands on his nurses, and he has a reputation for having a very heavy turnover in his office. He hates inefficiency, weakness, and vulnerability. By some strange magic, a large number of the nurses he hires seem to have a fair amount of these characteristics. This happens in bonding patterns over and over again. Dean’s judgmental, controlling father literally hires its disowned self over and over again. He wonders why it is that so many nurses have such vulnerable feelings and are so incompetent and needy. He remains locked in a powerful bonding pattern, judgmental father to victim daughter, until each nurse quits because she cannot stand the pressure any longer.
In Dean’s case, he also has a son who has these characteristics. This is the nature of these patterns. So long as Dean is identified with the controlling and judgmental father, one or more of his children will very likely be thrown into the victim child, another may possibly be thrown into rebellious child, another may possibly identify with the strong parent and develop in that direction.
What we want to illustrate here is how powerful these energetic connections and bondings are, how they determine the direction of lives around us, and how much stress they are capable of creating within us.
Sadly enough, we often cannot recognize a bonding pattern until matters have gotten out of hand or exploded, or until the two people are in an abject state of depression. These situations are not fun, but once people develop a better understanding of the concept of bonding, it is surprising how much faster difficult relational issues can be worked through. It requires real work and time to create a conscious relationship. How else, though, can we discover the nature of these patterns that have affected most of our lives since very early childhood?
The gifts of relationship are many. Certainly one of the major gifts is the possibility of becoming aware of, and separating from, patterns of feeling, thought, and behavior that have been with us all our lives. This separation brings with it an absolutely amazing feeling of freedom.