Roy Masters speaks much on human relationships. The recurring dynamic in these is that of bully and appeaser (or perhaps one could say dominant versus submissive). Let’s explore this a little in today’s essay.
Fresh berries in China are pictured here. Our photographer remarked that these look somewhat like worms.
Mr. Masters, 86 years old and still lucid, has a radio show in the evenings. I think it is called Advice Line. As well, he is the founder of the Foundation of Human Understanding.
The basic choice we are confronted with when another person is trying to dominate or control or use us is to either appease that person or to resist and not let the other dominate us. Either choice comes with its costs. If we choose to appease the other person (to keep the peace), then we give up some control over our own lives, and some personal freedom. If we choose to resist the dominant person, the costs we bear are enduring open conflict and resentment and rejection by the other person. (To clarify here, we are not simply talking about the normal give and take in human relationships which are, so to speak, 2 way streets. We are talking about an unhealthy, one-sided, potentially abusive relationship.)
Mr. Masters counsels us not to be appeasers and not to allow ourselves to be used by others. We cannot grow to become psychologically healthy persons if we are appeasing others who seek to dominate our lives. Wounded parents pass on their psychological and emotional wounds to their children in how they raise them. This is how the victimization process is perpetuated over the generations. Have you ever noticed this? We can consciously choose to raise our children differently than we were raised by our parents.
The fact is that this dynamic is present, is in play, in all human relationships to some degree. Consider what we see in the relationships and interactions between spouses, between and among siblings, between parents and their children, and between friends. See what takes place between employers and employees and among co-workers. (One sees this dynamic at work even within – gasp – liberal families and “progressive” communities.) Ethnically diverse societies and ethnically homogeneous societies show evidence of this dynamic at play between individuals and groups. We observe this dynamic in the often abusive relationship between the governing and the governed. To be sure, we see it at work in the power structures of organized religions. You can see this dynamic in the relations and interactions among nation states where “might makes right” is at play.
Humans have not evolved, have not sufficiently matured psychologically and emotionally and spiritually to being able to accept and respect others. The presence in our lives of others who play the part of bully can make it difficult to love our fellow human beings.
Why cannot people treat each other with more respect, treat each other more fairly without frequently trying to use others? Perhaps, it is the pleasure of power over others that proves too strong for many of us to resist.
Having to deal with aggressive and domineering people can drain us of energy. In recent years, the term “psychic vampire” has been used to describe the person who never tires of draining others of energy and who never seems to have enough of doing so. I have worked with a couple of these parasitic type people over the years. (It was not a pleasant experience.) They were very miserable individuals who purposely tried to make others around them miserable.
Why do individuals remain or stay in abusive relationships? Why does a woman (or a man) stay in an abusive relationship when she has her own means of livelihood and there are no children involved? The abuser, the bully, cannot and will not change unless he/she consciously chooses to make the effort to change. Sadly, this rarely happens.
A few relevant words about government and religion. Those in government, including the many thousands of careerist, unelected bureaucrats, abuse and bully the citizenry day by day. And, we the citizenry, appease them – to no good end – by continuing to surrender more of our rights. There are those who use religion and a bastardized or false conception of God to justify murdering and oppressing others. (Personally, my view is that men who oppress women, and institutionalize such oppression/repression with their religion, are sexually maladjusted. A man who is sure of himself, and confident about his manhood does not feel the need to oppress women.)
In closing, let us share a few words from the song Jackie Blue by the Ozark Mountain Daredevils in 1975.
Every day, in your indigo eyes
I watch the sun set but I don’t see it rise
copyright 2014 – larrysmusings.com