Water types want to be connected and close to others. They don't like the feeling of others withdrawing from them. To cope with difficult feelings like withdrawal or loneliness they withdraw from themselves in an effort to limit and control their awareness of it.
When they withdraw from their feelings of being withdrawn they can feel numb and become really disconnected. The irony is that this disconnection from self then leads to a disconnection from others, in effect locking in a sense of loneliness. They can be in a room of people and still feel alone.
They are usually highly motivated and driven if their underlining response to fear is to control rather than withdraw. They like to keep on the go and usually push through their fear. The more disconnected they are, the more they tend to seek adrenaline style activities that challenge their fear: things like parachuting or rock climbing or bungy jumping. This ultimately changes if their health deteriorates. As they push themselves beyond their physical limits they will lose the capacity to stay driven.
Alternatively they may feel impotent and a victim of fate if their underlining response tofear is to withdraw rather than control. In this case they respond to fear by trying to be a small target – being “invisible”. This invisibility then feeds back into feelings of disconnection because they feel people don't notice them.
The truth is that with both patterns they don't notice themselves. In particular they tend to live in their heads, being vigilant and relying on thinking to keep them safe. This leads to excess thinking and a propensity to get anxious. This type of anxiety pattern is rooted in fear.
There is often a difficulty trusting themselves and others. Partly this reflects confusion around instincts. They don't realise that anxious feelings are the product of their excess thinking, but rather assume the anxious feelings relate to their instincts. As a result they don't know what to trust.
They like to accumulate knowledge, thinking knowledge is a substitute for wisdom or will eventually lead to wisdom. What they don't realise is that the inherent limitation in knowledge is that it feeds the logic brain, and thus is about the bits and pieces in life. It is not useful for the new or unusual or in understanding the whole. For example the question of whether to trust someone or not comes down to a read of their entire character. This is an instinctive process. If you try to study them logically you get lost in categorising the trees in their metaphorical forest without really seeing the forest as a whole. There is no certainty in that analysis, and hence this does not provide a solid grounds for trust.
Its very important that Water types become aware that instincts come from their wisdom – which is an innate knowing. ‘Knowing’ is certain – there is no ambiguity. Eg you may ‘know’ your son or daughter or dog when you bond with them. Its not a logical process but instead relies on the other side of the brain (Gestalt). Knowing is not felt but known. Its dead certain.
Do you love your son? Yes! Why? Usually people reply with a blank stare and say ‘because I do’ or something like that. There is no ambiguity in the answer. They are dead certain. This is knowing.
So the answer to fear is to trust this innate knowing/ wisdom. As they begin to trust this they think much less and respond more instinctively to situations. Trusting themselves provides the platform to connect to and trust others. They use their instincts to discriminate and know when to trust or when not to trust.
The solution to loneliness is to reconnect with self. When someone is truly connected internally they also have a sense of connection to all things. This sense of connection does not require physical presence of others. They can feel connected regardless of whether people are physically there.
The trigram for water is a yang line between two yin lines. The yang line represents the heaven or spirit within everyone. The yang can be seen as trapped within yin (symbolic of the mundane world). This is symbolic of opportunity within danger.
In imbalance there is fear. Fear can prevent us from realising the potential within either because we become timid and a victim of fate or overly assertive and unable to allow our inner core to just express and flow in our life. We either withdraw to be safe or control the environment to make it safe.
When we withdraw to be safe we are forever running away from problems, trying to be invisible. This leads to us feeling impotent and potentially like a victim.
When we try to control the environment to be safe we are continually driven and on the move. Rest is difficult and our mind will remain overly active and vigilant. This type of water type is very persistent and copes with fear by breaking through and getting on and just doing it.
Either way water types can become numb to their feelings, as they withdraw from feeling fear or try to control their fear.
They often distrust themselves and others. Partly this reflects confusion about feelings and instincts. Their experience with anxiety makes them wary to trust their feelings. What they don't realise is that instincts relate more to their wisdom – their ‘knowing’ – rather than their feelings. For example when they bond with a dog they get a sense of who the dog is – they ‘know’ the dog. Its dead certain. Feelings are never dead certain.
They try to gain more and more knowledge, trying to think their way to safety. They can never truly be at rest if they try to think their way to safety. They will be forever alert and vigilant, not able to relax. This constant vigilance can produce anxiety.
Water types can be overly driven and never rest. The greater their sense of fear the more they drive themselves in order to create the environment they want. They can also keep themselves busy in order to distract themselves from their fear.
They can only feel safe when we trust their innate wisdom. It provides a true sense of danger and safety. It enables them to feel safe to rest and be still when appropriate for them. By trusting themselves they will be able to move to trusting others.
This wisdom also allows us to flow with life instead of against it. When we flow with life we tend to adopt the middle way, not reaching out impatiently for what we desire but instead working step by step in the right direction. Each moment in life can then be treasured instead of being seen as just a moment on the way to a particular goal or outcome.
This connection with our deeper sense of self also allows a connection with all of life and with others.