Saturday, January 29, 2005

I've been thinking lately about how hard it is sometimes not to own other people's problems. It's not easy to seperate what one has done with the reaction one has elicited, if that makes any sense. Think about all the interactions you have with other people. How many times do we truly act, independent of any past influence? I'm willing to bet that our past affects our actions more than we're willing to admit--sometimes more than we're able to understand consciously. It seems to me, though, at this stage, that everyone is as reactive as I am. We're all raging masses of bad past experiences just dying to get out and wreak some havoc.
Anyways, this is probably me being misanthropic and somewhat bitter from some bad experiences this past week. Don't mind me. Too much.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bad experiences? Don't let past experiences rule your life! Move on and get over it!

2:18 PM  
Blogger Dymphna said...

As you know I have an opinion -- at least one -- for every occasion...

"Bad" experiences when we are very young become the antecedents of reactivity toward new experiences when we are older. That is,everyone learns to fear rejection or its ugly mean brother, abandonment. And everyone maps onto their present life the template they devised when they were too young and didn't have the ability to make 'choices' about things. So the way we avoid pain is automatic by the time we hit kindergarten.

Fast-forward to college: now when we are met up with some threatening experience we have three reactive choices, and one of them is our personal favorite: we can move toward, move away, and move against a person. This kind of movement then defines our character.

So the 't'warders are people pleasers and they're anxious to avoid the pain of being distanced and left out; they'll make peace at any price. Meanwhile, the 'away game' is when someone handles anxiety by foreclosing on ever letting the other in closer; these are the ones who stay at a cool distance from the git-go. And last are the 'aginners,' the ones you will hear say things like "I cleaned his clock," or that other favorite, "make my day;" they handle anxiety by messing with whomever they think is the cause of their discomfort. Better to bruise than lose is their motto.

A lucky few move beyond that. As Martin Buber says, we can treat one another as an "it," or as a "Thou." Getting to Thou is a long and difficult path through the tangles of spiritual growth and forgiveness of self. But if you persevere, then at the end you have an authentic self which is not liable to tip over at the first sign of bad other words, you become durable. Now that's a person who can separate what one has done {from} the action one has elicited.

Good luck!

4:44 PM  
Blogger Gryffilion said...

Gahhh. Anyone who says "Get over it!" to me is in for a world of pain.

11:36 PM  

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