The Serenity Mask: How we use Withdrawal to Avoid Pain

The pseudo-solution of withdrawal is often chosen when we have been so torn apart by the first two options—submission and aggression—that we had to find a way out. So we resorted to withdrawing from our original inner problems, and then also, as such, from life. Underneath our withdrawal is a false attempt at serenity. So now we’re still torn in half, but we’re just no longer aware of it.

Underneath our withdrawal is a false attempt at serenity

If we build our façade strong enough, we will be able to convince ourselves that we can remain calm through any life circumstance; ah, peace. But then a doozy of a storm comes along and rocks our little boat. Our underlying conflicts rise up with a vengeance, showing just how artificial our serenity really was; turns out, the whole structure was built on sand.

Both the power type and the withdrawn type have something in common: aloofness. They are above feeling emotions, they like to stay detached from others, and they follow a strong urge to remain independent. Both have been hurt and fear being disappointed and getting hurt again; they don’t like feeling insecure and fear being dependent on anyone. But the idealized self-image for these two couldn’t be more different.

Whereas the power seeker likes being hostile and glorifies their aggressive fighting spirit, the withdrawal type isn’t even aware of having such feelings. When they do come to the fore, we are shocked by them, for they are in complete violation of our chosen solution, which dictates: We should remain detached and look benignly upon others; we know their good and bad qualities and aren’t bothered by either. If this were indeed true, we would indeed have found serenity. But no one is really ever quite that serene. So as with the other two types, the unrealistic dictates can never be realized.


BONES: A Building-Block Collection of 19 Fundamental Spiritual Teachings

Chapter Seven: Love, Power and Serenity in Divinity or in Distortion