BENEFIT FROM BONDING
You bond (co-depend) when you and your lovers react to each other as though first one, then the other of you is a parent, then a child. This is natural and inevitable. And, when it’s sweet, you and your lovers enjoy positive bonding; you nurture and protect one another.
But also inevitably, you feel vulnerable (hurt, scared, shamed, stressed, tired, jealous, insecure or threatened) and hide this vulnerability. Then, instead of showing your Vulnerable Inner Child, you respond in a defensive voice. Ofttimes your initial defensiveness touches off a defensive reaction in your lover, to which you respond with further defenses. Hal and Sidra Stone call this duel of your defensive subselves negative bonding.
Example: In the positive part of their bonding, Jim and Sue take turns nurturing each other. The negative phase touches off when Sue keeps yelling until Jim, becoming parent-like, judges and analyzes her critically. She collapses into a helpless, crying child.
They end the negative phase when they each express their vulnerability and see the voices the other expressed in the bonding as their own subdued subselves. Thus, Jim can raise his voice instead of letting Sue do all the yelling and she can become intellectual and analytic as well. They return to sweet bonding and Center-Center relating.
When you and a lover experience sour interaction, use the cues below to help you learn how your bonding pattern works and how to shift to your Center, the conscious, balanced perspective from which to choose to relate.
Read the cues in bold print aloud to the lover concerned. Read anything enclosed in square brackets [like this] silently. Three asterisks (***) indicate your partner responds; the symbol ### means you, the Reader, speak as indicated.
Sit on this cushion; the position for your Center, where you hear all your inner voices.
Recall, then tell me when you felt pain, fear, insecurity as we related to each other. ***
Say how we interacted in parent/child ways. ***
What bothered you about how I acted in relation to you? ***
Move to a cushion from which you’ll roleplay me. [When your partner has moved, say,] Pretend you’re me; roleplay me. Exaggerate what I do and say. Say what you, as me, fear, think and suspect.***
Now move to a cushion where you’ll be yourself in relation to me.
[When your partner moves, say,] Respond to me. As yourself again say more than you already said to me; tell me how I make you feel. Express your feelings, irrational thoughts and impulses; exaggerate your feelings; express more. ***
Now return to your original cushion, the Center.
[When your partner moves, say,] Tell me what vulnerabilities‑‑feelings of insecurity, fear, hurt‑‑you and I activate in each other. ***
How do I represent a disowned voice for you? ***
Describe your relation with me in parent‑child terms. Expand what you told me before about how you and I shift between enacting parent and child roles vis‑a‑vis each other. ***
In what ways does the pattern you’ve described with me re‑create part of the pattern you had with the people who raised you or a brother or sister? ***
Stand behind me now, facing the seat in which you enacted the voice within you that you projected on me. Maintain neutrality, observe objectively. As I review the main things you said in the disowned voice, sense its energy ### [Summarize what your partner said.]
Now return from standing in the Witness position to the seat for your Center.
How can you, Center, nourish my vulnerable, Inner Child without overbalancing your own voices? ***
How can you integrate the disowned voices I represented into your life as your own voices? ***
EMPATHIZE, STAY LINKED
Partner up for the experience below, so you each explore your inner jealous and empathetic voices and strengthen your discerning Center. You befriend your inner Jealous Voice, see how it developed and learn how it helped and keeps helping you.
Your Jealous Voice confronts you with your deepest needs; it can show what you need to do to love yourself and let others love you.
Jealousy points to what you can reprogram to become more loving to yourself and others. You learn to both honor and transcend your jealous concerns. You re‑experience the underlying, loving consciousness you, your beloveds and their beloveds share.
In the Jealousy/Empathy experience, you balance your Jealous Voice with your Empathetic one. Your Empathetic voice celebrates the joy your beloveds share with others.
You feel both Jealous and Empathetic Voices from a discerning, inner perspective. When you embrace both voices, you are in your Center or Aware Ego. Your Center values both jealousy and empathy. Your Center also hears and honors the needs, hurts, fears and delights of the Child within that the Jealous Voice protects.
Honor your Jealous Voice’s impulse: protect your Inner Child; assure it love. Heed also your Empathetic Voice: rejoice in your beloveds’ pleasure. Choose actions that recognize, accept, coordinate and synthesize the needs of your Jealous, Empathetic, Child and other (Practical, Spiritual, Sexual) voices.
Love and enjoy the people in your life. Spread love and community.
GUIDING PARTNERS. You’re the Reader, your partner’s the Responder. As Reader, read the cues aloud. Read anything enclosed in square brackets [like this] silently. Give your partner a few breaths’ time to respond aloud where you see asterisks (***).