Decompartmentalising Yourself

I was having a conversation yesterday evening which began in the compartment of work/business and slowly crossed lines into other compartments until it ended up in the deeply personal and intensely private (mine, not someone else’s because that’s not my boundary to cross).

At one point the person I was speaking with said something along the lines of – the problem with talking with you about anything is that you see everything as being a part of the conversation.

That wasn’t a criticism. It wasn’t a compliment either. It was an observation which was spot on.

I know that this is a problem when I have conversations with people, particularly when the people I’m talking with are used to compartmentalising themselves and life, and are used to discussing subjects with other people who are used to compartmentalising themselves and life.

My life from the start did not include compartmentalisation for me, everything blended into everything else, and everyone merged with everyone else. Business was personal. The personal was business. The private was never private, especially if it could be used for business which was personal. I wasn’t just me, I was an extension of everyone else. Who I was reflected on who others were, who others were needed me to be certain things to advance the personal agendas which were also business agendas.

I do understand the purpose and benefits of compartmentalisation, and I do try to do what others are doing…

Yes, there is a ‘but’…

BUT I suck at it.

Thus I’m going to fuck up.

BUT is my sucking at it and fucking up (gosh, I do apologise, that could be construed as being rather rude, but I’m sticking with it as I am fond of this hole I’m digging for myself, the ground is soft here and I might find a buried treasure… a time capsule containing the mementos of a person which when pieced together might tell an awesome story of an individual’s life) really such a bad thing?

Is the ‘problem’ with me really a problem or could it be a solution?

People are always saying they want more quality but what is this ‘quality’ they want more of and are they willing to take a risk, a leap, to get it by giving it, giving more of the quality of themselves to get more of the quality of others, or do they just want someone else to do all the work and hand it to them without them having to do anything for themselves on their part?

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We’re all different, right?

Are our (pronounced arr-arr like a pirate) differences what we need to get rid of because they are a problem for others (and we wouldn’t want to make others uncomfortable by being uncomfortably different) so we can be like everyone else (but isn’t ‘everyone else’ a collective term for lots of different people who are different?) and all live happily together in a yellow submarine (which is slowly turning green due to being exposed to the elements) or are they the real treasures, the real quality, which we bring to the collective community pot?

If everyone else was really all the same and we were the only different one… wouldn’t everyone else throw us off a high cliff and just be done with our anomaly?

Okay, so maybe we’re so different we’d bounce after being thrown off of a high cliff… then everyone else could shoot us through the noggin when we popped up again because everyone else is very clever and has had to kill the rare different before and they know rare differents tend to be difficult to kill but they can still be killed eventually if everyone else really wants to kill them and works together as a unit.

Perhaps they can convince the rare different to kill themselves – that’s the ultimate clean kill. No jiminy cricket conscience problems there!

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At this point in one of my posts I would most likely try to explain myself, elaborate on the thinking behind what I’ve just said in this sort of intro, attempting to fill in the gaping holes which I know are there, cover the bases which are wide open for misunderstanding, share some personal anecdotes, memories stirred up by the present, connecting this and that together, making a whole (load of mess) out of random bits and pieces, and all sorts of other rambling tangential thinking feeling associations…

BUT I’m not going to do that (okay… I’ve already sort of done it anyway and will probably do a bit more).

Last night while mulling over the conversation I had had (a conversation which at one point actually managed to elicit some tears in my eyes – an event which rarely happens with me and terrified those I was with because I don’t do that, and if I am doing it the end of the world might truly be nigh…) I had a glimmer of an epiphany.

It was a tiny epiphany. Nothing to brag about. One ghost of the past was laid to rest in peace, because I finally ventured into a No Go Zone within myself (I do have my compartments but ultimately I’m aiming for being open plan even if that’s rather draughty). It’s the sort of aha moment which most likely won’t make much of an impact on anyone else… or will it?

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What I am going to do it this.

If you’re reading this, and anything I said struck a note, a chord, a something for you and you would like to write it down and share it, then I’m inviting you to continue my post for me via comment.

If you would like me to NOT reply to your comment just say – do not reply – in the comment.

If you would like a reply and have a specific kind of reply which you would like, just say so and be specific – ie. I want you to reply to this, and tell me this.

If you would like a reply and are okay with a random blurb from me, then tell me that’s what you want – ie. random blurb me, I want to see what you noticed in what I said, even if you totally misunderstood me because you’re batshit.

If you’ve never commented on a blog before, but have felt the urge to do so, give it a go, and spill your fears about it because sometimes that helps (this might help too – I am really awkward when I comment on other blogs, some of the things I’ve said still haunt me, and so I tend not to do it, especially if I have to fill out the comment form before I can do it… but sometimes I wish I’d do it more). If you don’t know what to say (because you forget what you wanted to say due to having to fill out the comment form) then tell me something you wish people noticed more about you or what you wish they’d stop noticing about you because that’s not you – ie. I’m really funny but when I try to share my humour people think I’m being serious and sometimes they think I’m being a snob that’s not me at all!

Yes, this is a test of sorts, but it’s not one you can fail. I’m feeling a skin-shed coming on for me, and I would like for you to be a part of it (no, you don’t have to loofah me).

It’s time for this blog to change… how would you change it?

What ‘more’ do you want? What ‘less’ do you want?

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That quote popped into my head this morning and has been nagging at me all day… so there it is, voicing itself… I’ve acknowledged it… now what?

Over to you

voice yourself…

and if you need a question or two to start the voice ball rolling:

What change do you want to see in the world and how can you personally begin to make it happen?

What do you wish and dream that someone would say to you if only just once? And if they said it how would that change things for you?

37 comments

  1. Hi, I don,t understand what was meant in that conversation ……. At one point the person I was speaking with said something along the lines of – the problem with talking with you about anything is that you see everything as being a part of the conversation. I know that there were loads of other things you asked about but I got stuck on the first hurdle soooooooo if you can explain what was meant I can maybe figure the rest out.
    ANSWER REQUIRED code 3 specific + code 4 blurb + thanks from the today snowy North

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      • Thank you for sharing 🙂

        Communication is one of the most challenging activities in life, especially when using words because one word can have multiple meanings, and different people define them differently.

        I’ve found that if the person or people who get offended can explain why they were offended and do it without that whole self-righteous thing, then it can deepen the conversation. Feedback is an important element of communication, but it has to come from a place of wanting to solve a problem rather than pile more problem upon problem.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I was discussing a business/work matter with someone I work with, and in order to explain to them why I was having a problem with a business/work related task, I decided to tell them about a very past experience of business/work which was also personal/private.

      The situation in the present reminded me of a situation in the distant past, hence the decision to share it.

      The person I was talking with pointed out to me some very salient points about standard business/work practices which include compartmentalising – you have your personal life in one compartment which is separate from your work/career/business life which is in another compartment. Ergo you can be a boxer who crushes opponents with their fists in your work/for your business but in your private life you’re a teddy bear who wouldn’t hurt a fly. Work and home life are separate entities, and you may have separate identities in one and in the other.

      I can’t be a boxer in my work and a fly-loving teddybear in private.

      Who I am in private is also who I am in public. I do filter myself but I’m still me, the filtering simply tones private me down a notch or two (like volume) for the public I’m with. The personal me is the business me too.

      So if there’s something which private/personal me won’t do, then business/work me doesn’t want to do it either.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Definitely a Uranus soul like me! I read through your whole post thinking “Right?” And “Oh yes!” “Wow, did she just take a trip in my head?” . My brain is so random that I think I want a random blurb because so followvyou completely! LOL Maybe I’m fooling myself but, Hey, gotta be a Fiol sometimes!

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        • Thank you for sharing 🙂

          As the blogger of the blog you commented on I can edit your comments, but I don’t like to touch the words of others unless they ask me specifically to do it. I have a soft spot for typos because I have dyslexia and because my whole existence is not dissimilar to a typo 😉

          Yup! Very Uranus here, especially when it comes to personal values (natal Uranus on the cusp of 1st and 2nd houses). Love random, there is method in the random madness, there is a system to the chaos.

          Since you mentioned The Fool, and since the other night I was following a FOOLish path online while trying to solve a completely ridiculous personal puzzle which always ends me up in the strangest places, I’m going to share some blurb I found elsewhere through a link – https://fractalenlightenment.com/31274/spirituality/7-signs-you-may-be-a-sacred-clown

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  3. Dear upturnedsoul, ah yes, people’s pretty compartments…and, way too often, their not so pretty agendas. At best, the compartments all look about the same – bbboooorrrrriiinng. i don’t mean to come off anti-social, it’s just there’s so many interesting topics in this world, and what are people usually talking about? Sports, movies, shopping, vacations…it’s all about celebs & spending money. More often than not, i prefer my own company because …:)

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      You don’t come off as anti-social, but then again I’m fairly anti-social so anyone who is also fairly anti-social is the sort of person I tend to think – now, there’s someone I’d enjoy socialising with! 😉

      I sometimes wonder if perhaps all people want to talk about other subjects but they think no one else wants to talk about other subjects because they think everyone else wants to talk about the same usual talked about subjects and because they think no one else wants to talk about something else they talk about what everyone else is talking about. So we’re all hanging out online or offline talking about the usual subjects while we’re all wishing we could talk about other subjects, things which really interest us and get our juices flowing, but none of us says anything so we’re all stuck together talking about things none of us is interested in.

      But then again if you try to introduce a random different subject into a typical social scenario conversation… you get uncomfortable body language and eyes which want to escape the room.

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  4. First, I always love reading your posts, anupturnedsoul. They ‘feel’ like the dialogue in my head being brought to life, and as such, always give me a glimmer of hope/a new perspective to think on/or something to gently chuckle at as my heart whispers “that’s SO me!” So thank you for being you. 🙂
    As such, a few things resonated with me/caused me to make different connections to what you said here.
    1) “Are our (pronounced arr-arr like a pirate) differences what we need to get rid of because they are a problem for others (and we wouldn’t want to make others uncomfortable by being uncomfortably different) so we can be like everyone else (but isn’t ‘everyone else’ a collective term for lots of different people who are different?)”
    ^^^this really stuck out to me. Particularly in noticing/wondering during this time in my life how to balance the fine line between ‘accepting everyone else’s differences as beautiful things and respecting/appreciating them’ and ’embracing my own differences without trying to ‘make myself small’ for the sake of everyone else’s uncomfortability.’ Hm. I guess it reminds me of compatability with myself/others, as well as my uncomfortable (and soul-sucking) tendency to people please. UGH. On one hand, it seems we all want to be unique and appreciated in our differences (thereby finding common ground), yet it can also be grating when we notice our differences (or others) annoy / hurt / cause discomfort the heck out of people 😛 How do you balance that, (if this is something you’ve noticed in your own life?) Also, since we live in a postmodern society, that by its nature will mean there will constantly be differences to be navigated through …. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ …
    2) “If everyone else was really all the same and we were the only different one… wouldn’t everyone else throw us off a high cliff and just be done with our anomaly?”
    ^^^Nietzsche. And…kind of evolutionary biology?
    3) “One ghost of the past was laid to rest in peace, because I finally ventured into a No Go Zone within myself (I do have my compartments but ultimately I’m aiming for being open plan even if that’s rather draughty).”
    ^^^Being vulnerable. Oh man, how I want to do that and heal like that — it’s so scary!! I like how you call it a No Go Zone; gives me a different thing to think of about all the compartments in myself and search deeper/have more courage 🙂

    Hmm…I really like how you talked about compartmentalizing/decompartmentalizing. In some therapies, it seems its more useful to ‘compartmentalize’ the aspects of ones’ self / inner subconscious into named terms like: inner child, adolescent, adult, etc etc. And see how, through that compartmentalizing, it allows one to ‘integrate’ all these aspects of one’s unconscious into a whole being. And see how they decompartmentalize in relation with one another. Reminds me of studying or accomplishing any task in life: ‘sometimes its best to eat the whole whale in small bites’. 🙂
    Some people think compartmentalizing is healthy, while others think it’s unhealthy (in terms of emotional well-being). What do you think? (i.e. if we decompartmentalize some things, we’ll be a creative mess of constant connections, sensations, and emotions flowing through us without any way to ‘stop’ it, yet if we compartmentalize everything, we’re often repressed or too analytical to enjoy life/get the most out of our intuition ….)

    ^wow, all of this reminds me of ‘flow states’ and the usefulness of intuition. I wonder if that’s the most optimal way to live, truly….. 🙂

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I agree that compartmentalising is healthy and useful. It’s basically a filing system.

      We have a cupboard and perhaps a drawer unit for our clothes – clothes thrown all over the room or bunged in a pile in the corner is a bit too messy, and it’s difficult to find anything and everything has ten years worth of creases (which is fine for outfits which are meant to have creases but what about the ones which aren’t). And if you live in a damp home, that pile of clothing is going to become a micro-ecosystem for mold.

      Important papers also need to be tidily stored. If your papers are in a chaotic bundle, then your finances, your work, and your identity is probably also a bundle of chaos.

      So does food. With food storage you have several compartments all of which are relevant to have, healthy and useful. Especially these days when going out with a spear and catching your own fresh meat for the family feast isn’t ideal if you live in a city and the only fresh meat is people or their pets.

      And so on.

      So compartmentalising is awesome as long as it’s all about being a part of the whole in a constructive and supportive manner, rather than splitting the whole into segments and then locking the ‘undesirable’ segments away.

      Lock your shadow side away and it’ll turn up in your life through the medium of an a-hole who disrupts your tidy life until you reacquaint yourself with your dissociated, projected, transferred shadow.

      And as long as that filing system is part of the whole room, it’s a healthy part of a whole, helping the whole to flow along its route to wherever it is going. But if that filing system has a room of its own which requires knowing a key code to get in there…

      I think being able to sort through our ‘self’ using terms like: inner child, rebellious teen, people-pleaser, potential serial killer, etc, is frigging useful as long as we’re still aware that this is a filing system we’re using to help us tidy up the room which is ourselves, and we’re not hiding someone in a trunk in the attic for later disposal at sea. But even that is worth knowing about as a compartment within the whole of us. Some mess is necessary, more than some mess may work well for us, to much mess and even a mess-lover will find it oppressive.

      Healthy compartmentalising = healthy boundaries. You know who you are (to a reasonable degree), you know who others are (also within reason), you know where the line between you and others is (and you know that sometimes the line is a bit blurred because merging is a part of the whole).

      We are all a bit Nietzsche. We’re all a bit Lemming. We’re all a bit of everyone and everything, past, present, future, history, geography, astronomy. But we’re also us, a unique expression which only we can do and probably only we can understand us, and maybe even we will always struggle a bit with that because the cursor keeps moving and occasionally disappearing, and we can’t quite click on who and what we are all the time.

      Unheatlhy compartmentalising = boundaries which are too strict, too extreme, to exclusive. You have decided who you are going to be, that’s who you are and being anything other than that gets thrown off of a cliff. White hairs get plucked out. Spots get zapped with chemicals. Impulses get lobotomised. Others must adhere to your rule because you are always right as your boundaries are the only boundaries allowed. You have a shoes-off rule for anyone who enters you house, and everyone must take their shoes off even if their shoes are attached to their prosthetic limb or they have a shoe tattooed onto their foot – the foot must come off, no shoes allowed.

      Healthy decompartmentalising works hand in hand with healthy compartmentalising. Sometimes your clothes end up on the chair, the bed, behind the washing machine because it went bumpity-bump and you forgot the sweater was on top of it. Sometimes you’ll file those papers later. Sometimes you didn’t put the milk carton back in the fridge after you took a swig of it (yes, yes, yuk, but… it tastes great that way and all the glasses were in the dishwasher). Creativity needs some mess. Life needs some mess. Some slack cut, some leeway, some chaos to flow.

      Unhealthy decompartmentalising is basically a good partner for unhealthy compartmentalising, and the two types often find each other and live out a life of love/hate extremes. It’s the narcissistic control freak with the enabler codependent empath who feels everything everyone else is feeling but has no clue what they’re feeling personally and hasn’t noticed that the narcissist control freak feels nothing but contempt for them because feeling is clothes strewn all over the place which the narcissistic control freak wants to gather up and burn in a big bonfire.

      The thinking behind this post had a lot of tangents… one of which was whatever you’re doing right now, whoever you’re being in the moment, chill with it, maybe it has a good story to tell, maybe the real story is in what happens once the other story is shared. Another was – maybe the way I am and what I do because of the way I am is… just is 🙂

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  5. I did a big comment and then lost it into that same place where socks disappear. 🙂 They go in the washing machine but never come out. *Cue suspenseful music.* In a nutshell, I rambled about being the change, being the ball (because being the change reminded me of a coach who told me to “be the ball” which I never figured out) being on time, and just being. So I did a sort of stream of consciousness that streamed into the ether.

    I invited you to ramble a response if you would like to, and then I rambled off into a thing about compartmentalising that my “spliting from my ex-N” counsellor told me which is that compartmentalising can be a sign of sociopathy and narcissism but not always.

    I told you that I really like the idea of you shedding your skin. 🙂 I was reminded of a drawing that you shared with us about a year ago, and wondered if you would like to share more of your drawings. Otherwise, maybe you just have to go through the skin shedding and that process will give you ideas about where your blog should go next. Shedding your skin is being the change – it’s very, very good. 🙂

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      That ‘be the ball’ thing is like ‘be the arrow’ in archery where you imagine flying through the air as an arrow to hit your target before actually releasing the arrow. You have to be the arrow, the bow and the archer, it’s about at-one-ment with the tools you’re using, they’re not separate from you they become an extension of you, your consciousness enters into them becoming them and they become you, and that is supposed to make you a better archer or pitcher. It works with any tool or thing, if you’re connected to it consciously you use it better, it becomes second nature, it’s a part of you like your fingers. Think of any tool which you use without needing to think about using it because you and the tool are in sync – that’s ‘be the ball’.

      I’m not sure if it works when you want to find a missing sock, but I did find one which had been missing for months by imaging where I would end up if I was a sock owned by me.

      For me skin sheds are usually about letting go of an old habit, pattern, way of feeling or thinking. It’s often just a small thing which makes a big impact on me but not necessarily in a way anyone else would notice. Recently I’ve been hearing things people say to me differently, and that difference is making a difference. For instance in your comment you said – share more of your drawings – and I heard it. Not only did I hear it but I’m now using a drawing for my blog header, and I’m thinking of perhaps doing more with my drawings like you suggested. Not so long ago I wouldn’t have heard what you said, not the way I heard it now. A skin was blocking my hearing, and that is slowly shedding. Thank you for the suggestion 🙂

      I love stream of consciousness, it turns conversations into rivers and those talking ‘become the water’. I was thinking today that stream of consciousness and other forms of freely flowing self expression are more natural than those types of conversation where everyone is thinking about what they’re going to say, or feeling awkward because they don’t know what to say, etc. I was reminded of all the times I’ve groaned and cringed randomly because out of the blue I remembered something I said years ago. The things I said which I tend to be groaning and cringing about are often spontaneous stream of consciousness type blurts. It’s a bit like getting angry at a flower for blooming.

      I’d have enjoyed reading your lost comment, just as I enjoyed reading this one. I wonder where lost comments go, do you think there’s a garden somewhere made up of all those missing words?

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      • Thanks for the “be the ball” explanation. 🙂 It’s funny but that sort of visualising never really worked for me and even sometimes had the effect of making things worse. I once went through a period when my aircraft landings were crappy and I tried the visualising in order to improve. I had to stop doing that – I was overthinking and began really screwing things up. I eventually solved the problem by taking a week off from it and not thinking about it. 🙂

        You are welcome for the drawing suggestion. 🙂 The little mice (hamsters?) are adorable with their industrious mouseness – their suggestion that life isn’t orderly. 🙂 Letting go of old patterns or ways of thinking that don’t work any more is a difficult but rewarding process. You seem lighter somehow.

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        • To continue … (I hit send accidentally) I think it’s more in your voice although you have indicated a desire to limit unnecessary negatives? (My interpretation 🙂 )

          I’m not sure where lost comments go either and have wondered about them. I think my lost socks just went down the drain. Since I changed washing machines I don’t lose them any more. 😉

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          • Haha! I was just thinking this morning that I really need to be more forthright about saying when I don’t want to do something. I have this habit of saying “yeah, sure, okay, why not” to things, and then once I get a bit more data about it, get further done the path of doing it or closer to doing it, I suddenly realise that ‘No, nope, me not want to do that anymore’ but then I feel that since I’ve said yes… it’s going to get complicated to say no, don’t want to let people down, yadda yadda, blahda blahda.

            One of the weirdest aspects of being is the – How other people see, hear, and experience you VS How you see, hear, experience yourself – puzzle.

            It’s one which has caused me much confusion.

            I have a default setting of viewing myself negatively from the perspective of others. I tend to think I’m a nuisance, a bother, awkward for them, and I try to make myself less… thus making more of them. I know it’s a problem but all my solutions have been duds thus far. The thing is that from the inside I think positively of myself… until I have to interact or integrate myself into an other people included situation.

            Anyway, for now, I’m inch-worming it 😉

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            • Yes! I did that for a long time as well. Still do from time to time. A hard habit to break.

              Also yes! Here I am feeling that I’ getting pretty good about self-evaluation and then plunk! Someone tells you blahblahblah, and I’m stunned into silence. It’s not necessarily negative, just unexpected. I think the notion of being a bother and a nuisance is something that comes with the ACoN ground. My M inspired me to speak for myself and be heard, not to slink off and just accept others as superior. He calls me on not standing up for my point of view or even indicating that I have one. Shit though it’s hard.

              One thing is certain – you have to do it in your own time. 🙂

              Liked by 1 person

        • The “be the ball” technique really only works when you don’t think about doing it but do it without thinking. It’s an adaptation of a Zen technique, so it invariably comes with a riddle – If you have to think about doing it then you’re not doing it, if you’re not thinking about doing it then you’re doing it. 😉

          The thing is that you’re doing it when you fly because a pilot has to be the plane, be a part of the plane – the pilot is basically the consciousness inside the body of the plane. Every judder, twitch, movement of the body sends a message to the consciousness inside which then reacts according to the message received.

          I’m not sure about being ‘lighter’ as I’m a naturally intense person. I do feel slightly freer. But we’ll see, the true test of this kind of change is whether it lasts and becomes a part of life being lived, or whether after a golden period the glow fades and the old habits return.

          Atm, I’m enjoying exploring drawing again. It’s going to be another fun mess I’m getting myself into 😉

          Liked by 1 person

  6. The misconception I have of people is that I automatically think that they’d discredit me, but I should’ve known better.

    I think at the time I wanted a cyber hug so i gave one…chickened out at the last moment. Due to the ‘who am I anyway to deserve anything’ syndrom. Didn’t think you’d had the mind space to really care, you’ve so many people to talk to….who am i anyway….

    I am new to this. AS young as I am I shouldN’t be.

    I love your blurbs, they tend to explain what I’m thinking.

    MY wish: I wish people, including me, would think more.More quality thought.
    I should’ve done all the thinking before i got into getting around to commenting on your post. I also wish you’d delete this comment once you read this.
    I also wish you all the best in the world.

    I am an arrogant person, and in like manner, I wanted to make a recommendation: I am currently looking to the christian God to answer my questions, I think I’ve hit a vein. I know you’ve said in past posts that you don’t need it, so what made me think that you’d want it.
    I thought since you’re such an authentic person, and I’ve come to think god to be super-authentic, you two might get along well together. I like Timothy keller.He’s an apologist. I thought you might too.

    I think I’ve gone and broken every etiquette rule in the social media golden rules to follow.

    I suck at conversating.

    But I’d love to limp along, try to follow your mind the best I can.
    I’d also love it if you have any thoughts you’d like to share personally, if we could continue whatever this is via email.

    If not,and thats something you don’t want to do, I won’t take anything personally.

    Best wishes!!

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      I’m not going to delete your comment unless you really want me to because I think it’s a wonderful comment. I am however going to remove the bit where you share your email address because this is a public blog and that means anyone looking at this post can see your email and might decide to use it. As the blogger I can see the email address which people use when they comment on my blog.

      I appreciate the generous offer to chat via email. I don’t do email in connection with my blog, mainly because I suck at email conversations.

      When I first started using social media one of the ‘mistakes’ I made was to share my email with people I met and liked online, and I ended up regretting it. Because of my dyslexia I have to read what someone has written at least 3 times. I’m a slow reader, and it takes awhile for me to process what has been said and then to generate a reply because I tend to think in a similar manner to dreams; in imagery, symbology, sounds, abstract flashes, and that can take ages to translate into words. Reading and answering one email can take me at least an hour, if it’s a long email and requires emotional as well as thought processing before replying then it can take even longer to read and reply. If I rush myself it usually ends up with the other person getting upset because I’m too blunt, or I misunderstand what they meant, and then I have to endlessly apologise and explain myself, which leads to the relationship power dynamics getting messed up.

      Since I have a similar syndrome to your one of – ‘who am I anyway to deserve anything’ – I regularly end up being the person people go to when they feel powerless because I’m not a threat to them, and they plug themselves into me to recharge themselves and feel powerful again. When I was younger I saw everyone as being more important than me, and that it was my duty to serve them in anyway they needed. Now that I’m older… age has a way of changing your perspective, it’s a natural shift. I don’t mind helping people, but I’m looking to do it on equal footing, and to do that I have to take responsibility for my part in the relationship power dynamic.

      Having natal Pluto on the self/other axis means learning all about relationship power dynamics. There was an interesting post here about Pluto in the 7th – https://www.elsaelsa.com/astrology/struggles-in-relationship-7th-house-pluto/

      Humility is a great trait and ability to have, but it needs to be balanced and understood. Too much humility is like too much of anything, and people will take advantage of it. Your ‘arrogance’ is a good balance for your humility. What you said about being an arrogant person reminded me of your Mars Square Sun. The best way to understand astrological placements and aspects is to pay attention to what you say about yourself, how you see yourself, how you describe yourself – our natal astro is always expressing itself through us, in who we are, what we say, what we do.

      On the flip side, you don’t come across as an arrogant person. Recommending that I check out something which means a lot to you at this time is simply sharing what matters to you, what you’re passionate (Mars) about with me. The way you made the recommendation was very thoughtful, empathic, and not arrogant at all.

      I’ve been chatting with the Universe since I was a child. I’m an only child who spent a lot of time on my own with no one else to talk with, so I talked with myself and with the air and atoms around me. In searching for meaning, identity, and purpose, I have explored many theories, philosophies, beliefs, and systems, and have concluded that they all have equal value, they’re all slices of a whole pie. Pick the slice which tastes the best to you and nourishes you. Maybe try several different slices. The more slices you taste, the more it connects you to all the amazing collections of atoms known as people 🙂

      Shoot your arrow in the air and follow it to see where it goes, let yourself guide yourself, life is an adventure in learning about life.

      (((((((((((((HUGS)))))))))))

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      • Thanks for being so gracious with me!

        About the comment, In the end i don’t mind.

        I want to thank you for your explanation on the square aspect! It is really spot on…I’ve been wondering about it but i’ve not found a fitting explanation till now. 🙂

        Power dynamics in relationships had been….weird. Freakish. Lol.

        My cap stellium is in the 9thhouse so it’s going to be interesting how the coming transit will affect me…I might get to Exploring more?

        Thanks again for everything… (hugs back)

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  7. Funny thing indeed! I was just thinking about a ‘relative’ of the theme of your reflection last week.

    Personally, I am adamant not to change either my personality or behaviour in order to ‘fit in’. So, if I feel someone is uncomfortable with my usual self, the best I can do is diminish the interaction with that person, or soften up a bit on special occasions (not many, though). An example: two weeks ago it was my birthday. It is usual that people bring a cake to the office at 2PM, invite the boss, ask a specific coworker to cut the cake in pieces and receive a gift. As an outsider, I brought the cake at 10AM, did not invite any boss, cut it in my own fashion and invited everyone to go grab a piece. One of my co-workers shouted “Why won’t you do like everyone else?” and I politely replied “Because I do not feel inclined to”. 10 minutes later, in bursts my boss with an expression of startled and says, “Is this cake already cut? Oh well, here’s your gift!” and I felt a small satisfaction of not being a square peg in a round hole.

    Now, your questions:

    What change do you want to see in the world and how can you personally begin to make it happen? I would like to see people giving less importance to labels. Personally, I try not to apply labels to anyone or any situation. It is not easy, but we have to try!

    What do you wish and dream that someone would say to you if only just once? And if they said it how would that change things for you? “We do not expect anything from you”. Seems like everyone expects many things from you: that you devote a part of your “me” time, that you listen to them (or at least pretend to), that you spend money during the holidays, that you buy gifts, that you invite them for lunch, etc. This is why I end Christmas & New Year’s holidays so much – way too many expectations I feel uninclined to fulfill. However, I am learning a bit more everyday, the world will not end if I don’t live up to anyone else’s expectations but my own’s, which are already a great task already.

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    • Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Your birthday cake story reminded me of the first time I came across that practice in workplaces of the birthday person bringing in their own cake and sharing it. I thought it was awesome as it wipes out that whole – I wonder if anyone will remember my birthday – problem which can turn birthdays into such a painful burden both for the birthday person and for others. It also is a great way to celebrate a birthday. But in the workplace where I came across it there wasn’t a ritual about it other than the birthday person turning up with the cake, and usually they were the ones to cut it and hand it out because it was their cake and their birthday. Your workplace has definitely made everything more complicated… humans!

      I love your answer of – “We do not expect anything from you” – it’s true that people, even when they say that they don’t expect anything, tend to have expectations. I think part of it comes from the fact that everyone feels that others expect things from them even when they say that they don’t, and we don’t tend to believe people when they say: “We do not expect anything from you”, partly because we’re people, and we when we tell others that we don’t expect anything from them we’re usually lying. Even if we don’t expect anything specific, we do expect certain basics from others, like – replying to us if we talk to them, getting a reply to a text, email, or other communication; getting a thank you when we do something; getting a sorry if someone hurts or harms us, bumps into us, is late to a meeting, etc.

      And the biggest one – we tend to expect quite a lot of ourselves, and what we do to ourselves we usually do to others.

      I think the world is getting better at understanding the impact of labels. We do need labels, but we need to be more thoughtful about how we use labels. Change, especially on a global human level, takes years, decades, ages. Bit by bit we shift a little, shift a little, take three steps forward and two steps back. We usually only really learn something by swinging to extremes, living out one extreme then the other, then swinging some more, until the pendulum is less extreme in its swings, until we find the sweet spot. So with something like labels we tend to need to be a labeler and the one who is labeled, have bad personal experiences on both sides of the issue, have good experiences as we try to learn from the bad experiences, and eventually figure out how it all works together, you can’t have one polarity without the other, both polarities make up the whole.

      We are living in very interesting times 🙂

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    • Shifting perspective is the basis of most systems of self-help. If you can view things differently then you can change how things impact you.

      The past and how it affects us in the present can be changed by the way we look at it, perceive it. Usually what is helpful is to see more perspectives of the same thing, widening our range of vision to include more aspects of the whole.

      The past relies on our memory of it. Memory is like a photograph or a video of a moment – but there was more to that moment than the photograph or video of it. If the memory becomes congealed, stuck in one perspective, then we sort of get stuck with it… which is why many therapies includes going over the past/memories to review them and get a new/more perspective on it – fill in blanks, fill out the picture, see beyond what we see, letting go of the stuckness.

      If you like videos about self-healing, you might find Caroline Myss worth checking out:

      The internet is a great place to find the pieces of our personal puzzle, a path which eventually leads us back home to ourselves 🙂

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  8. “What do you wish and dream that someone would say to you if only just once? And if they said it how would that change things for you?”
    Rest In Peace. Pops up in my head the instant I reach the last word in the sentence LOL… and I’ll be off to see another world 😉 This may sounds lame since i myself blurt out laughing… but ask me again, it’s still the same answer. If the death of this life is the rebirth of another… what is on the other side?

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    • It doesn’t sound lame 🙂 Rest in peace is a rather lovely thing to say and to hear if you take it out of the usual context in which it is used. Even in its usual context, it’s a blessing.

      Have you explored alchemy, or the philosophy connected to the concept of alchemy? I think you might feel at home in the subject. The story known as the Chymical Wedding of Christian Rosenkreutz is particularly intriguing.

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      • Yes, R.I.P – it’s a blessing.

        In my younger days, I read a couple books on/related to alchemy but did not explored in-depth. Yup read about the philosophy too though not sure i remember much now. Then I was more intrigued by those conspiracy theories linked to it. Hmm..something we have in common as a child was ‘companionship’ mainly consisted of books,TV and ourselves. I remember before seven, I played Lego a lot, can’t recall what happened to those bricks after that. Maybe my mother threw them away as we were constantly shifting residence then. Or maybe she did that out of spite becos I’d always pleaded my father to fix those spaceships for me during the short time he was present that deprived her of him lol.

        “…is there anyone you can think of who has or has had a one-sided crush on you?” meant to reply this in my previous comment but was tired and had skipped it. When I’m in a relationship, I would readily dampen their hope and ward them off at once they are detected.When I’m single, they are left in oblivion until they want to tell me about it. I’m not being snobbish or whatever but rather skeptical that their crush is only the external me being good-looking, cool etc., and not the actual me that could be weird, temperamental, boring, dark…I’m still thankful for my assets be it both a blessing and a curse.

        Last night a heavy sadness came upon me…she was in my thoughts the whole time. For awhile, I’ve been thinking to start a blog to write/ramble about her and will do it once schedule is less hectic. Been delaying the idea since you allowed me to spill them in your comments and the thought of maintaining the blog bothers me a little. However, considering one day you might get sick of seeing these comments-ramblings-her, having my own blog is the right course of action 🙂

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        • I liked conspiracy theories too when I was younger – I think part of the attraction was due to growing up with narcissists, since the environment becomes choked with conspiracy and conspiratorial interactions. Narcissists are very paranoid because they’re always up to something and they suspect others of being up to something too… which isn’t always wrong as they tend to surround themselves with people who have ulterior motives. For a child this can be confusing as children tend to be straightforward and it takes awhile to realise that adults tend to be anything but straightforward. A lot of what attracts us is due to the search for clarity – for something to explain the world and people to us.

          My mother used to regularly throw out my stuff – yet she hoarded her own stuff. While it often was painful for me when she did it, and also confusing because she never did it with her own stuff (and therefore everything she said to me about why she did it with my stuff, her self-righteous justifications, fell apart as an argument), eventually it was a pain which was helpful as I learned not to get attached to things, or attach too much importance to objects, to let go easily and hold onto what couldn’t be thrown away (as in what was ethereal and couldn’t be see, grasped, touched or thrown away by others). Then again that made me kind of a weirdo since the society of our times is capitalistic and capitalism relies on our attachment to things.

          It’s not unusual for one parent to be jealous/envious of the attention a child gets from their other parent. Normal parents tend to deal with the experience in a healthy manner, working things through logically, but if your parent is narcissistic then it becomes a ‘love’ triangle – as it did with my parents. When my father died, his longterm mistress told me that when I was a baby my mother had accused my father of being ‘disgusting’ for giving his baby attention. And so my father had distanced himself from me because he did not want to be viewed as being ‘disgusting’. I’m not sure how true that is since my mother and my father’s longterm mistress are still fighting over my father even though he is dead, and their fights have always been OTT ridiculous (my mother once accused the mistress of being a witch, as in a real spell-casting witch with magick powers, and my mother hired another ‘witch’ to try to undo the spell which had been cast on my father. I’m not joking.). It does kind of explain some aspects of my relationship (or non-relationship) with my father, but then so does NPD.

          There are some things we’ll never know about our parents and their relationship with us – we fill in the blanks for ourselves with what helps us to resolve our own side of the story. One of the things I’ve found to be both a puzzle solver is to view my parents as people in the same way we view ourselves as a person. So, your mother and father were people… were they in love with each other, or was the love one-sided for one of them, did they love someone else and end up together after the loss of those they loved, were they in love but marriage slowly killed the love, perhaps they couldn’t marry the ideal and the real of relationship, maybe financial constraints and other vicissitudes of real life wore them down until all they had was regret, bitterness, anger, and the painful aspect of hope, dreams, wishes… often pain is all people end up being able to feel, and it gets passed on from parents to children, person to person, looking for a cure somehow, someday.

          My parents got treated fairly badly by their own parents… therefore it’s not really surprising that they both ended up being rather crap parents.

          My parents official love story, of how they met, etc, was the sort of romance found in film (and kdramas), but the unofficial story was far more complex and conflicted. My mother wasn’t my father’s first big love, and she was always a bit insecure and jealous of his first real love. My father always accused my mother of not loving him enough, of not being a proper wife, of looking down on him because they came from different social classes. My mother had wanted to live the life of an independent woman (during a time when this was still viewed as rather scandalous), she had plans for a career which she gave up when she married my father, and she blamed him for her dissatisfaction with herself and her disappointment with her status as his wife and nothing else. If they did once love each other, the love died because of how they felt a relationship should be structured, how the story should play out, and the love was replaced by obsessive and passionate hate. I was born because I was supposed to fix things… but you can’t ‘miracle cure’ the problems of life, being human and relationships by having a baby.

          The present can sometimes be explained by the past – but what is the true story of the past? The past shifts, changes, as we shift, change, get a new perspective on life, ourselves, others.

          Blogging is an interesting experience. For instance no one knows what you really look like online, even if you use a photo of yourself… others can’t be sure that the photo really is of you since many people use photos of other people and claim that it is of themselves (like in documentary and TV series Catfish). So all people have is your words to form an image of you (as long as you’re really writing your own posts – there are a few stories out there of blog plagiarism, where a blogger has had their posts stolen by another blogger who claims the writing is their own). It’s an intriguing way of getting to know people, and of getting to know yourself.

          A lot of bloggers blog sporadically, maybe only posting once a month, sometimes once a year.

          Blogging is a bit like falling in love – at first you blog like crazy, the dopamine levels go way up, it can become very addictive, but after awhile routine sets in, the passion wears off, real life creeps back in, and either the blogger gives up blogging, kills their blog and goes off to start a new one (kind of like people who only like the first stage of love, who want to keep falling in love over and over due to the rush of endorphins, and never move onto the next stage of love) or they find a new way of doing it, relating, writing, etc, settling in for the long story and relationship with their blog.

          There are many different ways to blog, many diverse platforms (I started out on tumblr, then moved to WordPress – now I only have WordPress because I like the format), and many ways to blog on a platform – you can blog privately where no one can read what you’re sharing unless you invite them to do so, or you can blog publicly where anyone can read what you write, or you can do a bit of both, choosing what to share publicly and keeping the rest private. I blog publicly because I liked the challenge of it since, and I wouldn’t bother to write posts if this was private.

          If you feel tempted by blogging, try it out, you can always change your mind or change the way you’re doing it until you find a way which suits you.

          I don’t mind at all if you just want to share yourself and your story via comment on my blog. I won’t get sick of seeing your comments. I’m fairly certain you’ll get sick of doing this before I get sick of it 😉 I’ve been blogging for awhile and experience has taught me that people tend to comment like crazy and then suddenly… silence, they’re gone. They get sick of me/my blog long before I get sick of them/their comments. It comes with the territory. Blogs are a bit like islands in the stormy seas of life where people take refuge for awhile, and when they’re ready to move on, they move on and you, the blogger, wish them well on their adventure, thankful they stopped by. 🙂

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          • Yes, detachment from things/objects I learned since young too, and detached from my parents or rather family (there is a younger brother) so they are just people. It was that way with my parents too where love (if there was in the first place) became obsessive and passionate hate.

            Not surre if it’s my way of getting back at my mother who is still alive (the old man passed seven years ago) that I became a replica of my father in her eyes…No, I’m not exactly like my father but on surface, I’m like him, a drunk gambler and the ruthless man she knew. She always says I’m like him, so ruthless…Ohh really?! I saw it the other way, she and my brother are the ruthless ones. My mother was the mistress when I was born, became the official wife when my younger brother came six years later. She would openly blamed me for getting her being stuck to my father (though I don’t think that way)…and later my brother was her saving grace becos the man finally divorced his wife and married her.

            I am just a transit in their lives 🙂

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            • One of my favourite books on psychology is – Sanity, Madness and the Family by R.D. Laing and A. Esterson – it’s the result of a clinical study of people with Schizophrenia with an eye cast on how their family environment/dynamic may have contributed to the condition, which at the time was both groundbreaking and contentious. I like it because it highlights how in a family each person gets given or chooses a role (or both) within the mini-society that is family. Sometimes a family needs one person to ‘act out the crazy’ so that everyone else within the family can be ‘sane’.

              It ties in with the concept of families of narcissists needing a ‘scapegoat’ and a ‘golden child’. And of relationships with narcissists involving a ‘hero’ and a ‘villain’ – which varies based on the story of the moment, the Kdrama the narcissist is creating around them as the lead.

              Many years ago when I was using poetry as a means of expressing myself, I wrote a poem which I titled – The Awful Truth – which was all about those times when my mother would unleash hell in upon me, telling me the ‘awful truth’ about myself. One of the characteristics of those moments was her comparing me unfavourably with either my father or my grandfather (her father with whom she had a terrible relationship). You’re just like your father/grandfather… she would say to justify why she was screaming bloody murder at me.

              Years later I realised that she couldn’t express her pain, frustration, and anger at the people who had hurt her because she felt inferior to them. at a disadvantage with them, they could defend themselves against her accusations and win against her, thus leaving her powerless and in more pain than before. I was a stand-in for them, and since I couldn’t adequately defend myself against her due to my being her child, depending upon her, etc, she could win her arguments, get the last word, and be the one in power – in other words the abused becomes the abuser to experience the other side of the dynamic. In theory this should resolve matters, but it doesn’t because it is done unconsciously/subconsciously and so the problem keeps repeating, creating more of a problem.

              Parents pass their unsolved problems onto their children in a variety of ways. It’s not dissimilar to an algorithm (which has a serious glitch). What we do with the passed-on problem is up to us… unless we also pass it on to our children, and then it’s up to them to solve it or also pass it on to the next generation like in the poem This Be The Verse by Phillip Larkin ( https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems/48419/this-be-the-verse ).

              All humans play the blame game at some point in their lives, and project/transfer/mirror their issues onto others – in theory the reason for this is to allow us to gain perspective, to see the same thing from the inside and from the outside, but if it falls into our blindspot… then we may get stuck filling in the blank with our imagined view of others, ourselves, the world, the story, etc.

              Sometimes the children of problem parents act out the problems of the parents for the benefit of the parents – maybe if we sacrifice ourselves for them, they’ll finally be free (and so will we), they’ll solve their problem (and release us from being a part of their problem), etc. But what if they don’t?

              Then it’s up to us to understand what’s going on…

              Astrological birth charts are kind of interesting because they’re static and yet they’re not. We’re also partly static and partly constantly on the move. We’re in transit, just visiting, while also looking for a place to put down our roots and stand our ground.

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          • I share your take on “I blog publicly because I liked the challenge of it since, and I wouldn’t bother to write posts if this was private.” Haha…ya, I have an Instagram account which I stopped posting slightly more than a year ago. It was a ‘writing’ account and my posts were mainly short verses/one liners (none I’d consider good enough to call poetry, nonetheless that’s how the insta writers’ accounts would labelled it) that I wrote and occasionally quotes from books/people. Since I stop posting, I began deleting my posts whenever I read them again and find that it sucks incredibly lol…Well, I built the account from scratch and the experience was enriching/’enlightening’ in a way. I made my way in this community of credible (as in real people who showed their faces, which I did too once posted a selfie and took it off after 24 hours) amateur poets/writers whom I followed/liked and vice versa. Though my written stuff generally sucks, the likes and followers stats were pretty decent considering all were genuine and not bought/faked (but maybe earned…as in I seriously read/liked/commented on their posts and in return they placed a Like on mine). Should you be curious and feel like taking a peep, the account name is same as my email used for comments here.

            So at first thought of starting a blog brought back my experience in Instagram, surely vanity would seeps in again and I would end up investing huge amount of time on it. But later I straightened it out that if it was only written for her and to her then I really couldn’t care less whether other people are reading/liking it or not. The blog is where I pour out my thoughts/feelings of/for her, nothing more.

            Recently, I took the Meyers-Briggs personality test again after reading your post ‘Testing your Personality’, and was stunned a bit to see my result: INTP. I did not retest to confirm it as I don’t think INTP is me. I’m see myself more of a INFJ (the result when I took the test years back):
            “INFJs indeed share a unique combination of traits: though soft-spoken, they have very strong opinions and will fight tirelessly for an idea they believe in. They are decisive and strong-willed, but will rarely use that energy for personal gain – INFJs will act with creativity, imagination, conviction and sensitivity not to create advantage, but to create balance. Egalitarianism and karma are very attractive ideas to INFJs, and they tend to believe that nothing would help the world so much as using love and compassion to soften the hearts of tyrants.”

            However, in my opinion, ‘love and compassion’ most probably won’t work as a cure for narcissists.

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            • Your INTP result could be due to you having Mercury in Aquarius, as they are similar in many ways. Both tend to be rather ambiguous.

              INFJ is more in tune with/reflective of your Pisces Sun.

              It’s always fun to explore personality… but it’s worth keeping in mind that personality and character aren’t really the same thing. Personality tends to fluctuate more throughout life, due to age, due to life experiences, due to personal goals and ambitions for the self, etc. therefore getting different results on a personality test isn’t that unusual, and simply reflects who you are and where you are at this moment in your life journey.

              So you could interpret the IN part as being more in tune with your character since it’s a consistent component of the result for you, and the TP versus FJ as being reflective of a shift in focus in your personality. Perhaps you’re in TP mode now because you’ve been studying, learning, writing an essay. FJ is more who you are when you relax and are you without needing to be anyone else?

              Can ‘love and compassion’ cure a narcissist?

              No, not if the love and compassion is coming from someone other than the narcissist themselves. While being loving and compassionate towards a narcissist can sometimes mitigate the effects of their behaviour, and may sometimes positively alter the way they behave towards you (thus your love and compassion softens the tyrant), it can also encourage them to be even more narcissistic towards you because you’ll forgive them, excuse them, put up with them and accept them as they are, allow yourself to be a complete doormat. They may become obsessed with testing your ‘love and compassion’ because they’re certain that you’re faking it, that it’s a lie, unreal, etc, as it is when they do it to others.

              From the perspective of a thoroughly narcissistic person ‘love and compassion’ is a weakness not a strength, it’s a flaw, fault, delusion, disorder which needs to be cured.

              Some narcissists take on a facade of being ‘loving and compassionate’, and if you’re loving and compassionate, they’ll judge your love and compassion based on theirs = it’s a facade, they may even view your ‘love and compassion’ as a threat, a challenge, competition.

              For something like NPD the cure can’t come from anyone other than the person who has it. If the narcissist can develop genuine love and compassion for themselves, others, the human condition, then maybe they can cure their NPD. It’s not anyone else’s job or place to cure it for them – even a mental health professional can only guide someone towards finding their own solution to their problem. The typical narcissist tends to think that it’s everyone else who is the narcissist, and that it’s everyone else who needs to cure themselves (or allow the narcissist to fix them = break them).

              However ‘love and compassion’ can help a person to heal from the damage which a narcissist has done to them. The tyrant within us… that’s the one who really needs our TLC 🙂

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