January 29, 2014

The Need for Recognition – Healthy and Unhealthy

by Lel4nd on Flickr
by Lel4nd on Flickr

Ten years after my divorce I’m still having a difficult time letting go of the anger I feel toward my ex-husband. In so many ways, I felt I was never recognized nor given permission to be myself in that relationship. I simply never measured up to his expectations which is why I ended the marriage. One would think that would solve the problem, right? It didn’t. As a matter of fact, it made it worse. Because I was never fully received by him, I felt no one professionally, personally or even within my family could receive me because that had always been my experience even long before I was married. When I got married, my hope was that in finding that other person to “complete” me, I would never have to feel less than again. Not true! What I’ve come to realize is that my own expectations that my husband would provide me with a sense of self I’d never had before was truly an unhealthy need and was ultimately the issue that broke our relationship. Thankfully, I had a very telling dream about this subject last night which is helping me to finally move past my anger. I now understand that the recognition I’ve wanted from others is really what I need to be giving to myself as that is a healthy expression of the need for recognition that promotes acceptance rather than rejection.

2112969037_3886b5df54In the dream I was taking care of my youngest son who in waking life is 20 but in the dream was a one year old again. I loved being a mother and miss my babies even though I don’t necessarily miss all the work that accompanied motherhood. So to have a baby again was a bit of a blessing and a curse in the dream. Once again I found myself doing all the work. Although in the dream I was smiling and cooing at my infant son truly loving him unconditionally, I was still tirelessly getting him dressed, feeding him, changing his diaper, keeping him entertained and happy while at the same time maintaining a home and career. But then the dream took a turn. Suddenly my ex-father-in-law showed up offering to take the baby for a while. Interestingly, in the dream he gave me a hug and genuinely was concerned how I was doing as it had been years since we’d seen each other. I was a bit taken aback because this was a man who never accepted me and always criticized me for being outspoken and independent and didn’t think I knew my place as a woman. The idea that he was offering his assistance shocked me and I gladly let him take my son but then my ex-husband show up and suddenly I wasn’t happy anymore.

by sun dazedImmediately, I became defensive – a masculine quality in myself I’ve truly mastered and have absolutely relied on as a form of self-preservation (strike before being stricken) – except, my ex-husband was following suit with his father. Instead of telling me how I was doing everything wrong, he smiled at me and was offering to take the baby. Unfortunately, my programmed defenses took over and I was unable to reciprocate a friendly exchange. Consequently, everything in the dream went south. My ex and I began arguing and I felt that familiar sense of wanting to annihilate him – again a masculine quality that brings me comfort as I can’t be denied in that expression, however, this was exactly the problem. In the dream, my ex-husband was recognizing me as a woman in power and was offering me relief that I was not willing to recognize I needed. My inability to claim what would help me caused me to project onto my ex all my frustrations as if they were his fault. Should I have recognized that it was safe for me to be a woman accepting help, which didn’t mean I was somehow disempowered in that act, conflict would not have been necessary. Luckily I was lucid enough in the dream to wake myself up knowing this was an unhealthy expression that I needed to change today.

Photo by Art By Doc 2 on Flikr
Photo by Art By Doc 2 on Flikr

I didn’t grow up with permission to be a girl. My mother considered women to be the lesser gender – a myth greatly perpetuated in our culture and religions. As women we were to match the masculine as this was the only way the world would receive us. Naturally, I gravitated toward a partner who expected me to be more of a man than a woman unconsciously thinking this was the recognition I needed that would bring me acceptance – it didn’t. The problem with that way of thinking is that it’s out of balance. In reality, my ex-husband did expect me to be a man and never could see the beauty of my feminine nature but that wasn’t his fault. Our spirits are made up of both masculine and feminine energies regardless of which gender our bodies choose in this lifetime. My dream was telling me that I still only recognize and give power to my masculine nature and not my feminine essence which is only creating unnecessary conflict in my life. What I realized is it’s not about a man recognizing what I need, it’s about me recognizing and accepting my feminine nature and learning to trust and rely on it when necessary which at times means asking for assistance without that diminishing me in any way.

by Scinern on Flickr
by Scinern on Flickr

What I have witnessed through my work as a clairvoyant counselor is that when we enter into relationships thinking our partners are our other halves we end up building resentments because they cannot receive all of us. However, when we enter into relationships balanced in our own feminine and masculine energies, we achieve togetherness and love as we are recognized for all our glory. It is through recognizing and accepting the totality of ourselves that allows us to be whole and therefore create relationships built on harmony instead of conflict. This idea that women are less than is thankfully changing today. However, we cannot rely on others to validate or heal this for us we must validate and heal it for ourselves if we truly wish to have connection in the ways we desire.

May you find healthy expression through balanced recognition of yourself!

Michelle DesPres

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