Manipulation Through Low Self-Esteem

T-nation forum thread “I’m Very Insecure in Relationships” is excellent.

Pretty typical, young 20 something guy notices his new girl friend change her behavior when her dance coach walks into the room. He decides to post this to get people’s input.

There is a lot of wisdom thrown around, and the older people do seem to hammer in on the issue fairly quickly and with very little back-ground or BS. I don’t know any of the people, what their jobs are or if they workout, but it’s clear that there are some standard things that happen to young 20 something men that older people know a thing or two about.

Some gold from Charlie Horse

You were feeling jealous that she was noticing another man and pulled away from you when he came in the room so the other man would not see you two so close together. She maybe doesn’t want the other man to know that you and her are close. Why would she do this?

This could be a sign that she is cheating or wants too. That’s why it’s important. The proper question may be why you drive women away with your jealousy or why you are a poor judge of women. If you want to work on something you need to know what the problem is right?

Jealousy can be a sign of cheating btw. Who is the jealous one first, you or her?

She is manipulating you with her low self-esteem.

Do you often feel sorry for the women you date?

The fundamental issue is insecurity, the original poster mentions this, but as the thread continues, he begins to resist the notion that his girl friend is not his responsibility to fix. A lot of people respond this way to the information that they shouldn’t be trying to “fix” other people. Later on in the thread, someone suggests that he may be codependent. The general view is that he needs to work on himself to make sure he’s confident in-spite of his relationship status. This is the usual outcome when someone is spending time in relationships that they know are not working for them.

I think the killer line in the entire thing is “she is manipulating you with her low self-esteem. This happens a lot and it creates an automatic behavior pattern that can be alarmingly destructive in a relationship.

We know we shouldn’t validate someone’s insecurity. “I may fall out of love with you and move on” is a tough reality about EVERY relationship. Even in marriage, things aren’t wrapped-up, more than half of them end. The sooner a person accepts that their relationship, like their life, is only temporary the sooner they can get on with the enjoying of it instead of the trying to lock it down and make it permanent. But when someone we care about present us with some sort of insecurity for the first time, we very often indulge them in it without thinking about the pattern we’ve just started. Before you know it, you’re building them up constantly like children on the first day of school. When you get sick of doing this, you stopping will be seen as withdrawing and your in for a world of drama as their confidence sinks lower and the relationship goes into the toilet.

Great thread on a strength and conditioning site!

Food + Me = Movement

I move a lot, not where I live, but I move about the earth as much as I can, a lot more than most of the people I know. It isn’t just that I cycle, run and hike, it’s that I like moving. I move now because I may not be able to in the future.

Anyway, is a great site that lets you upload your training data and view it online. They have a cool training load feature that, when your polar heart rate monitor watch is properly configured, graphs out your level of readiness for training and it will recommend when you should rest, train more or avoid high intensity training. It will summarize your training data by day, week or month, which gives you an idea of your training consistency and volume.

The month to month numbers are interesting to me. I burn between 10000 and 15000 calories per month. My heart rate stays above 80% for ~40% of the time. This is good news for me because I like to eat indiscriminately when it comes to refeed or cheat meals, and in general after training. Assuming I burn an average of 12500 per month with 80% of the energy coming from sugar, I need 2.5 kg of sugar to keep the movement going. This is just to fuel the activity, not EPOC or recovery / repair. That’s 70 Mars bars worth of sugar per month just for movement I am choosing to do. {70 Mars bars would contain more fat than I would burn with the amount of activity I am talking about here, but it would be fairly close once EPOC and recovery were factored in}

I eat other stuff like oatmeal, protein powders, dextrose, maltodextrin, granola bars, Gatorade, coffee, cookies, muffins, etc… because I can’t train with chocolate in my stomach but what I eat is the fuel equivalent to 70 chocolate bars or 2.5 bags of sugar and some fat (Oreo filling comes to mind). But if I’m ever curious what the potential for 1 month of training looks like, 2 boxes of chocolate bars and me about to eat them is an accurate picture.

Due Diligence And Making Decisive Decisions

A few weeks ago I was talking with a couple of friends and the topic of making decisive decisions came up. Jeff, being one of the most decisive people I know, stirred things up.

I asked him how he deals with the voice of doubt he gets after making a decision. He looked at me like I has just spoken a different language. I looked at Sean and asked him if he knew what I was talking about, he did. Looking back at Jeff “how do you make the voices stop?” Same look. I look back at Sean, nothing unusual with him, he knows what I’m asking.


The three of us consider, in our own heads, what is happening. Jeff doesn’t know what I’m talking about. Jeff is really pragmatic and is a very decisive thinker and doer. What if he doesn’t hear the voices? What if they aren’t even there? He can’t possibly know what I’m talking about and if the voices aren’t there, his decisions can only be decisive.

The conversation starts again.

You don’t hear voices do you?

No, you guys do?

Yeah, almost constantly and about the stupidest to most important of decisions.

Oh. Hmmm. {I’m paraphrasing} I guess I don’t hear the voices because before I make a decision I review all the information I can and do a benefit cost analysis. Any costs I engage logically and if eliminating them will make the decision the right one, I factor that action into the decision making process. Once I’ve addressed all of the issues I’ll move forward and make the decision KNOWING that I don’t need to think about it again.

Kind of like a to-do list of things to address before you make a decision, if they can’t be cleared, you don’t action?

Yeah, that’s a fair way to look at it.

Jeff performs due diligence with his decision making so he only needs to review his choices when there is a compelling reason to – new information, change in environment – which rarely happens when you make decisive decisions because you don’t create experiences that requires you review your choices; you look towards the future vs. stirring on the past.

It was a great practical lesson for structuring decision making to allow you to make better decisions that you won’t review in the future with a doubting consciousness.

Thanks Jeff!

Think And Be Unhappy – The Reason Why It Happens

My good friend Kate gave me a copy of Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill {open .pdf file in new window} in the middle of July. She raved about the book, relating some of the stories and generally talking about it with a greater sense of excitement and optimism than normal. When Kate is this enthusiastic about something you just listen to what she says and do what she’s suggesting you do. I brought the book up with me to the cottage at the end of the month so I would the time to focus on it. Honestly, I wanted some of what Kate was having and taking it at the cottage seemed like the best way to gain that insight.

First off, read the book. Start doing the exercises immediately – when he says “now take some time to complete the following” do it. Fight the urge to believe you know what is the best way for you to learn. If you are reading it because you have a poverty or scarcity of money consciousness, you do NOT know the best way to learn and apply the information needed to gain a money consciousness. This is fact. Maybe 2 percent of the population have or will in their life time engender the consciousness needed to move away from scarcity forever. These are the people who naturally apply these lessons, were taught how to apply them or accepted that they don’t know or can’t apply them and made the decision to learn how. Simply put, if you start doing the exercises immediately your life will begin to improve immediately.

What have I been doing wrong? Well, strangely, not much. I’ve been taking the right actions, just directing their influence onto something else. I’m like most people in this regard, intuitively doing the right things with the wrong thing.

This book quickly filled in a lot of the gaps that my time at and since university didn’t fill in. It was a theory gap and not an experience gap which meant I was ready to move quickly once I knew what it was I needed to do. Basically, I have a voice in my head that says things, some call it thinking – most of the time it chatters away, some of the time I actively control or influence what it says, the rest of the time I am unaware of it (sleeping, exercising intensely). For a lot of my life it has been a monkey on my back slagging me about stuff, reminding me to be anxious or to think about things that I don’t need to think about which creates emotional reactions to things that aren’t happening. To silence it, I would exercise or do things that were distracting. Mediation was an effective way to gain some control over it. With effort, I’ve been able to decrease the negative impact of the voice and I’ve had some success at shaping it or silencing it. Which is where I have been going wrong.

For me anyway, that voice is a powerful influence, so powerful that I’ve dumped a lot of energy to get away from it. So powerful that everything it has said has come to reality. Amazingly (but not really when it actually starts to work) the human brain has the ability to make transmutate thoughts into reality through action. Don’t believe me, look at your life and one of the goals you have achieved. That is an example, you already have the ability to do this. Look at any of the goals that you tried to achieve but gave-up on. Your decision to quit started as a thought and your brain made it a reality. This is another example of this transmutation of thought into reality.

Since everything that voice says seems to come true my mistake has been not using it to help me get what I want. Regardless of where my goals come from – me consciously creating and directing energy towards achieving them or them being unconsciously created and thrust into my awareness by the voice – I achieve them consistently through immersion and hard work. Good or bad, positive or negative, this is what I do, and this is very likely what you do as well.

We tap into the power of that voice through auto-suggestion, which is basically a way of priming you unconscious brain with the things we want to think about or achieve. What is critical for this to be effective is to pair what you are suggesting with an emotional release. This is important because emotions seem to impact how these thoughts are stored and retrieved since they are processed differently in the brain. We need to consciously shift what goes into the brain under emotional situations from away things we don’t want onto things we do want. This is very simple to do, the book outlines it. You just need to do exactly what the book says.

Some have dismissed this book outright when I talk about it, unknowingly proving the books accuracy. “It’s new agey” or “that’s that Secret thing”. Yeah, it is exactly those things if you tell yourself it’s those things. But if you tell yourself it’s an instruction book on how to move your underlying conscious narrative onto the things you like and will eventually become, it’s that. Not wanting to believe that you have the power to make your life whatever it physically can become does not change the fact that you have been using this power for most of your life to make your life exactly how you narrate it to be.

Now if you know you have the power and can see that you have been wielding it, pick up the book, read it and follow the instructions like your life depends on it. Come back to this post a year and let me know how your life has improved.

David R. Hawkins’ “Hierarchy of Levels of Human Consciousness” – Revisited

If you haven’t seen and read David R. Hawkins’ “Hierarchy of Levels of Human Consciousness” I encourage you to do so. And do so again if you have seen it before. I first re-posted the list on January 30, 2007. That was at the end of my first month of blogging and I hadn’t figured out what blogging meant to me so I didn’t consider writing any of my thoughts about what level I was on. Too bad because it would be interesting to read them. I’d pin me at pride or courage, but that’s looking back 4.5 years.

I’d say that I float between willingness, acceptance and occasionally flirt with reason. I find it interesting that there are certain areas of my life were it would seem I act with reason in mind, while other areas I’ve only just gained a willingness to work with it. I don’t recalling thinking that I existed on different levels before.

It seems like automatic or behaviors learned before a few years ago tend to be less evolved. The majority of my new behaviors serve to help me achieve a particular goal and some of them are motivated by a spontaneous and mindless desire to do the right thing.

I do notice that I have a greater understanding of the levels now and have engaged people from all different levels and observed some of them gain the experience that leads to the conscious realization that the world isn’t exactly how they thought it was, forcing their consciousness to the next level. You can coach others to the base of a higher level, but life and how they interact with the world will ultimately facilitate any transcendence.

Experience is what shapes the evolution of our consciousness, and that is something you will accept once you hit the willingness level. From there further transcendence requires experience.

Where I Stood – The Saddest Song

This is the saddest song I know.

First heard it as a Body Flow song and really liked her soft passionate voice. The lyrics work, telling the story of being in love but sensing something isn’t as it should be. When you really love someone you want them to have the best there is and when something isn’t as it should be you know they deserve more than you are able to give them. They can’t appreciate that you leaving is the right thing because they love you so they fight and this begins to chip away at your already low confidence in your decision.

It’s sad because we take a chance with love and it hurts us most of the time. Sometimes we love more and get cut deeper, somethings we love less and carry Missy Higgins doubt. There are no winners in the moments when a relationship crumbles. Dreams have died and while everyone can be in a better place in a year or two, at the end that place seems very far away.

I think her song captures this experience well:

“Where I Stood”

I don’t know what I’ve done
Or if I like what I’ve begun
But something told me to run
And honey you know me it’s all or none

There were sounds in my head
Little-voices whispering
That I should go and this should end
Oh and I found myself listening

‘Cos I don’t know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don’t know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
‘Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood

See I thought love was black and white
That it was wrong or it was right
But you ain’t leaving without a fight
And I think I am just as torn inside

‘Cos I don’t know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don’t know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
‘Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood

And I won’t be far from where you are if ever you should call
You meant more to me than anyone I ever loved at all
But you taught me how to trust myself and so I say to you
This is what I have to do

‘Cos I don’t know who I am, who I am without you
All I know is that I should
And I don’t know if I could stand another hand upon you
All I know is that I should
‘Cos she will love you more than I could
She who dares to stand where I stood
Oh, she who dares to stand where I stood

Missy Higgins

Keep Your Teeth Boy – Braces Day 2

My dad was an oral hygiene fascist of sorts. This made him odd until we moved to Canada. When we were in Ireland people didn’t seem to care much about teeth.

Dad made me and Des brush our teeth until we were good at it and he tried to impress upon us how important it was to take care of them. We used those red plaque revealing tablets after we brushed to help us figure-out how to do a better job. I remember it being important to him that we do everything we can to keep our teeth for our entire life.

I haven’t asked him about it yet, but I’m developing an appreciation of what he may have been getting at. As it stands now, I have ground down my teeth to the point were the bottom needs to be held apart from the top to make sure the brackets of the braces don’t touch, grind and break off. Two semi-hardened plastic globs have been stuck to the second tooth from the back the top of both sides as a spacer to make sure nothing comes in contact with stuff it shouldn’t. Nothing touches except the globs and 1 tooth on each side of my mouth. It works as required.

2 days ago, though, I had the use of 8 pairs of teeth to grind food into a swallow-able and digestible paste-like stuff. Now I have 2 molars, one on the bottom of each side of my month, and 2 globs of softish plastic to, well, do squeeze out some flavor, and mash on food pointlessly.

This could be what my dad was talking about. When you don’t look after your teeth, they need a lot of work and sometimes they need to come out. Chewing with scraps for teeth isn’t very efficient and right now I’d like to have a pizza. That’s not going to happen tonight. So what, I have to deal with this for a 6 months tops – the teeth move quickly once the joints gets used to having constant pressure on them – not the next 40 years.

I get it now. Keep your teeth because CHEWING IS AWESOME!

Looking Back On The Summer Of 2011

No summer has seen me move through so many emotions, thoughts, and states of mind as quickly as this one. The last 12 months have been a blur, but the mental outcome of all of these experiences has come to light over the last couple of months and particularly since the middle of June. The pace of change has been dramatic, particularly when paired with the relative stability of the preceding 4 years and I’ve come to accept this as the natural evolution of my of thought – intense immersion and then time to assimilate the information and create a new world view or state of mind that includes the new information. All of this done to ensure that my internal understanding of my universe match the external one as closely as possible.

Why was this summer so different from any of the previous ones?

Mid way through, around the beginning of July, it became evident that many of my thoughts, actions and dreams were unworkable because they hadn’t come from me. Yes, they were my thoughts, actions and dreams, but only because I decided to make them my thoughts, actions and dreams – they did not represent what I NEEDED in order to be happy. They represent what I thought would make me happy. When it came to relationships, I would see the “happily ever after” couples in fairy tails and movies and normalize them; unconsciously normalizing the relationships of every couple I’d see, creating an “ideal relationship” goal that I would eventually set out finding or creating. I created my future relationships BEFORE I ever had a relationship and had moved forward doing this for more than 20 years. In July it became obvious that the model I had created was not workable for me or the girls that I attract or was attracted to. That had to stop immediately.

The other thing that happened was that I saw myself as the author of my life and then mentally filtered out the contribution others played for me finding my place in life. In late March to early July I still felt that I like I had been subjected to some stuff that I hadn’t been responsible for. I was stuck in the victim mindset and did believe that others had power to do stuff to me. Sharon didn’t see it this way and was very good at directing my mind to the fact that each of us drive our own body and allow in whatever information we choose. If we do something, we’re deciding to do it. She was never uncaring about it, but she let me know it didn’t work for her and that, while it was my own journey, maybe it shouldn’t work for me either. Regardless, she knew I needed to figure some stuff out and was good enough to free-up my future. It hurt like crazy because I knew I was walking into a dark room of the unknown, alone. The alone was the thing that burned more than anything else, and that started to make me think, a lot. Why was I so afraid to be alone and how could that fear manifest itself within my life?

These kinds of unknowns mess my mind up so I ran into the room full speed and ended up hitting the wall on the other side. That was good. My face hurt and my head was ringing, but the answer was there right in front of me and hadn’t been too far away. It was actually related to the antiquated relationship goals that I had been pursuing. I feared being alone because that would mean I wasn’t in a relationship and therefore I was not complete. It created a nice co-dependence for me in that my self-esteem would come from the relationship and therefore from another person. Given my victim mindset that I was choosing to indulge, it was easy to view others has having done something to me. It they wanted space, as is completely normal and healthy for fully functioning adults, I would interpret this as a withdrawal, which would trigger the fear of being alone, which would fuel actions geared at bringing those things back on-line. If it didn’t restore things, I became the victim.

It’s chilling to read and think that. It’s nasty to realize that this was how I was. But I get it very clearly now. I was trying to live someone elses dreams (the antiquated stuff I got from childhood) and my threshold for feeling victimized was very low. These things do not work for me, they never did and now I’m putting them to rest.

The last 6 weeks have been 6 of the more interesting of my life because I’ve given-up on having the wife, the children, the house, the whatever it was I was seeking before. These things may be part of my future but only if my OWN life is in order. A career will be of a lot more long term value to me than anything else. With a good career, I’ll have the time (money) to do what I like to do, whatever that ends up being.

These weeks have been amazing because I haven’t been victimized since I realized that I had been playing the role of victim. People have done stuff, and I’ve learned lessons from these things, but I’ve stopped being victim simply because I never was a victim. I can change my thoughts, environment and actions at will. That has been the shift over the last little while. None of my previous girl friends ever did anything to me that would make me a victim. If ever I was victimized by them it was simply because I made the choice to be victim. None of these girls ever hit me. We said stuff to each other that wasn’t very nice but we didn’t set out to destroy each other. We wanted what we wanted and I realize that them wanting something different than what I wanted didn’t mean we were trying to hurt each other. It means they were trying, like I was, to get the best life possible.

What that means now is the decision to create a wonderful and beautiful life for myself. I’ve seen how the need to be in a relationship and my victim mindset were holding me back, effectively remaining in the past. Since I don’t want that as my future, I need to bring the past into the present. This means that I need to redefine my history with me NOT being victim and instead acting as the self-interested author of my life. That is how most other people act, with their best interests in mind and rarely with malice. Others subversive intentions are not important once you make the decision to see YOU as the only real villain in your life.

We become powerful and gain control through the realization that the most damaging person in our lives is us when we are not willing to see the truth. I saw the truth this summer and took the time to recreate a purpose that will make me feel fantastic and live a joyful and passionate life free from self-victimization and blaming others for my place in life.