Home > Outer Child, Uncategorized > Separate Self Versus Symbiotic Self!

Separate Self Versus Symbiotic Self!

I’m trying to throw things out – I’ve collected thousands of pages of my writing over the years. Can’t I just junk it?

Well, I’m trying, but a page stared back at me from the garbage pile – over a decade old. I had written it right after my marital partner (best friend, lover, soul mate) of 18 years suddenly, and without warning, up and left me for another woman.

In the midst of emotional torment so intense I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get through it, I wrote a prose-poem about the struggle between my symbiotic self and separate self.

I felt as if he had flayed my heart, or at least severed the aorta. While it seemed that I was bleeding to death of heartbreak, I realized, somehow, that I was an adult who could stand on my own two feet even under such dire circumstances.

My symbiotic self was shattered, but my separate self somehow sent out a peace signal.

The separate self was a part of me that hadn’t had a chance (or need) to assert itself in over 18 years (because I was too busy enjoying coupled bliss). Newly emerging, this part of me was a real contrast to my symbiotic self – and a real life savor.

The separate self can survive on its own. It doesn’t need to have someone in its corner, someone to belong to, someone to return to at the end of the day.

In short, the separate self can survive without a background object. It might not like to, but it can, and if it must, it will do so with grace.

Losing your background object (the person from whom you gain a sense of security even when you’re not conscious of it) can lead to an unbelievably strong emotional crisis – something that feels worse than a nervous breakdown! Mine was so ferocious that I couldn’t believe that my lungs continued to suck in oxygen.

But when I got in touch with my separate self, I immediately knew where I had to place my focus. I recognized my separate self as my highest adult self. This was the self which I set out to nurture, build, discover, embrace, and appreciate.

In contrast, my symbiotic self continued searching for the missing piece, looking for daddy, yearning for its other half. My separate self, a whole person by itself, kept asserting itself, keeping me focused, saving the day.

At the time of my abandonment, my symbiotic self had filled up its missing half with the idea, the fantasy, the belief that someone was there—that I was loved and found and kept – a belief that proved to be an illusion. What I learned was that the symbiotic self held many such illusions – just waiting to be shattered.

I realized that my newly discovered separate self had to develop the idea of…I wasn’t sure what.. of its own two feet, its ability to give to itself in the moment.

Both selves operated within me and continue to do so, only now, I have learned a lesson, which is, to continuously and diligently celebrate my separate self.

The separate self (in me, in you) doesn’t desperately seek its other half. It says centered in the moment, looking to bring a full sense of life through its own senses, the sounds of life, the sights, the smells, the feelings, the sensations – all of them under its own power and control.

So, I threw out at least 1000 old papers, but I kept this one – because I’m still working on it.

  1. Michelle
    November 10, 2010 at 3:02 pm

    I feel as if this piece is a gift from the Universe meant just for me! It arrived in my email box at a perfect time — just after my therapist and I had spent time discussing this very idea. I am beginning to “get it,” I am healing, and I am so grateful!

  2. Heather
    November 10, 2010 at 3:31 pm

    I would not have figured out I was emeshed with my mother had I not gone through a painful breakup with a man I was hoping to marry. That was 8 years ago. Had I married him, I don’t think it would have worked out. I did not have a good sense of myself. Boundaries…

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