Standoffs in Relationship:
Couples often end up in my office when they are facing a standoff. This arises when one member of the couple begins to withhold from the other. Sometimes this actually comes at the request of one of the partners to the other, but more often, not. But when it does, one has had enough of the other and requests some space. This often provokes the other’s wound. This is especially true in the case of abandonment. The abandoned partner will play nice for several days trying to be nice enough. When this fails, they sometimes begin mounting their own standoff. Here arises something of a counter threat. Each side withdrawing from the other some of the benefits of the relationship. Resentment ensues. Sometimes relationships end here in a stalemate.
Narcissism Yields to Friendship in Relationships
But as we mature, the possibility of greater benefits act as a counterweight to the diminishing benefits of independence as it wanes… And in this crisis moment standoff, new possibilities emerge like embers from fire. Narcissism has reached a place of yielding as the heart begins to glow. The couple begin to feel this and the tenderness between them glows as they learn the art of breathing oxygen rich air onto the embers and bringing greater warmth to those in proximity. This has the effect of drawing each member in closer, especially so as dusk gives way to night. We instinctively want to be drawn in to something warming. Doubly so when it is heart warming. Producing this effect is a calling from one member of the couple to the other. It beckons, come meet me inside this ember, the flame having had its way with us. We are more than merely burned and we know the road ahead will be better with the company of a friend.
Developing Friendship in Relationships
Becoming the friend is the work in the relationship. The friend has a sensitive ear. Like a drum resonating with the vibrations of the other. The friend knows the way, but won’t say it so directly. The friend works slowly, patiently. And he often begins his work in the place of greatest need. This is where the calls for him are the loudest. In my office, the archetype of the friend is cultivated and the fire that once burned begins to be approached again, with greater sensitivity and with longing to be warmed against the backdrop of night’s approach. Around this fire gathers the character that the friend has developed over the course of our lives. Stories are told and relived. The reliving allows for the realization of interpretations that have been made, often offering the possibility of new interpretations, new meanings, the possibilities of different endings and a new experience of the fire with the comfort of friendship.