Pay attention to who agrees with your reality.
When a tyrant is trying to draw me into an alternate reality, one I don’t agree with, I literally do not respond.
This is a subtle tool that will escape you—it escaped me thousands of times. Only through humility do I overcome the shame of that.
You speak your truth, he creates a separate reality where that truth doesn’t matter or is not valid, draws you in there through statements and leading questions, and suddenly you’re fighting on ground that has been shifted in his favor.
Typing that fills me with bile.
Relationships where the ground is shifted in someone's favor, relationships where it's possible for one person to be right and the other person to be wrong/projecting/invalid/not embodied/not conscious are an example of this shifted reality.
A relationship that has favorites or favor is based on winning and losing. The tyrant needs to win, and that makes you a loser.
When you come to the tyrant with your desire to be seen, he sees a competition where he will either win (be right) or lose (be wrong). Your desire to be seen is neutral, your experience of him does not and cannot make him wrong, but he sees and responds to it that way.
The tyrant is playing a zero-sum game. If he sees your experience, you win and he loses. If he can sell you his version of the experience, he wins.
He will not reflect you. He will defend himself against what was never a threat in the first place and bend your reality until you really celebrate his win with your whole heart. You are happy to lose, losing is easy, nbd, as long as we remain devotionally connected. You can feel your feelings and allow them to move through you, you can lose to him all day without losing your identity.
But the problem is, that’s a rigged game. Devotional relationships do not have favorites or favor, they do not have winners and losers. In a devotional relationship, ALL is welcome.
All stories, all judgments, all projections--because nothing can threaten the connection. Defensiveness and the need to defend is a sign that you are not in a devotional relationship.
In devotional love, each partner makes sure to share their judgements and projections in ways that feel good to the other person. If the stories, judgments, and projections your partner brings you do not feel good in the moment, that is not a devotional relationship.
In devotional love, each partner can hold themselves through hearing judgments and projections shared cleanly. If you bring your stories, judgments and projections to your partner and they defend themselves, that is not a devotional relationship.
Devotional relationships do not have winners and losers. Devotional relationships have cocreators. They have receivers. They have witnesses, historians, cataloguers, curators.
Your partner is meant to help you know deeper the truth of YOUR experience. The leader (of any instance of this dynamic) holds space and curiosity and reverence. They want to explore you and know your whole gentle heart.
They want to hear the words you put to your experience: they receive and reflect the words that you say, or they hold a silence so big and long your words echo around and around. Whether there are words or silence, you will *feel* how sacred and important your experience is to them as their nervous system co-regulates with yours.
They agree with and expound on your experience, drawing from YOUR past experiences that you’ve shared with them, wrapping you both up in your experience to validate how important and real it is.