Unwinding and Unwounding from the Stressful Week Ahead

Next week I have to go way out of my comfort zone.

I have to leave my hermit cave, go somewhere unfamiliar and socialise with people I don’t know, who don’t know me either.

My innate nervous tension has been rising.

I’ve been having stress dreams. One of which was OCD-ish – I was watching flying military vehicles passing by the window in a long and orderly procession.

That was influenced by an episode of a TV show I was watching wherein a character had OCD. Everything had to be clean, neat, controlled to the nth degree, or he’d have a meltdown. He was also agoraphobic. And could not stand to be touched. I can relate to all of that.

I never quite got that extreme with it (TV and film tend to exaggerate and simplify to make their point) or at least I kept things more contained, hidden from the eyes of others… when I mentioned it to others they invariably reacted with disbelief – so I guess they didn’t notice it at all or maybe they did and chose to white it out, ignore it, that thing does not compute and will be erased.

I’m one of those people who has the impression that other people often use me as a mirror in reverse – whatever they are, I’m not. Whatever they have, I don’t.

If they are shy, I’m not. If they lack self-confidence, I don’t. If they have anxiety or depression, I don’t have it, never have, don’t know anything about it.

Sometimes they’ll compare themselves favourably with their view of me – they feel good because they have what I don’t. Sometimes it works the other way around and they’ll envy me for what they’ve decided I don’t have which they do or have which they don’t (it works that way around too).

If I do have what they have too, and dare to say I do – they get annoyed with me and deny it. Which leads to me thinking: “Oh shit, here we go again on this unmerry-go-round“. The ride usually ends with them denying me – I cease to exist because my existence is impinging on their reality.

Stars by Wassily Kandinsky

If they try to keep the ride going… I’m getting better at finding ways to end it, even if it means behaving in a way which I’d prefer not to. Flexibility is key… it’s part of resilience, bounce-back ability which is a big thing atm in pop psychology.

The mirroring thing is an old issue which is a part of my nervous tension. When nervous-T rises, so do old issues which rattle their bones, chains, and my nerves.

I used to have to go to many places and meet many people when I was a child, during my formative years.

I was an only child surrounded by adults who were not nice to children even though they regularly told me how nice they were being to me just in case my dumb child-mind thought otherwise (which it often did, and was right but how dare a little be right about a big).

And my experiences led to the formation of a fervent child-wish – to have powers of invisibility.

I didn’t want to use them to rob a bank or anything nefarious. I simply wanted to disappear so that I wouldn’t be seen by the eyes of others who often used me to de-stress themselves.

An example of that on a more impersonal level came to mind late last night.

When I’m stressed I tend to get intellectually angry, and furiously write blog posts in my head, analytically eviscerating experts and theories which are considered facts.

During the day I’d read a wonderful post wherein the author spoke of being an only child.

Here’s the wonderful post on a great blog created by a beautifully soulful blogger – Celebrate Good Times, c’mon! by Kacha of Food.for.Thoughts

Later on the words “only child” echoed within and reminded me of something something…

Years ago I’d read a book – They F*** You Up by Oliver James. The title comes from a line in a brilliant poem – This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin.

This Be The Verse by Philip Larkin via The Poetry Foundation

I did not like the book (but adore the poem), and came away from my reading of it, disliking the author, more so because he is a clinical psychologist and he really should be more careful about what he writes since his professional position gives weight to his words. People might take his personal opinion as expertise, fact and use it to injure others or something like that.

From what I can recall (and I am aware I could have misunderstood him and misremembered), in his book he spoke about the problems he’d suffered being a middle child… and how he’d envied only children because they had it all, all their parents’ attention, toys just for them, they never had to share their stuff with others, with siblings, never had to compete for love and so on.

His view of the only child was incredibly subjectively myopic and rather hateful. Basically only children were spoiled brats who deserved no empathy from anyone, including a mental health professional.

It was rather disturbing to read.

He’s not the only professional mind expert who has that perspective of only children. My child psychologist Godfather did too… but he was being messed with by my narcissist parents, used against me, as well as having me used against him – when narcissists are bored or stressed, they use others as vessels in which and with which to relieve themselves.

Those with that perspective of the only child, thus far, all seem to be not only children themselves. They think they’re right – but they have no personal experience of being an only child.

After I’d written a short rant post in my head (my posts are shorter when they’re in my head, they get longer when I put them down on cyber paper), I calmed down, switched gears, perspective, due to feeling empathy for Oliver James and people like him who… are like me too.

Humans.

We have issues and slowly, sometimes agonisingly so, we work them out… in a variety of ways, hopefully doing as little harm to other humans as possible, but you can’t always control it… and sometimes trying to control it is what causes harm.

A thought popped up in the calm after storm – perhaps only children are better listeners, better at noticing small invisible things, because they were small invisible things.

They had no siblings, they were alone, often painfully lonely, getting all the attention… but was it nourishing and nurturing attention or stressful, pressurised, because you were the only one who could live out all of your parents’ dreams and ambitions for you? You were the only one to get punished and criticised, no one else to share that kind of attention, no one else to shift blame onto, no one else to take it away from you, distract and deflect from you.

Have you ever watched the series 24, and felt sorry for the person who was “the only lead” in an intense investigation even if they were a terrorist, the villain. You know, the one who was shoved into a tiny box, wired up, injected and tortured by the heroes, any means justified to get what they wanted to save the world.

The other day I mentioned being an empath… it still makes my skin crawl to say it out loud. I know why, I shared a couple, but there are many other reasons why.

The reverse mirror is one.

When others tell me they’re an empath… for me that’s a red flag, because so often it means I’m about to be used and abused by an “empath” who is actually a narcissist. They’re going to tell me what I feel (and it won’t be what I’m feeling at all), then tell me I’m wrong if I say it’s not what I’m feeling (I can’t argue with them because they’re the empath and I’m not). I’ll know the feelings they’ve picked up from me are theirs projected and transferred… to be denied, dismissed, and other things along those lines by them. “My” feelings are bothering them, would I stop feeling them right now!

This article describes the dynamic above perfectly – Narcissists Claiming To Be Empaths & Three Methods To Uncover The Truth by Dr. Ava Pommerenk

This post is also worth reading if you’re looking to understand, as it’s a personal confession with an insightful twist – Are You an Empathic Narcissist? by Aletheia Luna

And this article explains real, ordinary and thus more powerful, empathy at work in the every day – 5 Steps for Developing Real Empathy: How to avoid the pitfalls and be a more empathic listener by Marcia Reynolds Psy.D

Here’s an excerpt:

screenshot excerpt from 5 Steps for Developing Real Empathy: How to avoid the pitfalls and be a more empathic listener by Marcia Reynolds Psy.D

In some ways I’ve succeeded in being invisible to a degree.

When I’m with others, especially when I’m in a new environment socialising with those whom I do not know, I tend to blank myself out, empty myself of ego – or at least put ego and self on pause.

The ego is a valuable part of the self, it serves a purpose – so those telling you to get rid of ego… well, that’s their ego talking, if you get rid of yours there’s more room for theirs, and other “spiritual path” pitfalls.

However sometimes the ego gets in the way, especially when it’s babbling while you’re trying to listen to someone else, get to know them, get a read of them, their story, and the room you’re in.

The ego can survive not being centre stage and focus, even if it screams in your head that it can’t and will die if it doesn’t have your attention 24/7. It won’t die, its animal totem is a cockroach. It prefers an animal totem like a tiger… but the tiger is being driven to extinction by human encroachment on habitat and such, while the cockroach has adapted to humans and will survive long after humans are extinct.

Two related to the above links:

My favourite site for looking up animal totems and symbolic meanings – What’s Your Sign by Ava Venefica

And…

I didn’t bookmark the other one I was thinking about, it was about resilience and adaptability which are trending concepts in psychology today.

While searching for the article just now, I came across a couple of other articles whose titles made me chuckle in a Wtf woah psyche-synchronicity way.

One is – Five Reasons to Get Out of Your Comfort Zone – which has just popped up and was published today after I began writing this post.

The other is – How Do I Increase My Compassion Without Becoming a Doormat? – which was published on the 5th of November and ties in with a previous post I wrote recently (which I published on October 31st).

I haven’t read either of them so I’m not linking to them. They’re on Psychology Today/gb if you’re interested.

However… I love it when something I’m focusing my attention upon, happens to coincide with something that others are also focusing their attention upon. It shows me that I’m on a collective wavelength, which is cool for me – someone who is often not anywhere near a collective anything perhaps due to being an only child.

I also like it when I notice it but am not necessarily on the same wavelength, like today I noticed that Melanie had written about what is “taboo”:

Taboo – Sparks From A Combustible Mind

And it coincided beautifully with a post an astrologer I follow had written about the transits of the now:

November 9th, 2019: Black Moon Lilith Speaks Again – Ruby Slipper Astrology – wherein she says – “Once again, BML is given a voice as she harmonizes with Mercury. The investigation of secrets or a closer look at taboo information will enable her. Women’s sexual energy that is powerful, disruptive and unorthodox can be verbalized, and the sextile to Pluto (which rules Scorpio) adds even more power.

Plus last night I read a great article which I expected to be awful on the BBC news website – Five things everyone with a vagina should know by Paula McGrath – wherein the female expert on the vulva and vagina who was interviewed and profiled made the most brilliantly hilarious and practical statement of: “It’s a vagina, not a pina colada,“.

Since a couple of the new people whom I don’t know and am meeting way outside of my comfort zone next week do work for the British news… maybe I should bring up vagina pina coladas as a conversation icebreaker? Maybe not… maybe I should leave the conversational ice-breaking to them and just keep quiet, stay invisible.

Aha, re-found it:

What You Need to Know About Emotional Intelligence: New research shows how emotional intelligence determines our success by Gleb Tsipursky Ph.D

I think that’s the one… I read a few different articles on that day (November 3rd), including that one.

He mentions being on autopilot, and “tigers”โ€ฆ the ego side of us is often on “autopilot” in interactions.

We feel semi-mysteriously compelled to only semi-listen when people are expressing themselves, waiting to insert our “I AM” statements, impress ourselves on others who… are doing the same thing with us… and that means the conversation is two monologues passing by like ships at night, rather than a dialogue creating a real connection, communing, and perhaps making a baby together. Not a real baby but a two minds sharing and listening to what is shared, blending and merging, creating something new and inspiring for both together.

Things like what I just said… are partly why I sometimes wish for invisibility powers, but then also get annoyed when I achieve invisibility and someone else thinks they came up with an idea all on their own, doesn’t give me credit for my part.

Invisibility powers aren’t what you think they are when you wish for them… because nothing ever is.

And we’re supposed to learn from oopsies like that.

We’re supposed to learn something worth learning from our anxiety too. It too serves a purpose… not always the one we think it’s serving.

Anxiety and depression are great teachers of many things, they’re a curse with a strong blessing aspect, including empathy – real empathy, real ordinary truly useful empathy.

Since my anxiety has been acting up – inside, not so much outside, but it wants to act up outside too…

I noticed an article about it which I might have ignored because… when you have anxiety, reading up on it tends to trigger it rather than calm it, but since mine is already triggered… why not!

This is the link – Anxiety Basics It’s Not Primarily a Psychological Issue by David Hanscom, MD

It gives a completely different than the usual perspective on it, which was refreshing.

This is an excerpt:

screenshot excerpt from Anxiety Basics It’s Not Primarily a Psychological Issue by David Hanscom, MD

I particularly noticed what he said at the end of the article – “Your capacity to enjoy your life depends on your skills in minimizing your levels of stress hormones and stimulating your โ€œplayโ€ chemicals.

My anxiety has lessened since I’ve allowed myself out to play more… but… there’s always a but!

I use humour, and have done so since I was a child, to alleviate stress, and while it does work it can also be counterproductive…

My “humour” can go OTT when I’m super stressed, I may play the clown a bit too much until what’s funny becomes super creepy and thus stressful for others.

It may be calming for me but isn’t calming for those around me.

I’m basically passing my stress and anxiety onto others when I do that, which isn’t solving the personal problem even if it feels like it is momentarily. I’m turning myself into the “calm one” compared to the others who are now “anxious and stressed out” – because I’ve made them that way by triggering their stress and anxiety with my self-calming tactics and coping mechanisms.

I was thinking about that, playing with perspectives. What if my being stressed and anxious is better than my not being that way? I know it doesn’t sound productive or helpful but … maybe my being stressed and anxious helps others be calm, they have to be more calm because I’m not.

Weird, right? But not totally illogical. Think about it… when you’re with someone who is stressed/anxious/panicking… compared to them you’re really calm, maybe you go extra calm to deal with them. Okay maybe they make you stressed and cause you to panic when you were fine before… so there’s that too to consider.

There’s a lot to consider all the time in the humaniverse.

For me there is much to consider as I prepare for next week, trying to carry as little with me as possible into it. Wear clothes but not too many… be naked, real, but not inappropriately so.

Things I’m telling myself – You have to be careful when engaging “play’ to minimise “stress” for yourself as there are pitfalls.

But that’s stressful to worry about…

There’s nothing like someone telling you to “be careful” or “be cautious” when you’re already doing that.

That’s the thing about anxiety – you think things through from so many perspectives and have probably already thought of everything and anything which anyone else may say, point out to you.

You’ve definitely done all the be careful, be cautious checks and it’s making you more anxious so you’ve toned it down, and are trying not to do it so much that it stifles you to death with careful cautiousness… and along comes some friendly neighbourhood goody-two-shoes who thinks they’re empathic but aren’t, handing out good advice which isn’t… be careful, be cautious they say to you just as you’ve decided you need to be less of that because that’s part of what’s making you super anxious.

Great! And then they’re hurt because you snapped at them… sigh! One more thing to be anxious about. Shit, I hurt them, omg, I have to unhurt them… or maybe I don’t!? Maybe that’s not my responsibility???

I’ve been on both sides of that equation and in between while watching someone else do it to someone else – those are the best versions of it, when you’re in-between and not directly involved, if you observe it with a note-to-self eye. In other words – Ah, so that’s what it’s like when I’m not part of the equation on one side or the other, that’s really annoying either way.

There’s no perfect solution… just slight adjustments here and there to balance things a bit better for self and others.

The best stress/anxiety reliever is to be honest about it… simply, not with added complications of expectations connected to honest revelation… because pretty much every other human being on planet Earth can relate to it. Has been there, done that more than once, more than they want to… especially in these modern times.

That’s it…

I’m okay, just doing the expressive writing thing…

please don’t “solve my problem for me”… that’s not what this post is about. Just focus on you, not me, thank you.

Was that rude!?! Never mind…

Thank you for listening. Or knowing when to not listen.

18 comments

  1. Thanks for the nod! Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about that ‘solving others problems when they haven’t asked’ conundrum you mentioned. If someone doesn’t ask for help, why do some of us (me among the throng) feel impelled to leap in and solve something that doesn’t concern us? I’m always doing it and I’m trying to stop. Maybe it’s a good skill, but I privately think it’s probably annoying as hell to the recipient, am I right? Someone explained to me why some folks do that solving of problems bit as it’s a role they were forced into as children because they had to take care of an adult in their world. Roles got reversed. I don’t know the truth of that, but I know I’ve always done it and when my husband died, I finally had no one to ‘help’ any longer. It’s really set me on my ear in a lot of ways too. Husband was an only child. Human. And he told me being an ‘only’ was the loneliest thing going. He hated it. For the reasons you shared, but also because he felt nobody else ‘got’ him. They didn’t understand him on his level. Me? I’m one of three children (the eldest). It sucked too, but you’re right. There were others for my parents to focus on, others to deflect blame to, and others to share with. These days? I’m an ‘only’ as my siblings and I aren’t terribly close. I see what you and hubby mean(t). And I’m deliberately not sharing the ‘good’ advice I have about your anxiety. You’re strong and you’ll come through it on your own terms.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you very much, Melanie ๐Ÿ™‚ for sharing yourself and for not sharing advice, deeply appreciated and absolutely perfect balm โค

      When people give me advice on how to deal with anxiety… it makes me more rather than less anxious, and I get snappish with them.

      I've been analysing my own tendency to fix problems for others over the years, adding to that my tendency to reject any help offered by others to fix my problems. It's a knotty puzzle, there are so many moving parts to it.

      I think some aspects are intrinsic to human nature, the urge to be a member of a community. There's a theory that humans evolved from living solo to joining together into small groups as there was safety in numbers and it increased survival rates back in ancient times. Everyone in the small group had a job to do, hunting, gathering being the ones we hear about the most in modern times, but they had healers, elders, storytellers, teachers, etc. It's teamwork and we look for our place in the team, the work we can do to be useful… and not be thrown into a volcano to appease the gods, although if that's useful and we have no other skills to offer then we'll do that.

      Then there's the experiences of our formative years, family dynamics, social group norms and requirements, cultural influences. If you're female, then there's a certain pressure to conform to a "mothering" role even if you don't have children or aren't a mothering type. The mothering role includes fixing the problems of others, taking care of scraped knees, bringing peace to fights, soothing upsets, making chicken soup for the soul, etc.

      For me personally at the core of the behaviour is a sense of general uselessness plus a puzzle-solving ability, so when I hear someone talking about a problem what I hear is a puzzle which needs solving, I'm good at that, so if I solve someone else's puzzle that also solves my own puzzle of feeling useless because it makes me useful. However what I began to notice was that in making myself feel useful for solving the puzzles of others… I inadvertently made them feel useless at solving their own puzzle.

      That connected with why I reject the help of others with solving my problems – because it increases my sense of being useless. I enjoy solving my own problems because it makes me feel competent and more confident that I can deal with my own problems, thus making me less useless. So others would feel the same way, right.

      So the happy medium is to really listen and hear people when they talk about a problem, and instead of trying to solve their puzzle for them, the useful action is to support them in their solving of their own puzzle in a manner which suits them and me so that we both feel useful in our own way. It's a more relaxing interaction, and has helped a lot with my anxiety puzzle ๐Ÿ™‚

      I'm still figuring it out bit by bit.

      Like

  2. Hullo Ursula,

    Now that I’ve explored the side roads via the linky links and gathered my thoughts…

    The claiming of Empath always gives me a shudder too but for a different reason. For me it feels like I’m bragging. “Look at me. I’m special. I’m better than you mere mortals.” I dont feel like I’m special… or DO i?

    The link about the empathic narcissist was interesting and ties into something I’ve been hmmmm… Do I think I’m special? Am I really a narcissist?

    That ties into Ego which is something else that’s been on my mind. Your comment about not getting rid of Ego and a blog I stumbled across and have been finding very interesting.

    The blog has some astrology in it and what I’m reading is each signs symbol and meaning with ancient mythology behind them. Stuff going back to Sumer, Babylon, Egypt then Greece. Interesting. It was in Leo that Ego ping pong pinged in my mind. Obviously Leo.

    I started reading this blog because of a Pluto search and it was info about the shadow. We had chatted about 1/7 and shadow before and everything is Saturn Pluto rn. Anyway, shadow… poke the shadow and see what pokes back I’m thinking.

    Leo…Ego… giving people advice out of my desire to help. Is it really to help or to feel special? If I’m helpful do I get my Scooby Snack? Is it MY place to help, especially unasked? Shouldn’t I butt out and leave people to their own journeys unless they request my aid?

    A lot of hmmmm… a lot of synchronicity…

    I looked up Dragonfly(they’re special to me) on the symbol link… so many things in my life point in the same direction. Either I’m on the right path or I’m a complete dunce that needs a flashing neon sign.

    ๐ŸŒป

    Like

    • Thank you for sharing, Angie ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s an intriguing insight about feeling like you’re bragging when you say you’re an Empath, and the association you have with the concept of bragging. If you think about it, bragging, showing yourself off, is a natural celebration. Flowers, plants, insects, birds, animals, the weather, thunderstorms, wind, the sun, the ocean with its waves, the beach with its sand, shells, etc, brag and show off all the time and it feels wonderful when they do. Well, unless we’re adversely affected by it… like when wasps brag and show off to bees about being able to sting and not die, sting as much as they want, nyah nyah ๐Ÿ˜€

      For me it’s like admitting a shameful secret. That’s partly why I’ve mentioned it recently more than once, to break the illusion – Why is it a shameful secret!? I know why it originally became that, because I was made to feel ashamed of it for several reasons – one was that I was my mother’s empathy and she wanted others to think it was hers so I had to pretend it wasn’t mine, two was that it made me vulnerable to attack from my parents, my father in particular, and other narcissists so it was better to hide it. It’s a big part of why I was painfully shy as a child and when older too, and shyness is considered a bad thing. The human psyche is very complex and complicated with its associations.

      The empathic narcissist post is brilliant in many ways, including the bit where the author claims no one else has ever written such a post, it is a first (trumpets for the emperor) – that’s such a narcissistic thing to say. I’ve said things like that too. It’s the ego wanting to prove to itself how special it is, but the thing is that the need to prove your specialness is a sign that you don’t believe you’re special at all, which is silly because we’re all naturally special, one-of-a-kind unique. There’s nothing to prove, we just have to be ourselves, raw and real, and ta-da specialness achieved. But it’s an ordinary special because it’s natural, intrinsic, born like that, so the ego feels confused and conflicted about it because it thinks and tells us that we have to work to achieve it, and compete to supersede, be superior. But if you try to be better than, you are always fighting the other side of the equation – being less than.

      If you’re up for another link, I read this this morning, it’s in synch with my post and I found it a very helpful reminder – https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/shift-mind/201911/the-power-authentic-self-esteem

      The bit about “not getting rid of ego” I found some years ago when searching for information on the purpose of ego while getting intellectually angry about all the articles by experts telling you to get rid of ego. I no longer have the link in my bookmarks but it’s somewhere on my blog if I had the patience to go through old posts. I did however remember another similar bit I found. I knew where to find it again because the post pissed off a narcissist (they called themselves that) which led to me writing one of my more popular posts – How To Piss Off A Narcissist Without Even Trying. Heh ๐Ÿ˜‰

      โ€œDo not think that enlightenment is going to make you special โ€” itโ€™s not. If you feel special in any way, then enlightenment has not occurred.โ€ โ€“ Adyashanti.org Writings

      Exploring the mythology and symbolism of astrology is a fascinating journey! All the signs have so much more to them than mundane astrology, the typical horoscopes, lets on… like with real people, there’s always so much more to know and explore, discover. We tend to simplify ourselves and our part in relationships, interactions, for similar reasons to why we tend to prefer short posts, sound bites, 3 easy steps to everything. It feels safer, but going with what appears safe has risks, it clips our wings.

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      • Thank you for the linky link! I think genuine is where I spend most of my time. I was a people pleaser for so long…so long.
        Your comment about being your mother’s empathy reminds me of my mother claiming my accomplishments as hers. “Look at what an awesome parent I am because MY daughter did xyz”. That’s probably a reason why bragging feels icky.
        Nature does show off. Its genuine in its awesomeness. ๐Ÿ’กBragging isn’t the same as being genuine.
        I caught that “I’m the 1st” line in the covert narc post too๐Ÿ™„.

        Thank you for sparking my thoughts and letting me bounce them off the walls of your house. I’d offer a hug but remember you’re not a hugger so here’s a flower๐ŸŒป

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi Ursula ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Your problem is yours to solve. Does anyone really have the time/ability to solve others’ problem when they have yet sort out their own? Well, most of the time, perhaps, they are lying to themselves that they have no problems. I do that too sometimes telling myself there is no problem, or rather there is no solution to it so stop hoarding on the issue and stress myself out. That’s me.

    I’m just back hours ago from the Japan trip. It went from fine, to tiring and messy. Couldn’t find time to visit the suicide forest and spending a week’s time with people at various frequencies had me drained and depleted. But this is a company trip and a time for team bonding.

    “When Iโ€™m with others, especially when Iโ€™m in a new environment socialising with those whom I do not know, I tend to blank myself out, empty myself of ego โ€“ or at least put ego and self on pause.” Ah, I can relate to that, did that for an entire week 24/7, that’s stressful for me. My tolerance for people whom I don’t feel close to is very low really.

    What caught me as interesting during the trip was a cat, some birds and a monkey. I had wanted to do a short post when I captured them, however, stress time kicked in. I’m wary of people who seem too nice, talk too much and seemingly an empath. If only humans speak their true intentions… Like the case about my room mate during the trip.

    I’ve a snoring room mate and the fact that we are on different frequencies made his snoring intolerable to me. Yes, I’m like that. I can ignore snoring, teeth grinding or sleep kicking symphonies from my dad, buddy or the ex, not someone on a different wave line as me. Anyway, I told him about his snoring and he said the solution is to kick him. We were on separate single beds, by the time I sat up in order to kick him, I’d have wake up, need to fall alseep again and there is no guarantee he would stop snoring. No, I don’t think that’s a good solution. My solution is to put myself back to sleep by watching dramas on phone, but unfortunately, I forgot to bring my ear plugs. So I had asked if him if he is sensitive to noises during sleep time, and he said no. Also, loudly claimed that he could sleep with noise and light. Well, thta’s great cos the i could fall asleep watching dramas. Well, ut the long story short is that he just didn’t answer me honestly when I took him seriously. And this partly added spice to a mess later.

    Since I got back, I’m de-stressing myself with a good rest and me-alone time watching TV. Human interaction is the most energy consuming activity imo. I don’t have anxiety but I do get paranoia and overthink on things.So all the best for your coming week’s adventure. I too have to prepare for a hectic and overload week ahead ๐Ÿ™‚

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    • Thank you very much, Rev ๐Ÿ™‚

      Glad to hear you’re home safe and well even though drained from your Japan adventure. Enjoy you de-stressing! I look forward to your post/posts about the trip once you’re ready to share.

      There’s this very eccentric man who created a different astro system – Human Design. While exploring his writings and video talks, I came across this bit wherein he explains that ideally we should never sleep too close to other people because our energy fields overlap with theirs and it can cause all sorts of energetic friction, including loss of energy, sleep problems which then lead to problems with others. Your snoring roommate story reminded me of that. You have incredible levels of patience, and it can be exhausting to maintain those. Snoring is torture for the ears for the most part, unless, like you said, it’s on your wavelength somehow.

      That taking people at their word… aish! So many messes come from that. People say they’re okay with something because they’d like to be okay with it, it makes them sound good when they say it, but if it’s not true then… boom!

      It’s refreshing when people are truly open and honest, but there are so many fears about being open and honest, about the consequences and social implications. And yet it resolves complications… of the sort with your roommate. If he’d been truthful… it would have probably still been awkward but maybe less mess.

      Best wishes for your week ahead too! ๐Ÿ™‚

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      • Aha, I remember reading about Human Design on your blog. It looks complicated then and didn’t interest me at first instant. Now that you mentioned again, I looked up mine.

        Im a Manifesting Generator, Profile 1/3, Inner Authority: emotional – solar plexus. Kinda resonates with me. Just had a general about it last night. Intriguing. Will share the charts inthe next post.

        I almost slept through the entire weekend, finished watching the final season of Fringe. And still feeling tired ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • Hey, me again ๐Ÿ˜† Few days ago I read your post No Worries (from Jan 2015), love the expressions as it relates to a time I felt the same way, in a way.

        And just a min ago, I read the following entry I Inhale Rooms. A poetic beauty, the metaphors /analogies in it were mesmerising. The raindrops reflecting the inverted images, niceee…hmm, it reminds of a monologue in some drama although the thoughts are different.

        The time that you were writing these two pieces sounded like you were filled with thoughts and moods. Or so it appeared to me. Often I wonder what moods are you in writing those words…

        Anyway, thank you for these wonderful posts ๐Ÿ™‚

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        • Hey, you again ๐Ÿ˜‰

          Thank you for reading and enjoying my old posts ๐Ÿ™‚

          I’m often filled with thoughts and moods ๐Ÿ˜€ and during 2015 there were many thoughts and moods to process, a lot was happening, the past and present collided, stress and changes inside and outside, stuff was stirred up and stuff was released. Writing was a helpful. Neptune was the main mood going on at the time of writing those posts, especially I Inhale Rooms ๐Ÿ˜‰

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  4. Thank you for mentioning my blog!

    As for empaths, interesting suject. I try to listen to others but the trick is to put yourself in the equation enough. Not fully I think. I don’t know. Humans are complicated like that.

    I think we need to be aware that we don’t understand other people, defenitely not ‘fully’. I’m always on my toes when I hear ‘I understand’, it’s just creepy. How can ‘you’ understand ‘me’ it’s a bit out of line for ‘you’ to understand ‘me’ I think. You can always share experiences, that can be helpful in my opinion.

    My expercience with being an (l)only child is a bit similar, not being able to share the ‘faults’ you’ve been given. Not learning how to share. I am a bad loser when it come to playing boardgames. I always played with ‘me’ and I can’t stand losing!! Need to work on that one ๐Ÿ™‚

    As for the advice, that is so true. Advice without listening… When people tell you the things you already re-run in your brain 100 times. And how they come up with things that you know you need to avoid? People tell me to ‘go outside’ when I feel that I just do not need that.

    The best advice is hidden in yourself. Maybe not in the Ego but still somewhere. I find it difficult enough to un-knot my own advice!

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    • Thank you for sharing, Kacha ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s a wonderfully thoughtful perspective.

      I agree, we can’t truly understand how another person experiences being themselves and living life, even when they explain it in great detail, which is what makes listening to their story so interesting. It’s like all these different world within people. Each person is another universe.

      What we can have is a different type of understanding, of knowing our own experience of being and living and feeling a certain connection, of similarity, similar yet not the same. Two worlds with a natural bridge between them. You can usually feel when someone understands where you’re coming from because they’re easy to be with and talk with, it’s a bit like being with yourself, and you don’t need to say much, they just get it.

      Ha! I used to have the opposite problem with boardgames, I wasn’t competitive when playing with others, and would regularly play to lose, but that’s mainly due to playing with my parents and realising the value of losing when playing with certain people so that the game would end when we’d stopped playing rather than turn into a long running drama ๐Ÿ˜‰

      The best advice does come from within, because the within knows you inside out ๐Ÿ˜€

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      • Two different worlds with a bridge. That is so nicely worded.

        When you are lucky, you can find people who are easy to talk to. It feels like a vacation from your own thoughts.

        Thank you for your thoughtful response Ursula ๐Ÿ™‚

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  5. Iโ€™ve thus post a couple of times and gave myself a chance to mull it over.

    I just had an employee resign and have been thinking about this individual a lot. This is someone who had many difficulties a year ago and whom we spent a lot of time on nursing and helping. Over time, I started to suspect covert narcissism and when he resigned, he sent his wife to see me with his keys, etc. She pronounced him to be an โ€œempathโ€ who found the โ€œvibrationsโ€ of my workplace to be negative and passive-aggressive and also that thereโ€™s no support or help (despite having just finished a three-day training session designed to be very supportive). Right away I remembered an earlier post (not this one) where you discussed the whole โ€œempathโ€ bit. Thanks for that post as it resonated strongly the moment she said the word โ€œempath.โ€ This post too has allowed me to take in my suspicions as warranted.

    I get concerned that I might be looking through the narcissist lens far too much , but one thing that Iโ€™m starting to realise is that I need to listen to myself more (something that you promote a lot). Thanks Ursula for your wonderful insights and information. You rock. ๐Ÿ’•

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    • Thank you very much, Lynette ๐Ÿ™‚

      That’s an intriguing story about your ex-employee. I think the key there is that he sent his wife to deal with the “unpleasant” stuff. If the environment is so toxic, why send a loved one into it?

      He basically wound her up and sent her off to do his dirty work, she was the soldier sent off into battle while the general who had created the mess kept himself safe at a distance hiding behind her. He left her to be his mouthpiece delivering his message in a way that made it impossible for anyone to reply to him and his version of reality.

      You couldn’t really discuss the matter with his wife because she’s an “innocent” so to speak. She wasn’t him, she didn’t work there, she has no idea what the situation really was, she only has his side of the story and she’s loyal to him like a mother would be to her child if the child came home from school, said they didn’t want to go back to school anymore because they were being bullied and the teachers were doing nothing to stop the bullying. He used her to get the last word and have it stick.

      That is typical narcissist behaviour.

      The overt narc is less likely to be comfortable with a “victim” role and would have most likely gone the confrontational route, reveling in personally having the last word before making a dramatic exit – dropping the mic, leaving the stage with a big whoosh and slamming the door behind them.

      But for a covert narc “victim” is the perfect role and they play it with gusto, to the hilt and beyond. Narcissists use the “Empath” label/role the same way they use all other label/roles, to manipulate others and situations, to control others and reality, to protect their own interests which are usually not inclusive of empathy. They are only sensitive when it comes to their own feelings/emotional well-being, which often results in them being completely insensitive about everyone else’s feelings/emotional well-being.

      A real empath would have handled the situation themselves even if they were afraid to do it as it would have been empowering for them, and they would not have let anyone else do it for them, certainly not a loved one because it would mean sending someone they care about into a toxic environment on their behalf. A narcissist on the other hand is more than happy to do that, and the chances are high that the reason the environment is toxic is because of them dumping toxic waste into it and then running away from the mess they made, blaming others for it, and letting others clean it up.

      There are some elements reminiscent of your ex-narc, of the stories you’ve shared about him. I bet your red flag alarms were resounding inside.

      You are right to be careful of seeing narcs where perhaps it’s a non-narc behaving narcissistically due to some personal stressor, or old echoes surfacing due to a trigger of your own personal stress. However you equally have to be careful of old training from old relationships with narcs – where you give them more rope with which to hang you. A balanced approach is the ideal – You know how tough you are on yourself, how careful and fair you are towards others, so if you feel a narc-alert it’s not going to be the hammer seeing nails everywhere. It’s best to listen to the inner alarm and then do checks to confirm it, making sure that when you’re being fair to others you’re also being fair to yourself. As a boss, you have many people to take care of, the most important one is yourself because you take care of others thus self-care is also beneficial for others.

      You rock too โค

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      • Many thanks Ursula for your supportive and insightful comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

        I do get concerned that Iโ€™m seeing narcs behind every rock and not giving people a fair shake. I felt very stymied by her arrival in my office, but yes, it was a bit like a parent who wonโ€™t hear anything else but what the child says. Yes, he very much made a last word sticky statement. Good description. From what I have seen, itโ€™s a terrible relationship where he treats her like crap while she runs around after him.

        I am somewhat concerned that this might go further (Human Rights complaint) and so I have been carefully documenting all my interactions as well as taking a careful path with him. In the last couple of weeks though, he was trying to avoid me and was barely speaking to me and others (they were getting burned out by him).

        My alarms have been going off with him for a while. He does the narc projecting a lot – accusing me of generating a passive-aggressive workplace thatโ€™s โ€œunsafeโ€ withโ€unsafeโ€ employees in it that he doesnโ€™t feel โ€œsafeโ€ around. I really began to feel like I was dealing with my ex-narc.

        Thanks for the self-care reminder. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. The “mirroring” portion of this post reminded me of a quote I heard years ago. I can’t remember it exactly, but it ended with reminding us that people see us through the eyes of their own pain.

    Wishing you the best with whatever you’re doing this week.

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