Wednesday, October 17, 2007

More on FINE

Kahless had a point when she commented on yesterday's blog, Fine

I'm not sure if she intended to have a point or I just read it that way, but her comment stated "I guess using your definition, I am a game player/control freak." It took me back for a minute because I didn't intend for anyone who was working on their issues, as Kahless is, to be lumped into the group I was referring to. But I made the statement like black and white, I shouldn't be surprised to see it read that way.

But like everything else in life, there is a lot of gray area here. There are loads of people who might give "fine" for an answer for an assortment of reasons who are not totally controlling and and manipulative people. It is in a matter of degrees.

For most of my life, I was actively engaged in controlling and manipulative behavior. I had no clue that I was, but I was none the less. I thought if I just tried hard enough people would love me. Well, that's manipulative behavior. I was trying to control how the people around me felt by doing things for them. I told them what I thought they wanted to hear and I acted the way they wanted me to act. All in the hopes of being loved.

It didn't work. They didn't love me. I was unable to feel loved, even if they did because I didn't love myself. I couldn't love myself because of all the secrets I carried.

That brings us back to fine. Through all of this "I was fine!" I had to be fine because if I wasn't fine, if I shared how I really felt even with myself, the secrets might come out. That self protection that allowed me to manipulate my feelings also kept me trapped.

While I was involved in my controlling and manipulative behavior, I was still capable of being a pretty good friend. I have always tried to live my life by the golden rule, "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." I would never sacrifice a friend to save myself no matter what was at stake.

I guess that means there was a line for me. I would not try to control and manipulate to the extent that a con artist, thief, child molester or murderer etc would do. But the extent to which I was involved in that behavior certainly enabled the victimizers in my life to continue to do whatever their proclivity suggested.

I've learned over the years the more involved a person is in avoiding their feelings, the less trustworthy that person is. For example my mother, she would go to any extent, including give up her children to avoid feeling any kind of emotional discomfort or pain. I, on the other hand, did therapy despite the pain because I didn't want my children to be caught in the same emotional trap that had nearly killed me. That would put my mother and me on opposite ends of the spectrum.

Controling and manipulative behavior comes in degrees along that spectrum. The true test is being able to figure out those degrees so that you can know who is worthy of your trust and who isn't.

I believe it is probably safe to say that most people are involved in some form of manipulating their feelings.No one likes to feel pain or any of those "negative" emotions. Human nature seems to have a built in instinct to run from them. As people mature psychologically, they learn to deal with their feelings in appropriate manners.

Personally, I believe human beings learning how to deal with their feelings is an evolutionary process. As each generation finds it doesn't like some experiences from their past and how it made them feel, it adapts and learns new ways to cope with the feelings and the behavior that caused those feelings.

For example, thirty years ago, sexual harassment in the work place was not a politically correct topic of conversation. Instead it was swept under the rug with most of the other ways in which primarily woman were abused. Today, major corporations as a matter of course,teach their management to be aware of what constitutes sexual harassment so it doesn't occur in the workplace. That is an evolution in how we human beings treat one another.

How we deal with our feelings is on the same course. Television shows, self-help books and magazines are filled with all forms of psychobabble all aimed at helping we humans learn to live with ourselves and our feelings. In this process there are a lot of people out there who are "talking the talk" as the AA people would tell you and "not walking the walk."

I've heard people talking about the dysfunctional family they came for with such contempt that you might think they are different from that family. And even though they might just watch "Dr Phil" on a regular basis, they are not one iota better in their dysfunction than the family they are so contemptuous of, up to an including abusing their children to the very same degrees.

Trying to sort out who is and who isn't "walking the walk" to find people worthy of trust can be a mine field. With as much as I've learned about human nature, the very best weapon I have is still to trust my gut.

And though I may not be able to put into words what it is about "those people who are fine" that trigger my intuition about game players and control freaks, I get a feeling in my gut that is loud and clear. It's not every "fine," I hear. It's more an attitude of committed to "fine" if that makes any sense. And it's usually accompanied by a smiling mask. When I see the pair together and that tell tale feeling substantiates it, I know the parties involved are game players and control freaks and probably not close friend material.

It's not meant as a measure or as a condemnation. It's meant as a tool. Trying to heal from abuse takes lots of love and support. Any thing that might distinguish who is worthy of the trust of a survivor from those who would take advantage of a survivor given the chance is important. I have the scars to prove that smiling, friendly faces can hide the worst types of offenders.


Anonymous said...

I didnt take no offense to what you said. I am rubbish at some of the feelings stuff and can come across blunt.
I say fine alot; because either
- I think people arent interested; or
- its an automative response; and
- I like to push down and hide how our feel.

Sometimes just after I have said 'fine' I think, damn why did I just say that?
Other times I worry that if I tell the truth of how I feel, then I just might end up upsetting myself!


jumpinginpuddles said...

we do fine as quickly as we do we will be ok or it doesnt matter,its a dismissal so others cna simply get on with their life and they dont have to get bogged down with the patheticness of who we are.

Rising Rainbow said...

Kahless, I am glad that I didn't offend you. I would never want to do that.

I know that telling the truth about how you feel can be upsetting. But as long as you are with someone safe to share your feelings, sharing them can help get them out in the open so they can be resolved.

jumpinginpuddles, I feel sad to hear that you think you are pathetic. That is just NOT true. Yes, you have issues that need to be resolved but they are a direct result of abuse and that is not your fault!! Please don't be so hard on yourself. It is not productive and you don't deserve it.