Friday, April 27, 2007

The Third Way

No, not the phony third way of Clinton and Blair from the late nineties, but a psychological third way I’m trying to carve out of my experience. My two other ways, that give the third way its thirdness, are for me: a "therapist self" who is understanding, listens well and asks good questions. The other way is a closed, withdrawn, forever-impinged-upon self who would rather not bother with other people and gets angry at my wife when she has "issues" and “problems.”

The third way is a murky experiential space in between the false, understanding self and the sullen, burdened, withdrawn self. It’s difficult to find it, but recently, on two occasions, I have in my reactions to my wife. I seem to project onto her my hopelessness of ever developing or having a progressive process. When she speaks of her problems, which I’ve heard before, I hear this as a hopeless beating a dead horse and my constricted self arises. She, while upset about the problem, also feels that sharing about it is part of changing it. When I name and then speak of the hopelessness I'm projecting onto her, there seems to be a third way of being in between falseness and withdrawal. I’m forced to bring more of my real self to the interaction.

It's an odd experience to perceive her situation as hopeless, to feel I know that in reality this is hopeless, and then shift perceptions and see that there is no objective hopelessness here, but a projection of my own hopelessness. The state of the world alters in that moment. My biography was determining my reality.

1 comment:

Ursula said...

I like your "third way". So you can get a distance - an emotional distance, not an intellectuel one - from your obsessive occupation with your self. I think, you can find this "experiental space" more often, if you chose very small steps, more precisely, if you allow yourself being satisfied by taking very small steps (as the opposite of changing yourself by one gigantic step or being enlightened or changing the whole world or things like that).And in this experiential space your progressive process can develop, also step by step over a long time. Furthermore I think having found this third way is just a rather big step in yur progressive process.

Sorry for my bad knowledge of English. I hope you can understand this thoughts all the same.