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  1. #1
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Default Knowing when to avoid someone: how do you decide?

    There's definitely truth in the suggestion that people who make us uncomfortable have something to teach us about ourselves - often not directly (ie. not what they want to teach us/what they think we 'should' learn), but rather, indirectly: the fact their existence proves challenging to us personally is proof that there's an opportunity to grow in some way. But just as choosing to continue interacting with someone against our gut feeling can end in growth, it can also end badly for us.

    How do you discern the difference between the two? Personal anecdotes welcome. [This is probably an issue that Fs/NFs experience more, feeling obligated to invest attention in people who don't seem to have much ROI (return of investment). Sometimes if a person is really needy and they simply don't have the internal resources to give back, there can be an inherent ROI in simply making another person feel wanted/appreciated in spite of how they can't directly return anything, and I think Fs might be particularly inclined to be charitable in this way (sometimes to our detriment- which is the reason for this thread). Input from Ts who don't relate to that is certainly welcome though, and can definitely help bring perspective. (Also, I'm not implying I think Ts never have this problem themselves).]

    (I will post my own thoughts shortly, but I want to put them in a separate post).
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  2. #2
    Ambience seeker burningranger's Avatar
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    I think one of the deepest and most natural impulses of our soul is to serve others and help people out of their suffering (altough it doesn't necessarilly have to look always pretty or politically/socially correct or even make you likeable).

    What you are describing is a problem of being human and happens at every level of consciousness. There is no one size fits all in my experience. Being an empath I tune into shit in other people that most of the times even they themselves are completely oblivious to. I feel the pull to always help but at the same time people don't stomach love too well...because of our fucked up upbringing we are divided when it comes to love. On the one hand we desperately want someone to tell us it's gonna be alright, to see us for who we are and to show us the deepest of affection....on the other hand we have an ego that was designed to do anything but show vulnerability/weakness...so past a certain point love is really a double bind.

    Logically I'd say, anyone that brings you down would be someone you'd want out of your life. Provided your desires allow for other people's freedom you should pursue your happiness without concessions. Communicating when you have a change of heart, but being resolute knowing that you being happy IS what helps others on many many different levels we usually don't even account for. But I don't do that myself...in fact I've spent most of my life not going for what I really want to not make other people uncomfortable with themselves. For me...almost EVERYONE is needy. Our "normal" way of interacting is ladden with subtle energetic expectations of each other...and when you truly just allow others to be themselves and go for what you want...without asking for persmission---humble but embodying full self-worth...people will accept you until you bump into one of their taboos (money is evil, why does he date so many girls, who does he think he is for accepting compliments without feeling even a little bit of guilt and playing it down? etc etc). We have waaaay too many attachments to the people around us...and people for the most part ALWAYS expect something of you.

    So it's really a matter of personal value. What do you value most and why? What has helped me let go of toxic people in my life has also ensured I became the subject of jealousy by another group. Usually what snaps me out of it is the impulse to be compassionate on a more universal level (towards the human condition). I know I'm just adding to the collective shadow by keeping myself in a state of unhappiness or of allowing that shit in my life. So the impulse to serve...so in a sense the same impulse that has me caring not to hurt the ones who are needy..is the one that gives me the clarity to see that I serve people much better when I take care of myself.

    Maybe it's because I'm a 9, but I really struggle with doing what is good for me personally. It doesn't help that I know that for many people (not all) their wordly drive is really just fueled by subconscious insecurities. The onyl time I've ever felt fulffilled was when I really went for something special and big....like really experiencing bliss and love on a constant basis....but that also requires I do away with many limiting beliefs I've inherited from society and it makes me look weird in they eyes of other. So...that's MY hangup about happiness. I know my joy will get me disapproval on many many levels.

    I'd investigate what your belief around happiness is. You need to have a reason to move in the direction you want to go (or logically deem better) which is more powerful than what keeps you in that pattern. Do you believe you are worthy of being happy, even if other people dissapprove? Usually it's some form of that that makes us be where we don't want to be.
    You are the only possible steward of what your soul deems as right and wrong...so you should always be on your own side before anyone else...alive or dead.

  3. #3
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    There's definitely truth in the suggestion that people who make us uncomfortable have something to teach us about ourselves - ...
    They teach me how fast I can run.

    I don't think we actually need to seek out or try to deal with difficult people. They will come our way no matter what, and we can't stop it entirely. I would say that human beings by nature are more intrusive than wild animals, and we are constantly bombarded with their intrusions, so why increase it? When I'm in the mountains and go on a walk, I know there are bears, coyotes, a mountain lion, and humans with their dogs. The only creatures I fear intrusion from are the latter. It is an aberration of nature to constantly interact and intrude upon others.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rumi
    The universe is not outside of you. Look inside yourself; everything you want, you already are.
    Edit: I also think there is danger when people internalize the idea of difficult people teaching us something about ourselves. This bothers me a lot because I know that the most controlling and manipulative people are expert at projecting their crap onto others. So, when they encounter someone who is open and trying to accept them and learn, they run rough shot and fuck with the person's head. Some people are psychologically very dangerous and it is simply not wise to get involved. They don't make us stronger, but do everything in the instinctual power to destroy other people. Having lived with narcissistic people and encountered many other people with terrible psychological problems, I would say that a safe distance is really important. I don't think that everything we initially reject reveals something about ourselves, but it is the delight of the people with severe personality disorders to use that to project into other people.

    I think our family members who make us uncomfortable can teach us about ourselves because those are the psychological, emotional, and behavioral issues we probably have internalized in one way or another. By watching the processes that cause internal pain for my mother or sister, I have learned a lot about my own internal processes. Strangers/acquaintances with issues don't reveal that much about myself because their experience is so far afield from mine. Family and choice of romantic partners are the place to look for insight about ourselves. Sometime we internalize by overcompensating with the opposite behavior, sometimes by displaying the behavior unconsciously, sometimes by getting overly triggered by it in an irrational way, etc. We may not be carbon copies of the family members who make us uncomfortable, but we have been shaped and influenced by them. With family, we internalized those issues in some manner before our pre-frontal cortex fully developed to process and judge input.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)


  4. #4
    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    It's hard, and i really want to reply to this thread but i don't know how and I'm hoping it takes off. I mean i know how type here click post reply, pretty simple but i don't know the words, i have been burned by people by trusting them when i shouldn't.but yes sometimes people you immediatly don't trust end up being the most trustworthy people. while people you immediatly trust end up being the least trust worthy people. I tend to give people the benefit of the doubt at first but sometimes i can't. sometimes my gut is screaming NOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!! and then i don't.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

  5. #5
    abcdenfp Abcdenfp's Avatar
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    I think when the interaction continuously leaves you drained.
    For me , I tend to avoid a person when I feel like the individualy continuously makes me think to myself after " I should have just said no" but when we interact they always convince me of something that is not in my normal mode of operation.
    Example :If it's an event they want me to come to and I'm tired (they know I'm tired I've expressed this ) but they push me into going (because they have their own agenda) and when I leave the event I think " you should have just said no I'm tired" but for some reason these type of people convince me into saying yes even though I know I don't really want to. They appeal to good nature or use the fact that I have a hard time saying no to their advantage.
    In these cases I realize nothing productive can happen from the interaction and I am giving way more than I am getting. Anyone who takes advantage of my good nature and makes me feel negatively now I'm out of here..

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    There's definitely truth in the suggestion that people who make us uncomfortable have something to teach us about ourselves - often not directly (ie. not what they want to teach us/what they think we 'should' learn), but rather, indirectly: the fact their existence proves challenging to us personally is proof that there's an opportunity to grow in some way. But just as choosing to continue interacting with someone against our gut feeling can end in growth, it can also end badly for us.

    How do you discern the difference between the two? Personal anecdotes welcome. [This is probably an issue that Fs/NFs experience more, feeling obligated to invest attention in people who don't seem to have much ROI (return of investment). Sometimes if a person is really needy and they simply don't have the internal resources to give back, there can be an inherent ROI in simply making another person feel wanted/appreciated in spite of how they can't directly return anything, and I think Fs might be particularly inclined to be charitable in this way (sometimes to our detriment- which is the reason for this thread). Input from Ts who don't relate to that is certainly welcome though, and can definitely help bring perspective. (Also, I'm not implying I think Ts never have this problem themselves).]

    (I will post my own thoughts shortly, but I want to put them in a separate post).
    This is very interesting to me as I've worked for most of my life in a profession in which persons without this ROI you speak of can be typical, so you deliberately choose to associate and invest in them knowing this, most of the training I've seen has this as an underlying idea or principle.

    Its all about creating a series of beliefs which it is hoped will change individuals thinking about this and motivate them to carry on inspite of the reality that there will in all likelihood not be discernable or noticeable ROI for the duration (I've read lots about how this is about embedding the beliefs at the unconscious level, level of deep thinking etc.)

    I would question if there is growth to be had from the process of investing in persons with low or no ROI per se, perhaps, I mean its possible to argue that in doing so you would be working your empathy like a muscle and the work out can strengthen it, that's one way of conceiving of it or framing it (which I think is what could be the most important thing in the end, its all about how you think about things, its mostly in the mind/thinking) but there is the alternative way of thinking that suggests that all of that contact is taxing upon a persons resilience, if there are not others bolstering the resilience at the same time then there will be layering up in the unconscious what will prove to be a negative script.

  7. #7
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    This is very interesting to me as I've worked for most of my life in a profession in which persons without this ROI you speak of can be typical, so you deliberately choose to associate and invest in them knowing this, most of the training I've seen has this as an underlying idea or principle.

    Its all about creating a series of beliefs which it is hoped will change individuals thinking about this and motivate them to carry on inspite of the reality that there will in all likelihood not be discernable or noticeable ROI for the duration (I've read lots about how this is about embedding the beliefs at the unconscious level, level of deep thinking etc.)
    I'm not sure I understand what you're saying here, mostly in the second paragraph. Are you saying that you work with people who don't have the internal resources to provide ROI (although getting a living wage for working with them provides significant ROI, I think your point is that they can't really turn to others around them for connection because they're coming from what Fromm refers to as 'scarcity'), and ideally the result of your work is that you help them cultivate such internal resources so that they won't need professional help? And that helping them cultivate such internal resources often works with reshaping beliefs that exist at an unconscious level?


    I would question if there is growth to be had from the process of investing in persons with low or no ROI per se, perhaps, I mean its possible to argue that in doing so you would be working your empathy like a muscle and the work out can strengthen it, that's one way of conceiving of it or framing it (which I think is what could be the most important thing in the end, its all about how you think about things, its mostly in the mind/thinking) but there is the alternative way of thinking that suggests that all of that contact is taxing upon a persons resilience, if there are not others bolstering the resilience at the same time then there will be layering up in the unconscious what will prove to be a negative script.
    I do think that an actual capacity for kindness - which is to say, the internal resources a person has in them to be kind when an external situation calls for it- is something that needs to be cultivated. But I personally think that starts with one's own perception rather than practicing kindness on others. If a person is kinder to others than they are to themselves, for example, then they're going to have finite internal resources to share. My point here is, I'm not sure I agree that investing in people who can't return that investment will build compassion or empathy (so I think I agree with you about that) - especially if it's done more for ego affirmation than from actual kindness, or done as a knee-jerk response because seeing someone suffer is unbearable. Because that kind of investing is depleting.

    I can't remember where I heard this, but I can remember hearing - oh wait, it was a Sam Harris podcast with Paul Bloom (author of Against Empathy: The Case for Rational Compassion) - something along the lines of "empathy is something that can be depleted when used, but compassion is something that only gets stronger when you use it." I don't know how to fully explain that right now if it isn't self-explanatory, so I'm hoping it's self-explanatory.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  8. #8
    can't handcuff the wind Z Buck McFate's Avatar
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    I think it's important to acknowledge that it's always okay to avoid interaction that we either get a gut feeling about or which we don't even particularly feel any ROI in (return of investment). I don't think it's anyone else's place, ever, to dictate to us where or to whom we 'should' dish out our attention. Worst case scenario: someone believes we are unkind, that we're perpetuating a comfortable echo chamber in which we don't have to challenge our own perception, and/or maybe something else I haven't thought of. But sometimes counterwill is a healthy feeling that protects us when someone feels like they NEED us to kowtow to their perception. If we practice being honest with ourselves, then it isn't as much a threat when someone believes something about us that we don't like.

    This is a large part of why this has been on my mind:

    Quote Originally Posted by labyrinthine View Post
    I also think there is danger when people internalize the idea of difficult people teaching us something about ourselves. This bothers me a lot because I know that the most controlling and manipulative people are expert at projecting their crap onto others. So, when they encounter someone who is open and trying to accept them and learn, they run rough shot and fuck with the person's head. Some people are psychologically very dangerous and it is simply not wise to get involved. They don't make us stronger, but do everything in the instinctual power to destroy other people. Having lived with narcissistic people and encountered many other people with terrible psychological problems, I would say that a safe distance is really important. I don't think that everything we initially reject reveals something about ourselves, but it is the delight of the people with severe personality disorders to use that to project into other people.
    I think even people who genuinely believe their own intentions are good can do significant damage. People often mistake their NEEDING something from others as love or concern for them.

    One of my favorite books on this topic is The Gaslight Effect by Robin Stern. It takes work to make oneself resilient to that^ kind of manipulation. For example, if it's important to someone to be kind, then someone who is manipulative can pick up on that (unconsciously) and use the fear of being perceived as unkind to steer shared reality in a self-serving direction. Or if it's important for a person to be 'open', then a gaslighter will use the fear of not being open to steer shared reality in a self-serving direction. According to Stern, the way to shake lose of the gaslighter's hold is to learn to be okay with someone else thinking things about you that you don't like. Just like the quote above by Rumi. I'm forever bringing up the Buddhist slogan, "Of the two witnesses, hold the principle one." If we cultivate the capacity to let others believe whatever they (feel like they) need to believe about us without it effecting what we believe about ourselves - not only does that give other people the room to feel/think whatever they truly feel/think in our presence (which is truly a gift to the world), but it breaks the hold that gaslighters use to steer shared reality in a self-serving direction.

    According to Stern, gaslighters need to be Right (her words) and to have their Rightness affirmed by others in order to maintain a secure sense of self; when/where they can't dictate the lion's share of reality, they feel unbearable distress. So they gravitate towards people who are sensitive to external feedback (in other words, people who are exceptionally open to external feedback) and create a sort of vicious cycle that Stern refers to as the "gaslight tango". To those involved, it all happens under the radar of either's perception: the gaslighter simply thinks they are repeatedly pointing out 'the truth', and the gaslightee thinks they are good at taking feedback. But a sort of resentment builds up for the gaslightee - they can't really put their finger on it, but they start feeling resentment/depleted/depressed.

    I also think what Gordon Neufeld has to say about (what he calls) an alpha dynamic is germane here too: it's natural to organize attachments hierarchically. Typically (in a healthy relationship/attachment), there are ways in which each person brings their alpha-ness to the dynamic. In a married couple with children, for example: one person might be the alpha at getting the kids to cooperate and do chores/go to bed/etc when they're supposed to; the other parent might be inherently better at managing finances and making sure there is a hefty college fund waiting for the kids when they graduate highschool. In any group of people wherein there is any attachment going on, there's typically different strengths for different things within the group, and those individuals who are particularly strong in their own niche are the 'alphas' of that niche. It becomes a problem with someone feels the need to be alpha without actually having the skills to organically command the alpha position - they achieve it through manipulation or oafish bullying instead.
    Reality is a collective hunch. -Lily Tomlin

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  9. #9
    Ambience seeker burningranger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Z Buck McFate View Post
    I think even people who genuinely believe their own intentions are good can do significant damage. People often mistake their NEEDING something from others as love or concern for them.
    Too true. And this is only everyone that has an expectation of you. Any whatsoever. So if I expect you to respond a certain way to me in return or agree to any of my ideas,,,that's a subtle form of neediness. The subtle supposed unwritten social agreement, that I'm here to meet YOUR needs. This is the law of the universe ultimately ->TOTAL free will....this is also how evil can happen to good people...everything happens by agreement...we CANNOT control another person...so if anything shitty is happening around us....we are subtly/subconsciously agreeing to it in some fashion. Only insofar as we feel we need something from another can we ever be controlled.

    Do a mindcheck of how many million little expectations did the people who claim to love you have on you.....only a person truly happy with their lives can ultimately have no expectations from you...in fact, I'd go so far as to say....love IS having no expectations from another. "you are free to do whatever the fuck you want to do"
    You are the only possible steward of what your soul deems as right and wrong...so you should always be on your own side before anyone else...alive or dead.
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  10. #10
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    This has always been a very straightforward intuitive process for me. I just know .
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