Self-Containment and Neediness in Relationship – Part 13
Hal and Sidra Stone
We are each basically responsible for our own lives and for our own feeling of well-being. It is necessary, in the final analysis, to be the responsible parent to our own inner child. We cannot expect our partners to carry the ultimate responsibility for this child.
One of the fantasies that we all share at some very deep level is that the relationship will care for this child and we will all live “happily ever after.” That is not the way things work in this life.
In addition to the vulnerable child, there is within each of us a very needy child, one who will cling onto our partner with the panic of a drowning person clinging to a potential rescuer. This very act of clinging makes our partner unable to help us, much as it interferes with the ability of the rescuer to perform his function when the swimmer clutches him frantically around the neck.
When you feel this extreme neediness or panic, you can know that you are in a subpersonality that requires your own attention. You may share this information with your partner, your partner may help you talk with this child, but you are the one who must listen to the child, find out what it needs, why it is afraid, and what can be done to help it so that you can take care of it appropriately.
It is important at some time in your process to differentiate between this very needy child and your vulnerable child.
Both can make a relationship more creative and both can effectively destroy a relationship. It depends on whether or not there is an aware ego that can use these energies more consciously.
In relationship, the reaction of your partner will automatically give you information as to which child is operating at any given time. Your partner will usually move in closer when the vulnerable child is present and will behave in a loving fashion. However, when the needy child is present, even if the partner begins by bonding in from the good parent, sooner or later the withdrawn parent will appear and sever all connection.
The lack of self-containment of this needy child makes relating impossible. An aware ego changes this because it knows how to express the needs of the child in a conscious way in order to get what it needs and wants. We each must learn how to express our neediness in relationship with awareness. Otherwise it will sneak out in a million different ways and ensure the development of strong bonding patterns.
When we surrender to the process of relationship, we embark upon ajourney into unknown lands. We learn much about ourselves, the way in which we relate to others, and how we might best move forward in our own process. We learn who we are and how to behave responsibly both in terms of our own selves and toward otherpeople. We learn about how to truly be with another human being and how to truly be with our selves.
We learn how to care for ourselves and how to nurture and protect our inner child in a more conscious fashion.
Self-containment is a necessary element in this kind of relationship. Knowing about our selves, defining our own limits and boundaries, setting our own priorities, adhering to our individual set of values, recognizing our own contribution to a given situation, and being able to differentiate this from another’s are all very important.
We can expect the relationship to enhance our process and to lead us further along in our own evolution of consciousness, but we cannot place this responsibility upon another person. We may help one another, but the person ultimately responsible for our selves is ourself.