Close Meaningful Relationships with People, and the RC No-Socializing Agreement

WHAT DO WE UNDERSTAND ABOUT RELATIONSHIPS?

As human beings we love to interact with other intelligent minds. Being human goes hand-in-hand with seeking connection with others. One of the earliest questions infants seem to be asking is, “What kind of connection do I get to have with you?”

We have many kinds of relationships and each relationship with another person is unique.

There are no limits to how close two humans can get. If they can stay in touch with each other and keep working together, they can reach agreement, to any degree they wish, on what their relationship is and what they are working toward.

Many of us rarely talk about the relationships we have, or want. I remember as a teenager being afraid to even claim relationships I treasured because I was afraid that people would misunderstand, tease, ridicule, or reject me. In general, the only relationships we are allowed to claim are those defined by society: mother, father, uncle, son, daughter, teacher, and so on.

Our relationships tend to be defined more by age, gender, race, culture, and physical differences than by who we are and what we want.

Many of us hope that we are wanted in each other’s lives and fantasize about it, without ever discussing it with each other. Often the terms friend, neighbor, partner, lover, or child mean different things to different people. Many difficulties arise from our never discussing with each other the assumptions we bring into our relationships.

It works best if both people in a relationship are engaged in thinking about the relationship, but it takes only one person to make a relationship work. We don’t have to wait for the other person to take initiative.

In our oppressive societies we are encouraged to romanticize relationships and look for everything in one person, rather than seek meaningful relationships with everyone we meet.

We can have satisfying and meaningful relationships that are narrowly defined. They may consist of, for example, taking a walk together once a week, shopping for groceries with each other, or working together in each other’s houses.

With some people we may have more than one relationship; for example, we may be both boss and mentor, mother and confidant, coach and father, lover and co-parent. These relationships work best when we take full responsibility for each of the separate relationships rather than melding them together.

WHAT IS POSSIBLE IN AN RC RELATIONSHIP?

RC relationships are real and full. Many RCers have life-long commitments to each other. We naturally fall in love with our Co-Counselors—we get to see the heroic person who has battled against enormous odds to be himself or herself. Our RC relationships may be more meaningful than any relationships we ever dreamed were possible.

In the context of thinking about each other’s re-emergence, Co-Counselors can participate in a variety of activities together.

REAL AND FROZEN NEEDS

Humans have many real needs, including the need for good air and food; the needs to give and receive love, to try out our thinking, and to test our limits.

Every human infant deserves to be celebrated—to have his or her existence acknowledged as special and as an important addition to the fabric of the universe. For many of us when we were born, the adults around us were damaged enough that they were unable to reach for us with their welcoming and caring or let us reach for them.

If a real need is not met in childhood, that is a hurt, and if the distress from the hurt is not discharged, a recording is installed that includes the feeling of need. In the grip of such a distress recording, it can be hard for us to distinguish a real, present-time need from a frozen need1 that can’t be met by, for example, as much food as we can eat, as much adulation as we can receive, as much sex as we can attain, or as much security as we crave.

Frozen needs act like an addiction. When we try to fill them, any relief is short-lived and we feel compelled to try to fill them again. It can be particularly confusing when we have frozen needs in the same areas in which we have present-time real needs.

Our current societies encourage people to try to make money by restimulating our frozen needs—for example, by bombarding us with messages that we would be desirable if only we used this or that product. These messages make our frozen needs even more confusing.

Our relationships are often based on trying to meet frozen needs. We may have a tacit agreement with another person either to try to meet these needs or to avoid bringing them up. This can work for a while, but complications inevitably arise that can cause us to give up on ourselves or the other person.

RC’S ONE-POINT PROGRAM

Re-evaluation Counseling and the RC Communities are unique. Our goal in RC is to free our own and each other’s intelligence from distress—to help each other re-emerge. This includes challenging and discharging our frozen needs so that we can actually think about each other.

Many of us have mixed motivations when joining an organization. The stated goal of the organization may be only part of the reason why we join. Often we are looking to fill real or frozen needs for community, love, acceptance, or friends. We may be looking for a way to make money. Many organizations encourage people to try to fill a number of their needs within the organization. However, if there is no way for people to address their frozen needs, confusions and difficulties will occur.

Many of us have participated in organizations that didn’t fulfill their promises or that openly encouraged people to exploit each other. Our feelings about these experiences can confuse us about RC.

ADDING CO-COUNSELING TO OTHER RELATIONSHIPS

Sometimes we bring our friends, business partners, co-workers, lovers, or children into RC and hope that the RC Communities will fix the things about them that we find difficult. Or we may add a Co-Counseling relationship to some other relationship and minimize the first relationship in favor of the Co-Counseling one—because the Co-Counseling relationship is clearly defined and seems easier. Using RC in these ways has rarely been successful and is usually a mistake. Taking responsibility for each relationship means fighting through any powerlessness we feel about not being able to get close, or communicate our caring and hopes.

WHAT EXACTLY IS THE RC NO-SOCIALIZING POLICY?

We as members of the RC Community have agreed that if we meet someone in an RC context, we will not establish any relationship other than a Co-Counseling one with that person. We have agreed on this policy in order to pursue the specific relationship of being “re-emergence partners.” We are encouraged to get completely close to each other but with the sole purpose of assisting each other to re-emerge and have big lives. We develop deep and often life-long committed relationships with each other, but they are narrowly defined.

This no-socializing policy will be needed until human beings are able to sort out our confusions about frozen needs and freely choose not to try to meet them with each other.

WHY DID WE ADOPT THE NO-SOCIALIZING POLICY?

In RC we have the goal of empowering each other to live big lives and find and develop many friendships. We use the discharge process to get rid of the hurts that prevent us from doing these things outside of RC. Harvey Jackins suggested the following commitment: “From now on, I will see to it that everything I am in contact with works well, and I will not limit or pull back on my contacts.”

Early in the history of RC, many members of the fledgling Community treated it like they would other organizations and hunted within it for opportunities to socialize and to fill all their needs, real or frozen. It quickly became apparent that adding other relationships to the Co-Counseling one led to the corruption of the Co-Counseling relationship and also made the other attempted relationships unworkable. Sometimes people abandoned the goal of re-emergence and settled for the comfort of being someone’s lover, business partner, drinking companion, or baby-sitter.2

It is simply not possible to function as someone’s Co-Counselor all the time. However, when we meet someone in RC, we tend to expect him or her to always be this amazing person who has undivided attention for us and can see us clearly as separate from our patterns.

When a Co-Counselor starts a social relationship with another Co-Counselor, he or she often blames the RC Community for the difficulties that arise in the social relationship and ends up asking or demanding that the leaders of the Community counsel him or her on these difficulties. This has sometimes occupied much of the leadership’s time.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS TO OUR ORGANIZATION OF A NO-SOCIALIZING POLICY?

I see five big reasons why a no-socializing policy is essential for our organization at this time in history:

1) Having a narrowly defined relationship (we listen to each other to promote re-emergence) allows many people to participate in RC who otherwise could not. For example, in some societies men and women could not be alone with each other if socializing were not proscribed.

2) Because all of us have been hurt to some degree in the areas of affection, touching, love, sex, feeling desirable, being valued, and so on, we carry patterns that we unwittingly play out3 at others. Deciding that we will look at and discharge our feelings, but not act on them, allows us to be able to listen to each other about difficult topics and promotes a relationship in which we don’t have to hide our distresses.

3) Because we live in and have been hurt by oppressive societies, we often act out oppressive behavior, including at our Co-Counselors. We may be either attracted to or repulsed by people who are different from ourselves. Having a policy that we won’t act on these feelings, but rather discharge them, helps create the safety necessary to emerge from oppressor and oppressed roles.

4) The policy helps us not to huddle in our Co-Counseling relationships but to go out and make friends with people outside of RC.

5) If we encourage each other to create the lives we want outside the RC Community, and to share with those we meet our understanding of RC, the number of people learning about RC will increase rapidly and the chances for humans to emerge from their distress recordings will increase.

HOW BREAKING THE NO-SOCIALIZING AGREEMENT AFFECTS THE RC COMMUNITY

When Co-Counselors break the no-socializing agreement, it has an effect on the RC Community. This is compounded if they were RC leaders, or if they defend their decision to socialize by attacking the no-socializing agreement.

When people violate the agreement it shows a lack of integrity and can restimulate and confuse the people around them. Questions like, “If they can do it, why can’t I?” “Can anyone be trusted?” “What else is going on that I don’t know about?” “What is this organization about anyway?” can reverberate in the Community and spur gossip and upset. It is almost always left to others than the violators to counsel people on these restimulations and clean up the confusions. This takes attention away from the real goals of the Community.

RULES, AND BEING HONEST WITH OURSELVES

How do you tell4 if the activities you undertake with your Co-Counselor are directed toward your mutual re-emergence or are attempts to fill frozen needs? This is not always simple because our patterns are good at fooling us. The best I have been able to do is ask myself honestly, “What are my motivations here? Am I trying to make something happen that I can’t make happen in the rest of my life? Am I abusing myself, or others, by taking advantage of the ready-made Co-Counseling relationship instead of using the discharge process to figure out a relationship with someone I didn’t meet in RC?”

Sometimes we treat the no-socializing agreement as a rule and try to get around it because we resent rules: “I met this person before I met him or her in RC, even though it was only one time, casually, so I can do anything I want with him or her.” This ignores what we are trying to accomplish with the no-socializing agreement: being honest with each other about our frozen needs and getting rid of our distresses.

Because we’ve been exposed to organizations that have had oppressive rules, we may have distresses connected to anything about rules. Some of us may follow rules exactly and want to punish those who don’t. Some of us may act as if the rules aren’t that important. We need to help each other work on all our distresses about rules.

QUESTIONS

Here are some questions that the no-socializing agreement doesn’t specifically address that need to be thought about in each case: What kinds of relationships make sense when you meet one member of a couple outside of RC and the other inside RC? What kind of relationship do you have with a Co-Counselor you have loved who leaves the RC Community? When you are in organizations or public situations with other RCers, what do you do?

SOME SIMPLE GUIDELINES

The following are some simple guidelines that may help you avoid restimulation for which there is inadequate resource to handle:

Don’t do anything with your Co-Counselor that you couldn’t do in front of a group.

When working on early sexual memories, or other areas where frozen needs are often involved, do three-way sessions.

Develop a Co-Counselor to whom you can tell everything about your life, and ask him or her to keep track of you5 in the areas in which you struggle. Insist on confidentiality.

Don’t romance your Co-Counselor.

Don’t use your Co-Counselor, or Co-Counseling, as a substitute for taking on6 problems you need to face in other relationships.

If a Co-Counselor seems like the only person who can understand or help you, he or she probably isn’t. 

WAYS TO WORK ON FROZEN NEEDS

Here are some useful ways to work on frozen needs:

Find Co-Counselors with whom you can be open about your frozen needs. Share all the details, and tell how you have tried to get the needs met in the past. Telling someone else is a contradiction for many of us, and discharge will probably follow.

If your frozen needs are attached to your Co-Counselor, openly want and long for him or her (“I want every bit of you”) and share your first thoughts. Do this in three-way sessions if your Co-Counselor has similar pulls.

Talk about your earliest memory connected in any way to a frozen need, and stick with it.7

Keep trying to tell your Co-Counselor how much you care about him or her until your tone, words, and facial expressions seem exactly right.

CHILDREN AND THE NO-SOCIALIZING POLICY

How does the no-socializing policy apply to our children?

We sometimes bring our children into the RC Community in the same way we might bring them into other organizations. We might involve them in a religion or a sport because we do it ourselves and thus want it for them. They may not have chosen to be part of these organizations. They often don’t know the organizations’ policies or customs. We need to help them understand these, and the thinking behind them, because they affect their relationships in the organization. 

Young people form friendships with people they meet at RC events, just as they do with people they meet at school. We need to help them think about all their relationships. A great benefit to meeting other young people, and adults, in a Co-Counseling setting is that someone will be trying to think about the relationships and how to help them flourish. 

Children in RC families are no different than other children. Like adults, they have early hurts and frozen needs. They try to meet their frozen needs with their families, and with their friends both inside and outside of RC. Often they are more persistent than adults are in trying to have a session on their frozen needs. Their unabashed wanting (for more sugar after eating lots, for special time8 with only one particular person, and so on) makes it hard to ignore that a distress must be operating. Many times at RC family workshops, children come to care deeply for each other. When the workshop is ending, they are desperate to keep it going or to invite another child over to their house. The fact that the workshop has to end can lead to big sessions on old frozen desperation about connection. If we get confused and try to fill their frozen needs, the young people don’t get the chance to discharge on the old hurts and to become more flexible and creative in the present.

It is powerful for young people to know how to challenge frozen needs and to understand the thinking behind the no-socializing agreement. We need to share with them the reasons why we have the agreement and explain how it doesn’t limit the closeness they can develop with each other. 

Our role with the families and children we meet in RC is to be counselors. Parents often need baby-sitting, carpools, other children for play dates, people to contribute funds for their children’s events, and so on. We parents in RC have decided to encourage each other to find people outside the RC Community who can meet these needs, and to share with them RC ideas about young people. We’ve decided that when we’re with families we’ve met in RC, even if we’re doing some of the activities we do in other parts of our lives, our attention will be on being counselors to the young people and on making sure their relationships go well. We’ve decided that we will make the time, and do the discharging necessary, to be fully present at any activities we share with RC families. If we can’t do this, we won’t schedule the activities.

Young people don’t usually plan and schedule sessions the way adults do. In general, their experience with RC has been with receiving one-way attention. They can be invited to the two-way relationship, and into the Community, but until that makes sense to them, we need to let them develop their relationships with us, and with each other, at planned, well-resourced RC events.

Chuck Esser
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

 

 


Last modified: 2019-05-02 14:41:35+00