P1 The attitudes of submissiveness, aggressiveness, and withdrawal are the distortions of love, power, and serenity. I would now like to speak in detail about how they work in the psyche, how they form a supposed solution, and how the dominant attitude creates dogmatic, rigid standards that are then incorporated in the idealized self-image. As a child, the human being encounters disappointment, helplessness, and rejection – both real and imagined.
These feelings create insecurity and lack of self-confidence, which the person seeks to overcome, unfortunately often in the wrong way. One of these pseudo-solutions is love. The feeling is, “If only I would be loved, everything would be all right.” In other words, love is supposed to solve all problems. Taking on more and more self-effacing characteristics in order to gain the love and protection which alone seem to promise safety from annihilation, they comply with the real or imagined demands of others, cringing and crawling to the point of selling their souls to receive approval, sympathy, help, and love.
Unconsciously such people believe that self-assertion and standing up for one’s wishes and needs amounts to forfeiting the only value in life: that of being cared for as a child, not necessarily in financial matters but emotionally.
P2 They use these fake weaknesses as a weapon and a means to finally win and master life. To avoid uncovering this falsity, these trends become incorporated into the idealized self-image. In the same way, those whose pseudo-solutions are different, will find aspects of this submissiveness in their psyche. The person with the predominantly submissive attitude will have a somewhat harder time discovering the pride that prevails in all these attitudes.
They may discover in themselves a reaction of aloof criticism and contempt for all people who assert themselves. Simultaneously, the submissive type may also admire and envy the despised aggression of others, in spite of feeling superior in “spiritual development” or “ethical standards,” and may wistfully think, “If only I could be like that, I would get much farther in life.” Pride, hypocrisy, and pretense are present in all of them when incorporated in the idealized self-image. The submissive type will have a harder time finding the pride, while the aggressive type will have a harder time finding the pretense.
P3 You comply in order to have others comply with you; you submit in order to dominate, although such domination must always manifest in soft, weak helplessness. Anger, fury, shame, frustration, self-contempt, and self-hate exist for two reasons. They exist, first, for denying one’s true self, for the indignity of being prevented from being who one truly is. One then believes that the world prevents self-realization and abuses and takes advantage of one’s “goodness.” This is projection.
In the second category is the seeker for power. This person thinks that power and independence from others will solve all problems. Here the growing child believes that the only way it can be safe is by becoming so strong and invulnerable, so independent and emotionless, that nothing and no one can touch it. Power drive and aggressiveness can manifest in many ways and in many areas. It may be directed mainly toward accomplishments, to compete and try to be better than everyone else. Any competition will be felt as an injury to the exalted special position one needs to accomplish this type of private solution.
P4 When one closely analyzes the demands of any idealized self-image, one finds that omnipotence is always contained in it. These dictates (from serenity) are, “You must look benignly and detachedly at all human beings, knowing their weaknesses and good qualities, but without being bothered or affected by either.” This, if true, would indeed be serenity. But no human being is ever quite as serene. Hence such dictates are unrealistic and unrealizable.
They, too, include pride and hypocrisy: pride, because this detachment seems so godlike in its justice and objectivity. In reality one’s view may be just as colored by what another thinks, as is the case with the submissive type. But being too proud to admit that an exalted one can be touched by human weaknesses, such a person tries to rise above all that. The distorted attitude may be present to a stronger degree in certain areas of your life and to a lesser degree in others; in still other facets of life it does not appear at all.
P6 Such experience must happen if you allow your emotions to come to the fore and work with them. Then, and then only, will you begin to sense the intrinsic value of your real self. Only then will it become possible to let go of the false value of your idealized self. It is a mutual process: by allowing yourself to see the false values, however painful this may be, your real values will gradually emerge so that you no longer need the false ones.
P7 Gradually the process of growing into the real self will take place. It will strengthen your true independence, so that being appreciated by others will no longer be the yardstick for your self-value. Validation by others assumes such great importance only because you do not evaluate yourself honestly. Thus validation by others becomes a substitute. This is how you will make the best of your life—not faultlessly, not by being free of all failure, not excluding the possibility of making mistakes. But your attitude to your failures and mistakes will be very different.
More and more you will combine the divine attitudes of love, power, and serenity in a healthy way, as opposed to a distorted way. When you seek mastery by distorting the attribute of power, you do so for the sake of proving your superiority. When you gain mastery by healthy power you do so for the sake of growing. Not to have the mastery occasionally will not present a threat as it did while you were in distortion.
P8 The person may believe that love and strength can be combined, that he or she is both loving and strong. And this would be true if these qualities were healthy but in the distorted form they cannot be combined. Closer analysis will show that they are mutually exclusive, because of the distortion. Every person has to find in their work exactly why and how two trends oppose one another through seeing the cause and effect of each.
P9 I may just say that any compulsion comes from an unconscious conclusion that something must be had, attained, acquired. For instance, the idealized self-image may dictate to live up to something, or gain something, and the person is unable to do so. Then other outlets are sought compulsively. One is so frustrated about one’s own inability to live up to the shoulds and the coulds of achievement that a substitute must be found. A compulsion to buy things, when analyzed as to its symbolic meaning, will show that it represents an acquisitiveness. This may come from a distortion of the power to have and to possess. It may come from a distortion of love: “If I cannot have love, I want to have things instead.”
P10 Addictions are often also motivated by the strong craving for love, pleasure, and ecstasy. The negative or distorted thought and feeling forms emanating from others will affect the corresponding levels in you which also harbor distortions.
—The Pathwork® Guide