Wednesday, December 4

Calmness In the Eye of the Storm, Part V.................. 12/4/13

       Happiness is not something ready made. It comes from 
     your own actions [and I would add, choices]. Dalai Lama 
        I am relating with an un-friendly man.

       He is unhappy and an emotional vampire.   As a child he suffered abuse.  His face is the mask of pained anger.  It is what you see in portraits of Beethoven.

        Both were chil-dren of an alcoholic.  (See footnote for the source of Beethoven's anger.)  This unhappy person suffers from the malady that afflicted the composer.  He has tinnitus---constant ringing in his ears.

        It is a result of persistent screaming he endured from his mother while young.

        Over the past two years and four months this person has transformed.  He's gone from being mildly civil and occasionally nice to just plain mean.  The other day he issued a written com-mand.

        I was incredu-lous.  I live in the United States.  I am not accustomed to others telling me what I can or cannot do.  I was certain I misunderstood.

         I hadn't.

         I told him I would not com-ply.  He used classic Anglo Saxon words.  My need for respect, tran-quility were violated.  That was disappointing because I was kind towards him during our interaction.

        When he uttered obscenities, I told him, "We'll talk when we can discuss this issue as adults."  I excused myself and left.

          It is not our job to please unpleasant people.  

         We don't need the applause of others to feel good about ourselves.  Emotional constancy---is the fullness of love re-ceived from Balcony People.  It sustains us during tough times.  We can count on it.

       Not caving in to emotion-al abuse allows us to maintain our equanim-ity.  Even when what is spewed out at us is nasty sewage.  Ninety-six percent of our population is codependent.  It is surrender-ing our values because we fear the anger or rejection of another.

         This fellow's biting remarks normally hits its mark.  Ninety-six percent of the time he causes others to react.  Not me.

          But for codependents, tension usually gets their buttons pushed.  The nature of codependents is pleasing angry people.  We do not have to.  In fact, it  only makes matters worst, when we submit to emotional tyrants.  We enable them.

        Instead, it is better using emotional aikido.  When we do, we avoid bullish behavior.

         With recovery, we maintain our serenity when con-fronted with an intimidating face.

          Given the silent treatment can be ig-nored.  It is seen for what it is. Manipula-tion.  It is an attempt at controlling us.

          We can move be-yond codependency.  Recovery makes it possible to not yield to others. We do not ignore our needs.  When we respect others, we equally respect our wants, too.

          Recovery prevents us from living in the margin of our lives.   We are internally referented.  When relating with angry people we stay in our power.  We remain true to our values.

    We can stand for ourselves without standing against oth-ers.  We feel the enormity of our emotions.  But we are not over-whelmed by them.

       Recovery allows us to say our "no" as gently as our yes.  We don't get triggered by others.  We are not re-sponsible for other people's emotions.

       It's nice knowing that the behavior of others is a statement about them, not us.  We can be glad we are not externally refer-ented.

My Gratitudes:

1.  I'm happy that I am thriving while suffering loss----loss of respect, dignity and kindness from another, the emotional Beethoven in my life.
2.  I'm encouraged joy is not related to how others treat me.

Witnessing a Beautiful Scene
      I've been working with one person for nine months. She's quiet in social settings.  I knew she was elo-quent.  The problem was she doesn't believe in herself.

      Tonight, she spoke at a gathering. She did so, impeccably.  I couldn't stop the tears that flowed as I watched her smile and speak of the growth she's enjoying.  I was so proud of her.

Serenity, Community and Joy
Applying Healthy Principles When Relating With Others

       I was touched by an amazing time.  I met with seven friends to-night. It was uplifting, being with positive others.They apply practical, recovery literature in their lives.

      The people gathered respect Al-Anon Family Group principles.  These guidelines have gone from being information to wisdom applied each day.  The knowledge has moved from the head to the heart.

       Each person who attended tonight are overcoming their vulnera-bilities, strengthening their character.
"We admitted that we are powerless over alcohol [in another], that our lives had become unmanageable."                                                  Step One
      Tonight was soothing. I nurtured me.  I was at an Al-Anon Family Group meeting.  We discussed Step One.  It reminds us it is not our job to change others.

      We are powerless over alcohol's grip on loved ones.

      We learn to take care of ourselves.  We handle the havoc alcoholism creates in our lives. Boundaries are used to deal with bombastic or out-of-control personalities.

      We use creative ways to overcome tension.

      We learn how to deal with the rage of others.  We do not take on the shame of the alco-holic or that of anyone who troubles us.  The behavior of another is never a statement about us.

       This step has another perspective, too.  It's not our right to dissect others.  We don't judge those who trouble us.  Nor do we do we gossip about them. We do not violate their anonymity.

      That is not keeping the focus on ourselves.

       In recovery, we learn to not let others rent territory in the property of our minds. Their behavior or values are not our issues.

      We can substitute the word alcohol, in this step, with any other situation.  The book, Hope for Today, p. 164, in Al-Anon Family Group literature says so.  We can admit our powerlessness over our fear, anxiety, depression or anything else.

      Like the rudeness of others.  Or our procrastinating tendencies. Detaching, kindly is often the answer.  Especially in our relationships with difficult others.   The acronym for this word is: Don't Even Think About Changing Him/Her (or the situation).

      If the issue involves ourselves, we do our best to apply healthy al-ternatives.  We turn our struggles over to God.  We rely upon Him for the results.
We entrust the growth or welfare of another to God.  We don't evaluate those who disturb us.  Even when we are certain they are wrong.  It is impor-tant remembering all judgments are never experienced.
        They are imagined.
      Our job is seeing what we can do to have the life we seek.  We keep the focus on us.  Compassion is way better.

       Even for the Beethovenish guy mentioned above. Our life can be dif-ficult.  If we don't detach from unpleas-ant behavior.

"Lord, when we are wrong, make us willing to change.  And when we are right, make us easy to live with."    Peter Marshall
How About You? 
What are your three gratitudes for today?  I'd love hearing them.  You contribute to the community we have here, when you post what makes you glad and upbeat.

Footnote: The Rest of the Story
    Beethoven's father was a minor musician, often staying out, late at taverns, getting drunk. Frequently, the young composer's father trotted friends from the tavern to the home, at two or three in the morning. Ludwig would be awakened, his parent demanding he perform for the guests.

     Play he would.  And how. If, however, the young boy made a single wrong note, he was tossed down the cellar stairs, locked inside for the night.

     Now you know this, and other abuse he received from a bombastic, narcissistic father---and the chaos he endured as a child----was cause for his serious mug. 


Syd said...

It sounds as if you handled the fellow well without losing your cool. It is hard when someone verbally attacks to not react. And you are right, it is about what he is going through and not really about you. You were just there as a target.

Lots of good things going on over here.

Carl H said...

Dear Innkeeper,

On this frigid-for-us Thursday night, I am grateful for;

1. A moving song by Eric Clapton and J.J. Cale on their "Escondido" album called "Three Little Girls," where Eric is apparently singing a sweet serenade to his three daughters; moved me to tears in the car while driving home from our wine country at dusk in the 12th work hour of a long days journey into night.

2. A civil and productive chat with our "Petulant Son."

3. A passing text from our East Coast/Virginia son telling us that "The Sound of Music" with Carrie Underwood was on NBC. We tuned in at 8:00 PM, and were at once whisked down memory lane to the 60's, Julie Andrews and the original Academy Award Winner - DELIGHTFUL!

4. The wood burning stove in the basement that heats our homes core, and the one in our living room that warms our toes as we melt the day away on the evening couch...

Anne said...

I am admitting my powerless after a tense and wrestless night. It is soothing to read I am not alone as well as gain hope by looking up AFG groups I can attend today.
I am grateful for The Inn. It has been inspiring to stop by and visit.
I am grateful there are 2 meetings today near me to attend today.
Thank you for being there.

Pablo said...

Dear Anne,

It was wonderful reading your comments when you wrote them, a while back. it is even better, replying, connecting with the thoughts you expressed.

For privacy reasons, you can e-mail me, if you want to share what made for a difficult night. Have you been able to attend an Al-Anon Family Group meeting? I hope so. They do wonders for me.

It helps me when I air out my struggles with others who do not criticize or correct. This happens when I attend an Al-Anon meeting.

I will always be available for you,

The Innkeeper

Quotes from the Posts

"I'm mindful that our thoughts affect the words we use, our words influence our actions, our actions shape our character and our character determines our destiny."

From "My Character Determines My Destiny." To read it, please click here.

"Progress not perfection, is better than no progress at all, especially when we're trying to rid ourselves from unwelcome dragons that dwell within the closets of our soul."

From, "Still Learning" which, within four days, became the most popular post
written. To read it, please click here.

"Worry does not empty tomorrow of its trouble, but it does empty today of its strength"
From the post: "Life Is Not a Correspondence Program." Click here to read it.

"Even though we cannot control our circumstances, we can control how we choose to respond to them."

From, "Handling Stress and Dealing With an Emotional Bully."Click here to read this post.

"Nope, being busy isn't exciting. Boring is good. Because boring is not boring; boring is being healthy, living a balanced life that has serenity"

From: "Do You Know What It Means If You Are Too Busy?" For more, please click here.