When Push Comes To Shove

From where I’m sitting, while typing this…I can spy on my neighbour. He’s putting up a sign outside of his property for some local event.

He’s a retired. Retirement was boring the fuck out of him, so now he’s involved in lots of things locally.

He used to be a prison officer.

On first impression he looks like he could be on the other side of the bars of that type of establishment… at least if you’re basing your impression on Hollywood’s version of criminals, and the physical appearance of the actors who get cast in those roles.

He’s got a lot of tattoos, he’s muscular, he’s tough looking – the sort of person you don’t want to mess with and whom you hope never has to mess with you, mess you up because the boss isn’t happy about how you haven’t paid your gambling debts on time.

He’s a really nice guy. Friendly. Will go out of his way to help you.

The first time I met him, he was helping another neighbour catch an escaped farm animal – we never caught it, it took us all on a merry ride through nettles, brambles, thistles and ditches filled with murky water, it escaped into the woods and was free at last!

The next time I met him, he’d knocked on my door to say “Hello, welcome to the neighbourhood… and I’ve noticed you’ve been doing a lot of DIY on your house, I can help with that.” – the latter bit was because he was going stir crazy being retired.

He’s one of those people who can afford to be kind, because they know they can turn on a dime and beat the shit out of you with their bare fists if needs must. They probably warned you several times before they did that because they don’t actually want to hurt you… but you just had to push and push and push, crossing their personal boundaries further each time, trespassing, not being respectful, so now you’re getting shoved back.

Why am I telling you about my neighbour?

Well, Melanie of Sparks From A Combustible Mind, asked an interesting question in her latest Share Your WorldDo you feel you’re a strong person character-wise?

Which I was pondering when I spotted my neighbour and spied on him wondering what he was up to. The local event is an arty thing.

And since I’m the sort of person who connects random dots, views everything as intrinsically linked to everything else, and sees answers as being attracted to questions…

His sudden appearance while I was pondering the question seemed like an answer.

He’s the sort of person who I would consider to have a strong character – if he didn’t have one before he started working as a prisoner officer, he’d have been pushed to develop one during the course of his many years in service… or the system and all the people in it on either side of the bars would have made mincemeat out of him.

He did mention that the job was incredibly stressful. But he seemed very relaxed when he said it, probably because he no longer does it, but some people can’t put the stress down once it’s over – he obviously could and did.

Which reminds me of that Zen story:


Do I think… I mean do I feel… that I am a strong person character-wise?

Usually when it comes to those kinds of questions I tend to defer to others to answer them, not because I don’t know myself and think others know me better than I know myself (people who have tried convincing me that they know me better than I know myself end up having a nasty surprise of the you really didn’t know me at all did you kind), but because it’s very easy to delude yourself – that’s why it is also easy to get an inaccurate result from a personality test which relies on you answering questions about yourself.

Yes, yes, of course I’m empathic… answers a narcissist while taking a personality test… I’m the greatest empath in the world! No one is as empathic as I am!

A narcissist would also say: “Yes, of course, I am a strong person and have a strong character! Compared to me everyone else is a weakling!”

And others might agree that the narcissist is a strong person character-wise… at least to the narcissist’s face, because they’ve learned from experience that if they disagree with the narcissist they’ll be subjected to a character assassination, brow-beaten, bullied, screamed at, shamed, belittled, smeared publicly, have rocks thrown at them.

What the narcissist has is a “domineering” personality, they want to dominate, which may appear to be a strong, give the impression that they have a strong character/personality, but is actually not as strong as it appears to be.

They’re basically roaring like a lion, wearing a lion’s skin as a facade, to protect and hide what’s underneath which makes them feel vulnerable, weak, afraid… the more they roar, the more vulnerable they feel… and they’re hoping we’ll all be fooled by the appearance, the performance, be frightened, in awe, impressed, and not look too closely, be too intimidated to question them, double-check, challenge them – are they really a lion or just pretending to be a lion?

One of the simplest ways to test the character of someone who appears to be a strong personality, to find out if they really are strong and not hiding behind the facade of strength is to just say “No” to them when they want a “Yes”.

Of course that can be risky… so a safer way to go is to examine how you feel about disagreeing with them – Does it feel safe or dangerous to do so? Do you feel nervous or relaxed about sharing your perspective, opinion, views, thoughts and feelings with them?

Do you find yourself bracing yourself for their reaction? Are you internally debating whether to speak your truth or lie, tell them what you want to say or instead tell them what you know they want to hear and will make them purr rather than roar?

According to some of the online articles weighing in on the signs and traits of a strong character, those with strong character are good listeners – they want to hear what you have to say, can handle criticism, opposing views, disagreement without flying off the handle, in fact they appreciate the feedback. They don’t mind being wrong or making mistakes, owning up to an error, weaknesses, vulnerabilities, fears, because they view it as an opportunity to grow, develop, improve, learn from experience – which includes the experience of others.

They will give credit where credit is due – this is something I actively seek in others because it touches upon a sore spot for me, one passed along to me by my father.

Do I give credit where credit is due? I think I do… I do sometimes give credit to others for something I did, an idea I had, but that’s part of my process of figuring things out, going to extremes, making mistakes, cursing myself out for being an idiot – although it isn’t always an idiotic thing to do.

One of the articles did a comparison between Dominating and Strong personalities which was interesting:

“When people encounter someone with a strong personality, they don’t understand the kind of person they are dealing with.

Some people think you dominate. Some just think you are rude. But none of these are the truth. These words actually do not reflect your personality at all. In fact, strong people are often kittens on the inside. It’s just that people with domineering personalities just give you a bad rep.

Strong people do not have to win, they just are not willing to let other people walk all over them on the outside.

Sure, some people might be afraid of you. But that is only because they do not understand how you can be so comfortable with yourself that you do not need anyone else to validate you.”

excerpt from 8 Signs You Have A Strong Personality by Michael Prywes

I’ve been told that I’m intimidating… usually by those trying to dominate me, and I’m refusing to be dominated like a good little person. So they switch tactics, and suddenly the narrative changes to – I’m the one trying to dominate them, and it’s intimidating them, boo hoo, so I should stop doing that and do what they want me to do.

One of the most fascinating interactions to observe is between a Dominating/Domineering personality and a Strong Personality/Character.

You can sometimes watch those happen on TV – in debates and interviews, and not just the political ones.

The news is also a good place to see those in others. Two different news stories caught my eye recently.

One is very prominent at the moment in UK news (I’m in the UK) because it’s causing some friction between the USA and the UK about “Diplomatic Immunity”.

An American, while living in the UK, drove on the wrong side of the road and killed another driver. The US citizen admitted to their part in the accident. They told the police that they would not leave the country, but they did. And since they happen to be married to someone who has diplomatic immunity, and diplomatic immunity covers the family, they are using it to avoid facing the consequences of their actions.

They’re causing a diplomatic mess with their use of diplomatic immunity.

Their name was kept anonymous until the other day.

The other one is the inspiring story of Chanel Miller who was also involved in a serious crime – she was the victim.

The trial is most well known because of her victim-impact statement which went viral. It’s also well known because the man who turned her into a victim of a serious crime was treated leniently by the judge, was made out to be the victim of his victim, and got off with what amounts to a slap on the wrist.

Her name was kept anonymous, until recently when she came out because she has written a book about her experiences – Know My Name.

To me, Chanel Miller is the epitome of a strong person, mentally, emotionally, of personality and of character. She had to become and be strong in the face of tremendous stress, adversity and trauma. She is awe inspiring.

The other person… may think they’re a strong character because it takes quite some big balls to do what they did and are still doing. And now that their name has been released, they’re going to be put under even more pressure and stress. What happens next, what will they do? Will they keep hiding behind the lion skin that is made of diplomatic immunity and their country? Would they be willing to let the two countries go to war over it?

The latter won’t happen, but what if it was a possibility?

Both situations are very different yet similar in as much as the personality and character of the people involved in them were put under extreme pressure, push-push-pushed until they shoved back.

One shoved back by running away – flight.

One shoved back by standing their ground – fight.

We don’t always know which one we’re going to do until we’re in the situation, the scenario.

When reading or hearing about what others did in those scenarios, we may say: “I wouldn’t have done that” or “I would have done this”.

“People do not seem to realise that their opinion of the world is also a confession of their character.”

― Ralph Waldo Emerson

It’s a bit like answering questions about ourselves on a personality test – we have this imagined version of who we are, it may be who we are or it may be who we’d like to be which we hope that we are.

Our self-esteem, self-perception, self-narrative, may take a blow when we don’t live up to who we’d like to be and hope that we are, who we say we are when taking a personality test or answering a question like – Do you feel you’re a strong person character-wise?

We may say “Yes, I do feel that I’m a strong person character-wise” because we’d like to be, and we may recall those times that we have been in situations when we were under pressure and stood our ground, didn’t break, buckle, cry “Uncle” – shoved back when pushed.

My mother, who loved her anecdotes, used to tell me about little me (I think I was supposed to be about 18 months old, maybe 2 yrs old) being shoved and knocked over onto the cobbled drive by a slightly older boy whom I’d only just met. I got back up and glared at the boy. My mother was pleased that her never-cry training had succeeded which is why she told this story over and over again. The boy apparently didn’t like being glared at by little me and ran crying to his daddy.

I think that last bit may have been a fanciful flourish on her part, but the little boy was Italian and Italian children can be very whiny – even Italians think that, there are many names for it in Italy (ie. gnagnare, which is a slang version of lagnare – to whine, whinge, which is pronounced nyanyareh and sounds like whiny kids whining – they might be called a gnagnarello/gnagnarella) and it’s a common trope in Italian stories (at least the ones I watched on Italian TV as a child).

I quite liked that anecdote, it was one of the better ones about me which my mother told… I have no idea if it’s true, my mother often made shit up while believing her own fictions, but considering my own memories of child-me, it’s probably true.

I once took a slap to the face from my father when I was about 5 or 6 (I had kicked him in the shin under the table, so I wasn’t totally innocent), didn’t cry, just glared at him. My father didn’t usually use physical violence, that was one of the rare times, even though verbally he threatened physical violence frequently – “I’m going to hit you so hard your head will end up on the Moon.” My head stayed on my neck… guess it wasn’t a hard hit.

I have many memories of standing up to bullies, not just the bullies known as my parents, but also other adult ones and peers at school.

However I also have memories of being a coward and bully myself – my parents were narcissists, narcissists regularly get their minions to fight their battles for them, attack an enemy – I’ve been a flying monkey.

I’m not proud of it, I use those memories to remind myself of just what a weak person of weak character and personality I have been and could thus can still be. I also use those memories to inform myself, understand others who may be behaving like that.

The times when I’ve worn a lion skin, been dominating/domineering are the times when I’ve been afraid, felt vulnerable, weak and couldn’t admit it to myself, definitely didn’t want anyone else to see it, so I had to put on a show of strength.

I’ve said and done some really stupid, crappy, horrible stuff to people during those times. I’ve done gaslighting – convinced someone they were wrong, mistaken, imagining things, when actually they were right and I was wrong and adding more wrong on top of my wrong, piling more mistake on mistake.

And once you get going on that road, get into that flow, enter that mode… it gets harder and harder to stop, turn back, get off the ride.

Some researchers define gaslighting as a deliberate attempt to make people not trust their intuitions. I think that’s misleading. Gaslighting is often simply an attempt to make our intuitions prevail over other peoples’ intuitions, which happens a lot. We all engage in what I’ll call “everyday gaslighting,” an attempt to cast doubt on other people’s intuitions so that ours prevail.

Is our goal making others wrong? No. Rather, that’s a side-effect we find perfectly acceptable in our campaigns to prevail.

Consider a parallel: When someone tells you, “I didn’t mean to hurt you,” that doesn’t mean that they wouldn’t find it acceptable to hurt you in the service of some other priority. We might not go out of our way to hurt someone, but could still be perfectly okay with hurting them if they’re in our way.

Likewise, someone might say, “I don’t mean to make you distrust your intuitions,” and still be perfectly contented to have you distrust your intuitions in the service of making their intuitions prevail.

This puts a burden on me that I am happy to bear. If we all gaslight, what distinguishes a gaslighter? Similarly, if we all lie (and we all do) what distinguishes a liar?

To me, the key difference is a question of degree. A gaslighter gaslights absolutely. Their gaslighting is a symptom of their absolute narcissism. A narcissist can stay on top two ways. One is by elevating themselves; the other is by diminishing others. A more accurate term for narcissism is sado-narcissism. Elevating themselves or putting others down⁠—either way, the sado-narcissist can feed their addiction to gloating.

Everyday gaslighting only tends to corrupt but absolute gaslighters corrupt absolutely.

How, then, can you tell if someone is an absolute gaslighter? Technically, you can never know for sure. Still, you can make educated guesses. If in every exchange, a person employs automatic gloating about their rightness and your wrongness and if they do so with reckless disregard for consistency, you’re probably dealing with an absolute gaslighter.

If you point that out to them, they’ll make you wrong about that, too.

excerpt from A New Tool for Getting Better at Spotting Gaslighters by Jeremy E Sherman Ph.D., MPP

However once you learn how to stop, it gets easier and easier to stop doing that and going there.

It also makes life a whole lot easier… no more making life and relationships more complicated for yourself by all the ass-covering you forced yourself to do and all the ass whoopings you gave to others to cover your own ass – and you wonder why they don’t like you when you see yourself as such a nice person because your “good person” narrative says you are, and so do all those personality tests you took.

How do you stop?

You have really want to stop.

You teach yourself to be okay with admitting you’re wrong, you’ve made a mistake, you were being an ass, a bit of an asshole.

It hurts the lion’s pride to do that… until you realise just how liberating it is and that you can receive a different and more satisfying version of pride for being truthful, honest. The pride of having integrity.

You’ll slip up sometimes, because life and people poke you where it hurts, where you’re vulnerable, anxious, afraid, weak… and it takes time and effort, and humility, to gradually become and be strong… stronger than before.

The trick is to be okay with slipping up – admit it, embrace it. You’re human. It’s part of being human…

And there’s a big benefit with slipping up every now and again, it reminds you that you can’t and don’t always have to be strong, and helps you to remember that others slip up too, and can’t be and aren’t always strong.

And you don’t have to be ashamed of having been one of those who hid beneath a lion’s skin… learn from it, and use the knowledge the experience gave you.

The best ‘tool’ to use for getting better at spotting gaslighters is those times when you were a tool and were a gaslighter. It gives you insider knowledge, which includes what’s probably going on underneath the gaslighter’s strong domineering character facade.

“In fairy tales the evil characters disappear or die, in reality, evil spreads while you wait for your hero on a horse, only to realise the sword to save yourself was always in your hand…”

― Seja Majeed, The Forgotten Tale of Larsa

I like that quote above.

However in reality many of the “evil characters” whom we encounter aren’t “evil”, they’re just like you and me when we’re afraid, feel vulnerable, weak and want to appear strong, invulnerable, bold and brave.

They put on a lion’s skin and roar.

The roar works to frighten what and who seemed like a threat, it protects the sensitive areas… and so the faux-lion keeps roaring every time it is afraid, needs to defend itself against all the villains out there, and may not realise that everyone out there views them as the villain.

The “evil” which spreads is the passing on of fear… which tends to make us all pretend to be who and what we are not, worried that others will attack us, who and what we really are, if we show it.

The problem is… if we’re wearing a lion’s skin and roaring, we may attract others who are wearing lion skins and roaring too, rather than those whom we hope to attract, those who make us feel safe enough to take of the lion’s skin, stop roaring, and reveal who we really are behind the strong, domineering facade.

We’re all rather beautiful when we’re naked, real, raw and… it’s time we let ourselves be beautiful as we are.

I’m going to end this post with some links:

One of which is to the blog of a new WP blogger who impressed me in the way they dealt with me coming on strong, roaring a bit at them:

When My Thoughts Are My Writings

They left a comment on one of my posts which was just a link to their blog and a request for me to follow them. They didn’t “Like” the post, say anything about it in the comment, nor did they Follow my blog – but I was supposed to Follow theirs because they asked me to. It annoyed me. I was going to ignore it, not approve it, because it’s a type of comment new bloggers sometimes do, which older in blogging years bloggers consider to be “spammy”. But then I decided reply, giving them a piece of my mind and because I did check out their blog and it seems good, I shared a link to an old Daily Post entry:

Calling Emily Post: A Blogging Etiquette Roundup by Ben Huberman – which gives lots of advice to new bloggers, including how not to be “spammy” when introducing yourself to others on WordPress. And it’s by Ben, I miss Ben Huberman’s Daily Post posts, he was such a philosophical soul, a gentleman, and treated bloggers like people not stats.

Afterwards I thought: “Oh dear, I probably should not have replied like that…”

This morning I found a reply from them which was very gracious and once I’ve published this post I’m going to follow their blog. They won! They may regret winning me as a follower, but hey… 😉

Next up, Melanie again, but a different post of hers, which I loved (and not just because she linked to my blog in it, although that is pretty cool – bloggers love that, unless I’m the one linking to their posts in one of my posts then they tremble. Am I joking?):

Pieces of the Puzzle – Sparks From A Combustible Mind

It’s a journey of a post, which is my favourite kind of post, which will take you if you’re willing to go on a ride through Melanie’s experience of reading other blogger’s posts, finding pieces of her personal puzzle in them and connecting them to herself. Awesome! Insightful! Powerful!

Next next… Rory’s It’s About Time! No More Twisted Knickers – A Guy Called Bloke

Rory also linked to my blog in his post because a comment I made on one of his posts a while ago poked and prodded him. It’s a great read, another journey of a post, which will take you on a ride through another’s personal puzzle being solved, and links you to other bloggers too.

And then there’s a behind inside the scenes poignant perspective of anxiety by Maria of Doodle Scribbles: One day at a time, anxious person

I know anxiety well, and the never good enough narrative, it used to be the god of me.

And finally…

I came across this post while taking a ride on WP’s “Recommended Posts”:

Andreas tells the story of a journey with a friend in Belgium, and the journeys within the journey, hitching lifts, meeting strangers, learning about lives… it’s brilliantly told, and I loved the reading trip:

Day of the Open Road – The Happy Hermit

That’s it from me…

No wait… one more thing…

I saw this film last night:

41 (2012) – Young guy accidentally kills his ex-girlfriend in an auto accident. In the hospital he hears of a room 41 at a local motel. Dropping into a hole in the floor takes him back 12 hours. He then tries to prevent the accident that killed the girl. (synopsis via IMDB)

It’s a wonderful play on the time travel genre… it’s about learning from making mistakes and making more mistakes while trying to undo mistakes, about all the lives we go through in a lifetime, all the selves we create along the way, who live within us, with us, beside us, whom we occasionally pass by, and figuring out the puzzle that is being human.

It’s also about how we react when push comes to shove…


  1. I actually watched that film. I will take off my lion’s mantle and admit it confused the snot out of me…especially when it got going. Some people never know when to just stop, do they? But yes it was very interesting vis a vis paradox and time travel. I personally think it’d be ultra freaky to see me (myself) as I ‘really’ am — to other people. A human can’t know that perspective because as yet time travel doesn’t exist (or the Men In Black are keeping it really dark) and theoretically paradox is supposed to be very bad indeed. But would not that glimpse of ourselves as others see us be so enlightening too? Fascinating. The narcissists would be junkies of that kind of idea I’m thinking. Thanks Ursula for again providing such excellent reading material. And thanks for the nod. I’m always a little shocked when someone else enjoys my writing as much as I enjoy doing it. Thank you!


    • Thank you, Melanie 🙂

      That’s part of your charm – “I’m always a little shocked when someone else enjoys my writing as much as I enjoy doing it.” – it’s also an essential, imo, to keeping it real, staying true to yourself. Also the shock is fun, and never gets old, stays fresh 😀

      I love it that you’ve seen the film! I enjoy it when people share their perspective of a film I’ve seen as it gives me another way of looking at it. It was confusing, but it was a fun type of confusing like a riddle.

      That’s so true about some people not knowing when to stop – but then again sometimes once you commit to something you just have to keep going because stopping really isn’t an option as you can’t go back to before you started even if you have a time travel hole, and if you stop you’re stuck in the middle of something. Depends on what it is. Sometimes you can just stop. Or change course.

      That’s a great question. I’ve spent a lot of lifetime trying to see myself as others see me… but others don’t see us as we really are just as we don’t see them as they really are, we see each other as we are, so we’re seeing ourselves when we look at them and they’re seeing themselves when they look at us. That’s why relationships are important and confuse the eff out of us all 😉


      • Thank you very much!
        Luckily, this is how my mind works. I walk around and observe things, and the mind wanders off elsewhere in between, hopefully finding back eventually, so that we come home together, both exhausted, but full of new ideas.
        Your words are motivating me to turn more of my notes into articles and to publish them.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I hadn’t heard that Zen story. Thank you for sharing it. Reminded me of the saying, “I’m living rent-free in their head.”

    This was a good post for me to read today, as I had a bit of a “thing” with someone online.

    I love the sound of your neighbor. I’ve met people like that, and there is something comforting about them. Their self-awareness is stabilizing, if that makes any sense.

    People have told you that you’re intimidating? If not your parents (which I expected), what do they expect you’re supposed to say to that?

    I’ve learned to stroke my parents’ egos when they least expect it. It takes them by surprise and it softens them towards me in general. One of my ploys to getting along with them now. My husband and I also make fun of them behind their backs, and we laugh and laugh. Ha. Sounds mean, but it helps us to have a sense of humor when they’re narcissism flares up.

    You probably know that Italians like to argue. And, whoever could talk louder at the table was the person who won the floor, for the moment (at my house). They think that means “strength of character.” You may have seen the video I’m sharing, but it reminded me of how early Italians start their kids out arguing (and using their hands to talk). This little girl is hilarious and adorable. I put the video on my blog a while back. It’s only 55 seconds and it’s at the bottom of my short post. I thought you might find it fun.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Lori 🙂

      Oh, before I forget. I loved your “inappropriate” post! Superbly written!!! I was going to comment but then something you’ve said to me stopped me – re: how you can say things on my blog which you can’t say on your blog because your family reads your blog. They probably won’t notice if I “Like” your posts, but they might click on the link to my blog in the comments if I comment even if I keep my comment simple. I could be overthinking it, it’s an old habit inspired by life with narcs and having to be several moves ahead if you want to keep something private from them.

      And what I just said is one of the reasons why people sometimes find me “intimidating”. I openly discuss things which others don’t openly discuss. I will talk about the taboo as though it’s not taboo. I’m quite blunt too – I’d tell someone they smelled of BO because I’d want someone to tell me if I did, straight up.

      The “intimidating” thing depends on context, on the moment and scenario, and what someone means when they use it as a descriptive. I have learned to ask people what they mean by it, give me their perspective and definition because everyone has different definitions for words. Sometimes it makes sense, and I take it on board when with them. I can be rather mentally aggressive, especially when it’s something I’m passionate about or interested in and it can overwhelm others. Also those not used to my “Italian” may think I’m being argumentative when I know I’m just talking normally.

      Yes, I’ve seen the video you’re sharing because you shared it with me before – I have a slightly photographic memory and some people find that a bit “intimidating” 😀

      If it’s a narcissistic person telling me I’m “intimidating” that’s usually code for – I want to manipulate you into handicapping yourself so that I can win. It’s the way narcs say things… even when it’s forceful it is whiny. They want everyone else to adjust themselves for them, because… poor them, they’re helpless, suffering, and it’s all our fault so we need to stop it.

      Nowadays when a narc-type tells me I’m intimidating, I view it as a compliment and code for – keep being “intimidating”. 😉

      What was the bit of a “thing” with someone online?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ursula, first of all, thank you for considering me and remembering that I don’t discuss the narcissist thing and my parents on my blog. Some day when they’re gone though . . .

        As I wrote on my blog, I’m pretty honest, too. I say some of the things to people that you’ve mentioned, but I’ve not been told I’m intimidating. However, I have been told I’m “too blunt.”

        I apologize for showing you that video twice. 😝 Unlike you, I do not have a photographic memory, or much of one at all.

        As far as the bit of a “thing” online with me, it’s a long story. Briefly, I don’t usually like to admit to my blogging friends (but I have on rare occasion) that I’m a political junkie. I do this on another platform because blogging is my break from politics. I really like the camaraderie of bloggers. I don’t usually let the attacks bother me in those political discussions, but one person really got to me the other day. I let them have it. So, in the vein of your blog post, sometimes we’re strong of character and sometimes we’re not. 😉


  3. Hello Ursula 🤓
    Strength is in the eye of the beholder, just as someone saying your intimidating. People will focus on what they think is the domineering trait of someone. Doesn’t necessarily have to be it. I’ve had this happen plenty of times and proven many wrong once they’ve gotten to know me and…vice versa. I’m an observer but not always right about character, which is why I’ve had those moments of putting my guard down and getting run over🙄.

    I love the zen post. I struggle with carrying things around after and have to convince myself to let it go. I was a “bag lady” for years. My clutter is lessening as years go on.

    I like those time travel movies. We always want that chance to go back and make things right or tell off someone who hurt us. It’s the shoulda, coulda, wouldas which we carry with us, just like the zen post.
    Ever seen Memento with Guy Pearce? His short term memory kept him in a loop, although he had those sticky notes. Whew!


    • Thank you, Scherezade 🙂

      Love love love Memento!!! One of the most brilliant films ever… and one of the best reasons to get tattoos! 😀

      Very true, everything is in the eye of the beholder, and for the most part the beholder is seeing themselves and their own story in who they’re beholding. So when they say something like they find you “intimidating” what they may be saying is “I’m intimidated by what I’m projecting onto you”. Let’s say they had a parent who was authoritarian and something about you reminds them of their parent, then it’s not you anymore – it’s their parent and they’re saying to you what they may not have felt able to say to their parent.

      Sometimes our interactions are second chances to do/say what we didn’t do/say originally. We’re re-living a past dynamic in the present and being given the opportunity to change the narrative. It may be with someone else, the situation and scenario may not be like they were, but elements are the same. Sometimes it’s practice – practicing with others who are similar to the person (in our psyche anyway) who we one day may finally feel strong enough to face.

      I’ve met my mother so many times in other people… bits and pieces of her in them. And bit by bit I practiced dealing with her through all the her-but-not-her I’ve met. It’s been therapeutic. I don’t meet my mother that often in others anymore – so I guess progress has been made.

      I totally relate to carrying a lot of baggage around – the internal decluttering process takes time, it’s lovely when one piece gets put down, let go, returned to the person who should have been carrying it instead 😉

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  4. Hey Ursula 🧸

    I liked the Zen Story. I had to go searching for more. Parables are great. We have a bunch of Native American parables in different books. Its interesting to see how different cultures deal with similar issues.

    Strong character… sheesh! That’s a loaded one. I am very proud of the lessons I’ve learned and how far I’ve come, but I usually cringe inside when I write or talk about it. All the doubts, all the ‘am I bragging?’, ‘am I deluding myself?’ come at me, and so I move on to another topic…

    The gaslighting article… the end where the author advises being passive-aggressive… that just hit me wrong. I was thinking why does a person have to do ANYTHING about the gaslighter? Why not just move on? I’m going to read it again at a different time and see if I have the same reactions. I know I have issues with passive-aggression, but still…

    I checked out the other links and followed one of the bloggers. Thank you.

    That etiquette link has all kinds of good stuff. I will be doing much future exploration.

    Fight or flight… my mind is flighty recently. I’m having trouble staying focused. It’s almost like I need the fight-mode to think clearly. I’m still riding my zen wave even though things keep breaking or going wrong or otherwise falling under Murphy’s influence. Maybe I’m just restless because I’m not used to being this chill? Like a new pair of jeans, I need to wear this feeling in, soften it up, get it molded to me more comfortably?

    Life would be boring if it didnt keep shifting.



    • Thank you, Angie 🙂

      Haha! Here’s a synchronicity – I finally got around to getting myself a new pair of jeans. Usually I buy them from a charity shop (thrift store) because then they’re broken in, worn (and it’s thrifty as well as eco-friendly recycling). But the local charity shops didn’t have any which fit me – bloody high waisted fashion trend, what about us lower waisted people!!! Just last night I told my partner that the new jeans fit perfectly, the only problem is they’re new-new and feel weird against my skin, they need some wearing in… that’s always a strange phase in the clothing relationship.

      For those used to being uncomfortable, the comfortable is unnerving. The restlessness is telling you a story as is the chill 🙂 Both stories need to be heard because they go together.

      I think you’re right about your “wrong” feeling with regards to the end of the gaslighting article. That’s really bad advice. I’ve done that shit – I’m an expert when it comes to making mistakes especially ones of the gosh I’m so clever variety 😉 Nowadays when I hear myself thinking I’m being clever, it’s a red flag, I stop whatever it is I’m doing because it’s going to end up being something really stupid.

      Although I might recommend gaslighting a gaslighter, but you have to know what you’re doing, as in you have to be aware that you’re playing human chess with someone who is also playing human chess and they might be better at it than you, you’re not guaranteed a win, this game might go on until death do you part – especially if the other gaslighter is a narcissist. A lot of the gaslighting I did was on narcissists, when they were doing it to me and I found it helped to protect me from other consequences. It can stop them from dragging you into a hellish loop. But I did that when I was too weak to take a more direct approach. The direct approach is usually better.

      I reckon when he was writing that part of his post he was thinking about something very personal. He was talking to himself in that paragraph, telling himself it was okay to do what he’s been doing to someone in particular. It sounded like self-reassurance.

      You might enjoy Sufi stories too – https://theunboundedspirit.com/10-sufi-stories/

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