Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board

Voicelessness and Emotional Survival => What Helps? => Topic started by: Certain Hope on September 24, 2006, 12:57:40 PM

Title: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Certain Hope on September 24, 2006, 12:57:40 PM

   Although I am a Christian and therefore seeking to base my life, my personhood on Jesus Christ, I think that the common bond of humanity which we all share will allow others to relate to this. Whatever our personal path through this life, we all share similar struggles in daily life and the impact of emotions is definitely a big factor.
   I am struggling enormously with bringing my emotional-life and thought-life into harmony with what I'm learning is to be the daily walk of a disciple of Christ. My own personal battle with extremes has left me craving a balance which has so far eluded me, but I am seeing progress. At first, I held to the line of thought which is expressed in the first line of the following article.... emotions ~ who needs them? They are irrelevant, immaterial, can often lead a person astray, and are not to be given the time of day.
 Of course, since I believe that God made me (and each of us) an emotional being, I didn't get too far with denying my feelings and my attempts to do so only resulted in a deeper sense of alienation from my self.

   "Feelings" were not a part of my upbringing. I don't remember anyone ever asking me how I felt or expressing an emotion of their own in such a way that I could relate to it and respond. My mother often expressed displeasure, but never in so many words, and come to think of it... is displeasure even an emotion? I don't think so, yet that's her primary tone.  My dad often used humor to relieve what I think must be his own fear/avoidance of deep emotion, so there wasn't much to be learned from him in that regard, except to evade serious feelings at all cost. Then there was my aunt, who pitched many an emotional fit over the years.
I was terrified of her. In retrospect, I believe that she suffered from borderline personality disorder, which I've encountered again over the years in various friends and aquaintances. Honestly, I don't know which is worse... The flat, cold, lifeless emotional world of my mother or the volatile, exaggerated, blame shifting, push-pull, I hate you/don't leave me world of my mother's sister, who continually tried to draw others into the whirlwind of her emotional upheaval.

   Because of my own lack of example in proper, healthy ways of handling feelings, I see that I have often been drawn to those who have a very dark side, emotionally speaking. These people may, at first blush, appear to be quite sensitive and emotionally in-touch... until your way of thinking contradicts their own or you don't respond to them in a way which they deem appropriate, and then you become the target of their prideful rage. I know that I have some of all of these traits within me, by a combination of both nature and nurture, They have constantly been at war within me against what I always viewed as the more rational, reasonable, stoic perspective of my mother. What a dilemma....How to allow emotions to exist, to sit with them and not lapse into stewing on them, to hold them just long enough to be recognized, but not to control my thinking. If I can't do that for myself, then I will continually fall back into old habits of relating to others and not have the discernment to know when a relationship is going awry until it's too late and damage has been irreparable. As attracted as I am to those who are able to express emotion heartily, I am equally terrified of them when they turn the full strength of their emotional chaos onto me. So I look to Jesus, "the Author and Finisher of my faith".

   Even those who aren't believers in Jesus as God in the flesh may appreciate the following article which does a good job, I think, of examining the way He dealt with emotions in His own life. I hope so. God bless you all.


Learning From the Emotional Life of Jesus   by Bruce Narramore, Ph.D.

Feelings aren't important." "Emotions get in the way." "Don't trust your feelings." "Don't feel sad." "Just trust God."

Have you ever heard advice like this? I suspect you have because many Christians have a serious misunderstanding about the Christian life. They think Christians should live stoic-like existences, especially as far as strong emotions are concerned.

But did you know the Bible describes more than 20 different emotions that Jesus felt? And they weren't all happy feelings either! Among others, Jesus felt affection, anguish, anger, compassion, distress, grief, gladness, indignation, joy, love, peace, sadness, sympathy, troubled and weary. If Christ is our model of perfect spiritual and emotional maturity, perhaps we can learn by taking a look at a few of Jesus' emotions!

If we asked Jesus' disciples for the one word that best described His feelings for the multitudes of people He encountered throughout His public ministry, they would reply, "compassion." It is the emotion most frequently attributed to Jesus. Matthew 9:36, for example, tells us, "When He saw the crowds, He had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd." Jesus fed the four thousand because they hadn't eaten for three days and He had "compassion on these people" (Matthew 15:32). He also healed the two blind men beside the roadside out of compassion (Matthew 20:34). As a compassionate person, Jesus was profoundly moved by the sufferings and troubles of those He encountered. 

If compassion characterizes Jesus' feelings toward the multitudes, love epitomizes His relationships with those closest to Him. John the hot tempered, impulsive follower who eventually became known as the Apostle of Love, tells us that as Lazarus lay dying, his sisters, Martha and Mary, sent this word to Jesus: "Lord, the one you love is sick." Then John records, "Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus" (John 11:3-5).

Jesus didn't try to be less than
human by shielding Himself from grief
and pain. He allowed Himself to suffer
these normal human emotions.

On two occasions Jesus described himself as joyful. Both are recorded by John. The first instance follows Jesus predicting His betrayal. Jesus said, "If you obey my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have obeyed my Father's commands and remain in His love. I have told you this so that My joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete" (John 15:9-11).

Jesus connects His joy (which He wants His disciples to share) with remaining in the Father's love and obeying His command-ments. Jesus' joy, in other words, comes from a loving relationship—specifically, His relationship with His Father— regardless of His temporary circumstances.

Grief and Sorrow
Jesus was pained when He saw others suffering or missing out on all that was available for them. In one of the most poignant moments of His public life, John tells us that when Jesus saw Mary weeping over Lazarus' death, "He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled." Then, as Mary and Martha were taking Jesus to the body of Lazarus, "Jesus wept." He didn't try, as we sometimes do in times of sorrow, to be outwardly "strong" and hide or deny His feelings. His strength showed through His tears. He had the strength to care enough to weep.

Jesus also wept over Jerusalem as though His heart was breaking. And when He healed the man with a shriveled hand on the Sabbath and the Pharisees disapproved, He was "deeply distressed (grieved) at their stubborn hearts (John 3:5).

Jesus didn't try to be less than human by shielding Himself from grief and pain. He allowed Himself to suffer these normal human emotions.

Just as Jesus' compassionate nature at times led Him to grieve and sorrow, it also led Him to be angry. Perhaps the best known expression of His anger was when He drove the money changers out of the temple in Jerusalem at the Passover. John describes it this way: "So He made a whip out of cords and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; He scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves He said, 'Get these out of here! How dare you turn my Father's house into a market!' " (John 2:15-16).

Think, too, of Jesus' interactions with the religious leaders of His day. They were periodically punctuated by assertive conflicts and sometimes angry confrontations. Jesus was angered by the callous legalism that led the Pharisees to be more committed to fulfilling the letter of the law than to lovingly doing good by healing or helping others on the Sabbath.

Like Christ, mature Christians will experience angry feelings, but those feelings will be stimulated by a love and concern for others and for righteousness rather than by the frustration of our own desires.

Along with love and compassion, one other emotion of Jesus seemed to have a unifying effect upon His entire personality. That is the emotion of peace. As Jesus prepared to leave His disciples in death He told them, "But a time is coming and has come, when you will be scattered, each to His own home. You will leave me all alone. Yet I am not alone, for my Father is with me. I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world" (John 16:32-33).
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Stormchild on September 24, 2006, 06:17:06 PM
Hope, this is a terrific exposition, with a lot of useful information in it.

One detail I would add: rage runs both hot and cold - and so does pride. And, on further reflection, so does shame...!

God grant every one of us the wisdom and discernment to see and avoid both kinds, in ourselves and in others!
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Stormchild on September 24, 2006, 06:35:26 PM
Fire and Ice
            -- Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I've tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Certain Hope on September 24, 2006, 07:30:58 PM
Hi Stormy,


  The Frost poem reminds me of the Bible passage which says that "the love of many shall wax cold". That one came up months ago, I think, in the context of taking offense...

  From Matthew 24:  8 All these are the beginning of sorrows. 9 Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake. 10 And then shall many be offended, and shall betray one another, and shall hate one another. 11 And many false prophets shall rise, and shall deceive many. 12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold. 13 But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

I'm not clear on the hot and cold aspect, I guess. Can you give an example of shame running hot and cold? I think of shame as being neither... but rather lukewarm. However, I guess because of the way it numbs and freezes out the true self, it makes sense for it to be cold, though. Just thinking aloud here.

I can picture firey, explosive rage which lashes out to destroy another and icy, brittle rage which isolates and divides.

But pride? I'm not coming up with a picture of that as running hot and cold. Again, could you provide examples? I think of it as cold, along the same lines as the icy anger, due to its divisive influence.

Anything you could add would be most helpful.

Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Stormchild on September 24, 2006, 09:50:10 PM
Oh yes - hot pride is the kind that flares up when someone else pushes onto 'your' turf at work, or at church, or in your book group, or some woman flirts with your date or your husband and clearly enjoys your discomfort [and your date or husband seems totally indifferent to that same discomfort]. It's the kind that flares up when someone cuts you off on the interstate... how dare they???

Cold pride is the kind that publicly humiliates another without a smidgen of passion or compassion, for the pleasure of rubbing their face in the dirt. The kind that entices, invites, and then deliberately spurns a man who once found you unattractive and was unwise enough to let you know it; and the spurning was the whole point of the exercise. Revenge as a dish eaten cold.

I know them both, the hot pride and the cold, entirely too well.

Hot shame is the kind that makes you blush in public; the heat may come from anger, as it does with hot pride, or from embarrassment. Cold shame is the kind that freezes your guts. I think the cold in cold shame comes from fear - but with cold pride, it comes from indifference or even hatred.

I've been shamed at both temperatures too.
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Certain Hope on September 24, 2006, 10:38:32 PM
Very interesting. Thank you, Stormy.

I'd totally blanked out on the hot form of pride with the "how dare you?!?" aspect. I'd simply thought of that as anger (vis being cut off in traffic).

That cold version of pride never occurred to me either, but it surely sounds purely sadistic.

As for shame... I see now what you mean, as well. I think I've felt so much of the cold variety, it froze out any of the hot sort.

Much to learn here. Thanks again for your explanations.

Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Hopalong on September 25, 2006, 01:36:24 AM
I think pride is fear.

Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Stormchild on September 25, 2006, 07:48:04 AM
Fear of what, though? Not arguing, just asking...
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Certain Hope on September 25, 2006, 10:45:43 AM
Hi Hops and Stormy,

             On edit ~ one definition of pride:  Pride= Vanity+Narcissism+Arrogance ~
         identified as a desire to be more important or attractive to others, failing to give credit due to others, or excessive love of self

    Here's an illustration. I don't think that pride is based in fear at all:   

[It was the love story of the Middle Ages, and one of the greatest love stories of all time. Abelard, the premier philosopher of the twelfth century and an instrumental force in the rise of the University of Paris, had become attracted to the comely young Heloise, a teenage girl about twenty years his junior, who had already gained a reputation for her learning.]

Fulbert's Pride

He approached Heloise’s Uncle Fulbert (her guardian) and proposed to live with him and take Heloise under his erudite wing. Fulbert eagerly agreed, proud that his smart niece had been chosen by the leading intellectual light of Europe for special instruction.

Fulbert turned Heloise over to Abelard, giving him constant access to her, the right to direct her studies night and day, and even to administer corporal punishment. Under such circumstances, it didn’t take Abelard long to seduce Heloise. They carried on an affair in Fulbert’s house for months, Fulbert blind to it. (Abelard would later write, citing St. Jerome and referring to Fulbert, that a man is invariably the last to know what is going on in his own home; everyone knows what a woman is up to before her father or husband.)

Fulbert eventually learned of the affair and tossed Abelard out of the house. But Abelard had fallen passionately in love with his victim, so they carried on the affair whenever possible until she became pregnant. Abelard then abducted her (with Heloise’s cooperation) and took her to his sister’s house in Brittany. Fulbert was enraged to the point of madness. Abelard promised to marry Heloise, on condition that the marriage be kept secret. Fulbert, placated by the proposed marriage, agreed to keep it secret and witnessed the ceremony. He then promptly spread news of it around Paris. Heloise vehemently denied that the marriage had taken place, and argued with Uncle Fulbert about his continued insistence on spreading news about it. The arguments became fierce, possibly resulting in physical violence. Abelard, tired of Fulbert’s antics, sent Heloise to a convent.

Fulbert mistakenly thought Abelard had sent Heloise away in order to get rid of her and figured he’d been duped again. To take revenge, he and his accomplices bribed Abelard’s servant, sneaked into Abelard’s room at night, and mutilated him, cutting off, in Abelard’s words, “those parts of my body whereby I had done that which was the cause of their sorrow.” Abelard the Eunuch had been disgraced (he was, according to the Bible, an unclean creature). He resigned from Paris and became a monk. Heloise continued her life as a nun.

From Vanity to Pride to Narcissism

The romantic recounts of Abelard and Heloise concentrate on the lovers, for obvious reasons. But what are we to make of Uncle Fulbert in all this? History seems unanimous: he was a vain and avaricious man who, like all such men, was eager to curry favor with a celebrity and proud that Abelard had selected his niece for special attention. After Abelard’s deceit became known, Fulbert became a vengeful and spiteful man and, following Heloise's abduction, fell into a mad rage like only a proud man can. Following the marriage, he broke his promise and spread news about the marriage in order to save his honor. Following Heloise’s entry into the convent, he used bribery and a knife to take revenge on Abelard for an imagined wrong.

Fulbert’s actions were contemptible, but understandable. Fulbert had been charged with the upbringing of his orphaned niece, and he accepted the responsibility — at first by sending her to a convent for her education, and later bringing her to live with him. Abelard undercut that responsibility by ravishing and abducting Heloise with her consent — which was a slap to the moral instruction she learned under Fulbert’s guardianship, a slap to her uncle’s affection, and a slap to Fulbert’s honor. Charged with the upbringing of his niece, he had, by all appearances, failed miserably thanks to Abelard. Fulbert reacted to all this like a proud man: rage, broken promises, conniving, violence.

Although everyone properly condemns Fulbert’s pride, at least it was rooted in family, obligation, and honor.

The modern cynic might say, “Take away that medieval morality and honor, and Fulbert wouldn’t have reacted so madly.” The cynic might be partially right, but he would fail to see that if Fulbert’s pride hadn’t come from an inflated sense of obligation and honor, it would have come from some other source. In a fallen world, pride always rises to the surface. The only variable is, what form will it take?

Pride is a sin. In fact, it is the sin — the sin that caused original sin in the beginning and is the continuing root of actual sin today. Pride, broadly speaking, is self-regard, just as humility is self-forgetfulness. A moderate amount of self-regard isn’t bad; in fact, it’s necessary: we need at least a little self-regard in order to manage our everyday affairs. Sinful pride exists when the self-regard becomes inordinate.

I can’t catalogue all the different types of inordinate self-regard, but it seems like a fair generalization to say self-regard becomes inordinate if you (1) try to obtain things for yourself — reputation, money, fulfillment, whatever — in greater amounts than others have them; (2) are more concerned about obtaining such things for yourself than you are about serving others; or (3) are more concerned about obtaining such things than you are about obeying the higher things in life (truth, goodness, beauty, divine law, etc.). Pride, as C.S. Lewis noted, is essentially competitive: me instead of others, including God and His commandments.

In earlier times, a man like Fulbert often looked to family and obligation for the effect they would have on himself. If Fulbert had neglected his duties to Heloise, his reputation would have suffered. This is pride, no doubt, but at least it was attached to something outside himself first. The era forced a man like Fulbert to look to, to serve, something outside himself first in order to further his pride, which came second (if it came first, his reputation would have been ruined for putting himself ahead of his obligations).

In modern society, a Fulbert is more likely to concentrate on himself first, then look at the effect the “outside” things have on himself. As subtle and apparently irrelevant this distinction may seem, I think it’s an important distinction and one that has been recognized for thousands of years. It seems to be the difference between ordinary pride and narcissism, especially if we recall the full significance of the myth of Narcissus.

Narcissism: A New Cultural Norm

Narcissus was the beautiful son of a nymph who was so enamored with himself and his beauty that he scorned the love and attention of all others. Narcissus’ complete self-absorption that found no pleasure in others angered the goddess Nemesis. As punishment, she caused him to see his reflection in a still pool and fall in love with it. Narcissus couldn’t stop looking at himself and stayed there until he physically wasted away (when he died, his body vanished, leaving behind only the small flower that bears his name).

Narcissus’ sin was the psychological state called selfism: a complete absorption in the self that finds no enjoyment in things outside itself. I think C.S. Lewis was talking about narcissism in Mere Christianity when distinguishing between mere vanity and a much more dangerous type of pride:

[V]anity, though it is the sort of Pride which shows most on the surface, is really the least bad and most pardonable sort. The vain person wants praise, applause, admiration, too much and is always angling for it. It is a fault, but a childlike and even (in an odd way) a humble fault. It shows that you are not yet completely contented with your own admiration. You value other people enough to want them to look at you. You are, in fact, still human. The black, diabolical pride comes when you look down on others so much that you do not care what they think of you.(emphasis added)
Black, diabolical pride that doesn’t look to others at all, looks at nothing outside itself. That is narcissism, an extreme form of pride that even the Greek gods (surely one of the proudest bunch of characters in the history of literature) couldn’t stomach.

Today we live, to borrow the title of Christopher Lasch’s book, in a culture of narcissism. Modern society, Paul Vitz observed in Psychology as Religion, is obsessed with self-fulfillment, thanks largely to its modern psychologists who preach self-worship. According to Vitz, “Self-actualization, self-fulfillment, etc., are standard explanations for the purpose of everything from college education to life itself.... [Psychology has become] a secular cult of the self...[and is] based on the rejection of God and the worship of self.” Significantly, Vitz says this emphasis on “self-actualization” has resulted in a society obsessed with “developing the existential, autonomous self,” with the result that society is full of “existential narcissism.” Although every culture has had incidents of narcissism that result from an unstable childhood or other neurotic causes, Vitz notes, we now have a culture that encourages narcissism through its approach to life.

The modern’s quest for self-fulfillment seems like the ultimate form of pride because, in a way, the quest itself is pride. Unlike a person who looks to other things for the “boost” they give his ego (like the praise of others), the person obsessed with self-fulfillment is concentrated at all times on the self. The person is focused on himself, and anything that doesn’t convey immediate fulfillment (read “gratification”) automatically becomes suspect and is often tossed aside. There is no presumption that things outside the self, like family, must be furthered. There is only the presumption that “What brings gratification must be furthered.”

Fulbert’s counterparts in modernity don’t look outside themselves for their cue. They look internally only. They don’t care what norms or demands might be made from things outside themselves, just as Narcissus didn’t care about the affection or attention of others because he was totally absorbed in himself.

The modern narcissistic pursuit of self-fulfillment takes many forms. Anything that gratifies is seized — sex, money, vacations, sports utility vehicles, shopping, careers, hobbies. Anything that doesn’t further the pursuit of gratification — or worse yet, blocks it — is eschewed — family (kids in day care; parents in nursing homes), babies (contraception to protect active sexuality; abortion to protect one’s autonomous pursuit of fun), charity (keep time for one’s hobbies, keep money for nice cars).

In comparison to these, it seems that the form of Fulbert’s pride was somewhat laudatory. If Fulbert lived today, what might he have done? He might not have taken Heloise under his wing at all. A single man, he could have had romantic interests, and it’s hard to score with the ladies when your niece is living with you. Furthermore, he could have had his own desires and ambitions that would have been hindered by caring for a niece. And even if he had accepted responsibility for Heloise, he might not have cared that she was ravished — placing a premium on his own sexual pursuits, he might have been hesitant to deny Heloise hers.

Pride will exist. It’s unavoidable. The form it takes will largely be dictated by the presumptions of culture. Fulbert’s culture presumed the goodness of family and obligation. Our culture presumes the goodness of self. This has caused our pride to assume a particularly malignant form, the form known as narcissism. And I suspect it has become so prevalent that nobody even notices it anymore: we’re all so busy looking at ourselves in the pool, we don’t notice everyone else doing the same thing. It’s no wonder that like Narcissus, our culture at times seems to be wasting away.
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Portia on September 26, 2006, 03:59:31 AM
Hi Hope (& Storm and Hops)

I read all the first post and appreciated it, thank you! :)

Can you solve a query for me please? Your conversation about 'pride' gives me an opportunity to ask: why do I feel uncomfortable when I read or hear "You did so well, I'm so proud of you!" when - and the context is important - when it is not said by an adult to a child?

I can see why adults - parents, teachers - could be 'proud of' children because the adult is in a position of responsibility and perhaps guidance on the subject in hand. But when an adult says it to another adult - and the person speaking has zero involvement in the other's achievement -what's that about?

I hear it little but when I do, I feel quite, kinda queasy? Maybe it's me? maybe it's just meaning of words? :?

PS pride in general. There's 'false pride' and i guess there's justified pride? I'd see justified pride as pride in an achievement: "I'm really proud of this painting/piece of work" i.e. pride in the action and satisfaction too. Then there's pride in oneself, which seems like false pride to me "I'm so great/good/compassionate/loving...etc".

Actions vs. feelings? That's why "I'm proud {of your acheivement}" bugs me. If it's an achievement, only the person acting has the right to feel proud, because it's their acting that has caused the thing. The other person it seems to me is trying to take some of the responsibility for their achievement, bask in the glow of their action?
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Stormchild on September 26, 2006, 07:00:35 AM
P - at least for me, it's the way they 'take ownership' of what the other person has done. If they're truly caring friends, or supportive bosses, that doesn't feel creepy, it feels like support. If they're not those things, then it feels creepy because it is! It's enmeshment, engulfing, trying to take away from the other person by making them a part of the person giving the 'compliment'.

It's belittling, and patronizing, too, especially when the achiever is female and the patronizer male.
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Portia on September 26, 2006, 07:50:18 AM
Spot on. I wonder if any therapists ever say it to clients and if so......can it ever feel healthily supportive? I guess so? Tricky i would have thought!
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Certain Hope on September 26, 2006, 11:56:40 AM
Hi, Portia,

   You're welcome  :) 

  Re: Your query ~  One of my friends has expressed to me a similar sense of queasiness when a work colleague or another friend tells her that they're "proud" of her. It seems for her that the uncomfortable sensation is due to her fear of being held to a higher standard from that point on and she's afraid that she won't be able to maintain that same level of accomplishment. It's like the bar is continually being raised (in her own estimation) and then she feels paralyzed. I can kinda relate to that myself, I guess.

   I'm trying to remember if anyone in the past has ever said they're proud of me... and no, I don't think so. In recent memory, one of my older daughters expressed pride in me when I dyed my hair a rather unusual shade of auburn (resembling purplish-red)  :shock:

lol... I guess she figured there's hope for me yet to be "mod" (do they even still say mod...? t'was one of my Grandma's words)

And my husband says this to me on occasion, which never makes me feel queasy, because I take it as his acknowledgement of my efforts to overcome in some of my own personal struggles.

The pride in ones-self that you mention ("I'm so great/good/compassionate/loving...etc".) is the sort, I believe, which leads to downfall. I agree with you that it's false. In my own life, just about the time I think I've overcome something completely, a bigger challenge will come along to prove that I still have a long way to go. To me, it is far healthier to have that satisfying sense of accomplishment, as opposed to pride, in achievements, not in self, because self is a work in progress at all times. That's how I see it, anyway.

Stormy, your description of someone taking ownership of another's achievement is one of the chief trademarks of my mother. brother, and NPD ex-husband. By the same token, each of these individuals were capable of extreme shaming behavior when I didn't properly reflect them in their estimation. You said, It's enmeshment, engulfing, trying to take away from the other person by making them a part of the person giving the 'compliment'.   Exactly.

Thank you, both.

Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Portia on September 26, 2006, 12:15:47 PM
Hi Hope, thanks for your reply. Re your friend, that's interesting. I guess because I'm alerted by anything that could remotely 'control' me, I feel odd with the 'proud of' comment becasue I feel it's intrusive and something about ownership (by them!). With your friend, feeling like the bar's being raised - isn't it perhaps also the idea that if someone says they are 'proud of' what you've done...then...just maybe they didn't expect you to accomplish it? It suggests perhaps they thought it might not happen? Just musing here. So I can see that it might sound like: 'you've done so well, we're really proud of you (because we didn't really expect you to do it)' and implicit is (to someone who self-doubts) ' and we now have expectations that you will live up to this achievement'??

I like purple-ish-red for hair! do they even still say mod...? mm probably not. Cool? Cool! 8)

And my husband says this to me on occasion, which never makes me feel queasy, because I take it as his acknowledgement of my efforts to overcome in some of my own personal struggles.
Yes, and you know his intention is good. Good :D

satisfying sense of accomplishment, as opposed to pride, in achievements
I see the difference. Yes I mean accomplishment. As opposed to 'I did this, isn't IT great' (to other) it's more to self 'I'm really satisfied with that'. I want to accomplish but I guess not necessarily achieve. (Achieve sounds like it's all over, you've 'won', and I really don't understand that.)

Thanks CH.
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Certain Hope on September 26, 2006, 02:33:17 PM
Hi again, Portia,

  Re:  I guess because I'm alerted by anything that could remotely 'control' me, I feel odd with the 'proud of' comment becasue I feel it's intrusive and something about ownership (by them!).

The something about ownership may be a matter of "Oh, so NOW I've finally lived up to your standard?!? And what makes you think YOU can define what's right/good/proper/pride-worthy for me??!"

But I'm only guessing.  :)

With my friend, I don't think she interprets it as other people being surprised she could do it, just fear that she may not be able to "keep up the good work", which is often implied in the "I'm proud of you" statement.

 Reminds me of a thing my husband has about this comment: "No problem". For instance, when you're shopping and you ask a customer service person to check whether a certain product is in stock (which is basically his job in the first place) and his response to you is "no problem" (as though you've asked him to do you a favor, but he'll oblige you out of the goodness of his heart).

lol... I dunno... words/expressions can certainly resonate with people differently, depending on their individual perspective.

You're absolutely right about trusting someone's good intentions making all the difference, I think.

So many aspects to consider...  I prefer to live in simplicity and .. yes, even ignorance, when possible. I guess that's why avoidance comes so naturally to me  :P  Alas ... simplicity seems rarely possible in this world, which is why I am coming to value even more my immediate family and the rapport we're building here at home (and in this VESMB Group too, I think!) by saying simply what we mean and meaning what we say, all the while willing to explore the gray areas when necessary. I just ate a chocolate bar, so rambling could continue indefinitely if I don't get back to work.

Thanks, P.


Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Certain Hope on September 26, 2006, 02:37:51 PM
Dear Moon,

  Hoping and praying your little one feels better soon. Hugs to you both.

  I've heard it said that wisdom is knowledge applied in the heart... good stuff!

Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Certain Hope on September 26, 2006, 03:41:45 PM
Oh, cool Moon  :)   My little guy has had a few bad allergy days lately too... pollen count is through the roof lately. Benedryl helps alot.

Hot damp sock across the forehead works wonders, too!

Hugs back,
Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Hopalong on September 26, 2006, 07:54:15 PM
Hi Stormy,

Fear of being:
left out
taken for granted
shoved aside
unloved (scarcity model)
burning in hell

Hi Portia,
I read in some book or other about narcissism that saying "I'm so PROUD of you" is a very N-istic thing to do to another person. For the reasons you cite: One feels deflated because it's a little as though, you mean this is a good thing I did just because it delights you? (The inner voice, that you've just given some respect to by your accomplishment, falls silent....)

Title: Re: The Emotional Christian (not just for Christians, tho)
Post by: Portia on September 27, 2006, 07:10:46 AM
You got it Hops, that makes sense.


The something about ownership may be a matter of "Oh, so NOW I've finally lived up to your standard?!? And what makes you think YOU can define what's right/good/proper/pride-worthy for me??!"

Nice way to put it, i like it because it makes me think, thanks! I'm not too bothered about other people's standards, it's my independence being threatened i think. If someone patronises or otherwise puts me down, say at work, I tend to be silent and still and just stare. With "I'm so proud of you" I tend to think: 'and what exactly did you have to do with it?'. It reminds me of something I read. A successful author told her friend she was going to visit some foreign countries (for research) and her friend said "oh you're so LUCKY to be able to do that!" and the author wrote - it's not luck, i worked hard and choose to do this and have made it happen. By saying 'you're lucky' to someone in those circumstances you're ignoring their personal agency/responsibility/accomplishments....kind of stripping them of what is rightfully theirs. It's like what Beth was saying about her mother, implying that Beth is successful because she's either lucky or someone is being 'kind' to her or whatnot.

I'm big on personal rights (legal) and everyone's responsibility for themselves. When i get a whiff of that being threatened or diminished, i guess that's what i respond to, inside - and the 'proud of' thing goes that way too - it diminishes someone as a person. I was severely diminised at home so I know where it comes from and I know sometimes that what my brain says in response isn't 'reality'....that's why in the 3D world i tend to stay silent and just stare. Otherwise it might come out of my mouth and I'd have to say "Oooops! Usually I just think that stuff!!" :D

I see what your H means about "No problem". Makes me think about me saying 'no worries' but I hope folks know I mean 'please don't worry, it's not a worry for me and I don't want you to worry'.

Words! Intentions. 8)