Healing implies that some form of positive change is taking place. At the most fundamental level, to heal is to change a pattern for the better. It is the opposite of repetition and redundancy. It is to change a pattern that is unwanted into a pattern that is wanted. This usually entails changing it into the opposite pattern. For example, if we are lonely, to heal is to achieve togetherness. Or if a bone is broken, to heal is for it to mend. Or if we feel powerless, to heal is to feel empowered. To understand healing in-depth, you can watch my video titled: What is Healing? But there is an unhealthy tendency that can arise when a person is healing, which can easily be confused for healing, but that is in fact simply a dramatic swing into the opposite manifestation of unhealthy… A pendulum swing.
It is very common that when people begin to heal something, they swing the pendulum to the opposite extreme and by doing so, slip into the dysfunction and unhealthiness that exists on the opposite side of the scale. It is often a dramatic reaction instead of a deliberately chosen response. So that you understand what I mean, I will give you some examples.
The best example of this often happens when people who have a co-dependent relational strategy begin to heal. Someone who would be labeled a “codependent” is someone who comes from a dysfunctional childhood home whether they realize it or admit it or not. In that dysfunctional home, the underlying reality was: Every man for himself. There is no such experience as “I can have a self and have closeness and connection with them too” or “we take each other’s best interests as a part of our own best interests”. This makes it so that everyone must adopt a narcissistic strategy. The budding narcissist does this by vying for their own best interests directly. The budding codependent does this by vying for their own best interests in a covert and roundabout way. They give up their “self” to please the narcissistic people around them so that those people will meet their needs. Codependency is a back door narcissistic strategy. Because the codependent has never tasted what it is to be able to have a self and to have closeness and connection with others too, they can only conceive of one way to heal from codependency and to gain autonomy… to do it against others. To start to be all about the self. Ironically, without realizing it, they swing the pendulum from covert narcissism to overt narcissism. The codependent becomes narcissistic, thinking that doing so is healing. But it is just swinging the pendulum to the opposite, unhealthy extreme. And they will suffer and also cause others to suffer from that new unhealthy extreme.
Another example is let’s imagine that a person has trauma around taking on too much responsibility. They were saddled with burden. Let’s imagine that they were put in charge of raising all of their siblings when they were growing up. This person may begin to heal and swing the pendulum all the way over to the point where they are unreliable, flaky and refuse to take any responsibility. Because of this, they suffer the consequences that exist at this side of dysfunction, such as losing relationships, being unable to hold down a job, others losing respect for them, and being stuck in life. They will suffer and also cause others to suffer from that new unhealthy extreme.
Another example is let’s imagine someone who felt powerless to the negative way they felt and powerless to the other people around them. This person might find a methodology that teaches them to control their reality by ignoring anything negative and not spending time with anyone who they think is negative. This person may begin to heal and swing the pendulum all the way over to denial, avoidance, and the refusal to accommodate others. They may begin to build a narcissistic bubble reality for themselves alone. Because of this, they and others around them will suffer from that new dysfunctional extreme.
Another example is let’s imagine a person who is addicted. They use addiction to avoid some pain within themselves that they cannot seem to resolve. They are in a perpetual state of “runaway” relative to themselves. This person might hear about shadow work and suddenly feel like there might be a way to solve their pain. This person may begin to heal and swing the pendulum all the way over to obsessively doing difficult shadow work processes all the time. This runs their nervous system into the ground, making their mental, emotional and physical bodies raw, being unable to effectively integrate and process and apply what they gain awareness of. And effectively giving themselves the damaging message that something is wrong with them and must be fixed immediately. Shadow work then becomes a different form of self-abuse. Because of this, they and others around them will suffer from that new dysfunctional extreme.
Another example is let’s imagine that a person is hurt by someone else. They experience the pain of being connected to and dependent on someone else. This person may begin to heal and swing the pendulum all the way over to disconnecting from others and becoming totally independent. Because of this, they slip into the illusion that it is possible to be separate and not depend on anything or anyone. They push people way. Deep down, they know they are very, very alone. They behave in ways that harm others because they are not genuinely connected to them. But because they are disconnected, they don’t even realize it. They and others will suffer from that new dysfunctional extreme.
Another example is let’s imagine that someone is super hopeful and excited and is wounded by a major disappointment. This person may begin to heal and swing the pendulum all the way over to expecting bad things to happen, letting themselves down and discouraging themselves before the world ever has a chance to do it for them. They may become a cynic. Because of this, they end up chronically stuck in the negative. They maintain a pattern of self-sabotage. Their negative mentality and behavior causes others to deny them of the kindness, reliability and sweetness that they actually crave deep down. They and others will suffer greatly from this new dysfunctional extreme.
By now, after these examples, you get the picture.
I don’t want you to think that the goal of healing is to find the balance. Within mankind’s consciousness, balance is something that is achieved by a process of addition and subtraction. This is also the idea behind the limiting concept of balancing work and play by either working more or working less depending on what is needed to achieve equal parts of work and play for example. If you live your life according to the principal of balance, you will end up exhausted. You will also never be able to fully actualize yourself because you will be trying to limit aspects of yourself while trying to accentuate others instead of becoming the full expression of both and finding a way for the full expression of both to harmonize. Balance upholds separation. It seeks to create equilibrium between two different things instead of seeking to combine them. Where consciousness is headed is integration. In integration, polarities come together to form a third thing entirely, the sum of both. To understand more about this, watch my video titled: F#!K Balance (Rethinking Balance and What it means to be Balanced).
When I say that to heal is to experience the opposite, what I mean is that the goal of healing is for example to re-own that polarity which is disowned or to experience what one is lacking. For example, it is for the person who is harmed by others to experience being helped by others. It is for a codependent to learn they can have and keep a “self” at the same time as being deeply connected to other people. And including others’ best interests as a part of their own best interests without throwing their own best interests away. It is for the person who is addicted to use shadow work to see themselves, including what they really need and to meet those needs lovingly. It is for a person who feels powerless to the negative way that they feel to really learn how to see what is and see what they want instead and to be able to in an empowered way, close the gap between the two. It is for a person who was traumatized with too much burden to step into free will and to choose what to take responsibility for and what not to take responsibility for, so as to see that chosen responsibility is what leads to the empowered creation of what personally benefits them. It is for a person who was disappointed to experience their hopes coming to fruition.
When it comes to healing, it is important to discern what is “experiencing the healthy opposite” and what is “swinging the pendulum”… To discern what is a polarizing reaction and what is a deliberately chosen response. The good news is that you will learn from anything that you do. A person who does swing the pendulum will eventually feel the reality of the cause and effect (and therefore consequences) associated with that new extreme. And it will eventually cause them to alter their patterns more toward their actual healthy state of being. But you can prevent the time this takes and the damage this can create both to you and to others by being aware of this typical pendulum swing of healing and by consciously discerning what genuine healing and genuine positive pattern change would look like instead.