Which Side of the Mirror Are You On?

The question – Which side of the mirror are you on? – is inspired by my recent viewing of the anthology series on Netflix – Criminal

There are four separate versions to Criminal – a British, French, Spanish, and German one (listed in the order in which I viewed them), with three episodes each, all filmed on the same set.

It’s one of those claustrophobic environments which is rather dull, barren (except for a drinks machine which is up to all sorts of things which flummoxes people), focusing the attention on the people.

The people on both sides of the mirror – the law and those who may have broken the law (with an added layer of those on the law side slipping across the boundary to the other side).

And the stories of the people on both sides of the mirror going on within the limited space.

That space is one floor of a building where interrogations are carried out by a special police team.

The main action takes place on either side of a one-way mirror, with the viewer getting a third perspective of watching the watchers watching those being watched.

At certain times during the viewing of it… it occurred to me that the scenario of the one-way mirror could be applied to the psyche.

Certain parts of us tend to prefer to remain hidden – stay behind the one-way mirror watching, observing what’s one the other side.

Those hidden parts often watch the non-hidden, shown parts, and may do so like inner police watching a suspect.

We can be very critical of ourselves, especially of the parts of our self which interacts with others, says things and does things which others hear and see.

Our inner police is always watching, analysing, judging our self – Why did you do that? Why did you say that? Why did you look like that? Wtf were you wearing… I didn’t tell you that you could wear that!?

Of course we often pass the inner police onto those around us and think the judgments are coming from them, from outside of us…

Sometimes they are, but if you think about it, other people’s judgments of us only really get to us when they connect with an inner judgment which we hold of ourselves.

Someone telling you that you’re stupid according to them (who you may think is the stupidest person you’ve ever known… it’s funny how often it works that way) doesn’t bother you if you don’t worry that maybe you’re stupid or have an issue about being stupid… if it’s not an inner issue, it’s probably not an outer one either.

It’s sometimes easier to deal with the inner police when we project it onto those around us… Fuck you! – we say to them and feel better about it… until we begin to regret lashing out, but still… we stood up for ourselves, so this is good.

But at some point we have to re-own it or else we’ll get stuck in a versus dichotomy which will just keep going and going, passed onto others if the originals leave the scene.

At some point we have to join the inner forces of police and suspect, criminal, and make a whole out of it… if we want to stop being stuck in a never ending cycle of repetition of the same narrative.

Admittedly some people seem to love being stuck going around and around on the nigthmerrish-go-round… and we may like it too for a while, until we don’t and have to figure out how to stop it and get off of it which may not be as easy as falling off of it… especially if others are invested in keeping us stuck with them on it.

One of the other thoughts I had while watching Criminal was – If only humans would just stop lying for a moment and tell the truth.

I realise that idea is fraught with problems, such as what is truth? One person’s truth is another person’s non-truth… let’s not got here, right.

But how much time and effort could be saved and used for something more constructive and productive if we were just a bit more willing to say – I fucked up. And others were more willing to say – yeah, okay, we all fuck up and that’s not such a bad fuck up. But instead we’re all – I didn’t fuck up, you did! And so others say – We didn’t fuck up, you did! And now we’re all on a nightmerry-go-round-and-round together yet apart.

But of course if we were all more truthful and blunt about it… it would probably reduce the drama in life and perhaps make it too boring. Now what do we do with all of this life time?

We do like our villains and heroes trope, both in fiction and RL… usually with us as the hero, or the one who is holding out for a hero to save them from some almost supernaturally endowed villain…

I also watched a rather fascinating documentary in between watching the Criminal anthology…

If you ever wanted to see a narcissist in full-on overt narcissist mode, and find the shit that type of narcissist says comical, then – Bikram: Yogi, Guru, Predator – on Netflix is worth watching.

Some of the things he says, such as that he’s the most spiritual person ever in existence and the problem is that everyone else is too stupid to recognise it… omg, seriously!?! He said that out loud and proud. He meant it. What a sad fate, to be the most spiritual person ever… but everyone around you is an idiot – that’s such a truly super spiritual person’s perspective!

That documentary is a rather fascinating experience from an observational point of view of the power of groupthink

And the problem of handing your personal power over to someone else because… they may have promised to solve all your problems for you magically and miraculously, but only if you give them all power over you.

Please note: Anyone who thinks I watched that documentary from a position of superiority complex, I didn’t… I watched it from a position of “oh shit, that could have been me falling for that bs…” because for much of my life I was someone looking for someone else who would make everything better, nirvana, for me… took me ages to realise that I had to do that for myself and that real nirvana is about accepting life as is and being okay with it and yourself as is.

That’s just my version of the concept… if you disagree with that, then my version is not your version too, and that’s okay.

Back to Criminal…

In the series, some of the suspects are guilty, and some are not – you figure who is what as the team does. In some cases the line between guilty and not guilty is blurred, tenuous, not clear at all.

Each team has their own drama going on within the team, which complicates matters, causes tension and hinders the investigation.

I’m only going to “spoiler” one episode – the last episode of the German version.

It’s my favourite story because it involved one of those moments wherein a person realises that their attitude and approach has been a major hindrance in solving a problem.

They saw everyone else as being the hindrance, especially their focal point – the villain.

If only they could change the villain, make the villain behave the way they wanted them to behave and be who they wanted the villain to be… which in this case required the villain to become a hero of sorts.

But if the villain changed, the hero (they) would have to change too.

The villain was the monster their hero self was fighting (thus proving what a hero they were due to fighting the villain) – if the monster is no longer a monster, what does the hero become? They sort of wanted the villain to remain as the monster in their life…

They thought they were right and righteous in having that attitude and approach, so it took a major shattering of self-constructs shift for them to accept that they were as much a part of the problem as the other person.

The person being interrogated in this instance was thoroughly guilty of the crimes they’d committed, was serving time for their crimes, had been for a long time and would never get out of prison.

It was a similar story to the Myra Hindley case.

The police team were trying to find out where a victim had been buried years before to give the mother of the victim resolution before she died – her death was imminent. This was all being done in a not really legal manner – the team could end up being disbanded and penalised for their tactics and antics.

The villain refused to cooperate, and had absolutely no incentive to do so… until a new member of the team stepped in (a member viewed as a sort of villain by the rest of the team due to policing politics).

The new member took over the interrogation. Which caused much disturbance to the main police guy who viewed this case as belonging to him – how dare someone else step in his shoes! This was his case, dammit!!! He was the hero here who would save the day!!!

But if it had remained his case and everyone had respected his boundaries of ownership and such… it would have continued to be a going nowhere, going around in a circle, stuck in a permanent rut with no resolution situation.

The new member stepping in and taking over shifted everything.

The new team member brought a new attitude and approach to the interrogation, and his old approach and attitude was shown up to be the main reason the villain did not cooperate.

His hate for the villain, his dogged determination to hate the villain and view her as a monster, had made the villain determined never to help him solve the final mystery in the case.

But the new interrogator did not view the villain as a monster… they saw the villain as a human who had done monstrous things.

A subtle yet powerful perspective.

With a focus on the human within the villainโ€ฆ little by little the monster side subsided, the villain showed a less villainous side, the person behind the facade, within, was seen… and the person felt seen.

And the villain finally shared what was needed to solve the mystery – which included an apology from the cop, an admission of his part in their stand-off and stalemate.

Because for the villain – the old attitude and approach cop was a villain, and they could be a hero fighting their villain.

It was one of those “oh shit” aha moments for the cop when he realised that his attitude and approach made things drag out far longer than they needed to… if only he’d not been so fixed in his stance… if only he’d realised sooner that he was part of the solution and problem not being resolved… thank goodness he allowed the shift to happen because if he’d been rigid in his stance, not a thing would have changed.

Humans… so very complex are we no matter who we are or what we’ve done or not done… it’s best to stay flexible in attitude and approach, not get fooled by the foolishness of ego, if we want to solve the mysteries which haunts us.

But that’s oh so hard to do… except in those moments when it isn’t.

Now I’m watching – The Staircase – it’s a documentary filmed over the course of many years which has been done with remarkable dedication to keeping things objective… as objective as is humanly possible.

The main thing which struck me about it is how quickly people were ready to condemn another person because those people condemning had rigid views on sexuality… and not sticking to the rigid view caused too much internal conflict.

The real situation was almost entirely secondary to the fact that a man was bisexual – this fact was sensationalised, called filthy and all sorts of other things… and this was viewed as more of a crime than the crime he was being accused of having committed.

While those that viewed him as the ultimate villain were quick to call him a narcissist… he’s one of the least narcissistic people I’ve had the chance to observe (albeit from a detached distance), those who viewed him as a narcissist on the other hand…

Human life is such a strange experience… however you look at it, whichever side of the mirror you’re on… or think you’re on.

Are we really on the side of the mirror we think we’re on?

Which side of the mirror are you on?

How many of you will say both sides? Why?

43 comments

  1. Not so long ago I found out that my inner police team wasn’t hired by me. I was just feeding them for what reason. I am behind one mirror but the things I look for now are completely different than when the police was running the investigation. Now it’s more based on compassion and not the investigation. But I still lash out sometimes, it’s a work in progress. Maybe I should go to Bikram …
    As for yoga, that is so weird. I did yoga for many years and I like it. I never followed a guru or never stayed when a teacher didn’t vibe with me. I was never attrackted to bikram yoga and never did it. Now I seem to know why.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s a great point, Kacha, about identifying whether the inner police is yours or someone else’s.

      I’ve found it helpful to ask myself – Why do I think that? Why do I feel that? – and see if I can locate the starting point of the thought/feeling within myself, or if it tracks back to someone else which means I’ve taken on someone else’s thought/feeling for some reason. Sometimes it’s from the collective consciousness, a societal issue which gets absorbed, and I hadn’t noticed it had gotten in there.

      Part of the reason I enjoy watching films, shows, documentaries, etc, is because it’s a good way of listening to the self and the chatter inside. You can hear yourself making judgments and having opinions about what and who you’re watching, and observe your reactions to the scenarios and characters.

      Liked by 2 people

      • It’s really good to take a step back and ask yourself those questions – Why do I think that? Or what am I thinking? Do I believe that? I see you take an advantage of watching those shows? I get way too much involved in the situation so your tip is great to exercise to ‘take myself out of the situation’. So little time and so much to learn!

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  2. I will say “both sides”. As you predicted. Why? Because I’m both villain and hero, cop and criminal, yin and yang (in a sense). I happen to think that’s how the human psyche works, but that’s just me. I borrowed (and will credit you) the question you asked at one point “What is truth?” I’m eager to see what people say to that. Tune in next week to SYW and find out if you’d like. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Ursula. You once again provided thought fodder! Deep thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Melanie ๐Ÿ™‚ Great answer!

      I reckon people might answer the “What is truth?” question by saying that it is something which can be backed by facts and factual evidence, proof. But facts and factual evidence aren’t always as reliable as we’d like for them to be in matters of truth.

      Like

  3. Hey Ursula๐ŸŒป

    This post is twisting and turning in my brain…

    Mirror mirror on the wall

    Tommy smash the mirror

    Funhouse mirror Maze

    Police interrogation room

    I’m still sorting… I did want to say thank you because I have so much fun when my mind grabs the kite tail and flies away.
    I dont have an answer to your question, but I hope to find it.โค

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh, my mum and I watched “The Staircase” and I completely agree with you. Narcissistic don’t usually hide from things they feel ashamed of, because they don’t feel shame,lol. I felt like Michael Peterson felt ashamed of his other “life”.

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  5. Hi Ursula,

    Intriguing post! I have some thoughts on your mind-boggling questions and a fresh pot of tea, please drop by my garden for a cup ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

  6. Wow Ursula, this is indeed a thought provoking post with an extremely profound question at the end … l have often pondered on this, not perhaps the way you have asked it, but in similiar veins … l don’t have an answer. There have been times in my life when l have been on one side, then the other, occasionally both. The answer l think [imo] is that does it not tie in with your inner and outer personality at the time of the moment and or reflection at that stage of your life?

    We can good cop bad cop ourselves frequently and try to convince ourselves of our good intentions to not just others but more importantly to ourselves, and how much guilt we feel for either or to the wanderings and wonderings of our inner responsibilities?

    This is another excellent thought for much longer than the day l am in, or indeed the week … it’s strange only recently have l been looking at the mirror and asking … well mate, what is it?

    .. once more and excellent post – that l need to dwell upon.

    Thank you..

    Like

    • Thank you very much, Rory ๐Ÿ™‚

      Some questions are more about the “quest” within the question. The word question = a QUEST I is ON.

      It’s not so much about having an answer, or finding an answer for the question, it’s more about wondering, exploring, going on a thought journey and seeing where it takes you. A bit like going for a walk without having a particular destination, just wandering and seeing what you see and experience along the way.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Hello Ursula, after a long long scroll down, I’ve arrived in the comments to give you another award for your collection ๐Ÿ™‚ It is the Sunshine Blogger Award, given with much love for your blog. Have a happy Monday!

    Like

  8. “…but if you think about it, other peopleโ€™s judgments of us only really get to us when they connect with an inner judgment which we hold of ourselves.”

    I like that idea bleat. It helps me realize I am giving them permission to bug me.

    Like

    • Thank you, Anne ๐Ÿ™‚

      The idea is part of Jungian Shadow Work. Bugs can be rather useful in locating areas within where we need to resolve something with ourselves. It also works quite well when someone else is bugged by you, and you didn’t intentionally set out to bug them, like when someone thinks you’re judging them but you’re not – whatever you did or said hit an issue within them which they have with themselves. When bugged it helps to pause and ask ourselves why and what it is exactly which is bugging us. Sometimes the answer can be a pleasant surprise, a release from stuckness.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Ursula,

    Did you went over the other side of the mirror and got stuck there? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Hope things are good with you and you might feel like writing again soon.

    Like

    • Hi, Rev ๐Ÿ™‚

      Haha! It’s more a case of not being stuck anymore – perhaps the mirror broke and I was set free like a djinn ๐Ÿ˜€

      Yes, things are good with me. Hope things are good for you too.

      Thank you for the compliment of wanting to read my writing โค it's much appreciated. I probably won't be doing any more posts for a while, I've been blogging for about 7 years fairly consistently and the flow of creative energy has suddenly decided to redirect itself elsewhere. Lots of offline work to do, including clearing up after storm Ciara – luckily the latter didn't hit too badly where we are.

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      • Thank you, Ursula fro your reply amid your busyness.

        Hahaha… love that you described yourself like a djinn ๐Ÿ˜‰ Intriguing.

        Yes, creativity needs freedom. Glad to know you are enjoying your new ventures, whatever that might be, best wishes to you! As for your blog, there are still much to read from the past. I love the way you share yourself in the posts, your stories, frustrations, ideas, etc. A lot of times, I think similarly but I don’t know how to express them in words. The Hemingway’ quote that says ‘There nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.’ I still learning without much success. Maybe becos I’m bilingual from a East and West linguistic background. I can communicate effectively in business or work sense, but my inner thoughts of ideas/experiences/emotions.

        Ha, the Coronavirusis is like a serious epidemic where I am now… ๐Ÿ˜€ That word only makes me think of a Corona beer lol Cheers!

        Btw, I do quite miss your visits to my garden, but considering your loads of work on hand, I guess tea time can wait ๐Ÿ™‚

        Like

        • Actually, there is still one story i would like to relate to you, but it’s probably bit long , so I would do in in a post some time later, and link you when it done. Take care, till then.

          Like

          • I do keep an eye on your blog to see if you’ve added something new but since you don’t post regularly, I don’t check it regularly ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you need immediate attention for your latest post, then you’ll have to do what you did here and tell me you want attention for a post.

            With writing about ideas, experiences and emotions it helps to have an intention behind the sharing which is deeply personal, a strong reason to do it which pushes you to do it and makes you take the risk to go beyond what’s safe because when you openly share the inner world it makes you feel intensely vulnerable, exposed, showing your soft underbelly, leaving it open to attack or rejection, and the ego convinces the inner self to stay hidden to stay safe, save face, stay in control.

            In communicating emotions and personal stories which have deep meaning it’s about letting go of control. That’s why I like the Hemingway quote.

            You write well and are good at expressing yourself. Give it time and practice and bit by bit you’ll find it gets easier and easier to share what’s inside.

            Liked by 1 person

            • Thank you for your attention and advice! ๐Ÿ™‚ It means a lot for me. Much appreciated.

              I’m not sure if I write well, but I love that every word has its meaning, so I try to write better and end up spending more than half an hour on three short paragraphs in an email yesterday.

              Last night, I started a new post to wish my muse a Happy Valentine’s day and ended up late. It’s already the 15th in my time, so the title has changed to Late Wishes. I have not write the story I said would relate to you in the post yet. That’s could be like cutting my belly ๐Ÿ˜€

              Now UTC time 23:59, so I wish you Happy Valentine”s Day to you and your partner!

              Liked by 1 person

  10. Hello! I don’t know if you remember me, I wrote a few comments on here a few years ago about whether or not I am a magnet for narcissists. And I also wrote a story about a dying bat. I was wondering whether or not I am a narcissist? Can you please let me know if I am and what I should do about it if I am? Should I speak to a counselor? Love Meg

    Like

  11. Hey Ursula ๐Ÿป,
    With genuine interest, I’d like to ask you… How are you? Last I remember you were having some painful back problems. I hope that cleared up. I miss your words and the person that creates those words. I miss comments-chatting with you.

    I hope you and your Partner are keeping safe and healthy. I hope you’re taking thought journeys that twist and turn and show you places you’ve never been and familiar sights from a new perspective.

    The world is a mess, the collective unconscious is in constant turmoil. I feel these things and I wonder if they are affecting other sensitive people to the degree they’re affecting me.

    Mostly, selfishly, I miss you. I hope you come back soon, again selfishly.
    But really, How are you?

    Like

  12. The โ€˜ursula flowโ€™ is quite an experience which gets the mind probing via another probing theirs – great inspirational posts and lovely to read that โ€˜ursula flowโ€™ has re-directed to other areas. I hope itโ€™s fulfilling!

    Like king bens grandma, im sure thereโ€™s a few more aside from myself who want to say hey, howโ€™s it going?…coupled with a wave as we float past your wordpress space.

    I happened to be on my wordpress subscriptions page and saw your blog listed, and was jogged by memories of being nudged by your posts to deepen introspection, and i realise its been a while, especially as you were wrote like a pen on fire!

    Sincerely hope life is being kind and your inspirational flow is still streaming strong!
    This year ive headed in a new direction creatively too….maybe covid caused a collective path bend for many?!

    Changes are beautiful once complete….despite somewhat uncomfortable during – ask a caterpillar! ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Waves, smiles and twirls!
    Bee
    X

    Like

  13. H! Ursula,

    Hope all is well for you! Thought I let you know… I finally called her number-my muse and suppose that’s the chapter closure I needed… Ah, I started on a new Kdrama Alice, the time-travelling theme reminds me of Fringe, you could give it a try if you find time. Lastly, hope you find the inspiration to post again, meanwhile, take care and stay funky ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Like

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