Our Other Half
The One and Only
The question that has haunted me as a woman is if we indeed need that one man or one woman who can give us the feeling that we are special and more than just okay. If only we meet the One, who will turn out to be our prince on a white horse or our soul mate, we do not have to be afraid our lives are worthless. This expectation meant for me hoping that the man I would become engaged to, would also make my parents proud and happy. Then we would live a successful life, raising beautiful, intelligent and witty children. That is not how it went. And for a long time I thought this was due to the fact that I was a failure as a woman: not pretty or nice or witty or sexually attractive enough.
The day to day relation
Only when I found myself back in therapy during my turbulent marriage, it started to dawn on me that being in a love relation does not mean, that ‘they lived happily ever after’ can be achieved. The most painful lesson for me was the discovery that it is not enough to be willing and prepared. In our day to day relation it becomes clear not only the power of love plays a role, but that also the black and slithery sides of our personalities can no longer be denied. By working as a therapist I know now, I am not the only one for whom a love relation was and is frustrating. At least a thousand times I wondered what this frustration is about. How does it come that partners in love can make life for each other so damn difficult? Is there any sense in this kind of suffering or are we wasting our time? For me the answer is Yes of course, there is a sense but if you ask me what sense, I still do not know exactly. It is a mystery. Can it be that we only get to know who we are in close relation with another human being? Can it be that we needdaily to look into the mirror of the other that shows us our real face? To become who we really are we will have to accept that we can only become that man or that woman, that in first instance was already present in the womb of our mother. This means that our lives are beyond logic and therefore more surprising than one and one is two plus a house and a child, a tree and a pet. (Dutch expression)
Human beings are bisexual
According to some myths the original human being is androgyne: masculine and feminine. Or in other words: bisexual. If this is still true, it is not hard to imagine that men who believe they are just men and women who think they are only women will suffer from intensive inner conflicts. Our masculine and our feminine side can be engaged in a struggle that is as passionate as the struggle between lovers. Carl Gustav Jung* named the masculine element in a woman “animus” and the feminine element in a man “anima”. He stated that we cannot directly get in touch with our anima or animus, because they are not part of our conscious personality. Our subconscious found a magic solution: it projects our longing for our anima (our soul) on women and our longing for our animus (our mind) on men of flesh and blood. This means that by projecting, we can get a glimpse of that part of ourselves we don’t know. A way of projecting is to fall in love. With men it can work like this: they long so passionately for the beauty and the sensitivity of a woman that their sexual energy can rise sky high. A man in love is able to go to the end of the world for a woman he hardly knows. Maybe her blond curls or her mysterious smile or the warm sound of her voice touched him in the depth of his anima. And the woman who is chosen probably will feel honoured in the first place. She will want to fulfill his expectations, but deep in her heart she knows the day of truth will arrive, the day he will understand and experience that she is not the Goddess he believed her to be.
Verbally talented men
Women often fall intensely in love with verbally talented men: gurus, heroes, writers, actors, therapists, trainers, singers, artists, men who seem to know ‘ít’ and are even able to express what ‘ít’ means. Women who are hooked this way, can forget who they are themselves and become ‘the servant’ of the master they adore. The ‘lucky’ man will – presumably – at first receive her attention and admiration, but he will have to face the fact, that after all he is not that prince on a white horse she thought he was.
The turning of the tide
Falling in love can be wonderful, we imagine ourselves in heaven on earth. Pity the tide always turns. If it becomes clear that the man we fell in love with is not as wise as we expected. Or the woman not as desirable, our golden projection can change from one minute to the other to a black one. Especially when it is about love at first sight, we better be prepared. The first period as lovers we have fun, we make love, eat, drink and sleep together. It seems we are in paradise. But then she starts claiming him or he wants to posses her and his or/and her jealousy bring them back to earth. He thinks she became boring because he feels claimed and does not realize that his own anima, his own feminine pole can also be pretty boring and sulking. The problem is that her nagging voice is evident, while his nagging is still unconscious. He has no idea how discontented his own soul is and reproaches his loved one because she disturbs the romance. She in her turn, became without knowing, the prisoner of her jealous animus who projects his/her mistrust on her lover. Constantly she is afraid her lover will meet another woman he will like better than her. The joke is that both can be right. But if he does not know about his own moody anima and she has no idea of her own unfaithful animus, the danger is that they reproach each other what they better could face together. Our mistrust can become so enormous, that we as lovers become too afraid of each other to be in one room. We are transformed into a monster and a witch, who poison each others’ lives.