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Manipulating others to fit our idea of perfection

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Day 22/365.v2
Creative Commons License photo credit: Perfecto Insecto

But what literally brought me to my knees that evening in the garden that I have been speaking to you about in the last several posts was the realization of how it is I treat others when I am engaged in the self-destructive cycle of trying to make me different, i.e. “right for God!”

I saw how I speak and treat others when I'm caught up in the downward spiraling dynamic of demanding, remaking and berating myself for not being what I think I should be to deserve the benevolences of Source. My knees buckled and gave way when I saw how I demand, blame and attempt to control others when I am out of harmony with myself.

What I saw is that the pain created in me by my refusal to accept myself as I am becomes so unbearable that sooner or later I must escape it. The way I escape that terrible self-annihilation is by turning my judgments of failure to someone else and focus on their short-comings.

In other words, the way I get relief from the way I beat myself up for not living up to my idealized image is by projecting my negative judgments against myself onto someone else – usually someone close to me, like my husband, for instance. (Ain't he the lucky fella?! :))

Here's what I saw myself doing:

In order to help me feel better about my own failure to attain perfection, I start picking someone else apart. I move from the “I should be different” dictum to one that says, “HE (they, she) should be different!”

In other words, I unconsciously invite someone from my life to participate with me on the victim triangle by persecuting them (sometimes only in my mind and other times out loud) for not being the way I think THEY should be. I transfer my image of self-perfection to the other person and start demanding that they be what I've failed to make myself into being.

I then try to change them by trying to fix, control, or manipulate them: for instance, with my husband, I might offer helpful suggestions, all in the spirit of being for his highest good, taking it for granted that I know how he should be, of course. I spot in him the changes I secretly think I need to make and then try to get him to make those same changes in himself. (No wonder Byron Katie reminds us that the advice we give others is really for us!)

In other words, I try to make him fit the mold I am failing to shape myself into becoming!This effort to change him is me in the role of rescuer on the triangle. He has now become my victim, my “fixer-upper,” my own personal “pet-project.”

Of course sooner or later those we project our judgments to are bound to feel like we are trying to control them and they end up feeling mistreated, disapproved of, etc. Sooner or later they will start resisting our efforts to make them into something different and balk and then round the triangle we go together, ad nauseum.

So I realized that not only do I try to bully myself into becoming some mind-conceived and impossible ideal but I also simultaneously try to bully those around me into becoming what they are not either! What an exercise in futility! And what but misery can come from such efforts?

I became aware that I was lying on the ground on my garden path now with my cheek to the earth in a posture of surrender to these dawning realizations and in my mind on tha evening I heard thoughts that,transcribed into words, went something like this:

(speaking to me) “Your job is not to change yourself (or anybody else for that matter) into fitting this concept you've dreamed up of who you (and they) should be. I am the One who created you as you are and I am THAT which prompts your movement, not you.

Should you choose to line up with Me then yours can be a path of joy, of minimal resistance, of acceptance (of yourself and others), of grace. But if you fight my design for your life you will generate resistance that can only result in misery for you and for those around you.

There were other thoughts too that came to me that evening on my garden path regarding the reality of who we are … I will share them next in one final post on my revelations in the garden. Stay tuned.

Blessings, Lynne

4 Responses

  1. I blog quite often and I really appreciate your information. This article has truly
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  2. In re-reading your article, I am moved to look at the “whys” of re-acting. And what I have to say about myself is that my re-actions are always trying to remove me from feeling what I am feeling and wanting to put how I am feeling outside of myself. I am having an AHA moment even now as I write this discovering what it means to allow anything that happens to me to go ahead and stir up the muck that only needs to be felt by me. And this feeling work is so very personal…no one can do this for me and so my venture into it is one that will produce much inner contentment. Just more thoughts as I continue to digest what you have written.

  3. Yes, it appears to me that you are on the fast track to peace! As I read your comment I hear you seeing and accepting more responsibility for your own self-created reality. I am delighted for you, Kate! Thank you so much for taking part in my online community!

  4. I picture myself picking a throw rug up off the floor (unfortunately, yes, the rug being a picture of my own husband at times) taking it outside giving it a good shake. It feels really good to pick up something outside myself that I can see (and believe in my own humble opinion : ) needs shaking out/up. When I can’t seem to just sit with my own “stuff” that is trying to rise to the surface, in my impatience I look to see what blemish I might wash off another’s face…eeeeesh! All of this speaks of the same thing – me trying to get my sense of peace from the outside in and also still trying to rid my own self from who knows what! Learning to honor the sacred space of my own spouse and allowing his own Creator to Love and Nurture him into wholeness is that safe place for both of us, me being a starting gate rescuer and all. I’m just starting to really “get” that my sense of duty to any human being is to stay home inside my own heart and to enjoy the scenery of how God is working on all our behalves. There is so much in what you have written and it is so helpful to me.

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