Archive for the 'being powerful in relationships' Category

Toxic People Play by Different Rules

Toxic people don’t play by your rules of give and take. You can make sense of their behavior when you recognize it is competitive not collaborative. Its purpose is to get the upper hand.

Here are some clues that you are dealing with a toxic person.

• You feel confused after your interactions with this person.
• Conflicts are never resolved. The toxic often declare a discussion closed while you are still struggling with it. No compromise is reached, or worse; you find yourself apologizing after their outburst.
• You feel depressed or depleted after spending time with this person.
• When you are feeling good, or enjoying success, the toxic may attempt to deflate you with a subtle put down or an argument.
• If you are feeling bad, the toxic person is likely to have a crisis that is more urgent than your problem and demands your attention.
• Difficult people demand your attention; interrupting your wedding or your mother’s funeral with their routine problems.
• They become inappropriately angry. A toxic coworker may turn red and look daggers at you as you express an inoffensive opinion.

Toxic people live in a different reality than you do. If you assume they are being rational, you will try and try to understand them or explain yourself so they’ll understand you. But the toxic person doesn’t want to come to any understanding except that you are at fault when they feel bad.

Once you know who is toxic you protect yourself from their poison. If you are involved with a toxic, difficult person, check out my upcoming class: Emotional Freedom from Difficult People. Learn easy, safe techniques for feeling better fast and being less susceptible.

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New Class in November: Emotional Freedom from Difficult People

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I consulted with my PR and Marketing coach last week and told her of my dream to offer a class each week, teaching people to use intuitive tools and techniques to deal with the difficult people in their lives.  She asked a question that I think all great innovators ask:  “Why not just do it right now?”

Why indeed?  There’s a bit of prep time to outline curriculum, but I know the material I want to offer.  There’s a bit of infrastructure needed to offer classes.  I need the software to meet online or by phone.  What I need most, is you, and others like you who want to know how to find Emotional Freedom from Difficult People.

I will offer this weekly workshop, beginning November 7, from 7-8:30 p.m. ET, for six weeks (not counting 11/28.)  It will be held online so you can join in from anywhere you like (you can wear your pajamas.)  If you are interested you can take the whole six sessions.  If you are busy, you can pick one or a few.

This is an experiential class.  You will practice the mental and emotional tools and techniques to manage how you think and feel.  That means you will build skills and not just information.  It also means that you will probably feel terrific after class.

  • November 7  Dynamics of Difficult Relationships – Understanding what you are up against, why being rational won’t work, learn about helpful resources.  
  • November 14  Why Your Problems aren’t What You Think – Most of the problem with difficult people has an unconscious source.  How to find it, drag it into the light of day, and work with it.
  • November 21  Benefitting from Bullies – Don’t let the difficult deplete your energy.  You can be energized by difficult interactions if you master one physical state.
  • December 5 Maintaining Your Space and Your Balance – You can wash that controlling person right out of your hair with simple mental tools.
  • December 12 Serenity – your power lies in being centered, serene and unruffled.  But how do you do that? Come find out.
  • December 19 Communicating with the Unconscious – Difficult people are often not so much bad as unconscious.  Learn how to reach them on that level and create freedom from their control.

$27 per individual session $150 for all six.  Email me at ruth@ruth-wilson.com and I will send an invoice for the classes you wish to attend.  You will receive an invitation prior to each class which will enable you to access the session.

Can you reason with a predator?

If you want someone to comply with your wishes you can ask them and perhaps negotiate a compromise with them.  In an enlightened interaction, this can work beautifully.  But if you have tried it in a less-than-enlightened relationship with, say a teenager or a domineering coworker, then you are probably still seething about their failure to respond to reason.

Amy Sutherland has written a wisdom-packed book called What Shamu Taught Me About Life Love and Marriage. Sutherland applied what she learned from animal trainers at SeaWorld and other places to her close relationships.  She found their conditioning methods effective in influencing others without nagging or arguing.

Conditioning is considered manipulative in human relationships, but humans are animals, after all.  We assume that language is the most straightforward way to communicate with others, but it is my experience (and Sutherland’s) that people are far more responsive to physical cues.

The lessons Sutherland learned are worth considering in any relationship, and can be very powerfully applied to relationships with difficult, dominating or controlling people.

Animal trainers working with elephants or giant killer whales cannot simply dominate the animals without serious danger of paybacks.  This is similar to relationships with people who have power over you.  The intelligent person does not beat an elephant; neither does she push the company CEO aside to get on the elevator first.  Influence is achieved by positive reinforcement only.

Not surprisingly, this sort of enlightened approach to training has been found to work with all animals, even those we could easily dominate.  All respond best when not dominated but influenced with positive reinforcement.  The enlightened animal trainer neither dominates nor allows himself to be dominated.

A critical rule for safety in influencing animal behavior is: do not act like prey around predators.  Certain behaviors register in a big cat’s mind as prey behavior; such as falling or stooping.  An animal trainer learns never to engage in these behaviors in close proximity to a big cat.

This is the direction my coaching often takes and is also a strategy of martial arts and self defense training.  Do not act weak or vulnerable around those who are waiting to take advantage of the weak and vulnerable.  Develop a strong state of being that makes you appear to be a lot of work for anyone who would attack you.

Unfortunately, it is not always obvious which humans are predatory.  Be watchful of anyone whose interactions with you leave you confused or give you a stomach ache.  And you can avoid dating people with violent criminal histories or protection orders filed against them.   But most people you meet don’t share their criminal histories or regale you with stories about how they manipulated their friends and coworkers.

The human animal can also dissemble and follow attacks with disclaimers, like the husband who follows violence with flowers.  We often give this behavior the benefit of the doubt for a while.  Many of us naively believe in, and appeal to, the predator’s better nature for awhile before we discover that she doesn’t have one.

Rather than identifying predators, my lion tamer advice would be to avoid acting like prey in all situations.  Develop and maintain strong posture. Stay centered and grounded and aware of your physical body.  Confide only in people who have proven trustworthy.

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Emotional Freedom is a Physical Pursuit

Emotional freedom and personal power can be found through a practice of feeling emotions, rather than denying them, repressing them, or escaping them.

Some experts claim that the experience of a single emotion lasts about 90 seconds.  My experiments bear this out.   But, most of us have been trained to avoid feeling emotions because they are often messy and unpleasant.  Besides, emotions might taint your intellectual knowing and cause out-of-control behavior.  We think of scientific types as pointy-eared Vulcans, but scientific study actually concludes that without the involvement of emotions, people make consistently lousy decisions (Damasio, The Feeling of What Happens, October, 2000.)

Nevertheless, most of us carry around resistance to feelings that is far worse than the actual feeling would ever be, and we send our consciousness to dwell in the past or future so we don’t have to feel unpleasant things now.  We try to solve problem emotions in our heads, exert influence with our intellects – and it just doesn’t work.  The brain has far less electromagnetic power than the heart which is the seat of emotions.

If you will simply feel your next emotion, in your body, without resistance, I can promise you that life will be incrementally easier.  A way to do this is to time your next feeling – especially if it is an unpleasant one. You will find, as I did, that it lasts oh, about 90 seconds.  While you experiment with simply feeling a less-than-thrilling feeling, notice where you feel it in your body and then, consciously relax that part of your body.  Ahhhh.  That’s better yet.

When the feeling has passed, you will find it is…gone!  You can unload whole piles of emotional baggage, in this way, far faster than any airport employee.  In fact, this is exactly what a number of high end self help methods do to help people be more successful and happy.

Feeling emotions and letting them go has huge benefits. You may have thought people respond to your outfit, your dental work or the quality of your face or figure.  Actually they respond to how you feel or your vibe.  When you carry less tension in the body you feel better to yourself and others.  When you let go of your resistance to emotions, you are able to stay in the present moment.

It may not seem that way, but in the present moment is the only place you can be, really, and it is a place of immense personal power.

The Single Most Enlightened Interaction of Them All

Self love is something that never made any sense to me at all.  Until last year, I understood the concept only intellectually, but didn’t really know what the big deal was.  Suddenly I saw that a lack of self love was affecting all my endeavors.  I didn’t really think that I was not good enough, but I didn’t feel a lot of love for myself.  I put my needs second, third or even last, and if someone had an issue with me, I assumed I was at least 90% responsible.

One day last year, I read that a person who has never experienced unconditional love or brilliant success, can have those feelings downloaded, using Theta Healing®.   Once the person has experienced those feelings, he or she can attract experiences that resonate with the feelings.  I decided I needed to know what it felt like to receive unconditional love, so I booked a Theta Healing® session to “download” this feeling.   What a difference it made!

All my interactions were changed.  I felt more love for and from others.  I also saw very clearly how all love in my life; given or received, originated in me.  Self love is a keystone for enlightened interactions. Most importantly, self love helps you follow your life’s true path.

Long before I experienced unconditional love through Theta Healing®, I had experienced an inner force which, while small, was totally invincible.  I could drown out its message for a while, but not for long.  I could ignore this force for a week, but not a month.  This force was the drive to be authentically me.

I drowned out the small soft voice of this inner force with intellectual chatter.  (I spent many years of my life training my intellectual chatter.)  I could talk myself into this or that course of action, but could not make them work because the force of this inner force made me feel bad if I did things were not in line with my authentic desires.

This force speaks to us in feelings.  You can tell in your body whether you are going the correct direction.  You will feel free and easy if you are.  You will feel resistance and irritation if you are not.  Martha Beck calls this a sense of “shackles off” and “shackles on.”  If you want to understand this concept better, just take a look at your list of things to do right now.  See how each item makes you feel.

I recently had a session with Jeannette Maw, who calls herself the Good Vibe Coach.  Jeannette is full of good vibes and I felt better just hearing her laugh.  After a long and detailed session, she said, “It’s easy.  Decide what you want and then do what feels good.”  My first thought was, “She’s insane!”  But, since what I had been doing hadn’t been working too well, and Jeannette seemed to be happy and successful, I chose to think shw was taking her own advice.

The first result of doing what felt good was a lot of free time.  I was shocked at how many things on my “to do” list did not feel good at all.  All the marketing activities I thought I must do to get business, made me feel like throwing up.  I let them go, thinking I would never get clients, but strangely, feeling hopeful.   Interestingly, the activities I did feel like pursuing resulted in four new clients who are very well suited to me.

Oddly, slacking off like this, I’m getting better results in many areas of life.  I was forcing myself to exercise, but I find that if I listen to my feelings, I will desire to get out and get moving on a fairly regular basis.  Once, I forced myself to eat salads, following my feelings seems to result in a beautifully balanced diet over time, eating salad only when I really want to.

Strangely, my feelings have led me to do some things that no one else understands and I’m trusting that those actions will also bring good results in the long run.  If nothing else, they have created a “shackles off” feeling in the short run.

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What is an Enlightened Interaction?

A friend recently questioned my term Enlightened Interaction.  “I don’t know what it means,” she said, “what does enlightened really mean?  Doesn’t every new ager consider herself enlightened?” she asked.I suppose there is a connotation of spirituality associated with the word “enlightened,” which could be construed as superior.  But when I use the term “enlightened,” I refer to awareness – spiritual or otherwise.

Dictionary definitions of enlightened suggest it is a state of being knowledgeable. Definitions include, “…freed from ignorance and misinformation,” and, “…based on full comprehension of the problems involved.”   Spiritual enlightenment, then, is the ability to understand from a spiritual perspective.

Coming at our interactions in an enlightened state, means we are aware.  This awareness of others requires listening and seeing the other person without projecting our beliefs and motives onto them.

Spiritual enlightenment creates an awareness of spiritual truth.  In most traditions, this means seeing another as an equal and a unique and valuable individual.  The interaction based on this enlightenment is respectful and kind.

Intellectual enlightenment, “…based on full comprehension of the problems involved,” creates an interaction grounded in awareness of reality.  This implies acceptance of others as they truly are and not getting confused by our fantasies and desires for the interaction.

An enlightened interaction, then, precludes any abuse, control or manipulation.  It is an honest interaction between people who are presumed to be equals, who strive to perceive and accept each other as they truly are.

This interaction is not the norm for most of us, but I’d like to think the next stage in our evolution would make it the norm.  Compared to dishonest or controlling interactions, enlightened interaction is satisfying and pain free.  If you cannot achieve enlightened interaction in a voluntary relationship, it is probably a relationship you should walk away from.

I hope this is…well…enlightening.

Deal with Difficult People Without Being One – Interview on Body Mind Spirit Radio, August 21 at 7 p.m.

Learn about enlightened interaction.  How to deal with office bullies, controlling spouses, manipulative family in ways that are respectful and invite respect.  Even when you feel you must interact with difficult people, you can do so while staying in your power and without being difficult yourself . When you change the way you think, people around you behave differently.  Interview with Ruth Wilson on Body Mind Spirit Radio   (Blogtalk Radio) Tuesday, 8/21/12, 7 p.m.

Are You Really too Sensitive?

Your sensitivity may just be appropriate.Why is it that those of us who are on the receiving end of rude, unkind, dishonest or manipulative behavior are so often accused of being too sensitive?

When most of our minds are shaped by the verbal one-upmanship of television, the ideal behavior is to be tough and unaffected by the hurtful behavior of others.  To the TV shaped mentality, there is only power over another; a zero sum game.

This is a rather primitive, unenlightened mentality for the 21st century.  Sensitivity is seen as weakness.  We give credence to the knuckle-dragging Neanderthal who can dish out the most insults and anger.   In light of this, it is hardly a wonder that half of marriages result in divorce and our children bully each other.

“You’re too sensitive,” is a standard line from the verbally or emotionally abusive.  If one complains about manipulative behavior, the complaint is dismissed and the complainer is defined as being “too sensitive.”  Of course, this criticism is abusive too.  Who is to say that who and how you are is wrong?

There is, of course, a kernel of truth to the “too sensitive” criticism, otherwise we would never accept it.  Those of us who are sensitive do need to learn not to internalize the judgments of others too easily.

It is common for those on the receiving end of verbal and emotional abuse to begin to buy into the criticisms of the abuser – whether at work or at home.  They begin to wonder:  Am I really performing so badly?  Did I really cause him to be angry?  Should I truly have known that answer?  Could I really be mentally ill?  Unfortunately, the abusive live in a reality in which a criticism is merely a ploy to get relative power in any situation.  On the other hand, the sensitive person lives in a reality in which a criticism should be considered as an honest opinion and taken at face value.

For those who survive abusive relationships, this sensitivity is the gift that keeps on giving, making them second guess themselves far more and far longer than they should.  But this is the polar opposite of the healthy sensitivity that discerns that rude, manipulative, hurtful behavior is unacceptable.

And, I wonder, how sensitive is too sensitive?  A woman I know complained that her boss greets her with “What is it now?”  A co worker said the problem was that she was too sensitive.  As a manager, I would say the problem is that the boss is too rude…and inefficient.  A neutral greeting would actually be easier and quicker.  But a polite response would not leave the employee feeling insecure and off balance.

And, I suspect that in this supervisor’s sitcom mentality, he needs to create insecurity to have a sense of power.

A client whose husband regularly yelled and swore at her, reports that a marriage counselor suggested she develop a thicker skin about his anger.  She was too sensitive.  I can see no reason for yelling at a spouse unless she’s in the path of a truck or the house is on fire, but somehow the anger was not addressed.  This woman was criticized for not being able to take it.

It often seems that the rude and unkind people who lack empathy are not the problem in our relationships.   We who have empathy enough to be sensitive to the behavior of others should learn to care less about others; be less empathetic.

We should develop thicker skins, be insensitive and unaffected by how others treat us.  What a wonderful world that will create!

More Sins of Omission – Hiding your Light Under a Bushel

 

Good people often feel that they are promoting good when they simply avoid doing wrong. The new age movement promotes this by preaching non It takes courage to shine brightly.judgment without understanding the concept, and suggesting that inner peace means passivity.

When the enlightened practice non judgment and inner peace, they act, or refrain from acting, from a state of being centered.  Ghandi practiced passive resistance and love, certainly, but his was acourageous stance which he discerned would avoid violence.  He was not passive to avoid action.  When I am passive or non-judgmental to avoid taking a stance, it is a cop out.

More than most people, I understand the power of the unseen and what can be done with energy.  I practice a number of energetic or mental techniques which are invisible and yet quite profound in their results.  But if I see someone drowning, I think it is more appropriate to go physically to their rescue than to send them good energy.  If someone is trespassing, and doesn’t listen to reason, then litigation may be more appropriate than love.  (If you are capable of litigating lovingly, then that’s even better.)

Bullies, abusers, those who lack empathy, sociopaths without conscience…none of these people respond well to good energy.  People who cannot relate to or connect with their fellow humans are often quite oblivious to the energy of others.

In dealing with these selfish forces, those of us who are good should be positive forces for good, rather than passive lumps who are satisfied with simply not being bad.

What does it mean to be a positive force for good? It involves using power appropriately.  We all have god-given power to wield.  It was not bestowed upon us to be hidden or to atrophy from disuse.

Positive goodness may involve speaking up, enforcing boundaries and not allowing trespasses, protecting our dependants, and taking action to promote positive outcomes.  Positive goodness almost always involves courage and risk taking.  It certainly takes discernment to stand up for what is right without continually focusing on what is wrong.

Positive goodness almost always creates a kind of magic in the life of the person who practices it.  Whether you win or lose your particular challenge, the courage you practice and the boundaries you fortify put you in a wiser, more centered place.  From this state of being, your energetic influence on the world is huge and beneficent.

The prize is that you shine more brightly as your true self and experience deep joy rather than fleeting happiness.

Sins of Omission

Survivors of abusive relationships are often accused of choosing to be in that relationship. Yet, I have never met anyone who became involved in an emotionally abusive relationship on purpose or felt they had even an inkling of the abusive nature of their relationship until they were well and truly involved.

Abuse generally doesn’t occur on the first date or even during the first weeks or months of a relationship. People put up with control tactics in the workplace to keep their jobs. When control tactics sneak into a relationship, it is almost always after a commitment is made, and some of these tactics are very subtle.

The accurate hindsight of survivors of verbal abuse can be used as intelligent foresight.  There are some important social behaviors which seem to be lacking or inconsistent in people who are emotionally abusive and controlling.

Covert emotional abuse is very hard to detect by anyone who hasn’t already experienced it! The most insidious emotional abuse involves sins of omission rather than overtly controlling behavior. The abusive behavior is often interspersed with loving behavior, which confuses the situation. The inconsistent loving behavior provides aperiodic conditioning, which is the most powerful kind of conditioning.

Here are some sins of omission that are emotionally abusive and are often precursors to more overt behavior. When you encounter these behaviors in a relationship on a consistent basis, I suggest you stop giving the benefit of the doubt and run like hell in the opposite direction.

Failure to Respond. In the absence of a severe hearing impairment, anyone who does not respond to your greetings, comments or questions is controlling the communication in an anti social way. Relationships in which power is shared involve two way communication. Refusing to respond could be hostile or it could be an indication of a personality problem. You cannot have an equal relationship with anyone who gives you the silent treatment.

Withholding. Whether it is information, affection, approval or resources, withholding is the sign of a competitive relationship. A competitive relationship is not an equal relationship. When you meet someone who fails to make eye contact or say “hello,” I’d recommend you leave skid marks rather than stick around and invite more of this behavior.

Countering.  It may be disguised as a simple difference of opinion, but whenever someone immediately dismisses your point of view without consideration, you are not being treated as an equal.  Argument and discussion involve listening to each others opinions and this should go both ways. 

Forgetting. Some forgetting is simply a failure to remember, and is really a form of withholding if it happens all the time. There simply is not any good excuse for not remembering a spouse’s or partner’s birthday. Subtle forgetting is forgiven more often than it should be. A person who has been a close friend or partner for many months or years, should know who you are, remember important details about you and your life and remember the details of plans you have made together.

In a potentially romantic relationship, forgetting can include forgetting earlier encounters and this can get very confusing. The man (or woman) who looked deeply into your eyes last week and told you that you were significant, but barely remembers who you are when you next meet, is either severely impaired or abusive. This on again off again behavior also has a lot of power to condition you to hang in for the next reward.  In the long run, it won’t be worth it.

When you detect any of these sins of omission repeatedly, stop hanging around. Get out of Dodge! If sins of omission are interspersed with attentive or loving behavior, this is an even worse sign! This is not the behavior pattern exhibited by anyone who can engage in an equal relationship.
These sins of omission don’t just occur in romantic relationships, they are quite common in business and voluntary organizations. If you always volunteer but don’t get recognition, your boss takes credit for your work, or your team leader fails to greet you, you are experiencing control tactics. Start looking for a new organization to join.

Stick with people who give you positive and consistent social cues that they recognize your existence and respect it. Anything less is not good enough.


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