Partners very often carry each other’s opposite energy and have polarized into the two. My parents carried each other’s disowned energy. My mother was the emotional one, the one with all the passion and the one making and keeping all the social contacts. She was also the one who liked to spend money and the one who could be impulsive. My father was the one who was always rational, unable to show any emotions, not as skilful at connecting with people; he was thrifty and always striving to provide for a safe financial future.
Only since my mom passed on, has he begun to reclaim all the energy she carried for him. He has surprised us with how good he is at connecting with others and really caring about other people. My children are hearing for the first time in their life an, “I love you,” from their grandfather. He shows emotions more comfortably and has embraced enjoying life.
Why is that possible? Has he suddenly learned to be social and emotional and able to spend some money on himself without guilt? No. That energy was always part of him, but my parents had an unspoken contract, that they would carry each other’s unwanted energy. This contract is not conscious, so as long as my mother was alive they were not able to shift out of this polarization and to reclaim their lost parts.
One of the energies my ex-husband and I had split up between us was being a parent. His attitude towards parenting was very different from my mine. He was more relaxed about being a parent, going with the flow, sometimes flying by the seeds of his pants. Being a teacher, I looked at parenting as a series of opportunities to provide educational moments. I planned ahead and made sure we always had something educational, creative or active to do. I was also—and that’s where the problem was—invested in being the better parent. I would take care of all the school-related situations, after school activities, play dates etc. He didn’t have a chance to step up and be the parent he was capable of being. When we split up, I suddenly saw a man who wanted to be involved, who stepped up to the task.
At first, I was outraged. Why hadn’t he parented like this before? Why hadn’t he shown more interest when we were still married and had supported me more? I felt really unappreciated in everything I had done all those years. I felt like he took advantage of me and left me alone with something he should have helped me with. Initially, I wasn’t able to see how the children would benefit from this.
It took me quite a while to realize that he was always an invested parent but had not seen a chance to display it until the situation changed. Who has gained from this are our children who have been able to grow up with two very different parents, two different views of the world and the freedom to choose which one works better for them. He is the best dad my girls could possibly have, not because he has learned to be like me but because he had an opportunity to claim his own parenting energy and be a fabulous co-parent for me.
A very common polarization between partners is splitting up the energy of being angry and peaceful. When one person is afraid of anger, the anger goes “underground”. One possible result is that they can draw an angry partner into their life. This angry partner might be mirroring one of the subject’s parents or another person from their past. As a child, they have learned that it is not good to be angry as anger can be abused to suppress and hurt others. The subconscious decision then is never to feel angry; thus this part is being pushed away.
Benjamin has grown up with a step-father who was an angry alcoholic. In his childhood home, it was either his step-father’s way or the highway. At age 16, he ran away from home and never came back. He learned that anger is destructive and that he is weak and helpless when confronted with it. His choice at age 16 was to run away, instead of addressing the situation in a more productive way.
The vacuum which exists when we deny energy activates a certain frequency and we draw in another person with exactly the same frequency. Before Ben realizes it, he is married to Grete, a partner who displays anger frequently. When she is frustrated, she yells, believing that it is better to express your frustration loudly. Ben, however, has learned to be afraid of anger and aggression. When somebody yells at him the fight, flight or freeze responses are activated. Usually he flees or freezes.The Little Boy inside of him cannot help himself.
The more Ben shuts down and does not communicate, the angrier Grete becomes. They are caught in a cycle of frustration. Ben feels unloved and is judging Grete as too angry, and Grete feels unheard and unappreciated and views Ben as weak and too soft.
We always have to remember that NO energy is bad! Every energy is useful and serves us when used with consciousness. Anger energy is very helpful when someone threatens us. It is also useful as a forward-moving force. Anger gives us feedback that we perceive something as unfair and that we need to step up to make a situation fairer in some way. Anger helps us to be more assertive and to stand up for ourselves and others. The key to using anger productively is awareness that it exists and needs to be fed and used consciously.
The only way out for Ben and Grete is to embrace the opposite energy more. Ben needs to get in touch with his own anger and stand up calmly and assertively. Grete needs to understand that softness and gentleness can be a very useful and persuasive energy as well. By taking steps towards each other, they are both becoming more complete and are able to communicate and interact more productively.
What energy is your partner carrying for you? What are you carrying for your partner? Give yourself and your partner the gift to become more whole by doing some shadow work.