"How can I be more conscious and change the way I behave with others?"
Hi, I was reading your posts to the 11 yr old with a projecting mother. I myself had one of those and now do it myself to my husband. I understand all of this as I am a 30 y/o nurse and my best friend is a counselor, but I am stuck on the later and hope you can elaborate a little more. You say in your response:
I got the first part, but how do you exactly change how you act toward others. Most of it comes naturally, but, for example, I still make comments with other couples that leave my husband feeling embarrassed or that I think he is an idiot. I don't mean to do this, but because of my sense of humor, it just happens when the girls start talking about 1st year of marriage, etc. This is when you realize the differences between men and women. He just doesn't like me making fun of him and our own experiences with this. I really want to not keep doing this, so how do I stop. I don't even know I am doing it until it is too late. Please respond quickly.
Hi - The first step in changing behavior is, of course, the willingness to do so because there is a sense of discomfort with what is going on. If your statements embarrass your husband, yet you keep on choosing to do so, then you must be willing to admit that on some level you want to embarrass him. How come? Do you still have some hidden issues or anger toward him (or toward yourself for allowing certain things that were uncomfortable to you to occur) during that time in your marriage - or from other experiences with him? What is still unresolved for you? What have you not done about it for yourself in order to put it to rest?
Have you ever come out and directly stated to him (or acknowledged to yourself) what has really bothered you? Have you owned your truth and feelings about it so you can then let it go? If you do not own what is really going on for you, whether you like what you find in yourself or not, you will, in all likelihood, continue to bring it up in a more back handed way - couched as a joke - or humor, as you put it. Often we get out what we feel in an unclean way, saying it's a joke, but it can actually be passive aggressive behavior. We do this if we are unwilling or unable to come out and directly deal with whatever is bothering us - or look at what we need to face and heal within ourselves. Therefore, we indirectly get it out in other ways, projecting it out. As you mentioned, you had a role model who did it that way.
Asking oneself the honest truth is the way to get honest answers. When a person says they aren't even aware that they are doing something until it is too late, then that tells me that there is a lack of awareness on their part regarding how they effect others - they have chosen, on some level, to not be responsible for what they do, what they feel, and what their issues really are. Thus they are also unaware regarding what impact their actions, words, or behaviors have on others. This results in a lack of receptivity to others - a lack of being able to see how others are feeling, which is a lack of inner self awareness.
What stops you from being aware of what energy you put out into the world? What stops you from being willing to look inward and see yourself, your issues, possibly, and what you are doing? That's like being a radio station that can't receive signals clearly, but can only send them out. What stops you from taking in, or receiving input? From others, or from your Higher Self? What is your fear about facing yourself and being willing to then change something in yourself? If you are willing to sit down with yourself in meditation, or in a quiet state of mind, and look inward, face yourself honestly, with a loving heart, and ask these questions, truly listening for answers, you will receive some important information about yourself. When you know what has created a certain behavior, in this case, perhaps an unwillingness to be receptive, to face yourself, then you can take steps to change it. Following the formula found in the Laws of the Universe on this site for changing beliefs will help you to create new patterns of behavior, if you chose to do so.
A good intention to state might be something along these lines:
The Bach flower remedy, Chestnut Bud, which can be ordered from the Flower Essence Society, helps when one does not learn from past behaviors and helps one to be willing and able to do so. I'd invite you to take 3 drops under the tongue two times a day for 4 weeks.
Ayal, thanks for getting back to me so promptly. I was very rushed when I wrote previously and therefore didn't want to get too detailed. Gee, we are going to counseling through our church to help us adapt in our first year of marriage, so I have been introspective and very willing to do so. You really hit some key areas...some of which I have heard before (in not so direct ways) and others I know to be true, but think are unfair (probably my selfish or prideful tendencies however much "in check" I try to keep them). I have cut/pasted them below with my thoughts and additional questions. I would like to read more on your website, but don't have the address as I found the previous text via a search that I didn't keep.
I realize this behavior is my choice...but feel it is almost subconscious. I always apologize after I remove thy foot from thy mouth. I feel attacked at times. Sort of when you are frustrated and lose your patience. I am most tempted when I feel wrongfully accused. I will bend over backwards for my husband (used to do this with others b4 I established boundaries and then limited to loved ones). I don't expect anything in return, but get disappointed when his behavior doesn't reflect that my needs or feelings are a priority. Perhaps this is the same thing, but I don't know how to make myself not feel this way. I feel like I love myself: I am happy with my physical body, spiritual life, and work. I feel balanced emotionally most of the time. I have heard before or felt before emotion when I read statements like the one you wrote below:
"... lack of awareness on their part regarding how they effect others - they have chosen, on some level, to not be responsible for what they do, what they feel, and what their issues really are. Thus they are also unaware regarding what impact their actions, words, or behaviors have on others. This results in a lack of receptivity to others - a lack of being able to see how others are feeling, which is a lack of inner self awareness. What stops you from being aware of what energy you put out into the world? What stops you from being willing to look inward and see yourself, your issues, possibly, and what you are doing? That's like being a radio station that can't receive signals clearly, but can only send them out. What stops you from taking in, or receiving input? From others, or from your Higher Self? What is your fear about facing yourself and being willing to then change something in yourself? If you are willing to sit down with yourself in meditation, or in a quiet state of ind, and look inward, face yourself honestly, with a loving heart, and ask these questions, truly listening for answers, you will receive some important information about yourself."
I have tried to be honest and, whether it is healthy, learned, or not, this is my instinctive feeling (I am willing to work on modifying my instincts if necessary, I just have to start somewhere and this is what is causing the difficulty): We are all human and make slips of the tongue, experience positive and negative emotions and feeling. Some people express these and others keep them inside in order to process them. Everyone makes mistakes and says or behaves in ways at times they are not themselves proud of. Some have a conscience and others don't. I have spent many years focusing only on my behavior and responses to issues. I feel I am very loving, accepting of others, kind, make decisions I am proud of, and forgiving. I am grateful for those who in my weak moments, have taken the attitude of: "Oh, its ok. Hey, we all do it. I feel that way sometimes too. It doesn't mean you are a bad person... you just needed to vent or release before making a loving decision. I know your heart is in the right place."
This is how I like to be responded to and, therefore, respond to others in this way. I have "chosen, on some level, to not be responsible for what I do", but then again, I don't intentionally do things that are ugly to others without some underlying stressor or vibe that comes from them. I am much the responder in situations. I do " ack being able to see how others are feeling", but unfortunately, I am not very sympathetic to those who are critical, judgmental, close-minded, etc. I do have anger toward my husband (or toward the stereotype of men in general). He says he is a great communicator and he is... at work. But, he is not with me all the time. He says he is NOT selfish and he is not usually, but then reminds me that I don't need to expect big gifts for our anniversary (makes me feel wrongfully accused since I was only hinting for a thoughtful poem or some hand-picked flowers, etc). He prides himself on being considerate and thoughtful and was raised right, but he doesn't open the car door for me anymore... this goes on and on. My point would be that he claims all these skills and talents that set him apart from other men and reminds me that I could be stuck with a dirt bag, but in fact, he does have flaws and could do some things better as we all could. I would prefer him to take the more humble road.
As for the second half of your statement, "which is a lack of inner self awareness", I feel very aware of me and my feelings and probably try to analyze them more than 95% of the population (whether I understand them or not is another story). I think I have tried to answer your question, "What stops you from taking in, or receiving input?", but am sure I am missing a key piece here somewhere, since I am still a little confused as to the solution. Since we are in counseling now, I have come out and directly stated to him (or acknowledged to myself) what has really bothered me. I am listening and am willing to learn and change things about myself if they are negative. Please let me know if you see something that I am not.
I hope you can continue to write me, as this feels easier than talking in front of my husband and worrying about what others think.
Hi - no matter how clear we all try to be, as I know from my own experience, there are always undercurrents and issues and hidden emotions or patterns that we are operating out of that we don't see. There is always deepening and developing we can do within ourselves. That doesn't mean that we are bad people in any way. It's an uncovering process, an enriching process, that allows us to become clearer and clearer beings - if we can face ourselves lovingly, with compassion.
There is definitely some anger going on toward your husband that seems to me to stem from you feeling that he doesn't see himself - "he says this, and thinks of himself this way, but I see him doing this instead" sort of thing. This is what I hear you saying. In other words, he has a self image of himself, he sees himself a certain way, that doesn't always properly align with the energy he puts out at times. That's called an idealized self image, which could be analogous to a mask we wear or put on to present ourselves to the world in a certain way. Usually for protective purposes. Until we allow that mask to drop, and take it off, which requires the willingness to face our shadow side, or issues honestly, we are not really dealing with those undercurrents in our being that are operating and putting forth unclear or disharmonious energy.
That sounds to me like the same issue you are dealing with in yourself, which would make perfect sense since people are mirrors for one another. In other words, your issue, as I perceive it, is to see yourself and your actions more clearly - to be more conscious, in other words, of what you really feel and what your undercurrents are: letting go of the idealized self image and being willing to see the whole picture, which includes what is in the shadow. That is where our power comes from - as we transform what is unconscious into light, into clear action, we utilize all the unlimited power of what has been unformed into form.
It sounds to me that you see this issue of the idealized self image in your husband, and the discrepancies you see angers you, or perhaps it feels unsafe to you.. Since we are mirrors for one another, you both then have this issue to work out. The fact that you went into more or less defending yourself and presenting your idealized self image to me in this letter is a clue that that is probably what is going on. "I'm a good person, I know I have issues, BUT... etc etc..." When one glosses over the issues and spends time defending that they are a good person (which, of course you are - we all are - that doesn't mean we don't have things to look into deeply within ourselves) then that is a clue that there is a big need to stay in the idealized self image. 'Another clue was when you said this: I hope you can continue to write me, as this feels easier than talking in front of my husband and worrying about what others think.
Worrying about what others think is a major clue that you fear being judged, or seen into, or exposed - therefore - one generally chooses to maintain the idealized self image at all costs.
A fear of being judged is actually an issue of you judging yourself.
Somewhere, you are judging yourself, deep down not feeling good about yourself, or believing that you are a good, worthwhile human being. But you haven't fully allowed yourself to face what has caused you to feel this way. The fear usually is that one is afraid that that judgment or negative belief about themselves will turn out to be true: that one really is a bad person - and the fear of that, and the pain behind it, is usually so great that a person goes into the idealized self image and chooses not to really see what this deeper issue is all about, or what misperceptions they need to clear in themselves. That is why people project their issues onto others - they don't want to disturb, or can't cope with disturbing their idealized self image. Therefore they don't want to see their issues, and so they see or project their issues onto another.
It interests me that you mentioned that your husband ends up feeling like he is "an idiot" when you joke with your friends - which would definitely disturb his idealized self image, and you also feel demeaned and disempowered and feel less than by the way he sometimes responds to you. Not respected enough by him for him to think of you and open the car door, etc. These are issues of not feeling worthwhile or worthy of respect. You both seem to be passing this energy back and forth to some extent - putting out behaviors that in some way demean, or try to demean, or discount, the other. You do it by telling your friends he really isn't as perfect as he thinks he is, by joking about his behavior. What happens is that you each offer communications or put out a more backhanded, but not clean way of communicating, trying to vent the anger and frustration. I think that this is because neither one of you is being clean and clear about your own issues, and so each of you is frustrated when it doesn't change. It can only change when the issue is faced in oneself. As you are willing to let the idealized self image go, if you choose to do so, and work more profoundly with your own issues, that will be transformative for your life as well as for your relationship.
One other thing - No one can "make" us feel anything. We all chose to feel and think and interpret actions or events in whatever way we decide to, from the inside. I strongly invite you to read the Laws of the Universe, as it sounds to me that you are still coming from the perception that others can do things to you to cause you to feel a certain way. This is victim consciousness, or living in a state of disempowerment, and therefore it is also a way people do not take responsibility for their own emotions and choices. They feel they are not powerful enough to do so: that they are less than, in some way. We all create how we choose to feel and believe. No one can cause us to feel a certain way, just as no one can come into our dreams and cause us to dream a certain way. It all comes from within us.
You said that what really triggers you is when you feel wrongly accused. Your husband can't make you feel wrongly accused, or make you feel that you did something wrong or inappropriate - that you were "an idiot" to do it that way, so to speak. That is you choosing to interpret what he says in that way, to hear it that way, because you are filtering what comes your way through this belief that you do it wrong, are incompetent in some way, or deserve to be reprimanded. This is an issue of self esteem. Since what we feel or experience is never about another person, place, or thing, this tells me that you have an issue of " am I really a good person? Am I bad? I believe I am incompetent and therefore all I do is seen that way." This feels bad, and it angers you, and you hate feeling that way. You are actually the one wrongly accusing yourself, however, as that belief comes from inside of you. We forget that we truly ARE innocent and that we are made of love - we fall into judgment and forget who we really are. Then our external reality reflects that state of consciousness - we create situations or see situations in which that comes back to us. The journey is all about remembering who we really are. I think your anger that you feel toward your husband is your anger at yourself for you yourself forgetting who you really are and believing that you are not perfect, believing that you are less than or incompetent or wrong in any way. The issue is that you don't believe that people are recognizing that you are a good person or coming from an innocent place. You expect them to see your actions as coming from an unclear or negative or manipulative place. When a situation like that happens in your life, where you feel "wrongly accused", that is the universe giving you feedback, or reflecting back to you what your own internal beliefs are.
It's like looking in the mirror. This means that this is what you fear about yourself: you fear that you are a bad person and that you really are coming from an unclear, incompetent, or negative place. What if you faced your fear that you are a bad or unworthy person? When one fears this, one fears to face that in oneself, as I mentioned, and often one's communication to others is then more covert or filled with projections because the issues are not being clearly seen or faced
Finally, when you say that you are not sympathetic to those who are critical: "I do lack being able to see how others are feeling, but unfortunately, I am not very sympathetic to those who are critical, judgmental, close-minded, etc." I think this is also a key issue. Again, if we use the mirror analogy, when one doesn't like others being critical, etc., that is a clue that there is a projection going on and you don't like that in yourself. As you said, you see flaws in your husband, and the list "goes on and on" of what you see that he does that doesn't feel good to you. So, again, I invite you to face this in yourself. If you dislike the critical nature, but you actually are dealing with that in yourself, then it would be frightening for you to really deeply face yourself, since what you can expect from yourself would not be loving and forgiving, but would be a devastating and harsh critical judgment. The idealized self image says: "Oh I'm a loving and forgiving person." The undercurrent not faced is: "I am critical and have a lot more to learn about what really being loving is all about. I still come from blame and judgment." That is why you appreciate the gentle approach when others deal with you - it is something you value and that you are learning to develop in yourself. It is a role model for you of what you are choosing to grow into.
Hopefully, one learns to lovingly work on and with oneself without destroying oneself for having issues. We can intellectually say "Oh, we all have issues". But to truly allow that and come from true compassion without judgment or fear is another matter - we have to first be able to know how to love ourselves - the journey of life is all about that and takes a lot of time to develop. Often we think we are there, but then a veil is lifted and we see how much deeper we can go in our ability to truly Love. And that's ok - that's the journey we're all on. We develop compassion for ourselves, as we view our own pain and struggle with unclarity, with behaviors that we struggle with and that we dislike in ourselves, and then we can offer that compassion and gentleness to others.