QA182 QUESTION: What’s happening for me has been a little bit confusing. In the past years, when I think I was giving in and compromising, actually what I’ve been doing is giving the other partner so much reign that the other partner is taking or took complete control. {Yes} I certainly know what I want and I have expressed it. However, it’s an unpleasant thing to go through. Because it almost feels like anger – or what I feel is a healthy anger – maybe I’m angry about having to become a man. I feel as if some people will have to die in the process, because I really am determined to move forward and that I can no longer concern myself with people who are not willing to move too. You see?

ANSWER: Yes. My answer, to put it in the simplest and most understandable terms, is that in the past, your weakness – as you know and as you have had ample opportunity of finding out in the course of your work, as it is usually the case – was largely determined by the greedy desire to get something for nothing, to be taken care of, to get away with something, to cheat in life in some subtle fashion – not outwardly, of course, but inwardly.

This weakness has made you submit constantly in many, many ways – has made you capitulate. And this may happen with women just as much as with men. This has nothing to do with the sex. It just happens in your case that way. Now, this submission with women might be misunderstood and may be called feminine surrender. It is no such thing. In your case, being a man, it has made you ashamed of the weakness. You started hiding it. You resented it; you resented the other person; you felt diminished.

Yet at the same time, you could not take the chance of asserting yourself, because that would have meant to pay the price for living. Therefore, you punished in a hidden way, in a spiteful way, in indirect ways. So that instead of being assertive and aggressive, you were spiteful. And instead of being flexible and compromising, you were being submissive.

Now you make the transition in which you are struggling to regain a new balance structure in which you become healthily assertive and aggressive and strong, without the rigidity of the fearful hiding side of the self, and where you can therefore afford the luxury of making decisions as they come along. Here you will give in; there you will assert yourself. Here you will decide to be yourself in an uncompromising way; there you will decide to be yourself in a way that can give a little and take a little.

Your trouble is that you want to determine what happens when, by outer rules, which you have done all your life. This does not work, of course. Because when you do make such decisions by what is expected of you or what is supposed to be the right thing, you immediately must become confused.

So, in order to really successfully make this transition in you, I would advise, first of all, that you accept the fact that you may make many mistakes until you regain true balance. That is perfectly all right – take each thing as it comes and forget about what others may say.

Ask yourself: “What is the issue involved?” Are you true to yourself? Are you merely spiteful, or are you really asserting your autonomy and your integrity as a human being? Or are you, in this issue, giving in to the neurotic demands of another person because you yourself have neurotic demands and fear to assert yourself? These questions must be asked on all the issues as they come, and if you bungle it here or there, that is perfectly all right. That is really no tragedy.

In fact, if you’re determined to learn each time you make a mistake, and you see yourself a little better and really try to find your own inner answers from the feeling you get from within by working it out honestly, you cannot go wrong. Even no matter how many times you may go into this extreme or that extreme or the pendulum may swing a little bit in the opposite direction, that does not matter.

You cannot go wrong when you honestly ask yourself, “Is this spite or is this autonomy? Is this submission because I fear and want something gratuitously, or is this truly wanting to be fair and square and give everyone the same rights and a loving attitude of finding a common denominator?” At one time, the one may be right; the other time, another may be right.

So if you ask yourself these questions, you cannot go wrong, even if you do not always find the answer in each issue or do not find it immediately. So you are very well launched on this transitional period or phase in which you gain your adulthood, as it were. And you are right, much of your anger has to do with that, because the child in you did not want this. It wanted a free-for-all and therefore submitted. Is this clear?

QUESTION: Yes. Of course I have been asking those questions. I’ve been constantly thinking about this whole thing. I feel that there are two states of survival. The old way is a sure way of survival. {Yes} The new way I feel is also survival, and I want it desperately, more than the old way.

ANSWER: Yes! That is a very, very beautiful and blessed thing. For the old way, yes, it is survival. But living with all these old fears and defenses and pretenses and the whole thing – the way you have lived, the cheating way, which always necessitates the defenses – all of this means that you really let life slide through your fingers, that you do not realize the tiniest part of the possibilities of everyday fullness of living, not always being happy. Not yet.

Too much has to be worked out before this can come about, but happy in a different sense, happy in a sense of being intensely involved and making every minute a rich experience, and knowing that you learn and grow from it – and increasingly finding the capacity to deal with life in a new resiliency that is much more strength than the old rigidity. This is the excitement and the peace of truly living and that you have forfeited by clinging to the old pseudo-safety. So indeed, a new life must now open up for many of my friends.

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