Addiction to MilitancyBy Phyhllis Stein, Ph.D.
December 31, 2006
Do you believe that you have to do something about all of the wrongs in the world, even if you acutally can't. Phyllis Stein explores the subtle addiction the underlies this feeling.
All of us are familiar with the feeling of worry and the energy that goes with it. Many of us, before we started to do Inner Bonding, were worry-magnets - we worried about everything. We looked for things to worry about. Many of us learned this from our parents. It is clear that worry is an addiction that keeps us from feeling our helplessness. We believe that worrying will provide a better outcome than not worrying. Recently, I became aware of my own more subtle addiction, another way to keep from feeling helpless. I call it the addiction to militancy.
I have always had a strong sense of right and wrong. What I had never questioned, though, was my intense internal reaction to things that are wrong or need fixing, for example injustice, or people acting in hurtful ways and, specifically, as I have written in other columns, my husband's leaving me for another woman. I grew up in a political family, and everything that happened in the world was seen through the lens of justice and injustice. My parents were deeply scarred by the holocaust and the belief that it happened, in part, because people were not militant enough. What I did not realize was that, as a result, my little girl felt an obligation to react to all the wrongs in the world with the energy of militancy and to never let up. Picture a warrior rising up with a sword declaring "This is wrong!" I did that on the internal level, every time I saw something wrong. I believed that if I did not do it, it was the same as letting evil reign. Often, I would go out of my way to try to get people to see how bad or crazy something was. What I could not do was let go of this reaction and let be it okay, on the internal level, that something wrong had happened. So, in a way I took responsibility for the whole world. Symbolically I took energetic responsibility for making the trains run on time. It was automatic. It was controlling. It was a way to not feel helpless. If I reacted with militancy then somehow I was keeping worse things from happening. When I dialogued with spirit about this, I was told that if I was supposed to do something to help, I would be told what to do, and if I was not told to do something, there was nothing I was supposed to do or take responsibility for, even energetically.
It had never occurred to me to not take it all on. Since I had always done it, I had never noticed how exhausting it actually was. I got that I do not HAVE to do this anymore. That the world will not fall apart and evil will not take over if I let go of the militancy and move to acceptance when "bad" things happen. They matter, but they do not Matter. An amazing thing has happened as a result. Life has gotten easier for one thing. Forgiveness became possible. Militancy stands in the way of forgiveness, because forgiveness is acceptance. But more than that, I have gotten to gratitude. With the obligation to stand up and declare forever that "This is wrong" gone, what happens, what seems at first to be a great wrong, can become a great blessing, a gift from God. And it has.
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Focus on anyone you are angry at. Let yourself voice your anger out loud but not at the person. Now turn it around and let your inner child say the same thing to you, listening with openness and compassion. Whoever you are angry at can become your teacher for becoming aware of how you may be abandoning yourself.
By Dr. Margaret Paul