VII. The Needless Sacrifice, P 2
2 The ego establishes relationships only to get something. And it would keep the giver bound to itself through guilt. It is impossible for the ego to enter into any relationship without anger, for the ego believes that anger makes friends. This is not its statement, but it is its purpose. For the ego really believes that it can get and keep by making guilty. This is its one attraction; an attraction so weak that it would have no hold at all, except that no one recognizes it. For the ego always seems to attract through love, and has no attraction at all to anyone who perceives that it attracts through guilt.
Why do couples come together? What do they expect to get out of the relationship? Perhaps we feel lonely and hope a relationship will relieve that feeling. Maybe we feel vulnerable and think a relationship will make us feel stronger or safer. Perhaps we want children and someone to share that with.
There might be a feeling of emptiness in us and we think a relationship will fill that hole in our hearts. It is possible that we feel a strong attraction to someone and this attraction feels like love, as we understand it. And maybe we think this feeling of love comes from the other person and so we think we need that special person in order to feel love.
Whatever the reason for the relationship, if it doesn’t come from a desire to share and to join as one without the need to get something from the other, then it is going to create guilt in the mind. And guilt causes fear, and fear often takes the form of anger. What generally happens is that the couple begins to use guilt and fear to keep the relationship intact.
I know that nearly everyone has used guilt or had guilt used on them in a relationship as a means to control. I know that I used to do this, but I don’t think I do that anymore, at least not outwardly. I still notice the tendency in my mind, though. There will be some form of the thought that the other person should do something for me, that is, act a certain way, say certain things, visit or call, maybe agree with me or take my side.
These are all ways of using guilt to control the nature of the relationship. I have avoided saying these things out loud and I catch them quickly when they show up in my mind and ask for another way to see the situation, but this tendency to use people and to make them special, and to use guilt to control the relationship, is a stubborn idea and keeps showing up.
As I learn that love does not seek to get anything from a relationship, I begin to experience my relationships differently, and there is not such a strong pull toward guilt. The tie to guilt is weaker and breaks more easily. I also see that the relationship is not so fragile and is more loving, and more fulfilling.