Purchase What We Leave Behind
Read more

Excerpt from What We Leave Behind

Infantile Relationships (p. 261)

From chapter "Powerlessness"

Our romantic relationships are quite often infantile, as so many people in this culture look to their partners as substitute parents, projecting onto their partners all of their unmet childhood needs (I’m not the first to comment that the rush of falling in love could very well be this projection, which is bound to disappoint; I’m sure you’ve known people who’ve gone partner to partner, always searching for the one who will complete them). That’s what the culture wants us to want (and certainly, for example, most popular music reinforces this: singing about romantic love is fine, but where are the songs for other parts of our lives, songs for snowfall, songs for death and grieving, songs for birth, songs of despair, songs of rage against the machine [oops, I guess those do exist], songs of family, songs of community, songs to welcome the salmon home after their long journey in the sea?). This infantile craving starts early because our family relationships are structured so horribly that we never get the healthy (group/tribal) parenting we need, and then we never grow up emotionally, and forever yearn for someone, anyone in authority to take care of us and make decisions for us.And those in authority are only too eager to make those decisions for—or rather most often against—us. The political and judicial systems pound subservience into us.