Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Do You Know Anyone Like This?
Opinion © 2006, by Guy L. Evans

September 19, 2006

Do you know anyone who treats you this way?

You don’t have a problem; you are a problem. You are a problem for being who you are, for being hungry and tired and needy and most of all for having wants and needs of your own and for expressing those wants and needs. You are a problem because you won’t control yourself. So, it is my duty to teach you to control yourself, to “correct” you, you scrub your inner, essential reality from your mind and then replace it with the reality that I want you to parrot back to me. I will tell you how you feel, what you want, what you need, what you should and should not think and feel, who your friends are, who your enemies are, and most of all, I will teach you to depend on me for your identity. I will define you. I will tell you when you are good and when you are bad. I will tell you when you are doing what is acceptable and when you are doing what is not acceptable. You will turn to me for your sense of self. Your life will revolve around pleasing me. But, I will keep control. I will be unpleaseable. And, my displeasure will always be your fault.

I will teach you not to think or feel or do anything without first considering whether I might not approve. As a result, you will become confused and frustrated. You will act out your frustration, and I will accuse you of attacking me, of trying to hurt me. Just control yourself. That’s all you have to do.

If you can’t handle the confusion and frustration of forever trying to please me when I am utterly unpleaseable, you will become the “rebel”. You will rebel. This suites me just fine. In rebelling against my authority over you, you legitimize my dominance over you. You affirm my “rightness”. You prove to me that I was right all along, that all you ever needed to do was control yourself and accept the identity that I have assigned you. You can’t control yourself, and now look at you.

But, I know the secret. I know how you can escape my control. Instead of controlling yourself, you just need to be honest with yourself. “To thine own self be true.” Stop trying to please me. Stop judging your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors against the contradictory, shifting, arbitrary, and capricious standards that I set. Stop trying to “correct” yourself.

When you’re hungry, eat. When you’re tired, rest. When you feel alone or angry or hurt or afraid, admit it. And admit that it feels bad. Be a friend to yourself, not a tyrant. Understand yourself. And, in understanding yourself, you will learn to understand others.

As for me, the Great Dictator of your life, let go of the struggle. I can’t control you if you won’t play along. If you fight with me, I still have control. That’s why I pick fights with you over nothing and everything. As long as we are fighting about something, or nothing, I still have a grip on you. I still am able to insert myself into your life against your will. As soon as you stop fighting with me, you strip me of my status of heroic victim, and you lose your mantel of villainy. When you stop fighting with me, then you give me no reason to accuse you of attacking me. Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn! Damn!

When I come back at you and try to pick a fight over nothing, I’m trying to re-establish my position as heroic victim. I want you to attack me so that I can feel offended and righteous. So, I will prod you and provoke you and nag you and dig at you and insult you and the things you love until you finally take up the fight again. I want you to fight with me. I want you to lose control, go nuts, have a fit, scream and yell and hit me and throw things. When you hurt me, then I know, I truly know in my heart of hearts, that you really don’t love me and that you really are bad person.

Never mind that I assaulted you ten ways from Sunday to trigger your rage. Not my responsibility. You lost control. I didn’t.

So, there you have it. I get to act like a big baby and then make you responsible for my feelings. That’s the trick. And you fell for it. And you will keep falling for it. And when you finally wake up and stop falling for it, and you finally say you’ve had enough and you leave, then I will be alone.
If you know anyone like this, save yourself first, worry about fixing the relationship later.

Guy L. Evans
Aurora, Colorado

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