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F.E.A.R: Forgetting Everything is All Right – How to Have More Faith! Part 5 of Top 5 Series

takethefirststepinfaith-1

A Journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

F.A.I.T.H.:    Forgetting Advice and Initiating Trust & Hope

What allows us to take that first step of faith, even when fear stands there like a big bully, telling us we can’t do it?   Some people would say it’s having faith in something higher than ourselves – God or the Universe – that will make sure everything will be okay.  This may be true, but what if we don’t have this kind of faith or we have lost it because something or someone has disappointed us?

What do we fall back on to provide us with the faith we need?  It depends on how old we are of course as to how many times in our lives we can refer back to what did work out to give us the faith to persevere.  These are called Milestones of Faith.  I have had to refer back to them many times; especially when all odds are against me in terms of finding a job, getting approved for a loan or credit, selling a house, etc.

I want to share my “Debra” story with you.  This milestone story was the first that really began to change my perspective and help me to believe that though I might have been making decisions in my life, there was definitely some force – energy, love, wisdom – that was guiding my steps.

One day when I was bored –  and frustrated at not being able to land a full-time teaching job – I called the overseas placement office at my University and inquired about what I needed in order to teach overseas.  The gentleman – the placement officer – gave me a detailed lecture as to why I didn’t qualify, as one needed to have at least two years teaching experience within Canada first or one needed to apply through the job fair that happened in late winter and hope to be chosen as a successful candidate by one of the representatives from a foreign country.

I was literally hanging up the phone after thanking him for his information – albeit disheartening, when I heard him say, “Well, just a minute.  I might have something you’re interested in.  I’ve got a vacant teaching position as the girl who was supposed to go backed out at the last-minute, but it’s in Colombia, South America and they would need you to start in two weeks.  So, you’re probably not interested.”

I responded with one question: “Where is Colombia, South America?”   He proceeded to explain to me where it was located and what was expected in such a job and what was the hiring process.  I didn’t say no and I didn’t say yes.  I listened and pondered what my mother would say if I told her that her youngest daughter was going to fly to another country – another continent – and teach.  In essence, live the dream I had known I would live since I was a very little girl.

I knew that it was what I was meant to do.  Hence, I said I was willing to at least prepare to go and I did just that.  I travelled back and forth to Toronto at least twice to apply and pick up my work visa; I sold my things – at least the things I could, and I researched as much as I could about Colombia. I went to my National Geographic “Earth” book and looked up Colombia.  I had read and re-read that book so many times that I actually remembered the only visual I had of Colombia – it was of a group of tribal men carrying a huge anaconda – a dead one – through a field.  And still this did not scare me off.  I had decided too, to take my 10 week old puppy – ironically named, “Winter” with me to a tropical foreign country.

Two weeks later, I said goodbye to my boyfriend, my cat, my country and my life as I had known it and Winter and I embarked on the journey of a lifetime.  This is where my inner journey truly began – because what happened next changed my thinking and my beliefs forever.  After first being offered the position by the placement officer, he recommended that I get in touch with the Principal of the school in which I would be working in Colombia to learn more about the school, the country and make arrangements for picking me up at the airport.  I remember her words – I always will – when we were saying goodbye for the last time before my trip.  She said, “I will be at the airport with a sign with your name on it and I am bringing Debra with me.”  It seemed an odd thing to say because I had no idea who Debra was, nor would there be any reason for me to know a Debra in Colombia, South America and yet the Principal’s tone indicated that I should know.

Hence, when I stepped off of the plane, retrieved my baggage and walked out in to the arrival lobby of the airport, surrounded by men with automatic machine guns – a vision I had never before seen in Canada – I was astounded when beside the woman I assumed was my new Principal, was Debra.  A girl – the only girl I had become friends with in Canada during my year in Teacher’s college.  She was standing there smiling and I knew in an instant that I was in exactly the place I was meant to be.

This scary journey of travelling over 2000 miles to another continent where I knew no one, suddenly turned into a sacred journey of revelation for me.  I did know someone already and she – Debra – turned out to be both my colleague and my roommate for my first year in Colombia which eased all of my fear and trepidation in an instant.  I was home:  If one could call an entirely different country, culture and race, home.  I did, for three more years of my life even though the contract was originally only for 9 months.  The “Debra” story doesn’t end there, however.

Three years later – yes, I loved Colombia so much that I remained there teaching for three more years – I returned to Canada.  Debra had returned a year earlier and I had lost touch with her.  She was originally from a small town east of Toronto and so I naturally assumed she would have found a job somewhere near that area.

In any case, I spent the next eight months living on my savings and searching for a teaching job.  I waited eagerly from January until June and by the time the summer was ending, I was almost out of money with no job prospects.  However, about two days before the end of August, I applied for a job with a school west of Toronto.  My interview was at 3pm on the first day of school!  Who gets hired the first day of school? I thought to myself.

I was sitting in the interview room and the Principal said to me, “Choose a question from the board and answer it in any order that you choose.”  I chose number 7: It asked, “What is the most interesting experience you’ve had in your life?”  I began to talk about my teaching experience in Colombia and 2-3 minutes later when I brought up Debra as an aside; the Principal looked at me and said, “You don’t mean our Debra?”

I looked just as baffled as her I’m sure, and said, “well, if you mean Debra ________, yes, that’s who I am talking about.”  The Principal looked at me and she replied:  “You are never going to believe this, but we have a Debra ________ here at our school who lived and taught in Colombia for two years and she’s been working here for almost two years now.  She is transferring to another school and so her position is the one you will be taking over.”

I sat there in disbelief.  Not only did I finally have an interview, but of all the school boards and in all of the schools within that school board; and of all the positions I could be interviewing for, could it be possible that it was the Debra ________ who I had once again “followed” to the place in which I was meant to be?

In that moment, the Principal stopped the interview and called Debra down to the office from her classroom.  You can imagine her surprise when she came through the door to find me interviewing for the job she was leaving.   Needless to say, they hired me.  I think we were all in shock.  Since that day, I have never looked at my life the same way. It has given me the faith I have needed in many circumstances when it appears that there is no job, no opportunity, no door opening – I wait in expectation for that ‘new’ door to open and for a “Debra” to be standing there to greet me.

I want to encourage you today to remind yourself of your milestones.  What “Debra” story do you have in your life that you can remind yourself of when times seem hopeless?  If you don’t have a Debra story, perhaps you have something similar or a time when a job, opportunity, or door opened for you when it seemed to be shut tight.  These are the times in our lives that we must hang on to tightly.  They are as much for our future faith as they were to enhance our past experiences.

“One of the saddest lines in the world is, ‘Oh come now – be realistic.’ The best parts of this world were not fashioned by those who were realistic. They were fashioned by those who dared to look hard at their wishes and gave them horses to ride.”  Richard Nelson Bolles

If you truly want to be inspired and to remind yourself that even if you do not “see the whole staircase” watch Martin Luther King Jr.’s Famous Speech, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V57lotnKGF8  and then remember that the United States of America now has a Black President!

Next Post Series:  Ten Things Your Authentic Self Wants to Tell You!

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F.E.A.R: False Expectations Appearing Real – How to Worry Less and Follow Your Dreams! Part 4 of Top 5 Series

Mark Twain photo

“I’ve had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened!”  Mark Twain

Take if from a man who knows.  Mark Twain lived and wrote in a time and a place where his subject matter (racism & slavery) was not generally appreciated.  He also tried his hand at making a traditional living and then decided to quit and live his dream of being a writer, which wasn’t always easy or without its financial setbacks.  However, he persevered and is now one of the most well-loved and well-known American writers of all time.  To read more about his bio, visit: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/1244.Mark_Twain

F.E.A.R:  False Expectations Appearing Real

How many of us, since our childhood have had dreams of being a writer, artist, photographer, dancer, musician or any number of creative pursuits, only to have those dreams squashed by the inevitable good intentions of a parent, teacher or authority figure with the words: “Well, you don’t want to become that!  You’ll never make a living at it!”

I wonder how many people have heard these words – or some variant of them – and how many have given up right then and there and buried those longings deep within; and how many, despite or in spite of those words, went headlong in the pursuit of their dreams just to prove that person wrong.  I don’t know about you – but I find the latter type of people – even if they weren’t all that successful – or at least not until after they were dead – much more inspiring than those who resigned themselves to a life and career that was more safe and secure.

These False Expectations – fears of what might happen – refer to the fears we have about stepping out into the canyon of our dreams.  Much like in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade where he is standing right at the edge of a huge canyon and he knows in order to get to the other side he must cross it.  However, there is no path or bridge – at least that he can see with his human eye.  He has to essentially step out first in complete faith, before the next step appears for him.

It is never easy to do this.  What if we step out and we plummet to our death?  What if we step out and fail?  This type of fear is based on false expectations – which seem very real – that we will fail.  Why do we expect to fail, however?  Where do these thoughts or beliefs come from?  We know of plenty – thousands – maybe millions – of people who have stepped out and they have succeeded – some from talent and some from sheer luck or being in the right place at the right time:   Oprah, Brittney Spears, Donald Trump – how many more?

Why do we perceive ourselves so different from these people?  They are, after all, simply human just like us.  They came into this world just like us and will leave it the same way.  Why is their journey destined to be so much more wrought with financial success or fame or living their dreams?

I am here to tell you that it is not.  One of my favourite quotations is: “Well, no one told me I couldn’t do it!  So I did it!”  The only difference between most of us longing for our lost dreams and those living them is one thing – FEAR – the false ideas and core beliefs we have about ourselves and our lives.  We tend to remain where it is comfortable and safe.

I can tell you that I have never had anything too exciting happen to me by staying comfortable or safe. Trekking off to Colombia, South America to teach when I knew no one, was not without its discomfort or danger – but I did it and it changed my entire perspective – and I wrote a book about it!  Applying and re-applying to Teacher’s College and getting rejected twice before getting my – albeit 11th hour admittance – was not comforting to my ego.  Sitting for hours and hours pouring my blood, sweat and tears into three, now almost four novels, knowing full well that I might never get published wasn’t very comfortable either.  Heading off to do missionary work for three months in a foreign country didn’t feel very safe – but the experience changed my life.  Flying to Honduras to write for a month when I barely had enough money to live – the money turned up, however – didn’t make me feel very comfortable either.  Resigning from my secure paying teaching job in a small town to brave the big city of Toronto  to teach and write where I was most happiest, wasn’t very comforting or safe – but here I am – two years later, in Toronto, writing, teaching and enjoying my life.

Is it without struggles?  No.  Have I had my faith stretched as far as it could possibly go the last few years?  Yes.  Has a job always came?  Yes.  Have I survived?  Yes.  Am I determined more than ever to be financially free to write and travel this vast world now that I have had so many caverns and canyons to cross?  Absolutely!  This is what stepping out does – either by miracle, luck or perseverance we do make it the other side – and each time, it makes us more and more fear – less!

I once read a quotation that said, “Never sit down to write, until you have the courage to stand up and live!” (Henry David Thoreau).  Hence, I am now sitting down to write – and to write with everything I have in me regarding my blog and my posts, because I have stood up and lived and I want to encourage you to do this as well.  Do I suggest quitting your job tomorrow and taking up painting?  No.  What I suggest are a few practical things:

1. Make a list of all of your False Expectations:  every fear, worry, excuse, reason as to why you shouldn’t be living your dream and why you will fail.  Then burn it, toss it, rip it up!

2.   Read Debbie Ford’s “Best Year of Your Life” and “What Colour is Your Parachute?” by Richard Nelson Bolles who states: ” Always define WHAT you want to do with your life and WHAT you have to offer to the world, in terms of your favorite talents/gifts/skills-not in terms of a job-title.”  Incidentally, he was fired from his job in 1968 and you should see what has come out of him crossing this cavern of failure to his success.  Check out his bio – well worth the read:  http://www.first30days.com/experts/richard-nelson-bolles

3.  Make a plan of what your dreams or goals are – go revisit your childhood – your inner child will tell you exactly what those dreams were.

4.  Simplify Your Life – get rid of all the things, ideas and even people (especially toxic and negative ones) that are cluttering your life and holding you back!

5.  Then put all of your energy into what you love – or all of your spare energy until things begin to start opening up for you.  Since I began this blog and really focusing on writing – and writing the things that I am most passionate about – which is everything I have learned through my education, experience, people, setbacks and successes – my writing, my creativity, my inspiration and opportunities have opened up exponentially for me.  Just today, without even asking for it, I was asked if I’d like to teach a Writer’s Craft Course, which I have been longing to do for over five years.

6.  Then figure out how your dreams will meet the needs of the world.  Service to others and making this world a better place for others while also nurturing your dreams is the best way to watch the Universe open its doors to you!

Leap of Faith (Indiana Jones)  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a_-BOvWVycM

Remember:  W.O.R.R.Y.    Wondering Obsessively Rarely Reaps Your…Dreams!

Next Post:  F.E.A.R:  Forgetting Everything is All Right – How to Have More Faith!

F.E.A.R: Fighting Everyone And Regretting it – How to Respond – Not React! Part 3 of Top 5 Series

Saying about reacting to hurt

F.E.A.R.    Fighting Everyone and Regretting it!  (Reactionary Response)

Many of us make decisions or react out of fear in regards to a present situation because we are triggered by a memory – either consciously or subconsciously – of a past experience where we were hurt or offended in some way.

It is similar to when we have a wound or a cut that is in the process of healing; and someone comes along and bumps into us or pokes us in that exact spot.  We react involuntarily in order to protect ourselves.  Have you ever had someone say or do something to you and you react before you even realize what you are doing and you think to yourself, ‘why did that upset me so much?’  Sometimes we are aware of why we had such a reaction; and sometimes we just know that we are really hurt or really angry.

Many times, we have emotional wounds that were never addressed – usually from our childhood as we were not in a place to speak up for ourselves; nor was it safe to cry or get angry and so we either buried these hurts or these wounds scabbed over and left an indelible mark, but we do not think we carry this pain anymore because the scab has made that area numb to any more pain.

However, when it comes to emotional pain, it will continue to be triggered over and over again until we are able to face it and overcome it.  This is why we often attract similar people or situations to our lives; our subconscious is aware of the underlying hurt and it wants to be free of it and therefore sends out vibrational messages to the universe about the pain and inevitably attracts to us the very instances we need in order to finally heal.

An example:  If we had a parent who was emotionally neglectful and we are carrying pain from this – of feeling rejected – we will continue to attract the same kind of relationships to ourselves.  This is why there is so much advice to always look within in and not without.  In essence, it is not the other person we need to change – it is ourselves.  I mention this phenomenon in greater detail in my other posts under the topic, forgiveness. 

My experience is that I attracted this kind of relationship last spring – I was frustrated and angry because I had been hurt and deceived by a good friend and refusing to deal with that pain, lo and behold, I later attracted an another individual to my life who was also frustrated and angry towards people and towards me.

In many ways, he said things to me that I was feeling towards my friend and towards myself for having been foolish enough to trust this friend. It wasn’t until I was willing to revisit the original hurt that I not only was able to forgive my friend but also had the strength to extricate myself from this new unhealthy relationship.  Thank goodness, because I am more open now to attracting and meeting someone who is healthy and loving.

What happened in the meantime however, is that hanging on to that original pain and anger since last January, I inevitably continued to attract more and more frustrating situations and people to my life.  I was bombarded in 2012 with situations that led me to be hurt, frustrated and taken advantage of.  I became reactionary to these events, instead of being able to respond in a healthy manner.  These people with whom I was angry went on with their lives; I however, found myself stuck in this perpetual well of frustration.

However, the good news is that one day in the early fall, I awoke – my subconscious I suppose shook me awake – and I was able to become free of this pattern.  How did I do it?  I have discussed in many of my posts that there is a process to getting past painful experiences and finally being free of them.  Here is a simplistic outline of this process that I have found works for me:

1.  Sit down and ask yourself when this issue began:  You may get an answer that it was in your childhood, or like me, I knew it was about a year ago.

2.  Face your true feelings:  I had to admit that I was hurt and angry with my friend.

3.  Express these feelings honestly:  I wrote an email to this person (always DRAFT your email – which is not reacting, but responding) outlining what I perceived happened and how really hurt and disappointed I was.  I would normally simply draft it, read it a few times and then delete it.  This time, however, I sent it to the person.  I would highly recommend that you write the email or letter and then wait for a few days before sending it.  You may find that simply writing it and expressing your true feelings is enough.  Sometimes, simply reading it and re-reading it and validating your own feelings can be sufficient.  If however, you feel that you need the other person to know of your hurt; or you genuinely feel this person could benefit from hearing the truth, then it will be up to you whether you choose to send it or not.  If it is a boss or employer where it could put your job or career in jeopardy, I would highly recommend you don’t send it – especially from a reactionary standpoint.  Get a second opinion – have a friend or a colleague (that you REALLY know you can trust)  read it over and ask them what they would recommend.

4.  Forgiveness:  Like most of us, I don’t always feel like forgiving; but we do this for OURSELVES, not for the other person.  The adage, “bitterness is like drinking rat poison and then waiting for the rat to die” is so true.  We cannot hang onto bitterness as it only poisons ourselves; meanwhile the other person goes merrily on their way.

5.  Visualization Technique:  One way that I achieve forgiveness is through visualizaton.  I imagine a lake with a dock and a boat – the size of the boat varies depending on how angry I am at the person.  I imagine that this person (or situation) is sitting in the boat.  Now, sometimes, if I am really angry, I get in the boat and I pummel this person until there is nothing left of him/her except a little pebble.  Sound awful?  Well, I encourage you to do this if you have that much anger – remember, this is only a visualization technique and cannot hurt the other person; but it a safe way for you to express all of the frustration, anger or disappointment you are carrying.  You can also punch pillows on your bed if that seems less aggressive.

However, lying to ourselves, trying to pretend we aren’t that angry, does not do us any good.  Let’s get good and honest with ourselves.  Sometimes, I am able to simply untie the boat and send it on its merry way with that person in it (I don’t always give them paddles!).  The last time I used this technique, I simply got in the boat, picked up the pebble (what was left of this person) and threw it into the lake and I kept the boat!   There have even been times, that no matter how much I expressed my anger or beat them into a little pebble, I was still not able to push off the boat and let them “go”.

Hence, I have asked Jesus (insert Buddha or whomever you associate with a stronger ability to love) to push the boat off for me.  This may seem silly to you; but I know it has worked for me.  You have to find what works for you – you may visualize something entirely different.  However, I do believe there is something very powerful about actually visualizing the “letting go” or “sending off” or “freeing of” this particular person or situation.  In essence, we are letting off the hook for hurting us.  Another wonderful way to get to the heart of the matter and be truly free from triggers is to use E.F.T. Emotional Freedom Technique.  I have discussed this technique in my other posts and I highly recommend that you read more about it or watch a video on it on the internet to learn more about it!

Step # 6:  Rejoice – be thankful for the lessons or the revelation that this person taught you and then rejoice that you are free to move on with your life – free of the trigger and now free to attract more healthy situations to your life.  We can learn just as much from a healthy, wonderful person or relationship as we can from a negative one!

How can you be sure you have really let it go?

The next time someone similar comes into your life, you will find yourself much less attracted or  not wanting to spend time with this person; or you may simply respond to what they say or do in a more healthy manner.  Sometimes, you may have to go back again and revisit the hurt – I have had to go back to the boat and go a few more rounds with some people!   In any case, you will notice when you begin to respond and not react to similar situations.  You can pat yourself on the back and know that this particular trigger is no longer causing you the same internal F.E.A.R.

Remember:  “Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.” ~Pema Chodron

Next Post:  F.E.A.R:   False Expectations Appearing Real – How to Not Worry So Much!

F.E.A.R: Is it Getting in Your Way or Trying to Help You? Part 1 of Top 5 Series

intuition chart

FEAR:  What is it?  Perhaps you can decide from which acronym about FEAR you are currently making decisions in your life:

F.E.A.R.    Forget Everything and Run!  (Natural Fight or Flight Response)

F.E.A.R.    Fight Everything & Everyone and Regret it!  (Reactionary Response)

F.E.A.R.    False Expectations Appearing Real (Worrying Unnecessarily)

F.E.A.R.    Forgetting Everything’s All Right (Distorted Perception)

The interesting thing about fear is that it encompasses many aspects; it may be a natural response to something or someone intending to do us harm; it may be a reaction based on past experiences; it may be our own need to worry unnecessarily; or it may be all in our imagination.

On some level, fear is ancestral – it is a natural response to stimuli that we are perceiving – and may be truly – harmful.  However, it can also be a present reaction to any number of negative past experiences (a broken heart) that we have had; or a lack of response to opportunities because of statements that we have been told in our lives, such as, “Don’t become a musician/writer/artist/photographer!  You’ll never make a living at it!”  that keep us in our comfort zone.  And sometimes, it may simply be our own minds creating fear based on certain thoughts we are entertaining.

How can we tell the difference? 

When can fear be a gift? 

Fear or the “Fight or Flight” response to a stimulus is often connected to what I wrote about in my last blog series:  Our Sixth Sense – Are we Listening?  We have been given a gift of intuition that speaks to us from a very deep place – or perhaps even a higher knowing – in order to protect us from certain people, places and situations.  This is the voice of fear to which we should listen.

This is highlighted and explained in detail in Gavin De Becker’s book, entitled, The Gift of Fear. He explores how fear is a gift that can be used to keep us safe.  In fact, how he refers to fear is more about our intuitive voice and what it tells us BEFORE we get ourselves into trouble.  The Gift of Fear is an “…empowering book”…in which, “Gavin de Becker shows you how to spot even subtle signs of danger—before it’s too late. Shattering the myth that most violent acts are unpredictable, de Becker, whose clients include top Hollywood stars and government agencies, offers specific ways to protect yourself and those you love.”

I highly recommend it as the crimes that he has researched are very interesting; however, if you’re interested in just a sample of one of the stories he uses to highlight this issue, please refer to the following site for the excerpt from his book.

http://www.oprah.com/oprahs-lifeclass/The-Gift-of-Fear-by-Gavin-de-Becker#ixzz2IoFvhI6Q

There are certainly times when we find ourselves in scary situations and exposed to people who if not meaning to do us violent harm; may very well be manipulative or unhealthy for us.  This is the type of fearful response that we should listen to.  Usually, long before anyone can do us harm or hurt us or manipulate us, our intuitive voice has been telling us to extricate ourselves from this person’s life or the situation and we haven’t listened.  (See chart above!) It is time we do listen; as it may just save our sanity, if not our lives!

Next Post:   (#2):  F.E.A.R. – Forget Everything and Run  – Liars, Manipulators, Sociopaths & Passive Aggressors and How to Know When to Run!

Following Posts:

(# 3):  F.E.A.R.  Fighting Everyone and Regretting it  – How to be Responsive,  Not  Reactive!

(#4):  F.E.A.R. – False Expectations Appearing Real – How to Worry Less!

(#5):   F.E.A.R.  – Forgetting Everything is All Right! – How to Have More Faith!

F.E.A.R: Forget Everything And Run – How to Identify Liars, Manipulators, Sociopaths & Passive-Aggressors – Part 2 of Top 5 Series

spider luring its prety

Come into my Parlour, said the Spider to the fly!

F.E.A.R:   Forget Everything and Run

How to Spot Passive – Aggression and How to Run from it before it’s too late:

1.  Does he tell you he’ll meet you at 7 and then turn up an hour late?

2.  Does she seem distant or cold, but says she’s fine?

3.  Does he provoke you and then ask, “Why are you so upset?” or “Why are you so sensitive?”

4.  Does she constantly praise you for your nice house/car/spouse and then ask why she can’t be so fortunate?

Passive-Aggression is defined as “someone who appears very friendly, extremely agreeable, complimentary and full of promises, but chronically or repetitively undermines others by obstructing their progress, provokes feelings of anger in others, seeks revenge or sabotages a relationship, in order to work out their deep-seated anger.”

What is PA and where did the term originate?

Coined in WWII.  Army psychiatrist, Colonel William Menninger; he studied soldiers who complied with rigorous training and appeared to be obedient,  only to resist or ignore orders, undermine their fellow soldiers in battle, withdraw or flee from duty.  This century, we have seen PA in action such as Saddam Hussein, after storming into Kuwait, and then claiming his country was the victim of American aggression.  OR Hitler, who annihilated the Jews and all the while, professing the rest of Germany were the ‘real’ victims.   Or as a friend of mine put it, “it’s someone who puts a knife in your back and then gets angry at you for getting their knife bloody!” 

How does a passive-aggressive acquaintance lure you? 

Luring Characteristics:

1.  Very Charming

2.  Excessively friendly

4.  Extremely complimentary

5.  Buys you expensive gifts or lots of them (usually early on, which initiates a feeling of obligation to them)

6.  Extremely Helpful

7.  Essentially, ‘becomes’ your DREAM date, friend, spouse, colleague, boss, (at least initially)

8.  Life of the party; Fun to be around. 

Psychological Profile: How to Identify Passive-aggression:

1.  Loud; attention seeking

2.  Extremely Gregarious (always smiling) and Out-going

3.  The beginner who gets in there like a dirty shirt.

4.  Very competitive with others and you

5.  Infiltrates your personal circle, clubs and hobbies very quickly

6.  Female:  tends to dress provocatively

7.  Male: tends to be extremely well-groomed

8.  Constantly brings up issues or sore spots that he/she knows is a sensitive area for you (usually in the guise of being concerned)

9.  Tells you how you’re GOING to feel or what you PROBABLY will experience in a certain situation because they’ve been through that!

10.  Speaks of being angry at parents, boss, God, or other people in their life, but they never seem to confront or make peace with these people.

11.  When you ask them how they are; they typically answer, “I had such a horrible week” and proceed to tell you how they were the victim of everyone’s mistakes or judgments.

12.  If you confront them on minor issues, they will act offended and turn your hurt into theirs.

13.  Silent Treatment

14.  Empty promises.

15.  Rarely apologizes; blames others or you and likely repeats the offending behavior no matter how many times you tell them it bothers you.

What causes PA?  It’s an overall sense of lack of control or inability to express anger in a healthy manner.   It can originate from any one of these:

1.  High rate of PA people have alcoholic parents.

2.  Controlling mother, passive father

3.  Suppressed anger in the family

4.  Sexual abuse

5.  Fears of inadequacy

6.  Sense of Entitlement (the world’s been tough on me, so I deserve or don’t deserve…)

7.  Poverty or lack becomes jealousy of other’s lives

8.  Not being able to express feelings easily

 Typical Behavioral Patterns of a PA:

*You can meet someone who is passive aggressive anywhere, even within your own family.

Person                                    Behaviors                                Common Expressions

Boss Excessively praising, yet you NEVER see a bonus or a raise.  Gives approval, but undermines your efforts. “I’d like to see you in the role of ____________”   (but then gives the position to someone else.)
Colleague Offers to complete or provide an item for your presentation (for the boss) and then ‘accidentally’ forgets it or damages it. “I don’t mind   doing that for you; let me help you. ”Followed by:“Oh, I’m really   sorry, I forgot it.  I’m so sorry.”
Family Member A brother who promises to check in on your widowed mother, but constantly ‘forgets’ or just couldn’t get there (car breaks   down), leaving the responsibility to you. When they don’t follow through and you call them on  it, they respond, “Well, you’ve got a car and more time, why couldn’t you  have checked on her?”
Spouse Generally disagreeable; Silent Treatment;  Sabotaging plans you’ve made by not being available/feigning illness/he’s  ‘too tired.’ “Yeah, I’ll get  to that.”Not doing it and then when you ask again:“Why don’t you stop your nagging and then I’ll do it.”
Friend Excessive compliments;   extravagant gifts; too much, too soon.  Infiltrates your life; personal relationships; clubs; hobbies.Flirts with your   partner or excessively nice to your friends, too soon. “I’m always here for you” and then not calling for days.“You work so hard; what a great house/car/spouse you have” followed by, “Why am I so   unlucky?  Why is God so unfair to me?”
***Acquaintance Sarcasm; Non-committal; insulting or making fun of what you’ve just confessed is a sensitive issue for you. “You’re really short!” followed by, “What? I’m just  joking, don’t be so sensitive!”

*If you can catch it at the “acquaintance” stage, then you might protect yourself from letting a passive-aggressive person infiltrate your life.

How will you FEEL with a PA?

1.  Your intuition or “GUT” will tell you that you can’t trust this person.

2.  A nagging feeling you’re not safe around this person.

3.  You may feel like you’ve been dismissed or provoked or mistreated, but you’re not sure exactly what they ‘said’ or ‘did’ that has made you feel uncomfortable.

4.  A general sense of uneasiness around this person.

5.  You will doubt yourself or blame yourself for bringing on their behavior towards you.

6.  Guilt: your feelings will be turned around on you (when you finally choose to confront this person or distance yourself from them) by statements such as: 

1.  “Why are you bringing this up now?”

2. “Why do you have to ruin our plans/date/evening?”

3. “I understand how you feel, but I think this is your issue.”

4.  “I’m so offended.  How could you possibly think I could do something like that to you?”

5.  “I feel like you’re throwing me away!”

*In essence, your better judgment tells you he/she is being hostile, but you question yourself instead of confronting this person.  You attribute your reaction to over-sensitivity, not his/her insensitivity.  The minute you doubt yourself, or take on some of the responsibility (‘maybe it is my fault!’) the passive-aggressive person has the upper hand and often uses the rejoinder, “Yes, why are you so upset?”  “Yes!  Have you thought this might be your issue?”

How to disentangle yourself from a PA’s web?

1.  Be clear to them about the behavior that upsets you.  Use “When you do this, I feel…”

2.   Refrain from sharing or divulging personal feelings, events or any information that could potentially be used against you.

3.  Distance yourself from this person as much as possible.

4.  Share your experience with at least one other person you can trust, so that he/she can observe and validate you, when you are doubting yourself or feeling guilty over distancing yourself from the PA person.

5.  Set firm boundaries with this person.  “I don’t like when you do that.” OR “Please don’t call me at home.”  If they offer to help you and you feel uneasy, say “No thank you.”

6.  Most importantly: trust your inner voice.  Let it be your guide and hopefully a PA person will remain an acquaintance and you will not get entangled in their web.  Good luck!

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