Pathology

The principles that we have discussed so far - foremost among them love, power, maturity and adulthood - have been couched as positive principles of relation. Perhaps dissonantly, in our canvas of relationships, I emphasized again and again the potential for loss. Sometimes, the seeds of loss are a natural consequence of growth. People often talk of "growing apart", and when that reflects the actual dynamics of a relationship the dissolution is usually without deep trauma.

There are negative principles of relation as well. When they are active, they join us with processes that tie us down and prevent growth. Recognizing these patterns in others is critical to our personal happiness. Learning to separate ourselves from those patterns may be a matter of personal survival. Mitigating these behaviors in ourselves is essential if we are to fully engage the love of our associates.

I will not assert that this is a comprehensive analysis of personal pathology. Again, my interest is to focus on the experience of the person on the other side of the relationship. The various forms of mental disability and psychological manipulation, as the various forms of love, can be clarified and simplified by taking that perspective.

The mental discipline to suppress these pathologies has an important spiritual side-effect: mental and physical disability are manifestations of a will to avoid responsibility by securing dependency, or to escape codependency by destroying our capacity to serve.