Tag Archives: Narcissism

We live what we learn, then learn what we live…

27 Jun
learning to ride a bike - _MG_2933

learning to ride a bike – _MG_2933 (Photo credit: sean dreilinger)

You’ve heard the saying “We live what we learn” and the concept is truly how we raise our children in Western societies.  Parents and influencers teach us how to live based on their actions (and some of their words).  For our formative years, we live what we have learned, and often it is exactly as these people have taught us to live – by rules, customs, dogma, unspoken approval/disapproval.  Over time, our personalities emerge and either gel with our families – or they don’t (and we soon find out just how “disdainful” that might be!)

As adults, I believe the opposite thing happens.  When we are on our own in the world, living, loving, getting hurt, falling down, becoming successful, being disappointed, etc. – these ALL lead up to a series of New Learnings based on what we live.

While learning and growing is always a positive step – WHAT we learn is not necessarily so.

I have learned that the naive trust of others that I grew up with and carried through during many years of marital “bliss” was misguided.  Today, I no longer trust without verifying (a good thing) based on learning through life’s lessons.

I seldom get comments on my posts (maybe the content is solely my experience and isolated to my polarized view of life!) – but I’d love to hear what you’ve learned from your life!

In exchange, I offer you my list of adult learnings (and a + or – denotes whether this was a positive or negative discovery!)

  • The Royal We (me, myself and I) must come first, foremost and exclusively (except when small children are involved!) This is hardest for women, as we were taught to take care of the world (and everyone in it) before we take care of our own needs.   +
  • No one else can love me unconditionally except for me (and to expect anything else was folly). Self-love is the greatest love (thank you Whitney Houston)   +
  • Trust, but Verify – believe what others say at face value, but verify it with other sources.  Learn when someone deceives or violates your trust to verify before trusting again:  “fool me once, shame on you, but fool me twice —– SHAME ON ME!” +
  • Despite the traditional view that we “need” others, we come into the world alone, die alone, and traverse this life alone. We might “want” others, but we do not “need” others  +
  • “As for worrying about what other people might think – forget it. They aren’t concerned about you. They’re too busy worrying about what you and other people think of them.” – Michael le Boeuf   +
  • Alone and lonely are two different concepts. Alone = state of being solo.  Lonely is something that can happen even when surrounded by lots of people.  Alone does not equal lonely (and I am seldom lonely in the company of  the Royal We)  +
  • Never be a partner to anyone about whom you say “I hope I am never on their bad side” because eventually you WILL be!  +
  • Mean doesn’t go away.  (I mistakenly thought that cruelty was a learned behavior that can change.  Unfortunately, it is a character defect.) –
  • Never make anyone a priority for whom  you are only an option.  +
  • Become your own best friend – it is the best company you can ever find!  “Wherever you go, there you are!” +
  • Dating is an interview process – never ever settle for a second-rate candidate!  +
  • Make sure the Royal We (and your intuition) approves of your friends. +
  • Family (and friends) can be toxic to your health.  Life is too short to ingest poison.  –
  • Attitude trumps skill, looks, status, environment.  Always be positive! +
  • There are reasons that people from your past do not make it into your present or your future.  +
  • Never, ever waste a heartbeat on people who don’t matter.  +
  • Realize that a chance meeting with anyone on the street may be having a rough day – if you have a smile to share, do it! +
  • The Golden rule is a great theoretical rule for religion and children. People are far more selfish in practice.  –
  • Say no before saying yes to something that you will regret. +
  • Give freely without expectation of thanks or reciprocation! Giving and receiving are two unrelated concepts – giving is about you. Thanks and acknowledgement is all about the receiver (as is any reciprocity!)  I know that a perceived lack of gratitude (and acknowledgment) usually has nothing to do with me. +
  • Never stop learning.  I am learning that there is SOOOO much I don’t know that I don’t know. +
  • There is no one, true religion for all mankind +
  • Learn from your past (sometimes there are no lessons except how to avoid crap in the future) +
  • EVERYONE deserves respect no matter their age, creed, status, look, etc.  Be tolerant even if you do not accept their way of life – everyone has a right to live as they please without infringing on others. +
  • Don’t turn down an opportunity before it is presented. +
  • The internet is forever.Never write, post, text, tweet, or Facebook anything you would not be willing to say in public! +
  • You (and me) are whole, complete, and perfect just as we are. +
  • Be yourself!  Trying to be someone else for someone else sacrifices the great you and robs the world of your talents. +
  • There is nothing wrong with me! (and there never was.  Just because people in my past and present want me to change to SUIT THEM has nothing to do with me!) +
  • Having a boyfriend or significant other means NOTHING! I am beautiful, lovable and deserve love in this world, period. +
  • Never override intuition – anyone who says that “your perception is wrong” is delusional and emotionally unavailable.  (I lived this and now know better!) +
  • Not everyone you meet in the future is a clone of your past. Protect your heart. +
  • Be grateful for what you have! +

To my silent readers, do you have anything to add?

Have a great week and celebrate you!

Carol

Walking on Eggshells… Source of Back Pain?

22 Mar

First off, this post is not about physical back ailments, so I apologize if you came here to read about disk failures or arthritic conditions.  The back pain I want to talk about is the pain from having to look back and watch what you say or do because someone else explodes or behaves badly (and blames you)!

You probably have people in YOUR life who expect you to “Walk on Eggshells” (i.e., you have to be careful what you say because they explode if YOU say the wrong thing) – and it causes you grief!

Not only do you have to be careful what you say or appear to say for fear of negative retribution (often explosive) – you have to plan/rehearse/replay what you might say in your head to hopefully avoid a similar outcome. Even then, with careful planning, explosions invariably occur “because of what you said or did”.  Think about this for a moment along with Einstein’s definition of insanity:

Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.

So, if makes sense that if you constantly try to do something different (such as saying things in a different way) and you get the same explosive results, maybe the result has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOU.

People who expect special treatment from others are the prima donnas, narcissists, sociopaths, and bullies of our society and invade our work, play, and homes.  If you love someone who does this, you might feel responsible when they explode (especially when they blame you) or treat you badly.  (This is a classic model of abuse: the abuser blames their victim for inciting the abuse.)

Personally, I am at a point where I realize that the “walk on eggshells around me” person is simply unhappy in spite of or regardless of me.  It seldom matters how nice or kind or careful I am because the explosion is not predictable.  (I once asked my ex-significant other what words I to avoid so he would not react badly because it didn’t seem to matter what I said.  His response was “you think you are a good communicator – figure it out!”  The truth was that no words from me could change his behavior – only he could. )

People who use verbal outbursts to get their own way may or may not realize their responsibility for their own behavior.  Or they might have always gotten away with blaming their firework reactions on others!  Why change what works if it gets them what they want?

Is there an alternative to “walking on eggshells”?

When bad behavior is rewarded it continues.  Imagine a child screaming and ranting in a grocery store and the parent rewards them with candy to shut them up.  The same thing happens when grownup children rant and get their own way in board meetings or at home.  Bad behavior is like an addiction – and if we reward the abuser for outbursts (by giving in) we are enabling the behavior to continue.  Easier said than done especially when the other person is a spouse, a boss, a family member or a friend.  It is easier to avoid them or to give in to keep the peace.

I fell for this too many times in my lifetime and today I avoid these people when I can, and if I cannot, I work hard to realize that I am not responsible or a trigger for their outbursts. Still, no one including me, wants to be covered by verbal diarrhea or hit in the face with fireworks – and then be blamed for causing it.

Can you identify with these “walking on eggshell people” I meet or hear about from others?

Fireworks are fun to watch - if they are celebratory!

  • At work I used to work with a guy who huffed and puffed and got red when anyone challenged his authority as a self-appointed expert. Sometimes he even exploded in a room full of people!  I am grateful I no longer have to work with this person.  He eventually named his company after his first name (narcissistic), brags about his religious devotion, yet continues to huff and puff and literally explode when anyone disagrees with him. He is over 65 so one would think he’d have met his match by now, but executives and peers simply watch him pontificate and back away before the fireworks begin.
  • ParentsI see parents everywhere who bully their children into complicity using religious guilt, coercion, and downright  manipulation (“if you loved me/us you would think/feel/act the way we tell you to”).  Parents who are bullies create submissive children who can grow into embittered adults.  While their physical presence is temporary (child rearing years) their damage can be lifelong.  Parents whose behavior creates a “walk on eggshells” environment with their adult children often lose the very respect they “demand.”
  • Spouses/partnersIf you have/had a spouse who tells you that they only said xxx because “you made me say it” you know what it is like to “walking on eggshells.”  Should you dare to suggest that their responsibility for fireworks they ignite themselves, you might be “down the river without a paddle” so to speak.  I can tell you from experience that life can be grander without such a “partner.”
  • Children – We have the chance to influence a child’s behavior to a certain extent (personality weighs heavily here) by not allowing or rewarding tantrum-like behavior.  Even when corrected at an early age, there are plenty of adult children who use explosions and then hold their parents to blame long into adulthood.  I believe that we need to teach children accountability and consequences for bad behavior at a young age.
  • FriendsI have written about the types of friends who explode or behave badly when they do not get their own way (Do Mean Girls Grow up?) – and my solution is to walk away and find new friends.  On rare occasions when I confronted the person, it had  a good outcome, but more often it led to even worse outbursts.  These days I follow the advice of a New York friend who encourages me to say “Next” and move on to the next friendship.
  • People we do not knowIt is painful to witness someone verbally abusing another in public.  I do not believe that it is ever warranted to yell at another adult unless it is to alert others to a threatening situation or assault.  I see this happen all the time and I never know what to do.  When it is an adult verbally abusing a child, I often step in or alert a storekeeper for advice, but when it is adults involved, I am at a loss… I do not want to become a victim by confronting the offender, yet I do not want to show that I accept the behavior by complicity.

If “walking on eggshells” causes (back) pain why do we comply?

Is this an isolated situation confined only to me?

If you have found something that works instead of walking on eggshells, would you share them with me so I can also share them with others?

Wishing you a stress-free week of happy times!

Carol

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