The Freedom/Connection Split Within Humanity - Teal Swan Articles - Teal Swan Jump to content

The Freedom/Connection Split Within Humanity

For years I have been saying that the evolution which must occur within the human race is “I can have you and I can have me too.”  This implies that autonomy and connection are not mutually exclusive, they are integrated. Most people today do not live in this state of integration between connection and autonomy.  Instead, they are split into two parts, one who fights for connection at any cost and one who fights for its own independent best interests at any cost. It’s important to know that this part’s fight for its own best interests feels like a fight for freedom.  Most people alive today have an internal split between the commitment to connection and the commitment to freedom. This means that humanity itself as a collective consciousness has this same split. To understand the concept of a split deeper, watch my video titled: Fragmentation, The Worldwide Disease.  You can also keep a lookout for a video I’m going to do shortly that will be specifically about how to work with the individual aspects of consciousness, what most people call “parts”.       

To understand this split, we have to go back to how it was made.  I want you to think back on your childhood. Every child is an individual entity and therefore has a self.  This means you had your our own thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, talents, shortcomings, preferences etc.  Think back on the way your parents and family and teachers and peers and even community or society responded to those thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, talents, shortcomings and preferences.  For example, were they acknowledged, accommodated, ignored or turned against? Were there consequences for them?  Most parents up to this time period do not view a child as an individual being; they view children as something to be created or molded into what they want them to be.

I’ll give you a seemingly benign example so you can get just how prevalent this issue is in the human race.  A mom is sitting with a child who is in a high chair. It is lunchtime. Mom says, “You need to eat your food”.  The child’s truth is that he or she is not hungry so the child refuses to eat. Mom does not acknowledge the child’s truth and so she force feeds the child or tells the child that he or she can’t come down out of the highchair until the food is finished.  Not only has moms’ anger been felt as a loss of closeness, which is acutely painful, the message is: I will not accept that part of you (the truth that you are not hungry). Therefore, to maintain closeness with me, you must abandon that truth and be what I tell you to be which is hungry, or at the very least, eat even if you aren’t hungry.  The child is at a crossroads. The child gets to choose to abandon his or her sense of self in that moment for the sake of feeling close to mom or fight for his or her sense of self and as a consequence, lose closeness with mom. This is the kind of scenario that causes a child’s boundaries to become unhealthy. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: Personal Boundaries vs. Oneness (How To Develop Healthy Boundaries).

Let’s say that this belief that a child is to be molded, exists as a sliding scale.  Everyone’s parents and teachers and society falls somewhere on that sliding scale. To differing degrees of severity, we are trained that in order to have connection and closeness and belonging with other people (which is a bigger need than even food and water for a physical human) we must lose or let go of our self.  We must abandon or let go of or betray our own thoughts, interests, feelings, needs, wants, preferences, and best interests. To have them, we can’t have ourselves or at the very least, parts of ourselves.  This is the only context we have for relationships and maintaining social harmony.  We woefully accept this truth but learn to associate connection with other people with things like self-sacrifice, duty, being controlled, being imprisoned, obligation and the constant effort of inauthenticity.  This is the origin of the belief in me vs. them. Does this mean that this is the reality? No. It’s simply a belief we have been trained into. So you can understand this split deeper, let’s look at both parts that are born from this belief.

The part of you that wants connection understands that so many needs (mental, emotional and physical) are dependent on connection and closeness with other people.  This part of you does not carry the pain that comes with connection, the other one does. It carries the pain of the lack of connection.  It is acutely aware of and does not want the starvation or pain of aloneness.  It is constantly bidding for connection in the things it says and does. It is not guarded.  It is open. If this part cannot get enough connection from people, it will connect with food, animals, objects or anything else where it can.  This part holds the universal truth of interdependence, that it is connected to everything. It understands that it has to be attuned to other people and that aloneness is the result of not considering others.

This part will slip into all kinds of coping mechanisms if it runs the risk of loosing connection with someone.  This part will not acknowledge anything that threatens its sense of closeness with someone. This includes incompatibility.  For this reason, it often suffers from denial and enables dysfunctional behavior and gaslights itself and others. This is the part that is always going to tell the story in favor of the positive.  It’s the one who will say, “He’s such a hard worker” to cover over the fact that he is really passed out because he is drunk. If this part runs the risk of separation, it will do whatever it takes to re-establish a perception of closeness and is not going to see doing so as self-sacrifice.  Really it isn’t self-sacrifice for this part of it gives up its own best interests because it sees its highest best interest as connection. Therefore, self-sacrifice is self-centered, because it is done to meet its own primary need. This co-dependent part of you really embodies the truth that there is no such thing as philanthropy, even if someone is acting like they are always doing things for others.

This part of you is never going to give up on being connected to others.  No matter how messed up and abusive your family is, it will stay around them.  It will tell the story that a dysfunctional family is “such a great family”. This part is the one making the Hollywood films about “all you need is love” and “where there is a will to be in a relationship, there is way.”  This part of you gets connection with others by disconnecting from other parts of you that might threaten connection. But by doing that, you are never bringing the totality of yourself into a relationship so you are never actually in a relationship.  The sad truth is that its connection with others is in fact an overlay.  It is alone in its perception of connection. This part of you is rather like Buddy from the movie Elf.    

The part of you that wants freedom is really not after freedom.  It is after autonomy, which is nothing more than the desire to exist in alignment with one’s sense of self.  This part has been really, really hurt and disillusioned by relationships. It wants to live in accordance with your truth, how you feel and think, what you want, your innate talents, your actual interests and to be able to do what is right and best for yourself.  It is in fact being controlled by the other connection-committed part more so than it is being controlled by other people. It feels like everything about relationships is too complicated. It feels like relationships are like Faberge eggs, they are fragile and if something goes wrong, there is no repair because no matter what you do, you can’t put it back together again.  It holds the pain of constantly being suppressed. It is conscious that if you have to change yourself to gain love and closeness, you are not actually close and you are not actually loved. This part is conscious of the extreme pressure of everyone’s needs of it. It sees its existence as a never-ending toil of being used by people. It doesn’t feel like a person, it feels like a tool to be used by people.  Responsibility is a huge pressure belonging to this part. It believes “I have to be responsible for me and them”, which it resents. So it says “NO” to taking responsibility for others. The reason it says “YES” to taking responsibility for itself is that it wants to find a way to not depend on anyone… To be able to have everything that it needs without it coming from anyone else. For this reason, it is hugely interested in spirituality and self-development.  It also sees that it is incredibly alone already so it is not in denial and risks nothing by admitting to reality. It doesn’t have an answer to remedy the powerlessness it feels in all of this painful “way it is” relative to relationships.    

This part thinks that if there is a conflict between you and another person, you are always loosing the fight. What this part cannot stand is the feeling of pushing itself sideways.  It doesn’t want to have to take in or owe anyone anything. For this reason, it does not bid for connection because if it bids, the other person is in control of how he or she responds or not.  Control is very important to this part, because control seems like the only way it can avoid compromising itself and thus, ending up in pain. The closest it can get to the idea that a relationship is safe, is transaction.  The safe, clear lines of transaction make it the best option. Its worldview is that everyone is only out for himself or herself. It’s like living in a shark tank. Its truth is that everyone around it is completely self-centered.  But here’s the stumbling block. Because it feels like everyone else is self-centered, it decides that it is just going to have to think about itself because no one else will. And by deciding this, it repeats the cycle.

This part is the one that was separated from (rejected) in order to be in a relationship.  After all, the message it received forever and still does is: If I go into a relationship as the real me, no one will ever want me and instead, they will hurt me.  Because of this, it sees relationships as pain. If it were convinced that never having a relationship was the best answer, it would have gone there long ago. For this part, having a relationship with people is like eating poisoned water. It’s a “fuck you for the fact that I need this”.  Unlike the other one, it feels like being alone is better than being trapped, but being alone sucks. Unlike the other part, this one will viciously fight for its needs and best interests. It will fight for its “self”. It will also criticize the hell out of a person and relationship in the hope that the other person will change so as to put it out of pain.  The criticism is an attempt to control the other person’s behavior. Its orientation is towards what it doesn’t want in a relationship where as the other part is oriented towards what it does want.  This part of you is rather like Scrooge from a Christmas carol.   

When you have this split, relationships are a downward spiral that goes like this:  The connection part of you is the one that takes control and seeks a relationship because you feel alone.  You get into a relationship quickly because you are doing anything it takes to secure a relationship. And to do so, you have to disown parts of yourself that might cause separation or rejection.  This means you are not going into a relationship with the truth or the totality of yourself. You show only what the other need and wants to see; only what you know will guarantee you closeness.  You look so good and so tempting to the other person it is almost too good to be true. Then when the connection is secure, the pain of that suppression and inauthenticity causes the other part that is committed to autonomy to come forward and take over instead.  This part contains all the parts that you decided to disown. Those parts now come forward because they were suppressed in order for the other one to secure the relationship. They start screaming for freedom. They start demanding for their needs to be met and for the other person to act in their best interests.  They fight for themselves against the person they love.  The other person now feels duped.  For example, suddenly you go from a person who says you are responsible to being not responsible. You go from being gorgeous to letting yourself go.  You go from saying you are a financial provider to suddenly expecting your partner to financially provide for you. You go from loving to constantly critical.   The person you are now is nothing like the person you entered into the relationship as. All of the ways you actually think and feel and what you really want and the ways you go about trying to get your actual needs met, destroy the relationship which was in fact built on pretense.  The relationship now becomes oppositional so ruptures are created. And both people think, “Where did my perfect relationship go”? 

You can see this split clearly in yourself any time you feel you have to choose connection or closeness or social harmony vs. your own best interests.  It is tempting to think that this type of scenario is always about your best interests vs. another person’s best interests. But it isn’t. It’s the best interest belonging to your own two parts being pitted against each other.  In other words, you feel this split any time your own best interest of (fill in the blank) conflicts with your own best interest of connection.

This split was created to accommodate for uncomplimentary needs.  In the past, your need for autonomy could not exist in the same place and time as your need for connection.  Each part of you also keeps you safe from the opposite threat. Your connection part keeps you safe from isolation.  Your freedom part keeps you safe from the loss of self. But the time has come to recognize this split within yourself and within humanity so that we may integrate them and create a world in which freedom and connection are one… A world in which all of our relationships are relationships where we can have ourselves and have each other at the very same time.


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