Intimacy is the primary ingredient of connection. Intimacy is about knowing yourself and being known by others for who you really are in all aspects of your life. It’s the bringing forth of the truth about who you are and being received while, at the same time, the other person brings forth the truth of who they are and is received for that. Intimacy is a meeting at the heart center, where empathy and understanding occur.
Intimacy can be broken down into the three-word phrase “into me see.” First and foremost intimacy is to see into one another so as to deeply connect. Intimacy goes beyond just seeing someone though. Intimacy is seeing into, feeling into, listening into, perceiving and understanding someone. To have genuine intimacy with someone, we have to be willing to commit to becoming an expert on them.
It is tempting to think that a person can do without intimacy. The truth is, they can’t. Without intimacy in childhood, we do not develop a sense of ourselves or a sense of our existence. We begin to feel as if we exist in a parallel reality. It is this parallel reality that is so deeply isolating and that causes us to feel like we are alone, no matter how many people might be around us.
Most people only really become conscious of the isolation of parallel perceptual realities when they go through something like the death of a loved one. In intense experiences of grief, your world stops. You are in a reality of pain and terror about what could happen in the future and time moves differently. Meanwhile, everyone else is going about their lives. They are smiling, laughing, talking about their jobs or vacations. They are telling us to come with them to cheer up at the bar. They are in a totally different reality, even though technically our bodies are in the same place. The worst part is, they don’t even notice. They will not notice what conflicts with their own realty.
I will never forget a time when I was at a public park. There was a girl on a park bench whose arms were bandaged from self-inflicted cuts. She was crying. People passed by her laughing and jogging and listening to their music in their headphones. Not one person noticed her or the state she was in. She might as well have been a ghost sitting on that bench. And all I could think to myself was, if these different realities can be upheld even if someone is cut up and crying, people who are less demonstrative have absolutely no hope.
There is no parallel reality that imprisons a person quite like the one that is set up by abuse. Something that all survivors of sexual abuse and incest can attest to is that what will happen is the abuser will rape you or say something super emotionally abusive and then an hour later, they will ask you whether you want mayonnaise on your sandwich. They will act like it never occurred. It creates a double life; a parallel reality. In one, reality is torture and pain and danger and dad is the enemy. In the other, it is mundane, you go to school and you have thanksgiving dinner and dad is dad. The mundane life starts to feel like a total lie. It feels fake. It feels like a cover for “reality”. When you are at school or at thanksgiving dinner, it feels like you are in the matrix. Other people don’t know about the other reality, the one where dad is the enemy and where everything is dangerous and painful. And because this is your “reality”, it absorbs you and you belong to it and so they can’t see you or feel you. It feels as if people talk at you. It feels like you are just a ‘thing’ in their world and it feels like your inner world is trapped behind a one way mirror inside yourself. All they can perceive is your body. This is the real kind of parallel reality that we need to be concerned with in our lives here on earth. It is this kind of parallel reality that makes it so that people perceive themselves to be so alone with no hope of that changing that they commit suicide.
The foundation of parallel realities between people is emotional invalidation. I highly suggest watching my video titled: The Emotional Wakeup Call if you haven’t seen it already to understand the role of emotions and relationships. This can happen in a home that is not considered abusive.
To understand how emotional invalidation creates parallel realities, we have to go back to the beginning. I want you to imagine a little girl who is unhappy. She is in pain because her family had to move to a different town. She has no friends here. She is lonely. She is afraid of the harshness of this new place. She misses so many things about the old place. If she looks unhappy or acts unhappy, if her parents can’t create intimacy, the will respond in one of two ways. They will disapprove of her emotions, 2. They will dismiss or ignore her emotions
The parent who disapproves of their child’s emotions is critical of their children’s displays of negative emotion and reprimand or punish for emotional expression. The parent, who dismisses or ignores their child’s emotions, disregards them as important, ignores their child’s emotions or worse, trivializes their child’s emotions. They may even interact with the child as if she is fine.
This creates a parallel reality between the parents and the child. The child is now in a reality that hurts. In her reality, tragedy and loss has occurred. In her reality, her parents are not even there even if they are in the room physically. In the parent’s reality, they are meeting their child’s needs and everything is good. The move was a great one because it provided a new opportunity for better things. Because they can’t actually see her or feel her or understand her, they can’t actually make any changes that would improve the way she feels. This little girl is isolated completely in her own parallel reality and her parents don’t even notice. In a subconscious attempt to be seen, this girl may develop nosebleeds. The parents may then decide she is having nose bleeds is because the air is dry, having no clue that this is her being’s way of trying to have her reality of pain be seen. Later she may resort to cutting and/or accidents because that is the only time there is a cross over between their realities. There is a cross over because in those moments the parents will decide that her feelings of pain are valid and therefore exist.
As life goes on, society will begin to mirror this split reality. She will perceive herself to be in one parallel reality and everyone else is in another. The torture of not only being in pain, but being in pain alone and worse, watching people who are together and happy, is so painful that she will most likely develop addictions. She will do anything to escape that pain and to be honest, the pain of that condition is worse than any drug or addiction she could ever chose. Because she is unconscious that she is experiencing a different perceptual reality, she just feels torment that she has no clue how to resolve. She has no clue how to resolve it because resolving it would entail breaking down the separation between these parallel realities. She feels powerless to do that, because she was powerless to do that with her parents. In that powerlessness, her option is to either escape from the pain through an addiction or to commit suicide.
These parallel perceptual realities can be created through much less extreme situations than overt abuse. We are at risk of developing them any time we do not experience people seeing us or feeling us or hearing us. You can think of the extremeness of these parallel realities as existing on a kind of sliding scale. The more drastic the difference was between the realities that other people were perceiving as opposed to the one we were perceiving, the more severe the isolation and pain we experience in conjunction with having these differing realities. Some people only experience mild separation and only sometimes feel like they are in a separate reality. On the other end of the scale, some people feel so isolated by the intensity of their parallel perceptual reality that the reaction (or lack there of) that they get makes them doubt if they even exist and leads to so much pain that committing suicide is the only way out.
Most mental illness is actually caused by these parallel perceptual realities that we have not managed to integrate because the rest of us judge their reality as false and invalid. If we judge them this way, we can never join them wherever they are so as to make any improvement. We can never find a way to integrate their reality with our own. We are just doing the same thing that parents do when they ignore, dismiss or disapprove of their child’s emotions.
In the same way that doing that makes it impossible to actually work with the emotions so as to improve them, approaching the perceptual realities of people who we judge as “mentally ill” as if their realities are wrong, bad, or false makes it so we can never actually work with them. I’ll give you some examples of what I mean about mental illness really being about parallel perceptual realities. A paranoid schizophrenic lives in a different perceptual reality… A reality where people are after him or her. Someone suffering from PTSD is also living in a different perceptual reality, one of anger and trauma at every turn. Someone suffering from depression is in a perceptual reality of hopelessness where life is pointless. Someone who has panic attacks is in a different perceptual reality, one of immanent doom. They are looking out at everyone else who, in the moment they are having a panic attack, are in a reality where everything is normal and fine. This is the most gas-lighting experience on earth. To gaslight someone is to lead them to believe that their reality isn’t real. For example, what they see they didn’t see. What they feel, they shouldn’t feel or don’t feel. What they hear, they didn’t hear.
I cannot explain to you the despair and terror that being stuck in these parallel realities creates. They don’t just create torture for those who are stuck in parallel realities of pain. They eventually create torture for people who are not because the relationship between them deteriorates and they often lose the person they love because of it. The pain of different perceptual realities that involve one person suffering alone is in fact the worst form of suffering that a person can actually experience on earth. It is the real hell on earth. The degree of pain experienced by people who are in pain because of wars and natural disasters and famine does not compare to this pain for one primary reason, they are suffering together with people who are experiencing the same painful reality.
It is a tragedy when people say, “we never saw it coming” when someone commits suicide. When people say this, my internal response is always, “and that is why they did it right there.” We are not attuned to each other enough and we do not commit to developing intimacy or dealing with emotions like we should enough to guarantee that we are not living in parallel realities in the same physical world with one another.
It is ignorant and cruel when people say, “misery likes company” in a derogatory way. We need to cut this phrase out of our vocabulary completely. Misery likes company because misery needs company. Connection is what people need in order to feel good and to feel like their world is worth living in. The real hell on earth is not being in pain. The real hell on earth is being in pain alone. And this is the hell we commit one another to when we are unaware of the parallel realities that we are stuck in. When we are stuck in a parallel reality of pain, often the only time we actually have anyone in our reality at all is if they are in pain too. This is because all too often, people who are in pleasure, cannot accommodate the reality of someone else feeling pain.
It is in the developing of genuine connection that we can tear down the separation between these realities so that these realities can merge. One reality must begin to account for the other and vice versa. Denial is like a veil that serves as a divider between the two realities. It is within our capacity to accommodate polarities that our consciousness will find true progression. Pain must accommodate the reality of pleasure. Pleasure must accommodate the reality of pain. To understand this concept fully, I want you to watch my video titled: And Consciousness, The Modern Day Replacement For The Middle Way.
There is no possibility for two people to stay connected and close if they are in different parallel perceptual realities, no matter if their bodies are in the same place. And it is intimacy and attunement that will bridge the gap between these different parallel realities that make us so utterly alone.