"Living our Process in Human Relationships"
Excerpt from Living in Process by Anne Wilson Schaef
When we live our process, we are not self-centered, and we are not defined by others. Others may not always like our respecting our process, and they will like it when we are respecting theirs.
I ran into a friend I hadn't seen for a long time and she looked marvelous. The last time I'd seen her she was depressed and angry and complaining about her husband and seemed to spend a lot fo time in this state. I remarked on how well she looked, and said that I was pleased to see her so happy.
"Oh, I've just spent two weeks in a cottage all by myself at the beach. It was absolutely marvelous," she exclaimed.
Knowing that she and her husband had plenty of money, and seeing the effect that being at the beach had on her, I said, "Why don't you get a cottage at the beach so you could go there whenever you want?"
"That's out of the question," she said. "My husband hates the beach. He likes the mountains. We have a place int he mountains. I am a married woman and one has to make compromises," she growles, returning to her angry , depressed state.
It's difficult to believe that this is what the Creator asks of us in this intimacy of relationships.
Too often, we have structured our relationships so they cannot meet the needs of those within them. Often, typical relationships that could be meaningful and growth-producing are busy with seven simultaneous relationships.
THE SEVEN RELATIONSHIPS
1&2. Each person has a relationship with their spirituality -- their self. These two relationships are essential primary relationships and are necessary for any other relationships to occur.
3&4. these two relationships are each person's fantasy relationship woth the other. In healthy relationships these relationshps can be fun and playful and are usually chared: "I see you as my knight in shining armor." "You aree poetry in motion." These fantasy relationships can enrich relationships when both individuals know that they are clearly fantasies and not real or important. It's only when one or both partners keep these fantasy relationships secret and/or project them onto the other that the relationship is in trouble. Honesty is critical. If the relationship cannot tolerate honesty, it's in trouble.
5&6. These are the mask relationships. Mask relationships are made up of my mask relating to your mask and are the hallmarks of dysfunctional relationships. Most relationships have some aspect of masked selves to them. Relationships, and hopefully intimacy and reality, can melt the masks fairly quickly and the relationships evolve. There are some mariiages and other relationships that are built entirely on maks relationships, and one feels a progressive deadness in those relationships.
7. This is the real relationship that exists. This realationship may never be present in some lives, and it is always a blessing when it is. This realtionship is the one that mirrors, reflects, and augments our primary relationship with our living process. When experiences with another human being, this relationship is very precious. This relationship is a process, not a "thing."
From the Trade Paperback edition.