My problem is jealousy. My counselor said that, given my childhood, developing a complex is natural and I should just live with it. I don’t want to live with it. I want to explore the discomfort for what it means about me. Example: I am friends with a neighbor who is very attractive, but too immature for my taste. Yet when women visit him I get hot, nauseous and can’t concentrate. Example: a female friend breaks up with her boyfriend. I fear that she will get more attention from my male friends than me. Another example: During a dinner date with an attractive man, I discover he’s not as interesting as I thought. When I run into him at a club the next night I make it clear that it was fun, but I’m not interested. When I leave, he’s with another woman and the big green monster takes over my body. Why?
The malady you’re really suffering from is fear of abandonment. You expect to be abandoned, not because it is simply a part of the human experience, but because you believe, at some primal level, that it is what always happens to you. So a part of you is perpetually vigilant, searching for proof of your primal belief. Clearly, you were forsaken by those you loved as a child. It appears that you used these experiences to teach yourself that anyone who is attracted to you is worth holding on to, even when the mature adult part of you realizes that the person is not what you desire. The body alarms (hot flush, nausea, etc.) are trying to startle you into being present. You might think you’re in the moment, but you’re actually reliving the past (abandonment) and projecting it into the future.
Comprende? You think you’re losing someone and are imagining how awful that will be for you, when the spiritually mature part of yourself knows that you’re lying to yourself. After all, you’re not a little girl anymore. The medicine is simple: focus inward. Don’t read a book. Take a Hatha yoga or Zen meditation class and learn how to pay attention to your own inner life so you won’t be engulfed by your history.
Your response to the question about dealing with a rude boss (SN&R Ask Joey, August 2) was off. I had a boss like that and I tried to talk to him compassionately more than once. He’d go on a tirade and then walk away, ending any chance for meaningful dialogue or resolution. And yes, integrity is good, but it does not pay my mortgage or feed my children. Nor do I believe that you can compare a tyrannical boss to someone who might be running late in traffic. And hey, Joey, where would you be without your career?
I wouldn’t be in this career without the benefit of having had several tyrannical bosses whose behavior and demands made me question my corporate career plan and ditch it (and the job) in favor of keeping my integrity. Sometimes God uses a difficult boss to push us back to the path where we are supposed to be, in terms of our values and our true lifework. Perhaps you can read that 8/2 column again at the SN&R Web site. You might notice that while you were trying to get your boss to change, I didn’t suggest that such a conversation would alter anything in the boss’s behavior. Change yourself and your world changes. One last thing, I asked the writer to notice whether they behaved similarly to their boss in some other part of life. Thus, the traffic example. Your filter read it differently. Why?