Sometimes it is a Dark Side transmission, but mostly it’s another person I accidentally connected with.
I have two graduate students live in the downstairs apartment. Two girls.
Every time I go downstairs with a package for the mailman to pick up, or to check my mail, they hear me: the old wooden staircase makes an unholy noise. That’s when they connect, and I have to feel their emotions for a little while.
Both girls have a big issue about boys… it comes with their age.
One of them I have more ties to than just the fact that she lives downstairs from me. I know her mother, personally, and through having a common friend for about 10 years… through her friend talking about her, gossiping.
Wanting to get married, wanting to have a relationship is maybe natural, but the mother, let’s call her Leah, used to spend hours on the phone, with my friend, every day, crying, suffering, “sharing”, etc.
The girl downstairs, let’s call her Mary, learned drama from her mother. She grew up in high drama, about boy friends, love affairs, betrayal and separations. So she spends a lot of time suffering about boys and such.
So, let’s consider that life is happening, things are happening, “the other” is doing, saying, whatever they are doing or saying. And you have a choice to respond, react, to fly off the handle, to suffer, or to stay cool and untouched, unfrazzled, unphased, no matter what they do or say.
I just hung up with a guy who I’ve known 20 plus years. He’s always driven me crazy. But for the past few years I have been able to keep my cool no matter what he did. We even had a few good conversations when he listened. Until today…
Today I did not keep my cool. He pushed back everything I said, he justified or argued. Obviously I didn’t see that I had a choice. I was acting on automatic, I was reacting. Big time!
Which is to show that you can be vulnerable even if you have managed to become invulnerable in many areas of life.
I was mirroring his aggressive behavior, aggressive attitude and could not, did not catch it while it was going. I was unprepared, I was caught by surprise.
All the people he deals with end up shouting at him, I am not the only one. I just realized that today. Then he gossips about these people, calling them mental cases… I saw, today, that if I want to be well, I need to get rid of him. Or learn to catch myself earlier… so I don’t even go down that tunnel, that path. He won’t change, and I have a choice to make.
How to learn to stay cool under duress
If you frequently fly off the handle, or get unduly depressed, worried, devastated, anxious about things, your job is to start observing yourself, and see what kinds of things set you off. Make a list of the triggers, make a list of the situations.
Pick one trigger first. Pick an easy one, and start staying cooler then cool as a cucumber.
One excellent thing you can say to yourself: “It is not personal. They are just shooting, and I got in the way. It is like the rain storm: it is not personal, yet I get wet.” Practice saying that, and create an emotional distance between the trigger and yourself.
Much like “remove yourself from the line of fire.” Bilocate. Consider that the real you isn’t sitting in your body, the real you is watching the interaction from the side.
I write more about that, the sideways view, in an other article… here is the link...
Now, let’s see, in logical faculty decision terms, why you would like to choose to be invulnerable, impervious, and untouched?
Sometimes crying and carrying on is an effective tool of manipulation… but only if it is really an acting job, not emotions for real. Just watch little kids: they cry, they carry on, but their tears dry up the moment you bend to their will.
It’s an acting job. I do it myself… it works some of the time. Today I got bent out of shape: this is a once, maybe twice a year “event”, while it used to be a daily, even hourly drama.
The Heaven on Earth is great, but it is not strong enough in cases like this, it is not strong enough to counter your reaction machine… it is like using a pistol against a tank… ineffective. The tank doesn’t even notice it.
Now, because it is in the headlines, and because it is very relevant to this topic, let me say a few words about “conscious uncoupling”, i.e. making a conscious decision to distance yourself from someone who you’ve been close to, and the relationship isn’t supporting your desire to live a healthy, happy, life.
Some people you can’t be happy with, no matter what anyone says. Some people will always rub you the wrong way, even if they are not abusive, per se. You just don’t fit them well… too much similarity, too much difference, it doesn’t matter why and how. The only thing that matters for this conversation, is that the relationship stopped working, or the relationship stopped you from growing in the right direction.
You may love the other person. You may have a financial interest to stay with them. You may have children together. You may lose all your friends because they were all HIS/HER friends.
You need to make a CONSCIOUS decision. Weigh for and against, pro and con.
The cost of staying together, and the cost of separating.
Both decisions have a tangible cost and a cost that is intangible. Your growth, your well-being, your health, your emotional or mental health are intangibles… and when you do the cost analysis, you MUST treat them as if they were tangible.
Example: education is an intangible asset. Skill is an intangible asset. But you can still attempt to put a cost next to them: potential earnings, etc.
Same way, you need to put your own price tag on your intangibles, to be able to weigh correctly.
Once you have done the work, choose. Don’t let the numbers choose. Conscious decision also means responsible decision. Responsible decision means YOU choose, not the reasons.
YOU may choose to assume the cost, and pay it. Be at peace with your conscious choice. NEVER allow your reasons to choose for you.
For example, the guy I talk about above, the one that drives me crazy: am I going to say good bye? Hard to tell, because I haven’t done the pro/con analysis. And then I’ll choose…Consciously.