MASTER COACH TRAINING
Module 19. Coaching Radical Relationships (2)
Video One: Surviving an Affair
Welcome to Module #19 which continues on from Module 18 looking at relationships and how we as Radical Living Master Coaches help people navigate the winding roads, dead ends, diversions, roundabouts, rough roads, and narrow lanes that everyone encounters in life through relationships. That’s because as we saw at the beginning of Module 18, the very purpose of relationships is to take ourselves on a journey that will be full of surprises, upsets, wrong turns, and breakdowns so that we learn and grow as a consequence, whether we have awakened or not. It’s just that the journey is different once we have awakened, but no less challenging in its own way. Perhaps even more so actually since, in Phase Four, we are having to do it consciously, which in turn means we are fully responsible and accountable for how it turns out.
That said, there is one event that occurs at some point along the way that is probably most frequently the cause of a traumatic break. And, that is when one of the partners has an affair, and it is discovered. If you’re looking for a good niche to cultivate as a specialism, coaching a couple through this challenge is an ideal one, especially if you’ve had personal experience of it yourself.
Now, I’m not going to spend a lot of time going over it from the human angle of an affair because there is an excellent book I’m recommending that you read that will give you all the information you need to be able to coach people through the agony and the ecstasy of the affair. It is called After the Affair. The sub-title is
Healing the Pain and Rebuilding Trust When a Partner Has Been Unfaithful, and it is by Janis Abrahms
Spring, Ph.D. with Michael Spring. I’m sure there are others but this one has been in print for a long time, and I think it covers it well.
So, I will leave you to read that book on your own, but I will endeavor to cover the topic of infidelity from a Radical Forgiveness point of view. However, before I go there, there are a couple of points I do want to make, one of which relates to what I have been advocating in the previous two modules, while the other has
a bearing on the upcoming video on sexual personalities in this module.
Firstly, I think it is important to define infidelity. When we do that, I think you will see that, theoretically anyway, very few people who’ve had affairs are actually guilty of it. The definition of fidelity is the quality of faithfulness or loyalty. But faithful to what? To monogamy, you might argue. Yes, of course — assuming there is an agreement as such to which one must owe fidelity. But how many couples ever sit down prior to getting married and make an agreement to this effect?
And, what if you are the type who is polyamorous and will find it difficult to resist the chance to indulge in a little carnal pleasure on the side? What would your partner think about that? Would you be willing to promise you wouldn’t stray and really mean it? Or would you suggest you have an open marriage? How would you
feel if your partner did the same to you? Are you in fact suited to be in a marriage or serious relationship that does not allow you to be your authentic self? It could be a deal killer. Without an agreement, there can be no fidelity. Therefore, under such circumstances, if one party has an affair there is no infidelity. It is not
enough to expect fidelity to something that has not even been discussed, let alone been agreed.
When someone comes to me in distress at having discovered their partner has been unfaithful, my first question is, “What agreement has he or she been unfaithful to?” Then, “Did you ever discuss the issue of monogamy and both agree to it before you got married?” Invariably the answer is no. It was simply assumed.
Why are you so surprised? This is not something to just assume. To get married and not have that discussion first is pure folly.
The fact is a lot of men are simply incapable of being monogamous given that women are as equally prone to exercising the power of seduction as men are attracted to that allure. And, in this world, the opportunities for extra marital sex abound. There are many alternatives to pure monogamy that can be negotiated and
tried assuming the love between the two people is strong enough, especially when and if you reach Phase Four when freedom becomes one of the principles that guide the relationship.
So, this brings us right back to us knowing what our values and boundaries are, and then having enough self-respect and honesty to have an authentic discussion about the nature of the commitment we are making, not just to monogamy, if that’s what we agree on, but to a host of other things that married people have to
agree to. You will find a list of things that one would need to discuss in the resources section and is covered in the next video.
If you have a client who’s come out of a relationship on the grounds of wanting to be in one that reflects the values of Phase Four, and is contemplating manifesting a new partner, you might need to go over that list with him or her, if and when they find one and are ready to commit. Someone did that for my wife and I just before we got married and it has helped us build real trust that otherwise probably wouldn’t have been there without doing that work.
The other thing I read in Janis Abrahms’ book is how men and women radically differ in how they justify an affair. Women say they did it for love. They fell in love with the guy and couldn’t help themselves. Men, on the other hand, say the complete opposite. “I did it, but there was no love in it. It was just sex.” You will see later
when we get to the next video, which deals with understanding your sexual personality that though that holds true as a generality, it is more complicated than that.
So now let’s look at this from the spiritual point of view. We know and appreciate that an affair can play a crucial role in breaking up the marriage, the outcome of which depends on whether one is either at the pre-awakening stage, in which case it can serve the purpose of increasing one’s experience of separation and the gathering of karmic units or after the awakening. And, that’s when it is likely to provide opportunities to deepen our capacity to love and to practice being in the Radical Forgiveness vibration. It can also help us heal our shadow and our deeply held childhood wounds. We have this inbuilt urge to heal those wounds and become whole again, so our Higher Self sets up situations where they can come to the surface to be dissolved.
Because we are so incredibly resistant to looking at our own shadow, our Spiritual Intelligence finds ways to act out the original wound in a symbolic way. The workplace is an ideal place to act out these dramas, and so is one’s marriage. In each case one has made a commitment which cannot easily be disregarded, ensuring a high degree of drama sufficient to break down the resistance. The two are often combined, especially where infidelity is concerned. The boss and his secretary, for example.
Such dynamics are often displayed by celebrities or people in positions of power. Not that they are any different in this regard to other people, but with them, it becomes exposed and talked about. The case of Tiger Woods, the golfer who destroyed his marriage through several affairs with other women, is a good example. No one could understand why a person like him, at the very top of his game, would take such a risk with his marriage and his career, especially given how rich he was and how beautiful his wife was.
But that’s us trying to make sense of it by using mental logic. Our ego always wants to know why and be able to figure it out. However, if we look at it from a more spiritual point of view, we can entertain at least a plausible explanation. We know, for instance, that his father put pressure on him very early in life to become a golfer — the best golfer ever, in fact. Everything else was subservient to that. But suppose that was not his soul’s mission? What part of himself did he repress in order to please his father? Was he acting out his
frustration in order to heal it? Was there something else he needed to heal by acting so irresponsibly? We don’t know.
The tennis star Andre Agassi, in his recently released autobiography, reveals how much his father pushed him from the age of 7 to be the top player in the world, and how much Andre hated the game and all that it entailed because of it. He shows how it led him to act out with drugs and sex in the most extraordinary and strange ways. He got through it and woke up, thank goodness, in no small way due to having met and married Steffi Graff, I believe. The chances are that Tiger had a lot of anger towards his father too, so it may
have been a similar situation.
I happen to know firsthand someone who is quite famous and highly respected in his professional field. No one would ever imagine he’d be the kind of guy to regularly visit prostitutes, but he did. And it seemed that he could not stop doing it, even though the discovery of it would ruin his reputation and lucrative business overnight.
I worked with him and found a deeply repressed memory of his mother playing with him while in the bath as a small child, which had given him erections. It was obvious that he was subconsciously acting out his repressed sexual attraction to his mother — the Oedipus complex — by finding women who were willing to
be in a dominant role during sex. He was, in effect replaying the scene. Fortunately, up until that moment, he had picked women who would remain discrete, so it had not escalated into a disastrous situation like it had with Tiger Woods, but it was teetering on a knife-edge, nevertheless.
Once having discovered what needed to be healed, I had him do a lot of anger work around his mother for sexually abusing him as a baby. Then I started leading him towards the idea, central to Radical Forgiveness of course, that his soul had chosen this experience and it was all part of his soul’s divine plan. At the human level, we were able to see how what his mother had done to him had actually led him to fulfill his mission to become the kind of professional that he was. That enabled him to forgive her, in the traditional sense. But it
was only when he really got it that his soul had asked to have that experience for reasons known only to it, that he truly forgave her at a very deep level with Radical Forgiveness. After that, he slowly let go of his need to see prostitutes.
He found me by attending one of my one-day workshops. He realized the danger he was in and saw that Radical Forgiveness might help him before disaster struck. He very wisely hired me to help him find what needed to be healed in him. But unfortunately, most don’t because they don’t understand what is happening.
Neither do their partners. The only one who perhaps might have done so is Hillary Clinton. She was hurt, I’m sure, but she was able to transcend it and move on. In spite of Bill’s public humiliation and shameful persecution by the hypocrites in the Republican party, many of whom were subsequently found to be doing much the same thing, the two of them seem to have a marriage that works. They are a good model for how to revive a failing marriage.
We don’t know why people sabotage themselves like this because we are not privy to their divine plan any more than we are to our own, but celebrities do seem bent on taking it to the point where they get exposed and subsequently shamed. Perhaps they do it in order to get back in touch with the original shame that lay behind their need to act it out, but with a subconscious intention to heal it once and for all.
These people are not perverts or weirdos; they’re just human beings with wounds that are coming up for healing. Their Higher Selves don’t understand and don’t care that doing this healing work is bad for their career or the institution they work for. All the Higher Self cares about is that the time has come to heal their wound so that they can become a whole human being again.
Here’s the twist in all this, though. First of all, it doesn’t just happen to famous people. It happens to everyone to some degree or another. We all have stuff deep down that wants to come up for healing, and we can rest assured that it will — one day.
The trick, then, is to do what my professional client did. Recognize the symptoms before they become too obvious to everyone else, realize that it is unconscious energy coming up for healing, and take steps to heal it before it does irreparable damage. In other words, we need to use the tools of Radical Forgiveness the moment we begin to spot a problem. Then we can begin taking back what we have projected onto others, which is how you know what you hate in yourself. The principle being that what you find objectionable in
another is what you hate in yourself. So, look at how you’re acting out and see if you can find what the acting out is symbolizing and do the Radical Forgiveness work around that.
Looking back with Radical Forgiveness in mind, you will begin to realize that it had to happen and that the other people involved in the situation had to do what they did in order to support your healing process. You will see that their souls volunteered to play the roles they did for you. Just as Tiger’s father, his wife, and all his girlfriends were players in his drama, the people acting out your soul’s script are all part of the plan, and no one has made any mistakes.
It also works the other way around, of course. This is where the person we identify as the villain acts something out for someone else’s healing – usually, the one we perceive as being the victim. The best recent example involving someone very famous is the case of the U.S. Senator John Edwards. He was found to have been
involved in a very lurid affair with one of his staffers, even while running for President of the United States and while his wife, Elizabeth, was battling with and dying from cancer.
Since it was such a great example of how this works, I wrote an article about this and included it in the book 25 Practical Uses for Radical Forgiveness. I would like to you to find it in the book, read, and understand it.
As we now know, his wife, Elizabeth, did die and John was further shamed when it came out that he had fathered a baby with the other woman, even after vehemently denying it on TV many times. Clearly, he had a lot of his own shadow stuff to heal as well, besides doing it so Elizabeth could heal hers before she died.
So, the point here is that if you as a Master Coach can approach the issue of infidelity where one of them has had an affair, you will be able to approach it from both a practical psychological approach and the spiritual one. I’m not saying it is easy for people to forgive things like an affair, but if you can at least get your client to have a sense that there was or is more to it than meets the eye, they might stop relating to it so much as a victim, and begin to take it less personally. They might even get it that it served a divine purpose and
therefore, at the spiritual level at least, nothing wrong happened.