If you’ve ever wondered why someone could be so cruel, it’s time to accept that selfish people just don’t care about you. Selfish people will slowly disintegrate your self-worth, self-esteem, self-trust, self-love, and self-compassion, which is everything that makes up your power. They want what they want and don’t care if you care.
My question to you today is:
“Is there a person in your life – whether it be family, friend, coworker, partner, whoever – treating you badly in some way that not only makes you feel bad, but makes you feel bad about yourself?”
That’s kind of where I go with emotional abuse and manipulation and any type of controlling behavior. When there’s control to the level that they want you to feel bad about yourself, I call that abusive, because what they’re doing is taking away your self-worth. They are doing their best at least to take away your self-worth, and your self-esteem, and your self-confidence, trust in yourself, your power.
Everything that I just described are components of your power.
When you want to do something in the world when you want to take action in the world, your power is your self-esteem, your confidence, even your ego – when you have a healthy nurtured ego, not an over-inflated narcissistic ego, but a healthy nurtured one, where you feel pretty damn good about yourself and it’s okay. When you have the self-worth, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-trust, and you have all these “self-whatevers” that are positive about you, you have your power.
Someone who wants to control you, manipulate you, coerce you, emotionally abuse you – many of these share the characteristics of the other – wants to take away your power. I want you to be very aware when any of these things in yourself start diminishing, then you might be able to notice the pattern forming or that has been formed over the months or years. When you see the pattern, you may not be able to see the signs. In fact, a lot of times, this is a very insidious process.
It’s insidious because most and I’m going to say, “normal people” – most people who don’t want to control you, most people that actually want you to be happy, and they’re happy when you’re happy, most people don’t want to take away your power. They want to see you full of self-worth, self-esteem, confidence, and being secure in yourself, and being able to tackle anything. They want to see that in you, that makes them happy. It makes them proud to see you accomplish something.
When someone is proud that you’ve accomplished something or succeeded at something or they’re just happy that you’re happy, you know you have someone that’s supportive. You know that you have someone that’s loving and at least leaning more on the selfless side than the selfish side. We run into people that are selfish. They want what they want and they don’t care who they hurt to get what they want. They just do what it takes.
But then there are those people, the ones I’m talking about now, that will say, “Of course I care about you. Of course I love you. Of course you’re important to me. Of course I want this to work out” yet their actions show differently. Their words say one thing but their actions show another.
This is probably one of the most important points that I’ve probably ever made when it comes to any type of unhealthy communication. That is, you have to look for congruence.
Congruence is when their words match their intentions which match their behavior. There’s more to it, there’s body language and things like that, but when you find that there’s incongruence, where their words don’t match their behavior, or you discover that their intentions were different, then you have a gauge to go by. You have an inconsistency that you can look at and say, “Wait, this is incongruent. This doesn’t match what they said.”
Often I’ll find that people that are victim to unhealthy communication and all types of emotional abuse, they will ignore the incongruencies, they will ignore the inconsistency. Well, I shouldn’t say ignore, because they notice it at first, like, “Hey, she said she was going to do it and she didn’t do it. He said he was going to go to therapy and he didn’t, or he came up with an excuse.”
I want you to be careful about the excuse machine people, first of all. When they have excuse after excuse after excuse, they’re not going to do it and if they did, it’s only to do it for you. It’s not because they really want to do it. Could I be wrong? Is there a series of bad luck events that could happen to someone? Absolutely. But you know, there’s a feeling that you get like, “Oh, there’s another excuse.” You feel it, you can see the incongruencies.
This is what I want you to highlight in your brain and note so that you recognize the pattern and you don’t go into A) denial and B) ignorance. When you go into denial, you purposely put blinders on to what you’ve witnessed and then after a while, you tend to say something to yourself like, “Well, that’s just how they are. Sometimes they do that. Sometimes they lie. I don’t like it but sometimes it happens.”
Now you’re developing higher toleration for abusive behavior. Another vital point is that as you develop higher and higher toleration for abusive behavior, the abuse or unhealthy communication gets worse – Unhealthy communication in the way where someone is selfish and wanting their needs met or wanting to get what they want because that’s what they want and they just don’t care about you. They just don’t care how you feel about it.
It’s the most un-empathetic type of communication there is. It’s like walking down the sidewalk, and someone coming up to you saying, “Hey, do you have any change?” and then you pushing them out of the side physically so they fall over. It’s that “I just don’t care about you. I just don’t care about your problems as long as I get what I want and right now you’re in the way of what I want.”
When you are dealing with somebody like that, you do have to question if they have empathy at all. Because empathy is the big one, when you are with someone that doesn’t have empathy, or has very little or can’t access it, but they may have it, you need to be careful because if you don’t matter, then they’re going to do things that just seem awful, that just seems wrong. You’re going to be questioning, “Why would they do this? What kind of person would do this? Why are they so selfish? I can’t believe they don’t even care that they hurt me. I can’t believe they don’t care.”
We start to lose sight that we might be dealing with someone who doesn’t have empathy. Perhaps they fake sympathy, perhaps they fake empathy, but look for the congruencies. Are they congruent? If they say, “You know, I really care about you and I just want to see you happy” but then they do behavior that makes you unhappy and they don’t seem to be bothered by that, you have to question these things. You have to bring them up, highlight them in your mind, and ask yourself, “Wait, is this how I want to be treated? Is this how I want to live my life, with someone who doesn’t even care if I’m happy?” Or another way to look at it, who doesn’t feel joy because I feel joy.
Think about that, you’re so happy and you want to share your happiness, you want to share your positive experiences with someone, and they can’t connect with you because it doesn’t faze them that it’s making you happy. This is a little bit of a gray area, I’m not saying that you have to be happy because someone else is happy. If you’ve done this to like, “Oh, they’re so happy, and I just don’t get it” – that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’m talking about people that you really look to, that you really connect with. Maybe they’re your friend, maybe they’re your partner, your lover or even family that you really believe is supposed to be loving and supportive, and they just can’t be happy that you’re happy. They just can’t meet you there.
That’s not always abusive behavior but you look at it in the big picture. It’s one component of many things that are happening to you and your relationship. You look at that and you look at the other things that we talk about. You look at all the types of communication that they do, all the congruent and incongruent behavior and you take note. You look at the compound effect of everything put together and you figure out if this is a healthy relationship or not. Is this healthy communication or not?
What I’m focusing on right now is the level of congruency or incongruency that you’re experiencing so that doesn’t go under your radar. I don’t want you to filter these things out. I want you to be aware and be observant, be acutely observant, of these little things that deteriorate relationships – “Oh, he lied again. I don’t know why he does that. It bothers me” but then you move on because you don’t want to deal with it or you believe you don’t have any options – “I have no options, I’ll just have to deal with his lies or her lies.” As soon as you do that, you accept another layer of abusive or unhealthy behavior. You accept another layer and the toleration of abusive and unhealthy behavior continues to rise every time you do that.
I want you to think of this show as a reminder of maybe some of the characteristics that you may have missed, you may be denying, you may not see well because you’ve been in it for so long or discovering it about people so that you don’t easily dismiss it. As soon as you dismiss it, as soon as you dismiss any type of flag – an orange flag, a red flag – and you just move on because you want to only see the positive – you go into that denial phase where you only see the positive in someone – you slowly degrade yourself over time. Degrade is not the right word – disintegrate – those components I talked about earlier, those empowerment components – self-love, self-esteem, self-worth, self-care, self-compassion.
There’s a big one, self-compassion. Self-compassion is when you stand outside yourself and you look at your life, that person over there that is you, you look at that person’s life and you notice what that person is going through and you care about that person so much that you take them out of trouble. You take them out of unhealthy situations.
Does that mean you physically walk them out? Does that mean you leave a relationship? Does that mean you leave a toxic job or whatever? It may but I’m not necessarily saying that’s what you do. I’m saying that if after you are self-caring and self-compassionate and you have a good conversation with yourself – if that’s what the conclusion is then by all means, but at least acknowledge.
Self-compassion involves acknowledging what’s happening to you. Self-compassion involves looking at your life as your own best friend and saying, “Hey, look, what’s happening here is not fair to you. It’s not caring for you. It’s a very selfish thing and that person doesn’t seem to really care if you’re happy or not. That person doesn’t really factor in your happiness or upset. That person is just doing what they want to do. As your best friend, I hate to see that happen to you. I don’t want to see that happen to you because every day you go through it, you lose a little bit of yourself. You lose a bit of your power.”
I don’t want you to lose your power, I want you to keep your power. Even if you are in a situation that is just a little overwhelming, you can’t get past it, you can’t get out of it, I just want you to take note of these things.
Take note of the incongruencies.
Take note of the little ways that you disintegrate those empowering components of yourself.
Take note of when that happens.
Take note of your life.
Take note of the specifics.
Don’t let them bypass. Don’t go into denial. Be aware. Be your own coach, be your own guide, be your own best friend. Don’t let the bad behavior of others get so buried and dismissed that you almost forget that they ever existed because that’s how it’s been for so long. That’s when we really lose ourselves.
I don’t want you to lose you.