Friday, February 29, 2008

Strange Days...

"People believe themselves to be dependent on what happens for their happiness, that is to say, dependent on form. They don't realize that what happens is the most unstable thing in the universe. It changes constantly. They look upon the present moment as either marred by something that has happened and shouldn't have or as deficient because of something that has not happened but should have. And so they miss the deeper perfection that is inherent in life itself, a perfection that is always already here, that lies beyond what is happening or not happening, beyond form." A New Earth

As many visitors here know...we have a friend with spina bifida who has been in the hospital recovering from back surgery. He is doing fantastic and I said hi to him from all our blog friends and others ...he is cracking jokes and sleeping a lot...all good signs of healing! Actually...I landed up sleeping a fair bit of the day on the couch next to his hospital room...between his meals. The poor guy has to stay lying don and so he needs help eating...and if that wasn't bad enough...and the pain...morphine doesn't kill the pain of arthritis so he is sore in his knee. He hasn't even complained.

Meanwhile...on some bizarre cosmic level...perhaps as often happens surrounding life and death (?)...Stagg and I have found that the last few days we have encountered some major emotional and spiritual observations.

It's as if the universe has conspired to play tricks on Stagg and I and has enlisted the use of public transit, family members, the Oprah book selection, and several past conversations with friends. If some of the moments hadn't been so painful...the whole last few days would have been a complete comedy.

We're not sure why...why this week or why under this weeks circumstances that we found ourselves having "aha moments" after "aha moments" about so many social situations and personalities in the world and in our life...but we have. It's been an absolute crazy few days...spiritually. I'm serious. There is no way else to say it.

There have been tears there have been laughs. And I'll tell ya, when Stagg says "aha moment" sheesh...when any straight guy uses the concept "aha moment" in observation you know that the universe and karma is a powerful motherfucker.'s like we're on Oprah and we're looking around for hidden cameras.

Speaking of Oprah...Tweetey Has a post on her blog about reading the recent Oprah book pick. She wrote an amazing review of one of the chapters...her post completely relates to stuff happening around us this week!

I suppose because of the great attitude of our friend after painful surgery...the seriousness of his surgery and health concerns with his wonderful positive attitude have brought to focus some negative behaviours in others. When you see someone with a life or death issue ...with bravery be so gracious...the motives of others can become transparent.

Yes...maybe that's what happened this week...some motives and behaviours became transparent. In many has been a gift because both Stagg and I feel like we learned so much...oh my...and the week ain't even over!

The Oprah book selection has come to mind this week because it has helped to highlight the motives of some of the challenging social dynamics this week (and in general). The book A New Earth is a combination of Hinduism, Buddhism and Zen. So here is a little from the Oprah selection book...Even very very nice people...sometimes people we work with or have relationships, maybe even ourselves! can have low-self esteem and control's never too late to improve your emotional life!

Role-playing: The Many Faces of the Ego

An ego that wants something from another-and what ego doesn't- will usually play some kind of role to get it's "needs" met, be they material gain, a sense of power, superiority, or specialness, or some kind of gratification, be it physical or psychological. Usually people are completely unaware of the roles they play. They are those roles. Some roles are subtle: others are blatantly obvious, except to the person playing it. Some roles are designed simply to get attention from others. The ego thrives on others' attention, which is after all a form of psychic energy. The ego doesn't know that the source of all energy is within you, so it seeks it outside. It is not the formless attention which is Presence that the ego seeks, but attention in some form, such as recognition, praise, admiration, or just to be noticed in some way, to have its existence acknowledged.

And here is a list that might help you recognize signs that your own ego...or someone in your life...may have a controlling personality

How to recognize a controlling ego:

1. Think about your own actions. Do you often find yourself altering your own personality or views to fit someone else's, even if you are a strong person? If so, you might have been dealing with a controlling person.
2. Keep track of your relationships. Sometimes a controlling person will try to cause trouble between you and your family or friends. They may even go as far as embarrassing you. This is in order to isolate you from others. Be sure to stay aware of these traits.
3. Be on the lookout for moodiness. People with moody personalities are often unhappy with their own lives and try to improve their situation by controlling others.
4. Consider if you are often expected to change your plans for this person. Let's say you have your day all planned out and then you receive a phone call from a friend, and you tell them your plans. The person wants to join in with your plans, with the exception that your time doesn't work well for them, or maybe that isn't the place they want to go. The next thing that you know, your plans have totally changed. You end up seeing a movie that you didn't care to see, at a time that you didn't really care to go.
5. Listen for compliments. Often people with control issues are not very good at giving sincere compliments. They do not want you to feel good about yourself because it may take control away from them.
6. Watch out for controlling people if you are very attractive, for they can make your life miserable. Your looks will become a handicap in a controlling relationship, for they probably have a jealousy problem too.
7. Be on the lookout for not only moodiness, but temper outbursts by the other person when you disagree with them or don't do exactly what they want you to do. In their minds, you are challenging their authority over you.
8. Remember just because someone is opinionated doesn't mean they are controlling. A good test to tell the difference between someone who is just very opinionated or controlling is if they willingly accept or tolerate differences between you and them and don't try to change any part of your core person or personality.
9. While relationships are not democracies, neither are they dictatorships; seek a balance you are comfortable with.


tweetey30 said...

Great post and i will leave mine up till Monday. I dont know if I will have time this weekend to post another post on anything. We are going to the Circus tonight and Jeff has to work tomorrow and then the rest of the weekend is ours. Then next weekend we are back on the road to Milwaukee. I have to admit I am not looking at traveling so close to last weekend.I love getting out but not so soon.. LOL.. Hope your friend can go home soon. Take care.

Gardenia said...

Would love to hear that list of "Ah ha Moments." Over a long martini or two.

We all are confronted from time to time with our own stuff. I've been going through that too - but have to watch it - I can get down on myself. That's the time to be tender with thine own self, I say. Be tender but work on being better.

Then sometimes those moments are enlightening when dealing with others, not just ourselves - we realize - "Oh my gosh, that is what is happening!"

Controllers, for me, are the most difficult to deal with because I grew up under an insane amount of it. I know I over-react sometimes because of that.

I think controllers are extremely wounded people and so fearful they spend all their time working on controlling others around them so they will be comfortable emotionally. Letting them continue to control is like letting a stray dog bite you while you try to feed it. (YOUR comfort is not a consideration for the dog, just getting his belly full.) With these folks, at some point, you have to put up your guard and keep it up. Unfortunately controllers usually fly into a fury when confronted about how you are feeling when they control. THEY don't control, its YOUR problem. is the usual response. Interesting.

The only way I have found to cope with them is just to separate from them.

I had one friend that would be very jealous of the time I spend with grandson - if I would include her in that time, she would be critical of him. I explained I was well aware of what I was doing and that is how I chose to live my life, rather than just for myself. Sometimes I would rather be with friends, but if he is having an asthma attack and his mom needs to go to work, I am here! Needless to say, that friendship went down the road, which was sad, because the person had many wonderful qualities I miss.

Another person, not a friend, calls and gets angry because I don't answer the phone right away many times. I felt a need to explain to him that sometimes I am busy - OR - tired - OR the phone quits ringing before I get to it - then I become the victim by feeling I have to explain. (In my mind.)

Isn't life endlessly interesting?

Those who deal with chronic illness or handicaps usually are amazing aren't they? Its humbling to be around them for me.

Well, thanks for taking us with you as you journey .......

Candy Minx said...

Tweetey, the circus...whoohooo! It is hard to get the kids ready for weekend trips and I bet that even though it's fin it is a lot of work for you in a hotel room. I am going to read your post again...I find it kind of calms me down for some reason...just puts things into perspective. You know..although the book from Oprah's book club selection is geared for people to read about and learn about is also valuable for learning about communicating with other people's egos...

Gardenia, the "aha moments" have been quite amazing. You know...I would write them here on my blog...except for a couple of things. I suspect the details are only interesting or profound to me. And...topics like this--emotions...are blogkills. I notice most times I write about emotions...with music...emotions with life...or with learning...the blog gets very very quiet ha ha!

Also...the "aha moments" I bet if I wrote...they are probably very obvious to observers. Thats he weird thing about our own patterns and the dynamics surrounding relationships...inside these dynamics our ego prevents us from seeing...meanwhile the subconscious is trying to communicate...but to an outsider watching or hearing details...the dysfunction is often obvious!

It's been a little like a Hitchcock Spellbound when Gregory peck is afraid of the fork tine marks on a tablecloth? Later we find out he had a trauma of a mark in the snow that he had repressed the memory.

This week...Stagg and I saw several "behind the curtain" motives of people.

The thing is...there are some relationships you can't really walk away from. When a controller is in a work environment or in a has to learn some ways to live without sacrificing sanity. Not easy....

...and it is so true what you say a controller is someone who is so full of fear. Yesterday morning on the way to the hospital after I posted this...I had another was crazy I realized how deep the discomfort was for the controlling personality...and how much they were completely in the dark about their behaviour and perceptions. It's really wild! It is difficult for them to see other people as individuals and separate!!!

Like you...controllers and control issues are very difficult for me. I grew up in a family with both parents who were intense controllers...both of them with different attributes. It was a complete dictatorship...and a warring competing dictatorship between them...and remained so until our paths separated. I am still very sensitive and defensive about a controlling environment. When I was still in communication with my parents I had to utilize all kinds of communication skills I had learned in therapy...thank god for all those valuable therapists and counselors in the world.

It is amazing that there are ways to communicate with controlling personalities DIPLOMATICALLY...because usually a controller has no idea of how they behave...that they are buzzkills and they take criticism very badly.

I think for me this week has been so fascinating because I had little tolerance previously for some situations...but I think now that I see how deep the dysfunction is...I hope I can be patient and loving while protecting my own boundaries.

Unfortunately another feature of controllers is...they have no concept of boundaries or makes for a special challenge when one is in a social dynamic you can't just walk away jobs, or family, or school...

You're right Gardenia, people really are fascinating and life is endlessly interesting.