By Cathy Eck
This post is related to anearlier post on intimidation and interrogation.
Ashamed of our False Self
People might not admit it, but they’re ashamed of their false self. Now think about that. If you’re ashamed of something then you think that it’s YOU. If you think you are your false self, you try to cover it up with something acceptable and nice. But it’s still there. Covering up our false self makes it hard to see and much harder to let go. So as much as we don’t like that evil little monster inside of us, we must see it to let it go.
One of the keys to letting go of the false self is to realize that your false self isn’t you — not even a little bit. Your false self is a bunch of beliefs. You weren’t born with any of them. The false self was created by authority figures in your life.
This recognition supports you in three ways:
First, you recognize that you aren’t letting go of anything important. You won’t be needing that manure in the future.
Second, you realize that all the horrible stuff you thought you did was done by your false self (which isn’t YOU). When you no longer fear being bad, you can’t be anything but good. Now I realize that statement will hurt church donations, but that’s their problem.
Third, you realize that your True Self, which is good, positive, and loving is the real YOU. It isn’t gone, it’s buried in false self manure. Letting go is your giant shovel.
The “False” True Self
I know that looks like a typo, but it’s not. When people are ashamed of their seemingly uncontrollable false self, and they don’t know how to let it go, they create a fake True Self to cover it up (which is more false self). They sound nice and kind, and often have many profound sayings stored in memory. But their words of wisdom are not original, and they’re usually passive-aggressive. Their little aggressive duck legs are paddling hard under the surface, but we only see them passively gliding on the water.
Their goal is to gain power in every relationship. They want power because they aren’t living from their True Self. The True Self is never looking for power from others; it has unlimited power.
I once had a passive-aggressive intimidator in my life. He didn’t slam me with criticism; he elevated others above me. Let’s say I was perfecting my lasagna recipe. He’d say, “Oh this is good.” (pause) “My mother makes the best lasagna I ever ate.” The pretense was that the comments weren’t connected; but they were. The goal was to get me to feel insecure so he’d retain the power in our relationship. I rarely responded to his comments because what can you say? Any response just increased the manure pile. The pattern worked for him, and so he repeated it frequently; over time, my self esteem eroded. I developed the belief that no matter how hard I worked at something, others were always going to be better than me.
I went searching for an answer. One day I realized that my ability to be great at anything ended after I met him. Quite frankly, he was just doing to me what had been done to him to erode his self esteem. People treat others the way they were treated. Forget the Golden Rule; no one applies it in the illusion.
I realized that his comments weren’t even true; they were an intentional power play. So I let my belief go. I was now standing in my True Self. The game never worked again.
Passive-aggressive personas trick us because we can’t see the aggressive duck feet. Often you can feel it; or like me, you notice that your self-esteem is fading. It helps to go back to another time or place outside of the passive-aggressive relationship. In my case, I went back to a time before our relationship. That gave me a touchstone to support letting go of my beliefs.
Intimidators are often passive-aggressive. We don’t catch the aggressive intimidation part, because it’s passively masked by their expertise or authority. Telling people that they’re sinners and hell bound is first-rate intimidation. Telling someone they’re incurable because you don’t have a cure is worse than intimidation.
My son is a server; yesterday he waited on two priests. One commented that the menu changed — some items were gone. My son told him that if he wanted something from the old menu, he would have it special made. The priest said, “Change is good, my son.” My son bit his tongue; he wanted to say, “If change is so damn good then why didn’t you change out of your priest robe before coming to a burger joint.” The priest demonstrated the latest form of subtle passion-aggression. One appears to be offering advice, but the advice isn’t requested or needed. In fact, it isn’t even relevant.
My son demonstrated the key to freeing yourself from passive-aggressive relationships. He knew the priest was talking to himself, because he knows that he loves change. Knowing ourself is the best defense against passive-aggressive behavior. The priest was the one desperate for change — dah! The priest couldn’t know my son because his own false veil was covering his eyes.
No one needs to learn the truth; everyone has it inside already. We only need to see through the illusion and let the false stuff go; then everyone can live from the truth all the time. I can’t wait for that day.
Because my son could see through the priest’s passive-aggressive mask, he didn’t believe him. He just got the joke and had a good laugh.
Many people get caught in victimhood because of passive-aggresive behavior and turn it into an advantage to stay sane. But that keeps them stuck.