Red Responds: Her Spiritual Teacher is Self-Absorbed

Andrea Hare writes:

I am friends with my spiritual teacher, whom I love and respect very much. I have grown and healed so much under her guidance and for that, I am grateful. I tend to be very generous and find myself spending a lot of time listening to her talk about herself, while she doesn’t seem very interested in me. I did speak up about it and this helped a little. She now asks me how I’m doing, but the topic soon turns back to her. I am one of her student teachers and plan to travel and do projects with her, but I find myself feeling resentful and even angry sometimes because I feel used. Is she still just unhealed and needing a lot of attention? Do I need to take more space? Does she really care about me? My real fear is that because I am so close to her, I have to be the one who communicates (with love) how her behavior affects me so she can heal what’s really causing it.

Dear Andrea,

Your spiritual teacher does consider you to be a friend, so she does care about you. However, when friendship enters into a student/teacher relationship the boundaries often get blurred. It doesn’t look as if your teacher is trying to use you, but she is aware that she pulls on your for insight and strength. Even though she is the teacher, like the rest of us – she has learning, healing, and growing to do.

Your teacher tends to bring the focus of your conversations back to her and her issues partly due to her personality, and partly because she is trying to work through her own issues. Even though her behavior can be draining and hurtful through your eyes, I’m afraid it isn’t going to stop anytime soon. There is an imbalance showing in both the teacher/student and friendship planes. It would be wise for you to redefine your boundaries, and once again share with her your expectations and limitations.

You have learned a lot from this woman, and your spiritual progression is going to continue. As far as your relationship goes, you are outgrowing her as a teacher. Once you recognize that, it will be easier for you to determine her place — if any — in your circle of friends.

Red

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