This week I’ve had two people ask me questions about relationship issues that all stemmed from a pattern of behavior that I like to call Putting Others on a Pedestal. In one case one person was put on the pedestal and viciously knocked off, in the other case, a person who had an old pattern of putting women on a pedestal needed a little clarity around what was her part in the relationship blip, and what was her friend’s part. These questions, and another around how to end a relationship that’s mired in Drama with as little drama as possible led me today to post an ebook for sale on in my shop called The Empath, Shadow Work, and the Pedestal.
In this ebook I talk about how important doing our Shadow Work is so that we don’t project our old wounds onto the people around us. I also talk about the most common wound, the Mother Wound, and how that wound, when severe, can lead to this painful Pedestal Pattern in which we fall in love with a guru, partner, or best friend, then become terribly disillusioned and attack the person for failing us. Once we heal our wounds and step into full maturity and power ironically we become easy targets for others to put US on pedestals. I cover an example of how a non Empath can do this, and how confusing and crazy-making this behavior is for the unwitting Empath. I hope this ebook will be helpful to you! Here’s a brief introduction:
As Empaths we can easily fall into the role of Rescuer because we tend to be good listeners, we tend to be supportive and accepting, and in general we hold a safe emotional space for others because we are so in touch with our emotional bodies. We tend to be healers and confidantes for our friends and family without realizing that is the role we are cast in. However, a warning sign that a relationship is headed for Drama is when one of us in the relationship is putting the other on a pedestal.
When this happens to me with a client, I am sure to point out to them their own power and magnificence. I also ask if they realize that they are putting me on a pedestal. With the clients who can see that, we have a basis of continuing to work together because they are conscious of their positive shadow projected onto me. If they aren’t able to see how they are projecting, I will usually refer these clients to colleagues with a strong background in counseling rather than coaching.
The reason for this is that the projection of positive shadow (the person on the pedestal is soooo wonderful) can turn very quickly into a projection of negative shadow when the person is revealed to have limits. Usually the fall from the pedestal is pretty spectacular. If we have been buying into that positive projection the switch to the negative projection can be very painful and confusing.
The clue for choosing a new client relationship became, how much was this client expecting from me? How good were this client’s boundaries? How much did this client like me and express that feeling given our professional relationship? Had this client done any work already to choose self-responsibilty over Victimhood at all times? These are good questions for all Empaths working on their own boundaries to ask themselves before they enter into a relationship.
If a potential friend or client expresses lots of flattery, gives gifts, or tells me they want to be friends after our work together in the first session or two, this is a strong indication that this person has a severe Mother Wound and will need lots of counseling in addition to Soul Retrieval and Underworld Work.
Most of us do put others on a pedestal. Really, it is the degree to which we do it that determines if it is normal or unhealthy. Most clients I work with do love and appreciate the work that I do. That is fine. And it is fine to enjoy the positive projection, but I have learned to not take it personally. Because, sure enough, the negative projection will soon follow, and that can’t be taken personally, either.
However, for unhealthy people who have not taken full responsibility for themselves, moving into Bully position after they have knocked the person off the pedestal feels fully justified. For the person that has just fallen off the pedestal, she is in for a stream of psychic attack at the least and violence at the worst. It can be very scary and confusing to be in that position. The only healthy way out of it is to ride out the storm at that point, take care of the self, but not engage any of the archetypal positions on the triangle.
In my new ebook, The Empath, Shadow Work, and the Pedestal I cover the basic pattern of Empaths putting others on a Pedestal. I also describe what it is like for another Enneagram Archetype, the Black and White Thinker to put an Empath on a pedestal, and how dangerous that can be for the Empath. I hope you will find this ebook helpful and useful in deciphering your own relationships.