Over the years, I have seen people enter into fusional relationships that cause them a lot of suffering and confusion. I wonder…. Are they initially drawn together by some overwhelming, irresistible force? Are they unable to resist that force because they crave fusion with another person, as a way of escaping loneliness or emptiness? Once they fuse, cleaving to one another and becoming one, it seems to me their love takes on an epic character, as if life were suddenly transformed into a thrilling passionate adventure, and they were no longer ordinary beings but had now become heroic lovers.
At first, the fusional relationship has its funny sides. How can two people so different from each other suddenly begin looking, talking, walking and dressing like each other, as if one mirrored the other? Isn’t this mirroring a proof of their destiny?
As gratifying as mirroring may seem, I believe that effacing oneself just to please the other means that individual identity is now getting stifled.
Two people in a fusional relationship get used to living-for-another, maintaining the other, satisfying that other person’s aching hunger. The whole trend of their personality is to fuse with, blend into, merge into, disappear into the other, fade into the background, go unnoticed. There is never time or space to ask: “How do I see myself?” This question may even make them feel guilty.
But after awhile, given the inevitable give-and-take of daily life, the fusional relationship takes on a deadly serious character. The fused couple soon dwell in a stark world of everything or nothing, always or never – a world of absolutes. They continue to believe their fusion shines like the light of the world, but there is a strange brooding silence inside the relationship. They lock onto each other as a way of blocking out their own fear and anxiety and loneliness. Except that within the fusional relationship, their new role is not so much to exist in themselves, as to respond to the compulsions and demands and panic of the other, and to maintain the goldarned fusional entity, because they have already invested so heavily in it.
There always comes a breaking-point. The fusional relationship is blown apart with a destructive force as intense as the creative force that had initially brought it together in the first place. I have often seen people blow up one fusional relationship, then happily throw themselves into a second fusional relationship shortly after, not to mention a third … and a fourth. But I have also seen people destroyed by the break-up.
So, what should we call the break-up of fusion? The word “défusion” exists in French, but there is no direct equivalent in English. I could try “tearing-asunder”, but I prefer “anti-fusion.” I have seen people coming out of a fusional situation destroyed or at least wounded, because they allowed themselves to be shaped, modeled, defined by somebody else who is no longer fused to them. They are left feeling bereft, disoriented, humiliated.
I suppose a person can just as well have a fusional relationship with fantasy, or a virtual reality game, or a new age cult, or religion, or ideologies or mass movements…. The possibilities are endless! Fusional relationships naturally seek to be total, absolute, unalloyed, unconditional.
A person is always better off having a healthy, authentic self, and entering freely into relationships that leave space for a secret garden, individual identity … and laughter. What’s the point of devoting one’s life to maintaining a binary star system anyway? Why not leave that to astrophysics? Let’s get on with life!