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I’ve known feelings are contagious since I was at least a teenager. My mood affects others, and the closer someone is to me, the more they are affected. And vice versa. This has caused a funny issue lately. I’ve appeared moody to others recently, and this is because I am partly shifted out of victim mode and partly still stuck in it. Sadness, anger, fear and other “negative” emotions appear within me unchecked, as they used to, but now there comes a point where I make a conscious choice whether to continue the emotion or let it go. When I sink deep into the emotion and stop the story around it, inevitably the energy of the feeling dissipates and disappears. This leaves me in peace and with calm and easy joy.

To others, this just looks like perpetual PMS. The issue this creates is that my nearest and dearest are on this ebb and flow with me, unbeknownst to them. I feel like a puppet master. I stomp around in crankyville and eventually, my husband is reacting in that same energy space and if given enough time, so are my children. I move out of crankyness, and they’re still stuck in it. Some more time in my joyful energy and they move out of it with me. And the cycle goes on.

Years ago I read a book by David Snarch called Passionate Marriage and I hold much respect for his important work. In it he discusses differentiation. He says it is a key to a successful relationship, to be able to be in your partner’s space and not take on his/her moods. It sounds logical, which these days automatically causes me to squint with suspicion because logic relies on the mind, and the mind is subject to boundaries.

On closer inspection it begs the question, if transference is unnatural then why does it come so naturally? If energy is not meant to jump from one particle, atom, organism to the next then it wouldn’t. But it does. At the same time, that does not mean it is meant to be, just that it doesn’t automatically mean it isn’t meant to be. And those were a lot of double negatives right there.

I am half of the happiest highly functioning relationship I’ve ever known in real life (I’ve seen some amazing relationships in movies, I must admit), and we have transference and very little differentiation. Is it a part of the magic, or part of the imperfection? Can’t be sure. I do know that if I am sad, it’s nicer when those I love are not quick with a joke and instead seem mournful and concerned.

I think we are most comfortable when others mirror us. It helps solidify our reality, allows us to perpetuate our story which perpetuates our emotions. However, I am not sure it is necessary to actually feel the emotion the other person is feeling, but to approach it from a place of compassion. Compassion for me often meant searching my soul files for experiences that matched what the person was feeling so I could catch their wavelength. Now, I see that it does not necessarily mean suffering with, but is an awareness of their suffering.

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