Day 147: A Memory, a Trigger Word

In my previous post - Day 146: The Credit is Mine! - I said that as I was writing, I had a memory come up. So, if you haven’t yet – I suggest reading the previous post first.

The memory that came up was quite a ‘significant one’ – meaning: a memory that I have been working with for quite some time or that has come up several times in my process and each time there are different points revealed from/of it. And so, here again, lol.

This memory stands in relation to my relationship with a particular person that I was not on good terms with. I experienced this person as judgmental, unfair and brutal. Needless to say that over time, I accumulated a vast amount of reactions and resentment towards this particular person, but I would never voice them – I would brood and curse in silence and complain about the person to others. Now, within this memory – I was having a discussion with my mother and we were not agreeing on something. This other person was present as well and at some point started shouting and ranting at me – I cannot remember all that was said – but one particular point I remember very clearly – these were the words that triggered my reactions to ‘shoot through the roof’, smash the plate I was holding onto the kitchen floor, shout that I’ve had enough at the top of my lungs and get into a huge fight.

Now – those particular words that were said that triggered my reactions to go through the roof – I had always remembered them, but I hadn’t placed any importance on why I was remembering these words or even why these words had such an impact in terms of the intensity of my reactions increasing so extensively. The words were ‘you think you’re the queen and everyone must just bow for you’ – lol. So, in writing my previous blog about how I experience the prideful character as being a queen on a throne within myself and any time someone gives ‘praise’ it is like a person bowing before the queen and how this relationship to praise had become like an addiction within myself – in ‘needing people to praise me’ – I could suddenly why these words that were spoken in that moment would have such a big impact – because they were striking at the heart of the prideful character that I had become, lived and embodied totally and completely by that age.

It is fascinating – every time I would remember these words I would think ‘that just shows how little this person knew and understood me, if that’s how they see me – a queen who wants everyone to bow for her’ – because on a conscious level and how I would interact with people on a conscious level, I did not at all see myself this way, let alone want to be seen this way – but on a deeper level, these words summarized a very large aspect of who I was accepting and allowing myself to be and exist as.

Herein – I remember very clearly how the word ‘queen’ within what he said, was the one word in relation to which I allowed a flood of reactions to surge up inside me – showing that this is a word that is polarized within and as me – holding both positive and negative charges.

So, I’ll write a bit more on the polarization of the word ‘queen’ in my next post.


Day 146: The Credit is Mine!

In my recent blogs I’ve been exploring the Prideful Character – for more perspective read:

Day 141: Pride – The Root of All Sin?
Day 142: Pride and Perfection
Day 143: Pride – Prize versus Hide
Day 144: It doesn’t matter what you say, I already decided I won’t listen to you
Day 145: Maleficent – Pride and Regret

Another aspect of the Prideful Character is wanting to get credit for ‘doing something good’.

Examples are for instance:

  • Sharing an idea with someone and then another person sharing that idea with a group where the group then perceives that the person who shared the idea with the group is the one who came up with the idea and people are then congratulating that person – and now self reacts – because ‘that was MY Idea!’, ‘the credit should go to ME!’.
  • When working in a group on a project or to achieve a certain goal and as the group is moving towards or reaching success in its goals, self is convinced that it is because of one’s own contribution that there is success – for at one point raising an idea, or for carrying out a specific task – as though self is the one to which all the credit for the success belongs – when actually, there was a whole group involved.

This point stems again from one’s relationship to praise – where, if one has created a relationship to praise in a way where one believes one ‘doesn’t exist’ if one isn’t being praised – then any and all situations in which self would expect a possibility of praise – will be grasped at and if the praise does not come – there is a tantrum – because self perceives having a right to the praise.

It’s fascinating, because there’s a point of desperation within this point – similar to an addict desperately needing a ‘fix’ to feel okay, to feel at peace – as though one is time and time again building and walking into this intensifying experience of anxiety and instability – as though, if someone doesn’t give some praise soon – one’s foundation will be pulled from under self – because ‘who am I if I’m not being praised?’.

Lol, when I look at the prideful character, it’s truly like seeing a queen on a throne within one’s mind – and within sitting on the throne – hands on the arm-rests of the chair – eyes straight ahead– there is an experience of absolute stability – but it’s not in fact stability – it’s an experience of control. But! The queen can only be queen if it has subjects that recognize her as the queen – and if no one has come by in a while to bow at the queen – then who is the queen a queen of? What does it mean to be a queen if there is no one bowing before the queen??

And this ‘bowing before the queen’ is in the form of receiving praise from others – when praise is given – which is not necessarily praise from the point of the person giving, but how it is perceived by the prideful character; for instance, it could just be a point of cross-reference and a person agreeing, or it can be someone encouraging what self is busy with – but in the eyes of the prideful character, any and all feedback that is not ‘negative’, is ‘positive’ and is ‘praise’ – as though someone is actually bowing before self – before the queen – and now the queen’s legitimacy is restored and can ‘rest assured’ on the throne for a while again – experiencing that point of ‘apparent stability’ which is in fact control – in being able to suppress the actual anxieties and fears underneath the surface by placing ‘praise’ on the forefront.

I’ll continue with this point in my next post, because as I’m writing I have a memory coming up that I’m starting to see in a new light, in new understanding – so will share that in my next post!


Day 145: Maleficent – Pride and Regret

This blog-post is a continuation to:

Day 141: Pride - The Root of All Sin?
Day 142: Pride and Perfection
Day 143: Pride – Prize versus Hide
Day 144: It doesn't matter what you say, I already decided I won't listen to you

Maleficent is the name of the evil fairy in Sleeping Beauty and also the name of the new Disney movie where this classic fairy tale is told from Maleficent’s point of view. Without going into a debate about whether it’s a good movie or not or whether it is cool or not that the story was told from the villain’s point of view – I found the movie depicting the point of Pride quite nicely so will use it as a reference from that perspective.

In the story, Maleficent starts out as an ‘innocent’ fairy. She’s revered by the other creatures in her domain for her large wings, her expression, her devotion. At some point, she is ‘betrayed’ by a friend, a human, that she had trusted with access to ‘fairyland’ to call it that – I don’t recall the exact terms. In any case, her human friend cuts off her wings to bring them to his dying king so that he may ascend to the throne after the king’s death. When she realized the ‘betrayal’, she decided to take revenge and destroy what is most precious to him – his daughter.

In that moment, it seemed like the right thing to do – she felt justified in her decision of avenging her loss and betrayal. As the child grows up on the country-side under the stewardship of the ‘three good fairies’ – Maleficent keeps an eye on her and on occasion steps in to make sure the child is not harmed. As the child grows older, her and Maleficent start to develop a relationship – the child thinking/believing that Maleficent is her fairy godmother. It becomes clear how Maleficent starts to see the child in a different light – no longer just ‘the most precious possession of my enemy and therefore my target for destruction’ – but a child in her own right, with her own expression, her own life. More and more you can see the doubt in Maleficent in terms of the decision she had made and the curse she had placed on the girl, Sleeping Beauty. But she wipes away the doubt and the regret, because ‘she made that decision and in that moment, she felt so right and righteous about it, she cannot, she won’t, reconsider it. Then of course, she will only admit her mistake when it is too late and the curse takes effect.

Another way in which the prideful character is so nicely depicted in Maleficent is her total disregard for everything and everyone around her. Whereas she used to care and nurture, she starts to poison and harm – in the movie, she literally casts a ‘dark cloud’ over her land and ‘sucks the joy’ out of everything around her. The only thing on her mind is her revenge, her path, her point of view – nothing else matters – everything can be sacrificed for her self-interest. And anyone who tries to point it out to her is shut down.

Oh, how far we are willing to go to protect our self-interest. Would it not be easier to admit the mistake? To take a step back and see the consequences one is busy creating, for oneself and for everyone else involved? To see that: okay, I am experiencing some very strong emotions here and I reaaaaaallly want to stick with my point of view – but that is all it is: my point of view – am I really choosing the optimum path here? Is this really a solution? Whom does this benefit, whom does this harm?

In the movie, of course, all magically ends well, but we all know how, in real life, when our mistakes catch up with us, we don’t just get a ‘happily ever after’ handed to us – the consequences are already created and now have to be faced and walked through. Is our pride really worth it? Superimposing an experience over reality, superimposing ourselves over others – to what end? To eventually have to realize the same thing: 'crap, I made a mistake'.


Day 144: It doesn't matter what you say, I already decided I won't listen to you

I ended off in my previous post with saying how I started internalizing ‘pats on the back’ – in that, if I felt I had done something well, I would ‘congratulate myself’ and ‘feel proud about myself’ in relation to what I’d done. As well as the other side of trying to hide the mistakes I made, not only from others, but from myself as well.

Now, where I find the Prideful Character to be most apparent is in moments where someone makes a suggestion to me or points out that something I did could have been done differently. How I experience my reactions in such moments it that there is a sudden jolt of anxiety in my solar plexus area, as though the anxiety is coming from all over my body and centers in the solar plexus. And, you know, how anxiety is experienced like a ‘current’ – like a wild river suddenly rushing in – well, with the anxiety centering in my solar plexus, I first experience it as that fast moving energy, but only for a split second – and then it’s like I harden it into a rock. Like – if you’d have molten lava, and pour icy water of it and then it turns to hard rock. So, in those moments, there is first anxiety, which I then immediately transmute into that hardness/toughness, which you can call stubbornness, arrogance, righteousness. And then, from within that experience, I reply with justifications.

Now, this reaction pattern moves very fast and very automated. I had previously looked at the point, but there was a dimension I was missing. In opening up the Prideful character, I saw a new dimension. I had already seen the point of taking it personally, the fear of making mistakes, the self-judgment and the polarization from inferiority to superiority – but there is a specific dynamic that I had overlooked. And that dynamic is that – the action for which a person is giving me suggestions/comments/criticism – I had already congratulated myself on that, I had already classified it as a good thing or the right thing to do, and from there, given myself a pat on the back for doing that – and then, of course, I felt proud about myself. So, afterwards, in someone suggesting I could/should have done it differently – I’d feel I have to ‘give back’ that ‘pat on the back’ that I gave myself – and… well… I didn’t want to – lol. In slowing down the experience, there’s a thought of ‘no, no, no! I already made myself feel proud over that decision/action, I already validated myself through that – no, I don’t want to reconsider that at all!’

And of course, herein I am completely limiting myself – because all I want to do is stick to my opinion, the perception I had of myself in the past in terms of what I did and what I considered within making that decision/performing that action. I am unwilling to re-evaluate myself – let alone take responsibility for my mistakes.

If I allow myself to stick to that stance within myself, of righteousness, stubbornness, arrogance – then we get to that ‘other meaning’ of the word ‘pride’ – where a person takes on a stance of superiority to justify what self is doing, in spite of what is common sense or best for all. And so we’ve come full circle in the base design of ‘Pride’ and how it starts off seemingly innocent - ‘just a pat on the back’, but dependent on one’s relationship with these gestures – one can develop pride in the sense of arrogance, righteousness, spitefulness, self-centeredness and total disregard for others – which, fascinatingly, are characteristics described to whom? To female villains! Have a look at the evil queen in Snow White, the evil witch in Sleeping Beauty, the evil step mother in Cinderella – each of them are the Characterization of PRIDE – look at the stance, look at the facial expressions, look at the obsessions – they are all expressions of pride.

I’ll continue in my next post by using the movie ‘Maleficent’ as a reference of the play-out of the pattern of pride, as it is quite clearly depicted there.


Day 143: Pride – Prize versus Hide

So, my relationship with pride was one of polarity. On the one hand there was this desire of being acknowledged, validated, appreciated, encouraged and admired. And within the belief that the only thing ‘adults’ liked and appreciated me for were my ‘performance levels’ – I started defining myself/my value entirely in terms of people being proud of me and me being proud of myself. So, that energy of pride became a ‘necessity’ – if there was no pride, either from others or from myself, then how did I matter?
On the other hand – any miss-step, any mistake, or the possibility of a mistake became huge fears, and these were parts of myself I would try to hide at all cost.
So, on the one side I was trying to be visible/seen/noticed, but on the other I was hiding and isolating myself.

So – within this Pride Character I found myself participating in two ‘opposing’ forces – an outward one and an inward one. And, interestingly, in looking at the word ‘Pride’ – it reflects this duality. Within the sound of the word ‘Pride’ one can see the words ‘prize’ and ‘hide’. ‘Prize’ in terms of winning, being the best, getting to be on the stage an in the spotlights. ‘Hide’ then of course, the opposite of wanting to hide in the shadows and not allow people to see one’s mistakes/failures or even the fact that one is capable of making mistakes or fail.

This dynamic started playing out within myself as well – meaning – I would start giving myself pats on the back when I thought I did something well and I would hide my mistakes from myself – trying to convince myself that I was innocent in the matter or any other forms of self-manipulation consisting of excuses and justifications so I wouldn’t need to admit and face up to my mistakes.

I’ll continue in my next post.