Relationships

Send Me Your Questions!

Hello, gentle reader. Back in the old-timey days over here at Ask Dr. Ding, I used to ride a ridiculously oversized Victorian bicycle and sport voluminous Mary Todd Lincoln crinolines and receive actual questions from actual readers about all sorts of topics related to relationships, work, love, death, laudanum intoxication, you name it. And I miss it.

Somewhere along the line, I started blogging about a lot of other stuff, like my love of drag queens, Tater Tot casserole, and terrible movies.

But something is missing, and that something is you.

So. PLEASE write me questions to which I can respond either on here, or in my videos, for you see I stink at groveling, so you’re just going to have to humor me. See what I mean? I’m think I’m over here being all beseeching and whatnot, but I can’t quite get the right tone. But I’m so for real. Write meh. All authors are guaranteed anonymity, and if you don’t provide a groovy pseudonym I’ll invent one for you.

You can go up to the really sexy menu bar at the top, underneath the candle pic, and click Talk To Me, or you can just click on this, and it shall take you there on the wings of eagles or some shit like that.

Or, hit me up at askdrding (at) gmail.com

5 Ways You Can Tell You're Stunting Yourself In A Relationship

Kali-Ma don't care. Crazy, nasty-ass Kali-Ma doesn't give a single shit. She just does whatever the fuck she wants.

Kali-Ma don’t care. Kali-Ma doesn’t give a single shit. She just does whatever the fuck she wants. And she’s really awesome at it. We could all learn some important life skills here.

I posted something the other day on Facebook by Derek Rydall that said, in essence, “Love your neighbor, but don’t take their shit.”  Words to live by, and worth expanding upon a bit. Please note – I’m not discussing how to hold yourself at work, at the grocery store, or with acquaintances here, but rather close friendships and romantic relationships.

I spent several years of my life stunting a large part of who I am, for which I take full responsibility, while still acknowledging the existence of our society that tends to devalue women, devalues spiritual practices unless they adhere to rather circumscribed religious norms, and dislikes non-dual consciousness; these larger factors can make it hard out there for a mystical hustla, and I certainly carried them into several relationships in my life along with my own matched set of personal emotional baggage. Leopard-print, natch.

This sort of soul-squishing fuckery, unless unpacked and examined, can put lots of bad mojo on you, so here is some stuff to watch out for.

1. Doubting your own perceptions and judgements

This most often happens when your views threaten the other person in some way, but they’re not in touch with this feeling; instead, they feel entitled to invalidate your feelings, legitimated by the status quo. The invalidation can take many forms, but essentially you know it when you feel it – it feels depleting and crummy as hell. It’s one thing to have a spirited disagreement or exchange of ideas, but it’s quite another to feel that someone is needling or invalidating your views about sacred shit simply because it makes them a little uncomfortable.

2. Needless fear around talking about spiritual topics like meaning, purpose, existence, the afterlife, spirits, etc

This is where you edit, hold back, and clam up on things that are important to you because you’re afraid of what they think. Don’t be. But I do suggest you take a look at why you’re doing this stuff – are you nursing a friendship that has run its course but are reluctant to let it go? Are you clinging to the notion that you and your significant other are perfectly matched, except for this pesky problem of perpetually not feeling safe having certain existential conversations? My contention is that it’s fine to disagree, but that the fear is a signal that something’s off, and that this needs to be addressed.

3. Realizing that the other person has no intention of hearing your views

This is kind of a no-brainer, but Lordt knows it’s really tough when you love the other person and want to be respectful: “I don’t want to talk about it” “I don’t want to hear about your airy-fairy stuff” “I’d just prefer if you kept that to yourself” “I don’t want this stuff in our house” et cetera, ad nauseam, ad infinitum. See also: breaking off eye contact, turning their back to you, walking out of the room, changing the subject, ignoring. Actions speak louder than words, and even if people can’t or won’t tell you who they are, they sure as hell will show you through these kinds of stanky behaviors.

4. Active dismissal, constant correction, mean-spirited questioning or outright derision your views

See also #3 above. For reals. I’ve had friends sneer, after begging for a Tarot card or mediumship reading just seconds before, “But honestly, isn’t that all just a bunch of bullshit?” and “Ohmygahd, you can’t seriously believe in spirits, you have a Ph.D.” thinking what…that I was going to instantly develop tremendous respect for their well-explicated Weltanschauung and drop my own? Where I’m from we call those types of remarks emotional abuse, or maybe just being as nice as a bag of smashed assholes to another person. Bye.

Don’t bother reaching out to people who are like this, taking them on, arguing doctrine, or getting all jazzy. It’s not worth your energy; you aren’t here to cater to immature meanies. You have more important things to do.

5. Understanding that you can no longer continue to grow as a person and remain in the relationship the way it is

This is by far the most painful awakening to experience, particularly in a romantic long-term relationship. It’s awful, and it’s usually a stepwise, gradual dawning versus a sudden burst of enlightenment, although certainly that does happen to people. Please know it doesn’t mean that the other person is automatically bad, wrong, or fucked-up, or that you’re some hapless victim. It just means that if you want suffer, you’ll stay connected at the same level of intensity or intimacy, and if you want to relieve this suffering, you’ll either exit the relationship or change your expectations. Because honey, ain’t nobody gonna change for you. It’s going to be up to you. And this kinda sucks.

To wrap up, here’s the tl;dr part:

Realizing that the price of staying when you’re going to have to hide or minimize your real self in order to “keep the peace” or somehow legitimate yourself in their eyes is the first step. The next is deciding what to do about it. Certainly I have very cool people in my life who are dyed-in-the-wool atheists and agnostics, and I love them dearly – these relationships work because there is respect on both sides. I don’t ask them if they’ve accepted Cthulhu as their personal god and savior, and they don’t trivialize my speerchull biznatch.

So, if you’ve seen yourself here in any of numbers one through five above, and you don’t like what’s going on, it may be time to either cut some bitchez loose or simply place them in the periphery of your social sphere. You don’t need to hate or hold resentments in this process, but it’s certainly healthy to take action when someone has disrespected you, which is basically the point of this whole thing.

Here are some ideas for actions: on social media you can unfriend, unfollow, block or hide posts on social media as you think best. On Facebook in particular you can even ensure that only certain people see certain posts. In general, whether online or in real life, the least dramatic solution is generally the most advisable, except in more extreme circumstances.

Not everyone is in our lives for a lifetime, or even a season; sometimes it’s for a reason. Many shamanic traditions hold that everyone we encounter holds a mirror up to us, one in which we can see our own foibles and flaws, which is very similar to the notion in the analytic psychology tradition which holds that the things we most dislike in ourselves we tend to most easily spot in others. It follows that if you keep attracting people who are disrespectful, doubting and myopic assholes who have a teeny tiny comfort zone, then clearly you believe on a fundamental and probably unconscious level that this is all you deserve. And you deserve so much more, you sacred gorgeous creature you.

Dear Dr. Ding: What About Love?

vintagesacreheart2-1

I get asked a lot about relationships, about love, about soul mates, Twin Flames, you name it. Freud said that love and work are the two pillars of mental health, and it’s no different when we do the Electric Slide away from the tropes of modern psychology, and boogaloo into the numinous world of human metaphysics.

It’s pretty much a given that if a client consults with me, wanting to know about their current booed up relationship, that something in the milk ain’t clean, honey. It may a big thing, it may be a little thing, but it’s something. Something isn’t sitting right.

So what do I tell people? I tell them to look. Deep. Way-down deep. It may help to imagine that this other person is represented by a vessel filled with liquid – how far down can you see into them? Why? And what do you see?

Is it clear? Murky? Filled with flesh-eating piranhas and stuff? Is the person even facing you or are they disinterested? Do they feel denser or lighter, heavier or slower, dimmer or brighter, louder or quieter than your own energy? Pay attention. You’ll get good information this way, even if you’re not 100% certain how to interpret it at first. I tell them, keep after it.

The question I ask next: what are you avoiding within yourself that you’re projecting onto this other person, thereby creating distortion in how you view them? Projection is a specific term, meaning that we tend to see the unpleasant parts of the Self about which we are largely unconscious everywhere but inside ourselves. It’s not about being a total putz, it’s a natural human foible. Foible. I love the word, sounds like I’m saying “gerbil” in 1930s NYC.

So we pick people that aren’t right for us, with whom we play out all our old unfinished business from our formative years. Over and over. It’s called repetition compulsion, and we’ll chat about it some other day. We project, they project, yadda yadda yadda. Next thing you know you’re two years from retirement with someone you can’t stand, having inane conversations about kitchen tile and crying yourself to sleep at night. Your chakras are fused and jammed and spinning backwards. Oh cheez.

I have a good friend who struggled with relationships over the years. After a particularly difficult and unexpected breakup we spent several hours talking, and she turned to me and said these apocryphal words: “There has got to be a better system of picking a partner, and I’m going to find it! I’ve got to keep refining my system.”  While I admired her determination and resolution to not make the same mistakes, I found her stance puzzling and told her so. I mean, isn’t that what we’re here for? To love the wrong people sometimes? To make new and different mistakes? If we reduce this grand force running through the veins of our lives down to a methodology, we cheapen it and maybe even dehumanize it. We agreed to disagree. Take a look at this wonderful scene from Moonstruck which illustrates this, best stuff is at 3:29:

[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ye3WFb_BhE[/youtube]

Money quote: “… love don’t make things nice – it ruins everything. It breaks your heart. It makes things a mess. We aren’t here to make things perfect. The snowflakes are perfect. The stars are perfect. Not us. Not us! We are here to ruin ourselves and to break our hearts and love the wrong people and die. The storybooks are bullshit. Now I want you to come upstairs with me and get in my bed!”

You were right, Slightly Neanderthalic Pre-Plastic Surgery And Bad Hairpiece Nicolas Cage! Love can wreck your shit with its sheer irrational power. It’s a huge goddamned risk. But it’s the risk we must take, lest our hearts become all shriveled-up like beef jerky. And who wants a jerky heart. Ew.

Sometimes it’s a risk to get involved, and sometimes it’s a risk to leave when it comes to the way the heart works.  I feel that too many worry too much about the Twin Flame/soulmate bidness; statistically, all of us have at least 10 other human beings on the planet with whom we could be a terrific match. The number is higher the younger we are and attenutates with age. So don’t worry if your sweetie is The One Flaming Twin or not. Chances are, there is more than one The One. It’s not a very romantic view I know, because it’s partly based in mathematical probabilities and statistical concepts, but my darlings life is too short and too interesting to spend a lot of time fretting about not meeting the other half of your soul and stuff. Just keep taking small risks if you’re still looking. Stay open to possibility.

So back to my original premise; if you’re asking someone for advice about your love relationship, first look within. Look within yourself but also within your partner, as far as you can see. Be honest about what’s there and not there. Learn to trust that little voice within that squeaks that maybe this isn’t the right person, but also learn to trust that same voice that tells you to take a chance. Within a few months of dating someone, you have most of the important data; people usually spot problem traits and behavior patterns early on, but don’t trust their findings. You have all the data you need.

You just have to really look at it.

 

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