Trojan Horses and Gordian Knots

No strings attached?

Look that gift horse in the mouth and examine every strand of hair in its mane and tail looking for threads which may inextricably bind you before accepting unsolicited gifts. Or unsolicited acts of service, for that matter.

Generosity is an aspect of sincere compassion but like all behaviours can be used for control. Extricating yourself from negative billing on an uninvited gift or service can be incredibly tricky. Have you ever sat on the phone navigating the layers of red tape required to cancel that free trial you signed up for on a whim…and you knew what you were getting into there!

Providing unexpected gifts or services is a common behaviour in those struggling to reach emotional stability. It is a way to secure connection without a risk of personal rejection – our society tells us it is churlish to turn away someone bearing gifts or who does nice things for us…until the moment where the words ” After all I’ve done for you…” come to haunt you.

There is no shame or dysfunction in choosing to involve yourself with someone who engages in dysfunctional behaviour if you do so with conscious compassion and joyful intent. Just like accepting an offer of a free trial book of the month club gives you a chance to see if you like what you get, if it meets your needs.

A gift horse does have value even if long in the tooth. A Trojan army can only overrun your boundaries if you are unprepared or weakened. Every interaction, unsolicited or not, with another human being is a bid for contact, an attempt to get a need met, an effort to find stability. Greeted with receptive curiosity, these threads of connection can weave beautiful patterns not possible without the tension created by the variance in personalities.

Understanding yourself and your needs and motivations will allow you to examine the details of Trojan horses to determine if acceptance is worth the cost. Awareness of your strengths and defenses will provide you with certainty as you decide to allow entry or reject the offering presented to you.

Knowledge of the patterns and personality of the gift giver will inform your decision; don’t trust anyone but love them anyway by having hopeful assumptions. Trust Synergy to keep you satisfied and in balance as you endeavor to meet your needs while being of service to others.

Even if they seem to be trying to pay you in advance.

That behaviour, being generous, is sincere, as is the motive, getting needs met. What makes the interaction insincere and thus unsatisfying is the lack of clear expectations. Perhaps because of a history of rejection and manipulation, they feel they must use passive means to meet their needs. Maybe they’ve experienced helplessness or hopelessness and are attempting to cultivate relationships in advance so when they need support they already have a line of credit with you.

With all unsolicited bids for contact, especially those involving gifts or acts of service, you are able to make an intentional and deliberate choice to accept the gift and its possible knot of hidden obligations, or choose to block access to your energy by turning the gift away at the door. Feel no shame or guilt in saying no because your boundaries still apply even in the face of apparent acts of generosity. Since Synergy gifts us with what we need each day, we are programmed to receive and resistance goes against our very nature!

You will feel the Moment a truly compassionate gift or act is bestowed upon you, and anything less than that sensation will have some degree of transaction involved, some measure of score keeping. When in the Presence of sincere compassion, the taste of satisfaction and gratitude will be unmistakable and you will feel compelled to accept out of sheer joy.

Predator as Prey

Passive behaviour allows predatory control of relationship dynamics.

What so incredibly confusing about passive behaviour, why it is so seductive and successful, is that Synergy only meets our needs via passivity so we are preprogrammed to seek it out!

Synergy speaks to us through our environment. She guides us with clues. She supports us secretly and with delicate subtlety and it feels like a delightful escape room puzzle when you discover the solution which was staring you in the face. She gives us all we need and leaves it up to us to put it together.

Just like a passive personality.

We were designed to search for cues and synchronicities, created to listen to unspoken commands. When someone gives them to us it feels like we are driven to act on them because we are!

Passive personalities are doing what Synergy does.

Passive manipulation of one human by another is following the design of the universe while simultaneously unbalancing the parties involved if creating an injustice. That red flag which goes off to indicate something isn’t quite right is not actually alerting you to the manipulation, but rather, the unfairness of the outcome.

When Synergy moves us through passive actions and subtle gifts, we feel profound satisfaction and peace. When a benevolent human moves us through passive control and gentle guidance, we also find stability and gratitude. But when hidden agendas take us out of our comfort zone, our alarm arises from the lack of grace in the perpetrator and the lack of peace in the results.

Unfortunately, each time we are victimized by a wolf in sheep’s clothing, we get sensitized to sheep. Over time we begin to feel that passivity itself is the source of our pain and we lose the ability to differentiate between the genuine generosity of Synergy or her agents, and the artificial phishing attempts of those seeking to get their own needs met by disguising their motives.

A passive personality may create one of the most frustrating dynamics you will ever encounter. Passive communication elicits intense impatience and resentment because of the layers of subtext to filter through, searching for meaning.

Passive behaviour in and of itself is not toxic. The outcome determines the degree of dysfunction. A predator will leave prey shredded and dumbfounded while an agent of Synergy provides support and blessings without claiming credit.

The lesson to pull, the skill to refine, when dealing with passivity is observation. Like working with Synergy, who cannot say a word, the passive individual also cannot say a straight word. Yet like Synergy, they have much to say and are worth listening to. Maintaining curious regard is difficult in the face of frustration but it is practice for peace.

Enlightenment does not come easy and requires listening to the quietest, most passive voice in the universe!

Contempt, Compassion, and Empathy

Empathy really is a buzz word nowadays. It’s held up by many as the standard of excellence in emotional functioning and the antidote to contempt. Empathy is seen as a higher level of awareness and the solution to social ills. But there is a problem with this ideal.

Empathy is feeling someone else’s emotions as if they are your own. Although on the surface this would seem a noble and compassionate thing, especially when held up in contrast of contempt which is judgement of someone else’s emotions, to feel someone’s emotions is…well…immature, selfish and in fact a form of contempt!

This is not to say understanding someone’s feelings is inappropriate, not in the least. That is the root of compassion, which is a healthy respect for and awareness of the emotions of others.

But in its truest form, empathy is an example of someone with poor boundaries who is unable to distinguish between themselves and others thus feels a strong need to fix the problems for others in order to find peace themselves. Many empaths talk of being overwhelmed and taken advantage of, which is a way of blaming others for their failure to protect themselves by establishing healthy boundaries. To act to change someone else’s circumstances can often be a form of contempt because the message is you know better then they, the victims, do.

Contempt and callous disregard for the feelings of others is an easy target to disparage and the narcissist easy to blame for society’s ills. The person exhibiting contempt is demonstrating rigid boundaries with complete distinction between themselves and others, which is viewed as toxic and dysfunctional. True, there is an imbalance present in this way of coping and to reach authenticity and enlightenment a shift needs to happen away from a focus on the judgemental coping mechanisms into wise and compassionate processes. Yet empathy is not the answer either.

The empath is also often toxic and dysfunctional yet in a way deemed acceptable to society because the appearance of helpfulness and caring, yet the drive is just as internally motivated as the actions of the narcissist. There is an imbalance present here, too, and a shift away from the emotional coping mechanisms into wise and compassionate processes needs to happen.

Compassion does not mean your are suffering with the people you feel compassionate towards. They are not you and you are not them, their emotions are not yours to feel. But compassion does elicit discomfort when imbalance, injustice, or negativity is witnessed. Compassion involves the desire to see balance restored, in whatever form the victim might feel it needs to take. As soon as you decide what form restitution or balance must take, you are no longer being compassionate, you are being contemptuous. To demand anything on anyone’s behalf except your very own, is to show contempt of that person’s or groups’ ability to determine their own needs. And unless they asked for your help, you disempower them by taking up their cause unless you yourself are directly affected by the imbalance.

Don’t mistake activism for compassion and empathy for support. Those without voices do need to be heard, but unless you are one of the voiceless, your sounds will drown out the meaning of their silence. Speaking from a place of experience is the only way to drive change, and listening from a place of compassion if you are not the victim, is the only way to support change.

Monsters Within

All of us have monsters inside. Some people keep them on tight leashes, harnessed to pull them through the drifts and banks of stormy environments and haul them out of ruts.

Others hide their monsters so deep within they forget they have them until the creatures escape, wreaking havoc as they rampage out of control on the unsuspecting people who happen to be nearby when the walls crumble.

Yet others have caged them, letting the monsters see all the world but not allowing any freedom to work off the energy fed to them. The monsters shake those bars, and grumble and howl, but rarely do they get satisfaction thus neither does their master no matter how well the person seems to master their world.

A final group of people hide behind one or both of their monsters, never letting their true selves show so all the world experiences is the fierceness with none of the authenticity of the spirit within.

Monsters are a part of each of us. They need feed and care because their purpose is to protect us and work for us. There are two kinds of monsters inside our two material brains but none live inside our wise Eternal mind. Our true selves need their protection while tied to the Mattersphere and shed those skins when we leave the material world behind.

Logiticus, the cold, cruel calculating robot, lives inside our logical brain. Lacking emotions, this terminator comes out to defend perceived wrongs, avenge betrayals, and correct imbalance. When harnessed properly, Logiticus is an effective tool to operate successfully in our physical and social environment with its rules, laws, customs, and norms.

Moodasaurus, the wild animal, resides in the emotional mind and runs rampant in response to threats, fears, and pain. When harnessed properly Moodasaurus keeps us safe from danger, protects us from exploitation, and helps us navigate our physical and social environment with its rules, laws, customs, and norms.

Both exist for a reason, to help us. With proper training and exercise, they can be man’s best friend but mistreatment can lead them to bite the hand that feeds them. The first step in responsible ownership is to acknowledge their existence and become familiar with their needs. And then a productive partnership of mutual respect and admiration can begin.

Monsters are only monsters when you don’t understand them. Once you know them, you begin to love who and what they are and embrace them. The beast within has a beauty of its own.

Emotional Epilepsy

Epilepsy is a diagnosable condition with measurable symptoms, predictable triggers, and consistent patterns of behaviour. The condition arises from a systemic imbalance. Someone experiencing seizures loses control of themselves and can be dangerous to themselves and others. Treatments are available for many symptoms but the afflicted individual must choose to seek diagnostics, medical intervention, and support.

Emotional dysfunctions are diagnosable conditions with measurable symptoms, predictable triggers, and consistent patterns of behaviour. The condition arises from a systemic imbalance. Someone experiencing an emotional dysfunctional episode, an emotional seizure, loses control of themselves and can be dangerous to themselves and others. Treatments are available for many symptoms but the afflicted must choose to seek diagnostics, medical intervention, and support.

During a seizure, the person with epilepsy may involuntarily strike out at their surroundings, may become blind to dangers, may not be able to consciously safeguard themselves or others. If they were to injure a loved one during an uncontrolled seizure they would likely feel intense guilt and shame at the damage they did. Their loved one would not blame them for the behaviours whilst out of control of their body, yet would hold them accountable for seeking treatment, for creating effective coping strategies, for learning how to manage their outbursts in order to make the relationship safer for both of them. No expectations, only boundaries. If epilepsy goes unmanaged, the support person would be in constant risk.

During an emotional seizure, the person with emotional dysregulation may involuntarily strike out at their surroundings, may become blind to dangers, may not be able to consciously safeguard themselves or others. If they were to injure a loved one during an uncontrolled episode they would likely feel intense guilt and shame at the damage they did.

But that’s where the similarity tends to end, which is why mental illness so often grows, and passes on to another generation, accumulating shame, blame, and guilt with each new seizure.

Mental illness is painful for all who endure it as sufferers, victims, and witnesses. Just like epilepsy. But unlike epilepsy, it gets mistaken for a choice, judged as a lifestyle, and dismissed as unworthy of compassion or empathy. Yet like epilepsy, compassion, empathy and support constitute part of the treatment and are central to managing symptoms.

To support someone through epileptic seizures, you cannot pick and choose which symptoms are epileptic and which are not. You accept the whole and forgive what happens during a seizure, if you choose to interact with the person who is potentially unsafe for you because of their illness. To do otherwise is to judge and that puts imbalance between you. Better to keep boundaries between, not scales, and accept completely or let it be. Only you know if the relationship is worth the risk to your safety. No outsider can tell you that although they may try.

To support someone through emotional seizures, you cannot pick and choose which symptoms are choices and which are illness. You accept the whole and forgive what happens during a seizure, if you choose to interact with the person who is potentially unsafe for you because of their illness. To do otherwise is to judge and that puts imbalance between you. Better to keep boundaries between you, not scales, and accept completely or let it be. Only you will know if the relationship is worth the risk to your safety. No outsider can tell you although they might try.

Understanding epilepsy does not mean excusing the dangers of it or absolving people of the responsibility to manage it. But an informed perspective allows preparation for making a choice when a Moment of decision – stay or go – presents itself. Understanding is the foundation for compassion. Knowledge dispels fear and eases trauma. The wise mind guides decisions once the emotional and judgemental brains quiet down.

Understanding emotional dysfunctions does not mean excusing the dangers or absolving people of the responsibility to manage it. But an informed perspective allows preparation for making a choice when a Moment of decision- stay or go – presents itself. Understanding is the foundation for compassion. Knowledge dispels fear and eases trauma. The wise mind guides decisions once the emotional and judgemental brains quiet down.

Emotional abuse is not ok. But it is understandable. It has patterns, predictable triggers, and treatable behaviours. Hope for stability is what keeps people in abusive situations and hope is a precious, powerful force. To judge either party for having hope is to create greater imbalance while acceptance adds more hope and a sense of a safety net.