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Giving to Get

Someone said that my being more ‘real’ (whatever that means), made me more likeable. I looked at this at the time and thought how funny that someone has an image of how I should be, and that I need to fit their ideal image so that I am acceptable to them and their ideals of what a likable person is. I don’t know how I was supposed to respond to that…with some gushing or a thank you for their acceptance of me; that somehow through their validation of liking me that it made me something special?

Their liking me has nothing to do with me. How they see me through their own belief filters is how they see me. So what? Their telling me that they like me, as long as I behave in a fashion that matches their ideals of what a likeable person is, is more about them.  Why? They see themselves as being a good person, and this idea makes them feel good about themselves because to them they have done me a huge favour by offering me their gift of acceptance and belonging, which they think I am missing. What happens if they withdraw their love and acceptance? Nothing much, life still goes on.

Most people who have sessions with me at Emotional Awakening, come to me about feeling unacceptable, unlovable and feel that they don’t belong. They feel disconnected, alone and lonely. They play the role of people pleaser in an effort to reverse the feelings and negative thoughts they have about themselves, and to feel liked and accepted by others as a means to like and accept themselves. It’s a vicious circle as they then begin to despise themselves for being people pleasers and resent the people they are trying to please because it is a bottomless unfulfilling pit. So they alienate themselves through their resentments and self-dislike which only confirms the idea to them that they are unacceptable, unlovable and don’t belong. This then only deepens the idea that they not good enough and their self-esteem also takes a further nose dive.

If your relationships are based on giving to get – be it acceptance, love, security, belonging or praise and so on, then it is not an authentic relationship, no matter who the relationship is with. If you like or love someone because of something….it is the something you like/love and not the someone.  So if you like someone because they validate you, what happens when they stop validating you? The relationship eventually crumbles as it does not have a firm foundation of mutuality but of co-dependency – of one using the other and vice versa. Both parties are being disingenuous, albeit subconsciously perhaps, as the relationship has nothing to do with being liked, respected, accepted or loved.  It is in fact the opposite of those.  It is about getting something you feel you don’t have, and are unable to give to yourself.

I need your love and acceptance? Is that true?

The Pattern of Deflecting

 

I have a family member who deflects fault/blame onto others as a means to defend their sense of self. They do not accept responsibility for their role in the story, and do not accept that how they feel is actually brought about by their own thoughts and opinions of themselves, so they deflect it and blame others for how they are being treated and how they feel.

The story is that she is always being victimised by her superior at work and by other work colleagues. It took me awhile to work out what was going on because no matter how many times we discussed it, looked at it – it never changed and she always blamed the others – it was always their fault that this was happening and she was totally innocent and bewildered to why they were doing this to her. She also projects her dislike of them onto them, and then blames them for disliking her!  This allows her to avoid them and to avoid her own feelings perpetuated by the dislike.

I didn’t recognise for a long time that her stories were in fact about her holding onto her ‘victim’ self very tightly and defending it ferociously.  As soon as something happened at work that triggered this particular victim story, up would come the deflection shield, to keep the victim self intact. Everything was deflected off her shield back onto the so called perpetrator/s, who were picking on her for no reason, and were trying their best to brow beat her so as to be the alpha, so as to be seen as better than her, or so the story goes.

I got tired of hearing the same story over and over again, and it showed up in other stories as well. She was never the problem, it was everyone else who was the problem and they, the others, needed to fix themselves because they were in the wrong and couldn’t see it! When I tried (yep, my bad) to get her to see this story and her other victim stories differently, and tried get her to process her feelings…then I became the scapegoat of her deflections and projections.  As we are not able to discuss any of this, because it brings up feelings for her that she does not want to visit or acknowledge, then, I, again, further become the scapegoat of her deflections and projections, as I cop the blame and everything is my fault! Our relationship is always tenuous and really cannot be called a relationship at all. For this reason I keep my distance now, and others also keep their distance. She is left alone and lonely and doesn’t understand why.

The irony of this story is that she feels victimised by her superiors and some of her work colleagues, so that she doesn’t have to feel the feelings that are triggered., she deflects her feelings and feelings of inadequacy etc onto those people; she then dislikes those people as she believes they have something against her – a vendetta. This is where the irony is – it keeps the loop of being a victim real. If she actually looked at this pattern and how it continues to play out, and if she processed the feelings associated with being the victim and all of what that means to her, she would clear the pattern and bring changes to her work life and her relationship with so called disliked work peers and colleagues. It would even go further than that…it would change her relationship with herself, with others and with life.

Scapegoating

Mocking_Bird_Argument

Why do conflicts happen? One reason is scapegoating. You are having a chat with someone, be it partner, friend, mum, brother, TV technician or whomever and all of a sudden all hell breaks loose. What was just a chat or discussion ends up being an argument as differing opinions and experiences have triggered something in the other (or you) and it is not going down too well.

Scapegoating is usually a subconscious reaction whereby the one who is being triggered turns the discussion around and makes it about the other in order to make themselves blameless so as not to burden themselves with the emotions, feelings and thoughts that are being triggered. It is a form of defense. They don’t want to feel the feelings and will do and say most anything in order not to do so.

Generally, the one who is being used as the scapegoat either defends themselves and argues back or they withdraw within themselves and become silent.  Either way they have taken on the scapegoaters intentions and have now taken on the burden of being the one who is feeling bruised and battered while the scapegoater feels justified in blaming the other for the argument and everything that ensued, including the fact that the other made them feel bad and yelled at them and therefore deserved to be told some home truths! They walk away not totally unscathed but much lighter as they dumped everything on the scapegoat leaving the scapegoat wondering what the hell happened and with a bag of mixed emotions and feelings to boot!

It can take time to see how this pattern plays out. If you find you are constantly getting angry and defending yourself or walking on eggshells with another or are at the end of blame and hearing how everything is your fault because you are faulty…then you are more than likely playing the role of the scapegoat.  The good thing with seeing the pattern play out is that you no longer have to engage in the game. If you find yourself defending yourself and making the other at fault by listing their faults and blaming them for whatever is going on…then you are playing the role of the scapegoater. We can also play both roles! Both roles are not only damaging to those playing the roles but are damaging to all relationships they have and only compound the idea of not mattering, feeling unacknowledged and unheard and being unlovable and lonely.

The scapegoater needs to become aware of how they handle differences, blame and conflict, while the scapegoat needs to set boundaries, and both need to learn how to acknowledge and feel their emotions fully to start to break the pattern of scapegoat and/or scapegoater.