Official blog for the book "Just Behind the Door"

Posts tagged ‘manipulation’

Are You Absorbing Negative Energy?

When trying to keep informed of world events or even family happenings it is easy to become weighed down with concern or negative emotions. We must remind ourselves of the saying that cynics do not make a contribution to life, skeptics do not create things and doubters do not make changes that benefit themselves or others. Some people just seem to choose to focus on the negatives in a situation and it can wear us out. When we remind ourselves that we alone have the power to control the type of energy we allow to affect us it rights our mental ship and keeps us on a more even keel.

When we truly listen and observe others a pattern of behavior emerges in everyone and every situation. As we train ourselves to clearly analyze the patterns it causes us to seek more information, process more of the back story and keeps our brain synapses working. The more we listen and search for the meaning of a situation we realize there is always more to it than we have initially assumed. It’s hard to remember that people say and do things for a particular reason. Sometimes it is merely to inform but often it may be to control a situation or manipulate us into thinking a certain way. Think of communication as being in a range that is as simple as a game of Checkers or as complex as a game of Chess. This deeper awareness of not only what is said but what is truly meant by it may not change our attitude or feelings about the person or topic but it can at least help us feel that we are more cognizant of the intentions and not simply pawns in the game of life.

Charles Glassman said in his book, “Brain Drain – The Breakthrough That Will Change Your Life,” “Believing in negative thoughts is the single greatest obstruction to success.” When we feel negative energy around us it is our choice to become absorbed by it or choose to physically or mentally escape with grace. The discomfort we feel when surrounded with negatives is a signal – like a flashing yellow light – that tells us to slow down and think, process more fully and then decide with a deeper sense of our own truth before allowing ourselves to become absorbed in it. The choice is always up to us. The challenge – yet good news – is that no one can do it for us. We are capable of accepting or rejecting any negative that comes our way.

When we take in information from our environment it effects our mindset one way or the other. We have no one to blame if we allow ourselves to become ill affected by the negative energy of others. We have the gift of free will and the power to decide what we are willing to accept – what works best for us. We get back from this world exactly the type of energy we put out into it – no more or no less.

The next time we are confronted with a negative issue maybe we can take a moment and look for the underlying motivation, reason or purpose and then decide how to respond – from a more deliberate perspective.

Have a great few days!

Child, Parent or Adult – That is the Question

Years ago there was a book by Eric Berne entitled the ‘Games People Play.’ It was a popular read that was steeped in a deeper analysis of human motivation somewhat based on Freud. Berne explained the deeper concepts using three different approaches that we could relate to in our lives. His premise was that people typically use one of these approaches to avoid real intimacy or at least to get what they want out of life. Being honest with ourselves we all use methods of manipulation in our lives. Like everything else in life it is to the degree that we use them that either helps or impedes our growth. Berne labeled these three different approaches as the Child, Parent, and Adult perspectives. It is worth examining our typical responses as well as those around us to understand how these perspectives apply. We choose one of these perspectives to seek attention, recognition and ‘strokes’ from others. Early in life we discovered that one of them seemed to work better for us and over time it may have become a behavioral mode of interacting with others to help us control our circumstances. With everything in life the more we do something the better we become at it.

To begin, let’s look at the Child orientation. Think of a young child and frequently a smile will come to your face as they entertain us, and make us laugh at their behavior. We watch them as they are naturally spontaneous, curious and display a confidence to try new things. They just want to have fun right? But they can also be difficult if they don’t get their own way, or receive an immediate response to their demands. They can throw tantrums and exhibit a stubbornness and catastrophic view of events that are out of their control. Rather than ‘go with the flow’ they expect to control the flow because they just know people want to make them happy. After all, who doesn’t just love a child?

The next perspective, labeled the Parent approach, can involve problem solving, wise counsel and a feeling of safety and security. However, it can also result in telling, directing, demanding and judging. This can be the person who seems to think they have all the right answers – not just for themselves but for us as well. After all, many of us looked to one or both of our parents to give us an answer or an okay about something we wanted to do in our life. We looked for their approval. What type of message did you receive from your parent(s) about work, relationships, achievement and security. Are you modeling the same behavior you watched as a child?

The last approach, labeled the ADULT is one which uses a rational objectivity, acceptance of truth – without judgment or demands. An example would be that when listening to you explain a challenge or roadblock in your life asks you how you feel about it. They want you to process your feelings and grow from your inner discovery. They are cautious about giving advice because they realize that we are all on our own unique path and that the answer for one person may not be the right answer for another when dealing with human interactions. In spiritualism this approach would be compared to functioning in our higher self. Realizing that events happen for a purpose, a lesson and that we are basically actors on the stage of life living the parts of the script that we have written.

The beauty in examining our own behavior is that it can help us to determine areas or edges that we might choose to smooth out or areas in which we would like to expand our repertoire of responses. The more we examine ourselves the more confident and at peace we can become

Have a great few days!

Drop the Superman Cape!

This is the second blog on the topic of rescuing others and creating an entitlement mentality. Please go to last Sunday’s blog in the archives to read part one if you missed it. The topic, of course, is when to help someone in need and when to realize that YOU are perpetuating an expectation in them that is interfering with their life lessons and growth.

Let’s first start with you in the role of the rescuer. If you are reading this I bet you have become quite good at it. Although you don’t wear a badge that says, ‘Rescuer in Charge,’ you may be living the role. When you get to the point that you can no longer do everything or you start to resent the fact that you are constantly called upon to ‘fix’ something for someone it is time to accept responsibility for what you have created. The timing is easy to figure out both your head and heart will tell you. If you have offered a helping hand to someone once or twice and it has helped them, good for you! If, however, you look at a situation and find that a pattern has been established in which you are repeatedly called upon to jump in to fix something for them it says more about you as Rescuer in Charge than it does about them.

What exactly is this rescuer behavior pattern and how did you acquire it? Most likely it goes back to childhood. At some early age you realized that if you did something to help someone things would go smoother for them in the family dynamics. Sure enough it worked and you felt that you had figured out a way to avoid an upset if you jumped in to rescue. As long as you were ever ready to fix the latest problem things seemed to go better. Let’s fast forward 20, 30 or even 40 years. The pattern you have established from childhood is to rescue -to jump in and help anyone and everyone when a crisis surfaced. In fact, you may have become so good at it that you are literally called upon by many people when a crisis happens in their life. It makes you feel important, loved even, as you once again get things back to an even keel when you put on your Superman cape and dramatically swoop in to help. You think to yourself, ‘I can do this or that ….they need me.’ It’s a heady feeling to be needed.

An opportunity for your own self growth arises when you can no longer meet the ever expanding requests and are courageous enough to admit it. If you have established a pattern of being needed (also known as the rescuer) and do something about it pat yourself on the back. When you decide enough is enough be prepared. Folks may not remember how many times you were there for them but only this time when you did not jump in. Expect this response and you won’t be disappointed. Most likely they will resent you for saying ‘No, I can’t help this time.’ After all you have conditioned them to expect you to be there. Your help has become a life expectancy. It will take them a little while to regroup after your first or second refusal but trust me, they will regroup. In fact, they will become stronger, as we all do, when the have to figure out our own solutions in life. When we rise to the challenge we gain self confidence and a greater feeling of control in life.

The good part is that you have been able to help others in the past and have made the world a little better place. Now you recognize that a pattern of expectancy has developed and you love them enough to be strong and break the cycle. Be prepared, the thinking of those you have continuously helped goes like this….’If I act overwhelmed, angry or depressed or simply refuse to accept that he/she says they can’t do what I want them to do, they will give in and fix it.’ Trust me on this, you are being manipulated by them to their own detriment. They have figured out your pattern way before you have figured out theirs. They will be confused, at first, because their manipulation has ‘worked’ for them in the past. The truth is that it has slowly but surely caused them to feel that life just isn’t fair and and the ‘poor me’ syndrome in their life has set in. What you did out of love and concern has become an obligation – an expectancy – and everyone loses. You wouldn’t purposely hurt someone you love but without realizing it you are doing just that by allowing them to continually rely on you. You have moved from enabling them to disabling them by always running to the rescue.

This may come as a shock but the truth is that they will survive without you when they are forced to accept responsibility for their life choices and challenges. They will stop the blame game or ‘poor me’ attitude and will decide to readjust their thinking to be, ‘If it’s going to be it’s up to me.’ That is an empowering mind set. Regardless of their decision to handle their situation or not, one thing is for sure, if you have established a pattern of rescuing others only YOU can fix it.

Next Sunday I will follow up on this topic with a poem that talks about letting go with love. It is a powerful lesson for those of us who are fixers in life. Stay tuned!

Have a great few days!

No Problem, No Worry, No Drama

The Australian people are an interesting culture. On a recent visit I was taken aback by what I thought, at first, was lack of customer service. Observing them in greater depth, however, I discovered a valuable perspective on life. They seem to have developed an attitude of acceptance of things rarely seen in the United States. For instance, if something is just not quite right or you need something in a store or on the public transit system, their typical response is ‘no problem, no worry, no drama.’ They actually verbalize these words! They seem to get things done without exhibiting any nervousness or tension. It is really quite amazing and must surely be better for overall health.

When we analyze why certain cultures or people seem to have more worry, problems and drama in their life could it be that the person is really saying that life isn’t fair and demanding through their behavior that someone or something be different? Could it be that they actually believe that only they have all the right answers? That thought is kind of scary isn’t it? Actually, the drama is a form of manipulation for control or attention. It is the ‘poor me’ syndrome at heart. Unfortunately, if the person continues to exhibit this behavior and it becomes a habit, over time, they spiral downward. Their glass is then perpetually half empty rather than hall full. The drama of ‘poor me’ has become their lifestyle and worldview. No matter how great something is they can quickly find the ‘yes, but….’ in it. Ultimately, they become too exhausting to be around because our energy is sapped by simply trying to keep a more positive attitude in life.

Our methods of coping in life are formed when we are very young and the filters we create from our early experiences simply become a part of who we are at the core. It takes courage to point out to someone you care about when they are exhibiting the ‘poor me drama’ but if they are receptive and it is done with love you may be able to help them see that their behavior not only turns others off it takes the enthusiasm out of their own life as well. Once the habit is recognized and owned by the individual they can choose to replace it with a healthier response pattern- the challenge is, of course, that they have to see and accept that what they are doing is no longer working.

Once we accept that we alone are responsible for our feelings and behavior for everything that happens to us in life the element of drama is neutralized. There is no one to blame for our emotional state. We have chosen our life – the challenges and the opportunities – for the lessons. The length of time it takes to learn the lessons is completely up to us.

Adapting some of the Australian attitude of no worry, no problem, no drama may just be the best thing we could do for ourselves.

Have a great few days!