The Beauty of Difference
by Peter Fritz Walter
To accept life means to accept yourself.
It does not mean that you have to blindly adopt the collectively approved forms of living. As a matter of fact, the more we identify with collective personality patterns, the more we veil our original being.
Thus, to accept life means to affirm our difference.
It is this difference that singularizes us; in fact, it makes us unique among our fellowmen.
When we are unique, recognizing and affirming our natural difference, we live with grace and our life will be fulfilled. Then we are authentic.
However, as a consequence of our alienating childhoods, many of us are striving for some sort of lifelong fusion or pseudo-symbiosis with others. Of course, as a newborn, we ideally lived in natural symbiosis with our mothers, and this symbiosis was necessary as a prolonged gestation. Fact is however that many today are still as adults in need of symbiosis through identifying with parents, friends, a group, an ideology, which then becomes fusion, co-fusion, secondary symbiosis, pseudo-symbiosis.
Please note that I use these terms synonymously in my work and in this guide. Besides the term co-fusion, I also coined the term symbiotoholics, when I talk, for example, about symbiotoholic parents. In fact, when you unveil symbiotoholism you can see that it has quite many traits in common with alcoholism.
And in fact, many alcoholics are also symbiotoholics, as the addiction to substances and the addiction to people share a similar etiology. Much has been written about codependence and I will therefore limit myself in this guide to the essential points.
While some of my explanations may sound dry and theoretical, they have a very practical impact once you actually work on these problems and see how difficult it is to dissolve your pseudo-symbiotic bonds in order to build true autonomy.
Fusion is born from our longing for returning to the nest, the matrix, the pedigree. The search for fusion is deeply rooted in our need for emotional security. Being scared of making the difference, we remain shallow, lacking necessary touch with the depth of our being; then we try to imitate others.
My point is that we long for perpetual fusion because we have been largely deprived of the essential natural symbiosis we needed as infants with our mothers. That babies suffer from this deprivation in our culture, while for example in tribal cultures the problem is unknown, has been elucidated in recent years by psychological, sociological and anthropological research. There is now abundant evidence that violence in our culture originates primarily from the fact that our infants are deprived of emotional attention and tactile pleasure, and that our youth is deprived of autonomy.
As a result, our natural psychosexual growth processes are impaired. The consequence is a society of narcissistic giant babies who are hopelessly trying to be good boys or good girls for their parents, siblings, mates, neighbors or society as a whole.
Our fragmented emotional, sexual and bioenergetic setup brings along sexual perversions, violence, cruelty, self-alienation and a high rate of emotional instability as well as a noteworthy incidence of autism or schizophrenia that both are wrongly qualified as mental illnesses.
I do not talk here about pathological cases but about a problem that, at an underlying level, we are all dealing with in our culture, and this because it is a social or cultural phenomenon in all dominator cultures. In more than twenty years of research about this complex subject, I found that building autonomy is strongly enhanced through acquiring self-knowledge, clarity about our individual needs and a firm sense of personal identity.
Self-knowledge comes from listening to self, recognizing our needs and communicating them to the outside world. When we disrespect our needs, we will also tend to disrespect the needs of others. Hence, respect begins with self-respect. Love your neighbor! should be changed into Love yourself! We will have our autonomous place in the community once we are individuals in the sense of undivided beings.
We become individuals through autonomy.
In other words autonomy works counter to fragmentation and brings about personal integration and inner peace. Before this can happen, we have to face our symbiotic needs and render them conscious. This, in turn, means to face our most basic fear: the fear of abandonment, of solitude, of being truly alone. If we wish to attain our original unity, we cannot avoid facing this fear; a phase of more or less extended solitude seems often necessary in this development.
Three phases characterize our growing into autonomy and true interdependence with others, fusion, individuation, and integration.