|The Culture of Blame & the Dark Side of Marriage|
By Jason Horsley
Why do so many once-loving couples wind up hating the sight of each other? Why does sexual love turn into sexual hate?
The reason is that when we fall in love we project all of our hopes and fantasies onto the other person, and that process has a dark side. Face it: there’s nothing more hateful than seeing all of our dreams fall apart.
What that means is that the more clearly we see the other person, the more those fantasy-projections fall apart, and the less we like it. So our experience is likely to be that, the more clearly we see the other person, the less we like them. It’s not because they are so unlikeable; it’s simply because they are their own person. They exist independently of our projections and fantasies of them. How dare they? I mean really—how dare they? So what we end up most hating about the beloved other is that they are independent and autonomous beings. That makes them a threat to us, the ultimate threat, in fact. And the more deeply we “love” them, the greater a threat they will become.
It’s all about having someone to blame. Everybody needs someone to blame. That’s the dark side of marriage. If we are unlucky enough to find someone who appears to be everything we want in life, then eventually they will become the perfect scapegoat for everything that goes wrong in our lives. They come to represent all the ways that we can’t get what we want. They become the denial of our wants.
It is a hideous conundrum, and it is one that can and does lead to murder. When it gets really bad, murder actually does seem, honestly and truly, to be the best answer. It becomes the most appropriate action for the personal self once we are faced with that hideous conundrum. If the personal self was all that there was to existence, in the end we may as well just kill the other, since all they are going to do is torment us with their autonomy and independence. Leaving doesn’t seem like a sufficiently final solution; if there is a true or “alchemical bond,” we are going to suffer even more that way. But if we kill them, destroy them completely, maybe we can be free!
Fortunately or unfortunately, there is more to us than the personal self, in fact the personal realm is really just the surface, and what torments us goes much deeper than we even know. So if that bond—and the torment it creates—continues on “the other side,” killing them would actually be the worst thing we could do. That’s the fearful symmetry of it, that what can end up seeming like the best and only solution is actually the most terrible trap we can fall into.
The other option is suicide. Ah yes: let’s send them a message they will never forget by destroying ourselves! Let’s punish the other and get free of them in one fell swoop. But this is the same non-solution solution. Picture this: Tormented by a love gone wrong, a person is trying to bring about resolution in their psyche and reach a state of peace. Who can blame them for that? The trouble is that nothing they do works. So then, if they persist in trying, in finding new things to do, things that might just work, in the end murder and suicide are, obviously, the last resorts. “I’ve tried everything, now let’s try that!” Some people, many people even, when finding themselves in that situation, might believe it’s a real solution. Not me. I know it’s not going to work, so I can’t kid myself. I can’t believe something I know the opposite of. I can believe what I don’t know, but I can’t believe the opposite of what I do know. Thankfully I am not that far gone. But it doesn’t have to be actual murder or suicide. In the less literal realms, one can murder and suicide in one's mind. In terms of sustaining the sort of energy and thoughts that fuel murder or suicide, I have been guilty.
So who’s goddamn fault is it? Is it my momma’s or dadda’s? Or is it their mommas’ and daddas’? Is it the whole human race’s responsibility? In the end, it’s everyone’s and no one’s -- except my own. I am the only one who can choose to act or not act on these feelings. Choosing not to blame is the fundamental step towards healing the wounds that are the real source of our torment. Taking responsibility means not blaming anyone, including oneself. Blame and responsibility don’t co-exist. It is irresponsible to blame people. Why? It has to do with the fact that everyone is already accountable for their actions. Because of that, the universe doesn’t need for us to bring others to account. That adds noise to the signal.
It is between oneself and what one’s knows the truth of. Facing the truth of one's self and one’s actions, that is the only account that we have to make, and it is to ourselves. We are the only ones who can see what we have done to ourselves.
Nobody does anything to anyone, really, because we are always doing it to ourselves. Whenever we hurt someone, they are just a surrogate for ourselves. So although we might be effective in making the other person feel our pain, we are still not actually doing anything to them, because we are isolate. If we were really connected, in a true sense, we wouldn’t be able to hurt each other. Living organisms can’t attack themselves; it takes a foreign element to enter in there and screw up the whole system.
So what is the foreign element? Blame. So where did it come from? It seems as though there is some element in our existence that isn’t meant to be there, that doesn’t belong, that is hostile towards our nature. It’s a paradox and a conundrum: if it was truly unlike us, how could it have access to us? How would it be able to infiltrate our system if we didn’t somehow resonate with it?
It’s nobody’s fault that blame entered the system. It just did. Forgive yourself for ever having blamed, and start all over again from there.
We have the pleasure and privilege of publishing this article by Jason Horsley. We published a couple of his film reviews here on the site – see Movie Blues. (this note has been updated 18.22 on 5/10/11)
Jason Horsley has his own blog. You can check it out here: http://aeoluskephas.blogspot.com
Join us on Facebook. It helps! Honest!