You Have to Molt
In arthropods, such as arachnids and crustaceans, molting is the shedding of the exoskeleton (which is often called a shell), to let the organism grow. The butterfly, for example, emerges from its chrysalis, its wings kept close to its body until it recovers from the effort of its a transformation. It then spreads its wings and begins to fly not very well at first. Flying is a learning process not unlike the metamorphosis of a human being into a new way of feeling and relating. I use a caterpillar changing into a butterfly as an example because of its ultimate beauty. Also the caterpillar molts from the head down the same way we need to change our minds.
Those raised in an emotional/psychological hell, develop a psychological shell which is felt to be protective. It incorporates all that the child learns to get along with or to seek forgiveness from the powerful figures in his life. It incorporates a lot of guilt and whitewashing if not worship of the abuser. Molting exemplifies the necessity of total change. Changing a little of this or that in your appearance or demeanor to get an unloving person to love you is no change at all. To change yourself from being attracted to those who can’t love or for you to be unloving, your childhood thinking has to be surrendered by it’s “not me.”
Children whose parents are welcoming and loving develop a psychological persona, not a shell. Their way of relating is roomy and ready to be traded for some new kind of love interaction even on an experimental basis. They have no fear of falling into an emotional abyss. They know from relating to parents who do not claim perfection, that a wrong choice can be easily given up. No problem. There is a sense of freedom.
It is fear of giving up the childhood shell of imagined protection which keeps the adult who had a damaging childhood, seeking love from the same type of person as the parent. That adult feels frozen like a deer caught in the headlights because it exists in the terrified child brain which sees no other possibility. The child’s brain says if you try to change the one who attacks you, it can only get worse. The adult may scream and weep about his miserable love life but his childhood mind says stay here.
People suffering from the repetition compulsion endlessly fall in love with those who cannot love them. They replay a childhood wish that finally the parent will love them. The child also clings to repetition as a superstitious act which believes that doing the same thing wards off greater danger.
I got to the place where I molted out of my containing child’s view of love, by suffering. I failed and failed again to get love from the same kind of unloving person. I suffered to the point where I knew that I did not know who or how to love. I threw in the towel of repetition, was desperately lonely and unhappy. Being in that empty space was a huge step forward. I had no shell. The childhood shell which rationalized life with attacking and rejecting parents kept me as an adult from feeling love when it was offered. A shell misshapes your view of reality. It turns present into the past you have always known.
So it was when I was in an exceedingly lonely state I met the man who was to be my husband. Lacking my screen to distort receptivity, I immediately felt him a kind, intelligent and caring man who did not lie. Coming from a rejecting childhood, he did not think I meant it when I gave him my phone number. Heartbroken, I waited for his call. We ran into each other on Main street a year later when he was driven to put aside his shy demeanor and try to pick me up. I slowly recognized him, had a brief careful talk, said goodbye and went into the supermarket. He called me up that night. Had my phone number written on his wall by the phone. We met for a date at a macrobiotic restaurant. Liked the food. Happily and instantly we became a couple He put no barrier between us. I felt so much love from and for him, was constantly close to tears. I had molted out of the miserable “known” into wonderful emptiness. This made room for him to get close to me, which he did. And I did to him.
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