I was once again asked the same question in a comment on a previous post on here very recently, and decided to devote a post to it.
The question is about friendship and why we attract to us those friends who use us a "whipping posts" when it suits their needs, and there never follows an apology for their actions. And, why do such people exist.
I want to dissect this a little because over the years, I have had my fair share of encounters with individuals who have treated me and our friendship this way.
First off, that kind of behaviour is abusive. Plain and simple. But sometimes, there is a deeper meaning and reason to why we are attracting such people into our lives.
Like an onion, we must uncover the layers, and in each layer there contains a hidden meaning and a potential misunderstanding. Sometimes, the onion is large with many layers; other times, it is small and getting to the bulb is easy. As the person standing on the outside looking in at the complete onion, not dissecting and uncovering each layer; it is hard to know whether its simply a big onion with thick layers, or a big onion with lots and lots of layers... or in even more simple terms, baggage.
First of all, to understand abuse one must look a little into the premise of abuse and what is the drive behind it. A man hits a woman, did she simply "piss him off" and his violent nature was to strike out and hit her? The situation that lined itself up for the end outcome of physical violence is never one that is simply a surface matter. Violence and rage has deep seeded seeds which have been planted long, long ago. Most people may not even remember when or where the seeds were planted, this takes work and working with someone who can help guide the individual who is truly willing and wanting to work at finding the seeds to eradicate them.
Abuse simply stems from a need for power and control. That is the basis of any and all abuse.
When an individual strikes out physically or verbally (even sexually, as in the case with sex abusers), they are in a place of complete and total lack of control or power of themselves or a situation. The only way they know how to regain some of it, and feed their ever starved EGO, is to take it from someone else who does not, or will not, or can not, stand up for themselves and who allows it.
For an individual who is on the receiving end, this can not only be detrimental, but etheric psychology begins to create a pattern which puts an individual into a cycle. Similar to the cycle of one who lives in an abusive relationship.
The abuser is one who generally has very low self-esteem even if they cover it up with a mask that suggests otherwise. There are subtle flaws in their mask that could easily identify them in the presence of an individual who is keenly aware of such characteristics. Certain words spoken, gestures made, looks given can often betray the individual who has potentiality for abuse.
In the situation of a friendship, as time progresses and people become more comfortable around the other, cracks begin to appear in the facade and portions of the true Self begin to show through. Sometimes, it is a layer that is not wanting to be shown, a vulnerability that needs to be kept hidden for reasons known only to the individual. If an "outsider" (and by that, I mean any person outside of the Self), catches even a momentary glimpse, or the individual feels threatened in any way, shape, or form by a word, an action, a gesture, or a look; they can easily begin to strike out.
As in all abuse situations, it begins slowly. It is a grooming process. Maybe something said in a joke or in simple passing, all calculated "tests" to see how far they can push. While the individual acting in this way may not be cognitive about it, their entire MO has become such that the psyche is always working in that direction.
Often, it is a protective mechanism. As a friend, you might be aware of their past, or some aspects of their past, so it might be a bit more easily identified as to where their attacks are originating from. But, often we do not know, we simply become the target.
As I have mentioned in past posts, how we react to situations is a way of how our psyche sees a reflection in a mirror. We react in a joyful and happy way, because what we are witnessing or experiencing is reflecting a part of ourselves that we love, we adore, we have fun with. When we react in anger or annoyance (or any negative emotion), it is important to stop and ask ourselves what it is about ourselves that we are reacting to. What mirror image are we seeing that we do not like about ourselves.
I am sure I have shared a story about the time I was studying Kabbalah with The Kabbalah Center, but for the purpose of this post, I will share it again.
At that time, we often had large seminar-type meetings open to the general public who wanted to learn more about Kabbalah as well as understanding Self more. The meetings cost money to attend, and while it was not a huge cost, it was still a cost nonetheless. Most people pre-registered to attend, and many had already pre-paid.
My husband and I were very active with the Kabbalah group here in Phoenix and we often volunteered our time in helping and doing our part to help build the group up. So this particular weekend, my husband and I were working the registration desk. Through the day, we had various people stopping by and asking simple questions, some paid at the door to learn more, others just wanted a quick overview and then went on their way. For many, the whole "Is this the same thing that Madonna does?" drew them in to learn more. It was all routine stuff for us, we'd heard it all before.
Just before registration ended and the seminar was to begin, a older lady and her son arrived. He had pre-registered for both of them and all that was needed was their registration number and their money to get in. He had no problems with all that and my husband was taking care of it. Suddenly his mother started with a barrage of questions for me, but not simply asking but asking in a manner that was argumentative and aggressive. She seemed like she was looking for a fight. She demanded to know where the money paid was going, why they had to pay, what was the point in it all, etc... etc... etc... For about ten minutes she stood there, confrontational and to some degree, I felt she was quite offensive. I answered her questions and tried to stay as level-headed as possible to her seeming attacks.
Each word out of her mouth seemed to cut me deeper.
After she and her son went into the seminar, I mentioned something to my husband. Now you have to understand, my husband is one of the most laid-back, roll-with-the-punches guy you will ever meet. He's either completely oblivious to confrontation unless its right in his face, or he just does not get affected by things like I do (and yes, I can be quite a hot-head at times, I admit). True-to-form, he answered my statement of "WOW! What was up her ass? She was really offensive and with no cause" with "I didn't notice anything. She just had questions, and she might have had an attitude with them, but I didn't think she was being offensive."
This got me thinking long and hard about what had taken place and especially at my reaction to it. On Monday, I made a call to my teacher with the Kabbalah Center, I told him of the events and said to him these exact words; "Yehuda, I have gone over and over in my mind this whole "mirror thing". I can not understand where I was seeing myself reflected in that woman and her attitude. I would never talk to another person the way she talked to me. So why am I reacting to the degree that I am?" I really was confused, had been for two days. I'd replayed it over and over in my mind and I simply could not see what it was that was reflecting back that I was reacting to.
When Yehuda answered me, it put the whole theory of the "onion" into perspective for me. Often, we look at an onion as a whole, we don't think of the individual layers that create the whole image. So, when we react to something that is a "mirror" back to us, it is not necessarily something that we are seeing reflecting on the surface, but rather it is contained in a layer somewhere in the mass of layers.
He told me that possibly I had "trust issues" because the woman's reaction and her questioning was obviously of someone who lacked trust, who was questioning because she did not have the trust in what was simply being presented.
The moment he told me this, it was like a light-bulb went off in my head, it was a complete "a-ha" moment for me. He was right. Most of my life, I had major trust issues, it was something I kept close to myself but I never opened myself up to anyone, I always held much of myself closed in and closed down. I felt that any little piece of "me" that I exposed, would easily be exploited and used against me. I'd had good cause for these thoughts and feelings from experiences in my past. And as time moved on, I often found myself in situations with individuals where I would allow myself to open up just a little, only to be taken advantage of and my issue of trust forged an even greater and thicker protection and barrier as I shut myself down more.
I finally "got it". I understood. And I knew that that woman had actually presented me with a gift. It was something that was being dredged up, but that needed to be addressed.
We "attract" individuals in to our lives who treat us in certain ways because they are truly showing us areas of our lives that we need to focus on, dredge up, contemplate, meditate on, understand, and finally let go.
Being a "whipping post" for people is not easy. Not in the least. Those who do the whipping also have issues which needs personal introspection and finding release from. But those of us who have been the whipping post, we need to understand why it keeps happening to us. What lessons are being presented time and time again that WE need to learn.
Many of us can say this about ourselves, "I am not a person who retaliates in conflict". But to what nth do we allow ourselves to stand at the post and be whipped by others who feed their need for power and control. When is enough enough and the proverbial straw that breaks the camels back finally the last straw? When can we stop giving our power and control away to others, and take a stand and understand why it is happening over and over again? This is where it starts to get interesting for us because we have to ask ourselves;
"Am I truly ready to find what is buried and let it go? Am I truly ready to be done with this? Am I ready to move forward and free myself?"
The things which are the least comfortable for us to do, have the greatest long-term benefits.
Once we start standing up for our Selves, once we delve deep to understand the pattern that has been painted before us in the individuals who we have drawn to us, and the abuse that has been dished up to us; then we can begin to trace it back to the originating seed. Once the seed is found, dig it up, throw it out, and let it go. Find forgiveness, and find gratitude in all those who have (over the months and even years) brought this to the surface for you to experience, seek, find, and then release.
In love and in gratitude, release that which keeps returning in a cycular pattern, and in so doing release the energies which continue to attract them into your life.
Once you do this, you will find that the individuals in your life who are continuing this pattern, will make their exit and you will be free of that pattern.
To attract healthy individuals into your life, I suggest taking time to really reflect on the type of friends you want to surround yourself with. Focus on their qualities. As you take time to do this, get out a piece of paper and begin noting down all the positive qualities you would ideally like those you surround yourself with, to have. The more you focus on the types of people you want to surround yourself with, the more you will also become the type of person who is cognitively and etherically healthy enough to attract such individuals into your life.
The more we focus on something, the more we create it into being.
My suggestion is to not put down such outlandish things that you are not yourself; for instance, if you are an artist-type, but you decide that it is important to surround yourself with scientists or business people, you need to ask yourself why that is important to you, and what would you honestly have in common? I suggest being more general in attributes that would appeal to you. An example of what your paper could look like would be focusing on attributes such as:
Healthy sense of humour
Healthy awareness of boundaries
You could even list similar likes to you on there, such as "enjoys wine and cheese tasting", "likes the theatre", etc.
Post your "list" someplace where you can view it often; it will like a "vision board". As you evolve into the person who is ready for friends with such attributes, you'll find your Self expanding in a direction geared towards your list. For example, if you've always wanted to open yourself up more to spirituality, but had more of a religious up-bringing than spiritual, you might find yourself attending lectures or discussion groups on different spiritual paths. Within those groups, you might meet a group of friends who also "fit" as far as other aspects of your list goes.
What most people don't realise is that life, and living, is a process of evolution.
While we can easily see the "evolution" from infancy to childhood to adulthood and then old-age, what we can not see is the etheric and psychological evolution that takes place in all of us. Each experience we encounter is nothing more than a expansion of mind as we evolve further on life's-journey. Embrace it as it arises, understand it, apply it, and then let it go to move on to the next experience and journey.
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