For a long time I haven’t felt like I belong. For the most part I have felt only at ease around my immediate family and a few good friends. I’ve often felt that people either don’t like me or that I make them scared. I have often felt like I can read peoples minds and that I know what they are feeling and thinking. Des called me a reflector and commented that I likely have a lot of mirror neurons that allow me to experience more of what people are feeling than other people do. I don’t recall the entire conversation about this, but it did make sense. I do get into peoples heads very quickly and people open-up to me a lot more than they would with other people.
Some people make me sick though, almost physically sick and these tend to be manipulative toxic and emotionally void individuals. This is different from people who don’t like me or I don’t like, it’s people that darken my experience, offer no joy or effectively violate social norms in terms of matching transactional strokes. Someone calling me a dick or worse doesn’t impact me as someone who gives me nothing to reflect or causes me to feel black and empty. I hate being manipulated, it leaves me feeling gamed and when I feel it happening I am usually close to puking or voiding my bowels.
The last 45 minutes of day two were worth at least $1000, likely more, although I wouldn’t have believed it as they were happening.
I was riding a high. I was getting everything that was coming at me, I was rolling with the punches, learning the lessons, seeing myself in everything that people were saying. This was my Landmark Forum weekend and the universe had finally presented me on my path again. Then we started talking about strong traits – our go to ways of acting that help us cope with things that we don’t have the ability to cope with. I was pretty confident that passion was one of mine, it always seemed like I was passionate about things and I always liked the way it sounded – there’s a positive romantic feeling to it so saying it, and having people agree that I was passionate was nice.
Now for reason of copyright I’m not getting into the how, why and what of strong traits, but the leader asked us to think about them and then walked around the room getting us to say one of them. When I said “passionate” and he repeated “passionate” back to me, I got that sick feeling I get when someone is running a game on me. He continued around the room, but he could have jumped out the window for all I knew and cared, I was stuck in the moment of him repeating it back to me. I hated this guy; well, I hated the way I felt when he spoke to me. My body was telling me something that I needed to be aware of and deal with. I’ve had few moments as compelling at this one so I wasn’t going to waste it. I got up and walked to one of the staff and told them that I needed to talk to them. We left the big room and I then said “privately.” Once inside one of the smaller rooms the following conversation took place:
“What’s going on Patrick?”
“When ___ repeat passionate, I thought I was going to puke. That’s information to me, and I need to figure it out.”
“Okay, who does ___ remind you of?”
I take a moment before saying “to say my dad would be too simple, plus I liked my dad, he didn’t make me sick.”
“Okay.” Long pause.
“Some sort of authority figure, but to be honest, he reminds me of myself.” Pause before “but I’m a manipulative little prick.”
“___ is a manipulative person too” slight smile.
“Okay, what does that mean?”
“I can’t tell you.”
There is a moment or two and we return to the big room. The homework is assigned and I am the first person out the door and I’m likely already on the highway by the time anyone in the front row has made it to the back door. I’m upset, I’m not certain going to this thing was a good idea. I don’t know why I’m so spinning, but I don’t feel good at all. Psychologically wounded. I call Kate, she doesn’t answer, I call Des, he does. I tell him what has happened and he sort of laughs.
“Good, you’re laughing, I’m not going to die.” He says something to the effect of “yeah you will, but not tonight or because of this.” We chat about my manipulation, how it has been there as long as he has known me, how my folks have had to deal with it for most of my life, how there have been very few people in my life who haven’t had me do it to them and how he’s immune to it, but only because he feels it and calls me on it.
“Maybe this is why I was doing all of the compulsive stuff, why I was getting sick so much towards the end of my last few relationships, why I was always trying to alter the way I looked.” His reply of “maybe, but stay with it for a while, you’re on to something and to consider the possibilities” was what I needed.
“But I’m not a dick, I tend to act in the best interests of people, particularly if they enroll me in helping them. I’m caring and compassionate.”
“Yes, you aren’t a bad guy. You feel shittie when you hurt people or do things that aren’t win:win. Stay with these things Pat, there’s a lot that’s coming out.”
We get off the phone and I swim in the possibilities. I end up talking with Kate and, by this point, it has hit me. Yes, I am a manipulative person, I’m extremely analytical and I have a lot of compassion. I feel like dirt when I am mean to people and my spontaneous actions are towards fairness, compassion and helping. But I am ruthlessly controlling and extremely effective at getting what I want. I always get what I want. I am hard pressed to remember a time when I didn’t get what I want. Even the things that I consciously don’t think I wanted, I unconsciously wanted. Even the things that I say I want and don’t get end-up make my life move forward. Be it the start of something, the end of something, the possibility of something or the end of the possibility of something, ALL of it moves my life forward and, if someone is with me, it will move them towards the things they say they want.