“I believe the people we attract to us are those who, in a sense, mirror who and what we are at the time. On a superficial level, crossing paths with an angry driver reflects anger in myself. On a profound level, crossing paths with the chemicals of a lover and burning a diseased relationship to its end reflects the time, place and need to learn a life lesson.” -The Privileged Addict, p. 84
Indeed, just about everything we attract reflects some part of ourselves. The intimate relationships we have, the jobs we have, the challenges we have, the problems we have, are all somehow built into our life blueprints. These events occur to teach us major life lessons.
Intimate relationships, for instance, are great vehicles for such growth, and upon reflection, the lesson to be learned is often quite specific. One of my old girlfriends had Borderline Personality Disorder (Um, don’t touch BPD with a 10-foot pole and gloves on). Before we met, I couldn’t set boundaries with anyone, I couldn’t protect myself emotionally, and not only was I an addict, but a horrible codependent as well, often falling for her performances as some sort of victim. It was all bullshit, of course, but I fell for it every time. I failed to learn my lesson that time around, and along came another damaged creature to try to teach me the same lesson once again.
On a simpler level and in everyday life, we may have negative encounters with others. Trust me, that is no coincidence. These people or situations are merely a reflection of something inside of ourselves, usually something we try desperately to avoid, something we loathe. When we engage negatively with someone, we usually identify one or more unattractive traits in them, and so we typically judge, criticize, and lash out at them.
That is projection. It’s much easier to project our own flaws onto others than to take ownership and responsibility for them. In fact, I think most of what we say when we lash out is projection. When we think we’re infuriated with someone, it’s probably not them at all. They are merely serving as a mirror, and we should have the courage to look into the mirror in front of us and see the truth… that the ugliness, the thing that pisses us off so much really lies within.
For addicts and alcoholics to truly change, we must be aware of what we attract to ourselves. Everything that comes our way offers us an opportunity to learn some lesson. If we fail to learn, rest assured, something or someone else will come along to teach us the exact same lesson, over and over again until we finally get it. If we do learn the lesson, that’s when we change and begin to grow. And then it’s on to other life lessons.
If we have the courage to face life and learn our lessons, we will perhaps move on from earth. But if we fail to learn what we are here to learn, then we may come back to attempt these lessons once again. And if we not only fail to learn our lessons but actively become more destructive, abusive, remorseless, heartless, grandiose and self-centered, we may very well end up in a not-so-friendly place once we leave.
The point is that it matters what we do, what we say, what we think. It matters how we conduct ourselves. Despite the fact that I still make mistakes day after day after day… I, for one, plan on moving on.
God, help me remember that those who I attract and those who I resent are my teachers. Teach me to accept and love myself that I may accept and love others and do Your work well…