“Things get worse before they get better, but this is a worse that feels too big.” ~Stephen Chbosky, The Perks of Being a Wallflower
No doubt you have either heard or experienced a version of the above quote at one time or another. It is called the process of chemicalization. Emmet Fox explains it this way:
It seems as though everything begins to go wrong at once. This may be disconcerting, but it is really a good sign. Suppose your whole world seems to rock on its foundation. Hold on steadily, and let it rock, and when the rocking is over, the picture will have reassembled itself into something much nearer to your heart’s desire.”
Put another way, chemicalization occurs when negative or old ways of thinking collide with truth or right thinking, sparking an agitated reaction much like the combustion of two diverse chemicals. Think Fourth of July. Boom.
Although this process of healing and changing feels negative, it is a cleansing action with a positive outcome insists Catherine Ponder in her book, The Dynamics of Healing (1972). “Something higher and better always results from the experience.”
Take this example. One Sunday prior to church services, I read a prayer on love from Iyanla VanZant’s book, In the Meantime: Finding Yourself and the Love You Want (Simon & Schuster, 1998).
She wrote: “I want to hear love and speak love and be filled with Your love today, so I can love others like You love them.”
After reading those words, I announced to the Universe that I wanted to be love that day. I dashed off to church certain that my life would fill with all of my favorite things. Wrong.
The entire day was filled to overflowing with feelings of inadequacy and failure. I was angry, wanting to forsake the whole experiment. The heck with being love, I decided. I guess I didn’t have it in me. Cain had pounded it into my head all my life that I was inferior. Must be so.
Then I recalled the process of chemicalization. The Pauli Exclusion Principle states that no two fermions can occupy the same state. If I wanted to be love, I had to let go of everything that was unlike love–all those feelings of inferiority that were hanging on or still creeping under the door.
As you know one of Cain’s favorite ploys is to keep the Enabler in doubt about her own value. If she tries to think she is worthy, he reacts with rage and punishes or bullies her. He dehumanizes and objectifies her so he can remain in the limelight. He has no self, so he belittles and demeans her to make her think she is disposable at any time.
Growing up I developed a pleasing personality to keep Cain’s abuse at bay. Anger is a healthy response to being objectified. Yet, we did a dance of submission and superiority which created rightful anger in me. Until I looked at it through the eyes of chemicalization.
The process involves four steps:
Saturation: You start your journey into new thinking. An author’s prayer touched me, and I wanted to give and receive love.
Commotion: This is the stirring up period when things feel worse but they are getting better. My day did not automatically become filled with love because all the old emotions of inferiority rose to the surface to be released. They were all lies. They had to go. Love is truth. The two could not coincide. I couldn’t genuinely be love and hold on to the belief that I was inferior and devalued.
Quietness: This is an adjustment phase when the old has been released and the new idea surfaces. You know something profound changed within you. You might feel the need to withdraw and not talk until the truth of your being is fully integrated. You feel vulnerable but know that you are on the right track.
Fulfillment: This is a continuation of your quiet period but now life looks good. Your mind is no longer in utter confusion or filled with emptiness inflicted by Cain’s harassment.
You stop falling for his charm and exploitations. You stop trying to make the relationship with Cain work. Life is satisfying and fulfilling. When he acts entitled, you walk away. His response to life is not your responsibility. It never was. And you know it.
The process of chemicalization changed you at depth. Cain can no longer cajole, coerce or threaten you. In fact, you wonder what you ever saw in him. Why you wanted to emulate him or saw him as powerful. Why you ever wanted to stay with him or listen to his obsessive lies and shallow conversations.
Being the instrument of a cainist is no longer good enough for you. He is a solipsist and always will be. But you are free to love and be loved by those who see your good-heartedness.
You are free to love and be love.