Offensively Defensive

“It’s come to my attention that passive-aggressive is the result of shockingly low self-esteem”

You’ve probably experienced it, the person who is nice and gentle to your face, but bitchy and cruel when your back is turned. Or perhaps someone who’s slightly more direct: “You’re such a lovely person why don’t you wear nicer clothes.” Or, “You’re so pretty, you’d make much more of yourself if you dyed your hair, and wore a little makeup.”

Another example of passive-aggressive is the “I’m only joking” response. It’s that time when the joke’s at your expense – you take offence – and the “I’m only joking” rebuttal is used. Or there’s being pleasant one minute and sarcastic the next.

Sullen behaviour is also often exhibited by the passive-aggressive. It’s a form of manipulation, as is being taught guilt; or perhaps as it’s better understood, we’re ‘sent on a guilt trip’ or ‘given the cold shoulder.’ Those with low self-esteem, who find confidence a threat, are often the worst manipulators.

“People who find you a threat – because of their low self esteem – are more likely to use sarcasm and a passive-aggressive stance”

To help discharge, any negative emotions this might create within us, we can see this kind of behaviour as the defence mechanism of the emotionally immature. It’s also the kind of behaviour often exhibited by children seeking love and attention. Allow their behaviour to become ‘water of a duck’s back.’

“We could – if we choose – give them the love they’re seeking by making them aware of their behaviour. Send them this post if you like” 

The more you understand the psychology – of why people are the way they are – the more bulletproof you become. It will also become easier to enjoy your life and dismiss the negative people from it.

The other side of this, is finding yourself wondering: “Why is it so many people seem to take a dislike to me?” Or “Why do I get sacked from jobs so often?” It could well be, that it’s in your nature, to be passive-aggressive and defensive. Over time, this behaviour can become an unconscious, instant reaction, to those we feel threatened by. Working on raising our self-esteem and self-awareness helps to improve interpersonal skills.  

On parting I recently said to someone:

“Stay out of trouble.”

The response was:

“Trouble finds me.”

I understand why. Do you?

If you’d like improved interpersonal skills and a bulletproof vest

Contact Us.

The Infectious Nature of Insanity

“Imagine being in the company of a work colleague who constantly criticises someone else you work with”

Every morning all you hear is negatives and criticism over and over again. The effect of this, over time, is very interesting. You actually start to have the same negative thoughts about a colleague, you barely ever see, and certainly know nothing about. In fact all you do know, about this colleague, is he’s supposedly an idiot. This opinion has been placed upon you by proxy. It’s second hand information and incorrect at that.

The information is incorrect in respect of it being someone else’s opinion. To make matters worse this opinion is from your manager. The reality of the situation is, it’s the inability of the manager to properly train your colleague, that’s the real issue. He can’t do his job properly because the manager can’t do theirs. So poor are things now, and so lacking in resources is this manager, that the solution found is to resort to a playground game.

The manager has resorted to alienating all other members of staff against him. This is the game. It’s now at such a stage, that he makes mistake after mistake, and all picked up on by his alienated colleagues. He either leaves by his own volition (if he even has that left) or eventually gets sacked. A case for constructive dismissal if there ever was one.

“We can apply the same infectious nature to insanity”

For example, spending time with someone insanely confused. If you were to spend enough time with someone locked into such a state – about nearly every aspect of their lives – you too would become confused and uncertain. If your time was exclusive to such an individual it would only makes matters worse.

Imagine living on a ward within a psychiatric hospital. Your sane to begin with, but how long do you think it would take, for you to become confused too? Days, months or years? I think we’d all be surprised how quickly – the insanity of confusion and uncertainty – would take effect.

The nature of uncertainty in a mind that’s never known certainty is extraordinary. In such a mind, the myriad of options – presented to all of us each day – creates a kind of hell. Not knowing which way to turn, at every, any and each junction presented to us, creates a stress most of us would be unable to deal with. Unsurprisingly, once such a person actually does make a decision, it’s invariably the wrong one. Wrong, because that’s what they’ve been taught.

During their childhood every decision, opinion and choice, was knocked out of them by a controlling parent. According to this parent, every decision they did eventually make, had some element that was incorrect. Imagine years of this kind of abuse. In time you’d not know your head from your toe, and would require some kind of outside assistance, in order to cope with life.

“The alternative solution, to outside assistance, would be to reduce the number of options available”

The tendency then would be to close down life in an attempt to escape confusion (hello psychiatric ward). Life is all about options and choices, indeed the saying goes: “In your choices lies your talent.” Consider how an inability to make good choices, coupled with the belief those made are always incorrect or poor, creates a no win situation. The outcome a controlling parent wanted in the first place: Total control over the mind of a child. A monstrous act created by a monster. Their really are monsters out there. Murder is nothing of a crime compared to this. I’d rather be dead than confused all the time.

Thankfully I’m alive and rational enough to share my understandings and realisations with you and the rest of the world. These realisations have been achieved through decades of studying humans and their minds. Be cautious of who you choose to spend your time with. Contact Us.   

We Always Get What We Seek

Seek

You might assume from the above title that this post is going to be a few hundred words on positive thinking, or some lame garb about how wonderful everything can be, without any effort on our part at all. The thing is, if that’s what you’re looking for, you might want to look elsewhere. Here, you’ll find something to think about, that will genuinely help you have a better life, and not something that’s just a temporary fix, to a shitty day.

The only snag, is you do actually need to do some of the work. Let’s start with  having a rethink on attitude. Right now (as you might have guessed) I have a bit of an attitude. Even so, it’s as good a time to write as any, because we are likely to get the truth, rather than the people pleasing bullshit spouted elsewhere. Attitude is something to manage and use productively.

Now, the reason I’ve got a bad attitude this morning is because I’ve allowed someone else’s mood to infect me. I could easily have chosen to ignore this person’s attitude – like water off a duck’s back – or, as is the case, use this morning’s upset as fodder for this post! So let’s do it.

Here’s the story. In order to keep myself grounded, and earn a little extra pocket money, I spend my mornings as a newsagent managing a store. One of the services we offer is parcel collection. You may have used this facility yourself. No money changes hands, however, the store does earn a fraction of a penny in commission on each transaction. With such small commissions involved, the hope is, customers collecting parcels spend whilst in the store, they rarely do. Yet we do look to be as polite and warm as possible in the hope they’ll part with some dosh.

Anyway, in walks a customer who approaches the counter throwing down a piece of barcoded paper as they do. Looking at it, and then me, they ask for their parcel. I then go through the process of asking for name and ID so I can search for it. The customer in question then states, in a very aggressive and agitated manner:

“This store is the most problematic when it comes to collecting parcels!”

I reply by pointing out that they’d probably not be thinking that if we’d had it stolen.

I’m then told I should be much more polite when dealing with customers, not make them feel like they’re trying to steal something, and be much calmer. I’m so taken aback by this I simply say nothing further and the customer leaves the store. On reflection, remaining quiet throughout the whole encounter, would have been a far better policy; we live and learn do we not?

“The alternative, to being infected by the attitude of others, is obviously the ability to simply shrug off this kind of encounter. This ability is gained through some very simple understandings.”

Firstly – and staying with the example of my customer – this particular individual had the expectation that the process of collecting a parcel was going to be somewhat problematic. To just throw a barcoded piece of paper on the counter is bound to elicit further questions. I’m unable to read barcodes and the till doesn’t disclose any details when its scanned. It just acknowledges that someone wants to collect a parcel. It’s not until I’ve found the parcel, through eliciting a name, that I can then scan the corresponding barcode. Even then details are not supplied on the till.

So asking for a name was necessary, and would have been, on all the previous problematic encounters they’d had before. ID is also required to ensure the correct person is given the item. All of this is a given, so seeing this process as problematic, is the result of poor expectations. We find what we seek through our expectations.

The second consideration comes in respect of the advice I was given: I should be calmer when dealing with customers. Interestingly enough I woke this morning feeling very calm, carrying out my daily routines in an almost sleepy fashion. Over the years, of filling some of my time doing mundane jobs (bit of a surfers attitude to work these days: it’s a means to life not life itself) I’ve gained the ability to switch off. I do it in my sleep.

“If you’re a calm, unassuming kind of person, you may find yourself the object for other people’s problems. You act as a sounding board. A void to swallow up all the shit from the sewer.”

Potentially, this calm manner, does tend to faze people a little bit, especially if they’re the kind of person who doesn’t deal with stress very well. Anyway, suffice to say, I felt very calm indeed. Who was it that was talking and acting in a stressed, agitated and aggressive manner? That’s right, the customer. So once again we have confirmation of the following philosophy: All Criticism Is Self Criticism. A classic example of the simple psychology of projection.

Seek

“A problematic encounter is experienced when we behave aggressively with unrealistic expectations. On an unconscious level, problems may well be what we seek, and have nothing whatsoever to do with those around us.”

In terms of the effort we must exert to have calmer, less stressful encounters with others, we must be prepared to look within. A little effort is required. A little effort to find your inner Gold Please. Relax your package is here.

Seek

  

The Ego, Fragile Ego

Games of The Fragile Ego

The Ego, Fragile Ego

As a comfortable follow on from yesterday’s post, it’s most appropriate now, to talk more about how the ego seeks to boost and protect itself.

Defensiveness is potentially the most obvious method of protection. Being antagonistic, contradictory and generally argumentative, is a common form of defence. The ego must do this in order to protect what it holds dear. It’s only when we’re aware of this tendency, do we become aware of its limitations: the more we defend our position, opinion and beliefs, the less likely it is, we’ll advance and mature.

A fragile ego will be the most defensive. Low self-esteem is the symptom of a fragile ego. Those who live with such a mind are the most defensive of all. Once we become aware, of how our defensive nature, ultimately only adds to the fragility of our self-esteem, do we begin the process of change. Getting through to such a person is a different matter entirely though. It’s okay for the likes of you and I to understand this, but getting this message across in a subtle and successful manner to others, takes dexterity and cleverness. Paradoxically a fragile ego is the hardest to accept change.

The reason it’s the hardest to influence is because of its fragility. Let me explain further. Imagine an animal trapped in a snare. It’s still alive. Perhaps it’s only trapped by one of its hind legs. If we were to approach such an animal, we’d be in danger of getting hurt ourselves. It would be frightened and fighting for its life. In fact, because an animal in such a position is unable to escape, it will be forced to resort to the fight part of the fight or flight principle. An animal that’s trapped, is in a fragile position, to say the least.

“It follows in the same light, that a human being that’s trapped – by its narrow and limited scope of thinking – will, in order to protect itself, fight in the only way it knows how.”

The way in which this is achieved is myriad. Defensiveness has already been mentioned. Let’s talk now, about games of the ego.

Once again, the purpose of the whole exercise, be it games or defensiveness, is to protect. The ego must protect what you are. The ego protects the very fabric of what you are: your beliefs. Individuals who are neither defensive or game players have established something very important: they’ve come to understand the unnecessary and limiting nature of defensiveness and gameplay. Their ego has grown.

“Because of this, they’ve matured to the point that their ego no longer needs to defend itself; it is no longer fragile; it’s the animal set free from the snare. This has been achieved through awareness and maturity.”

So, the alternative to a free individual, is a snared game player. I’m going to leave you with one example of this kind of gameplay. The game of: I’ll like, follow or comment on your blog, simply because my ego needs to boost itself, through your interest in return.

Potentially the player of this game doesn’t have any interest whatsoever in what you have to say, and is only interested in the potential rewards, from their pretence. This is the work of a fragile ego. Never be confused here. A big ego is more likely to acknowledge any positive change they might see or hear suggested. 

And so, the player of this game learns nothing, whilst they remain stuck within it. Social media is the platform, or playground, and it’s something to watch out for. Don’t get pulled into this game because you just might become infected. It’s a nasty game and a nasty habit. Like many bad habits, they can end up, in control of you.

The Ego, Fragile Ego

Understanding the Ego (a useful take)

Synergies of Passion

It will prove useful to fix your attention on this short post for a moment. If we’re to advance, it’s important we become aware, of what drives us. We must understand the usefulness of the ego and its limitations.

Our ego is what we are, or more specifically, what we believe we are. Put another way, the ego, is the vast collection of beliefs that form our sense of self. Reinforcing this sense of self is expressed when we talk of boosting ones ego.

So when we say: his ego needs a boost we’re referring to the minds need to bolster and reinforce the minds beliefs. The ego is responsible for our reality and the testing of this reality. Confirmation of beliefs is part of this process.

For example, let’s say you believe men treat you badly. In order for your ego to test this reality you may talk openly with friends about how badly boyfriends (past and present) have treated you. The subsequent reaction of your friends will often prove a boost to your ego. In addition to this, continued bad behaviour, of future boyfriends, acts as proof and sufficient testing of the your ego’s reality. The fact that your belief is erroneous, due to its generalised nature, (i.e not all men are arsholes) is of no interest to your ego, at all.

Now, as we can see, there are negative limitations to having an ego. It stands to reason, every negative has a positive, so when it comes to its usefulness we can easily sum this up: Without an ego we become a bit of a dullard.

Alternatively, people with big egos, are interesting people. A big ego is a facilitator to living a full life. All this testing and proving – the ego requires to constantly confirm its reality – drives individuals to constantly seek more. They’re seeking more of the feelings created when it receives confirmation of what it contains. We’re given a good feeling when ego receives confirmation of our reality.

“Confusion comes when this reality is a painful one”

On the one hand we have the ego’s need to confirm what it holds (beliefs) and yet on the other hand, we have the pain these beliefs may be creating. We obviously can’t feel pleasure and pain at the same time (unless we’re amongst the growing band of sadists in the world) so ego, will often defer the good feelings associated with confirmation, until later. Playing the victim when out with friends is the time for that.

Now we have a rudimentary understanding, we’re empowered to make some small, yet powerful changes. Know, all and every belief you hold, is very precious to your ego. Your ego will look to grasp on to what you are. You are your beliefs and the ego’s job is to protect their integrity.

The way in which we’re now empowered is through awareness. Once we’re aware of the job of our ego, we’re aware of its limitations. Its limitations are its unceasing need to protect the integrity of our beliefs. 

What you believe, is not necessarily, true.

Personal Development Workshops introduce tools designed to help bypass, our often stubborn egos, and change our limiting beliefs.

The Locksmith Series #1

Friendships
Friendships

Friendships. “I’ve always got my nose in the fridge or the kitchen cupboard,” said Emily, “like a bloody grazing cow I am, I know it’s why I’m fat but I just can’t stop myself, it’s like an automatic thing, trying to get some kind of satisfaction or fill some bloody hole”

“Yeah ya cake-hole!” said John

“Shut the fuck up John,” chastised Joanne, “that kind of comment really isn’t of any help.”

It was Friday afternoon and the three of them: Emily, John and Joanne were in their favourite cafe, well, to be absolutely clear, it was Emily’s favourite (she loved the cake),  for the other two it was something to tolerate, it was on their way home.

A few months of meeting like this meant it had grown into something of a habit, and now that casual familiarity close friends tend to have, meant the boundaries, in respect of the subject matter they discussed – and how they discussed them – were, to say the least, starting to become blurred and stretched.

Emily looked up at John, “Yeah well you might be skinny John but we all know why that is don’t we?”

“And what’s that supposed to mean?”

“Oh come on, if you choose to replace a proper evening meal with a line of coke up ya snozer, followed by a vodka and coke, or should I say several, we’d all be skinny; fucked up wasters, but skinny all the same.”

“Now that’s a bit strong, I may be a piss head with a teeny tiny coke habit, but I’m not fucked up and neither am I a waster.”

“Matter of opinion,” muttered Emily.

Joanne was getting a bit bored with their bickering. “Err, look guys, as much as I love the friendly banter between you two, the atmosphere in here’s getting a bit thick, and thicker each time we meet in fact, perhaps it’s time to call it a day?”

“I think you mean call it an evening, don’t you,” said John, “and yes, I have had enough, I’m off to meet Evo for a vodka and coke, and just for the record, Em, I might even have a packet of crisps as a chaser, so up yours” and with that, a disgruntled John stood up, pulled on his coat, and left.

They both watched him walk out the door, the little bell attached to the frame chimed again, as the door swung shut behind him.

“What is it with you two guys?” asked Joanne, “anyone would think you were old lovers or something.”

“Old lovers! Give me a break Jo, he just gets on my nerves that’s all, I open up about something and he just makes snide remarks, he can’t deal with anything serious or emotional.”

“Um, maybe, anyhow he’s gone now,” said Joanne, “off for a weekend full of casual sex and debauchery no doubt, he reckons it’s what gets him through the week you know.” A little bit of debauchery wouldn’t go amiss with me, she thought to herself. Wanting to change the subject she looked squarely at Emily “So did you go?”

“Go? I do hate it when you ask a question like that. It’s as if you think half of it, and only speak half of it, looking to get me into your head so I can work out what the fuck you’re on about.”

“Bloody hell Em, chill-the-fuck-out, I was just wondering if you’d been to see that guy who calls himself the Locksmith, that’s all. You talk about being overweight, but don’t change your habits. You just said you’re always in the fridge, or whatever, grazing like a bloody cow, was how you put it.”

Joanne took a moment to check herself: a long slow breath, she decided to change her tone. Sounding gentle and slightly conspiratorial she went on, “those I’ve spoken to reckon he’s really good and can help you unravel why you feel a bit powerless to change.”

Emily tutted her exasperation, “Truth is he sounds a bit weird Jo, and weird, is like the last thing I need right now.”

The edge came quickly back to Joanne’s voice, “How can it be weird to have an interest in finding out what makes you tick? If it takes a bit of weirdness to sort stuff out, isn’t it worth coping with? Besides, don’t you think it’s a bit weird always having your face in the fridge and kitchen cupboards?”

“Jo!” exclaimed Emily, “now you’re beginning to sound like that arshole who just left. I tell you what, I’ll go see him, this Locksmith, I’ll listen to what he has to say, will that please you?”

To be continued…

mind

A Truly Open Mind (use it or lose it)

mind
Key to staving off the disease of stagnation: LOVE

“To begin with, a few questions that I’ll come back to later on: Do you consider yourself to have an open mind? Do you hold a fascination with how your mind works? And, what would you consider the cause of the increase in Alzheimer’s disease?”

On a personal level, from a very early age I can remember being captivated with understanding how things worked. I’m sure, to some degree, the adults around me during that time, found it quite frustrating to find me playing with toys – or whatever – for a short time, only to destroy them later on, by taking them apart in order to understand how they worked. Once I understood how something worked, I’d generally lose interest, and quickly move on.

As for moving on – once I’ve understood how something works – this has proved to be a habit, that’s pretty much stayed with me all my life, all bar one exception that is: The human mind. Humans, and their minds, continue to puzzle and fascinate me, in equal measure. What curious creatures we all are.

Why, you might ask, have I stayed interested in our minds? Ultimately the answer to that lies in a selfishly rooted motivation: I’ve wanted to understand and improve or change my own frustrations, confusion, moods, habits, behaviours and thoughts.

“Of course the motivation to do anything must be a partly selfish one; we must want something for ourselves, in order for us to then give this to others. Once shared we better understand.”

Consider a musician, does the musician learn to play an instrument for himself or for the enjoyment of others? Is the ultimate goal all about performing, feeding a hungry ego and potentially filling empty pockets? Or is the process and challenge, of learning to play an instrument, the motivation? No doubt a mixture of all these things is the recipe for success.

And so understanding the mind, and then helping others with this quest, must start with understanding our own. In terms of moving on, some find it sufficient to simply find one, or a few basic understandings, for why they’ve been experiencing difficulties in a particular area, and they then look no further. The thing to be aware of here though, is we can only take others as far as we’ve been ourselves. The farther we’ve moved our own minds on, the better able we are, to help others achieve their goals.

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For me, in regard to the human mind, I feel we’ll never reach a point when it’s time to stop looking. For the more we search – for the answers to the conundrum of human consciousness, and understand the workings of our minds – the larger and more capable we all become.

Back to my opening questions. If we consider ourselves to have an open mind, we will in fact, be deluding ourselves. Unless we’ve been given the opportunity to question (and continue to question) the origins to the root of our thoughts and consciousness, our minds will never be truly open.

You may believe you’ve an open mind, yet belief alone is simply insufficient. We must be able to question the root of this belief, and that of all other beliefs, before we’re able to gain a truly open mind. For this process to begin, you will most definitely need to hold a fascination, for how your mind works.

For those of us who’re able to delve deep enough, be prepared for some interesting developments. Be prepared for the control you gain over your thoughts and experiences. Our thoughts and experiences of life, believe it or not, are all under our control. As such, it follows that once you have knowledge of your beliefs: how they influence you and your life and how you must question them in order to change them at a deeper level, you’ll gain immense control over your destiny.

logofreedman1c

Be prepared for some surprises, the biggest surprise for me is how my motivation, to do the things I do in life, has shifted. I feel no shame in disclosing, that many of the things I’ve done or achieved (and then failed at) in life, have been through fear: Fear of loss, fear of being disliked, fear of adulthood (the unknown), responsibility, commitment etc. If many more of us had clear thoughts, we’d also be able to own up to this kind of motivation: avoidance rather than pursuit.

And what about the pursuit of love? The pursuit of love-life is also something that has occupied much of my time. When I use the term ‘love-life’ what I mean here is the love of life. What must we do in order to truly fall in love with life? Is the love of life to spend most of it sitting in cars, or watching others live out their lives on television, through the drama of film or the news or whatever? No, we must reach in for the richness of love, and then outward for improved experiences and attitudes toward life.

The pursuit of pleasure is a much clearer goal now and the things that give us pleasure must no longer be based on self-centered, childish, beliefs. As adults, when we seek the pleasure gained from giving of ourselves: our knowledge and understandings; our ability to play the instrument of a finely tuned mind, we’re all in a win-win situation, falling deeper in love with life.

In answer to the third question at the top of the page, when we stop using our minds, through losing our curiosity and enthusiasm for life, we’re pretty much done. Better understanding our minds, through a modern conglomeration of concepts, is key to staving off the disease of stagnation. Use it or lose it.

It starts with understanding some very simple principles: LOVE and the development of our BELIEFS.

Only Just Getting to Know You

You may have seen the film 50 First Dates. I though it was a beautiful film. If you’ve not seen it, and you’re curious, you can read about it here

“Imagine for a moment what it would feel like to wake up every morning with no past (and as such, no future) and only the now moment. You have some very well defined understandings of life, and what you’re supposed to be doing with it, and yet the past has no influence on today, whatsoever. What would you do?”

In addition, imagine having no sense of self. In other words, imagine how it would feel to have no sense of an identity whatsoever. The only identity you’d be able to give yourself, is what you’re actually doing, in any one given moment. For example, if you’re currently drinking a class of water, and someone were to ask you, who you are? All you’d be able to tell them is this: drinking a class of water.

“Beg pardon, I asked you, who are you?”

“That’s right and I repeat my response: drinking a class of water”

“Take a moment … remember, you’re imagining there is no I. No such thing as an I in you. You have no identity, all you know is you’re alive, conscious and there’s someone asking you a silly question.”

In fact, so clear are you on this concept – of there being no I – that anyone meeting you, would have no clue whatsoever, of how to take you. They’d fail to work you out, and only succeed in transferring who they are, on to you. You have no I so no one can ever know who you truly are. Make sense? Can you imagine this? Well here’s the bastard of it all: that’s you that is.

In other words – and this will really bake your cookie – it truly is impossible for anyone to ever know any other human being, because all that you and they are, doesn’t in fact exist at all in any testable reality. It’s only ever a projection of what you believe you and they are. A belief is not a true reality, it’s only a belief, and beliefs, whether you believe it or not, escape reality.

The reality is you’ll never know who you, or I truly are. There is no I.

To make this clearer. Answer this question: Who are you?

You’ll no doubt have answered with: I’m Fred or Tony or Michael or Sarah or whatever and so this is not actually telling me who you are. All you’ve done is tell me your name. In fact it’s impossible for you to tell me who you are, because who, doesn’t exist. You can tell me your name, what you do, what you like etc. and yet you’ll never be able to explain to me who you actually are.

Perhaps, the way to play it smart though, is to answer with this: I am the sum total of my beliefs.

Cleaver? No, not really, because you weren’t born believing who you are, so to say: I am, is in fact to say: they are. You and your beliefs came from circumstances and those beliefs of others. In other words, life taught you who, yet life,  is your past. Forget your past and where does this place you?

In a beautiful place full of opportunity and choice. So remember to forget now. Who did you say you are?