Sunday, September 21, 2014

Liars Are A Lot Like Magicians

So, you’ve discovered that your partner lies…a lot…and it hurts. You know that there’s something wrong but you can’t put your finger on it. You wonder if it’s you. You try to ignore it, get busy so you don’t have to deal with it, yet you just can’t go on any more and you demand the truth.  That’s when you realize that liars are a lot like magicians. It’s all smoke and mirrors to prevent you from seeing who they really are and what is actually happening. Liars have you so consumed about focusing on what’s not real that you miss the reality. For them it’s all about controlling the narrative. It’s about power. And if you’re married to one it’s often about control. It’s keeping you unsure about the truth, about yourself, and mostly about them.

Everyone spins the truth now and then, but it’s when the lying becomes the default to communicating that it becomes a pathology. Most people are uncomfortable with telling a lie. A pathological liar is someone who is uncomfortable when telling the truth.

So how do you deal with a pathological liar? You don’t. A liar who is found out will continue to lie. They will lie about their lies to hold the power. As long as they are lying and you are trying to prove their lies you keep them in power. The moment they are found out they lose the power and become insignificant and that to a pathological liar is worse than death. It’s the power of the lie that keeps them significant. There will always be another lie.

You may think that if you show them that they are always lying and that there is no need to lie that they will stop. They will not. They know they lie, you don’t have to prove anything to them. And they know they lie all the time. They lie so you are always looking at the lie and not at them because they don’t like themselves. Who they are is insignificant to even themselves and they need you in their lives to make them feel important. So they lie to keep you, not to lose you. It is solely for their own need to feel “significant.”

Unfortunately, they don’t realize that relationships are built on trust. Pathological liars will never experience a true relationship because they will always be found out and their relationships will end for the simple reason that no one wants to be involved with someone who will never show you who they really are. The older they get, the more they feel the need to lie and the worse they get at it. Their lies begin to even confuse them. They begin to get angry at those who start to catch on and as their families begin to identify their “Tell” (a behavior that indicates a lie is being told), their world begins to crumble. Their spouse is now on to them, their children begin to connect the dots of a lifetime of lies, and soon friends and extended family members catch on as well.  Their world begins to become very small and eventually their worst nightmare comes true…they become insignificant.

So what do you do if you find out that the person you’re living with is a magician and not working at the Magic Castle???

Well, you can stay and play hide and seek with them for the rest of your life never really knowing what is going on. You can go to therapy with them and try to gain an understanding of the insecurities that bring all the lying about. Or you can leave and hope that your next relationship is with someone who loves themselves enough that they can be honest and open about their feelings.

Monday, September 15, 2014

"Life Is A Lot Like Baseball"

A mother’s conversation with her daughter

            My daughter Noelle got married at the age of 30. She was the last of my three children to have tied the knot and as she took her vows I breathed a sigh of relief and thought, “At last, they all have finally moved on”.
            Of course, as with all weddings there were ups and downs with family members and in laws, wedding plan catastrophes and relative disappointments. But nothing would have prepared me for the comment Noelle made on the return of her honeymoon.
            “Mom” she said. “I feel like I got married and you abandoned me.”
            “What?!” I replied.
            “Yeah, every time a situation comes up you tell me to go figure it out. It’s like you don’t want any part of my life anymore.”
            That couldn’t have been further from the truth. I’ve always been there for all three of my children. Noelle was the youngest of the brew. Her brother Jonathan was four years older than her and her brother Jason was 21 months older than Jonathan. I guess you could say that I was always there for them growing up. Figuring things out for them, bailing them out of pretty much every dark corner they backed themselves into. I was a fixer. That was my position and they knew it. But after marriage I figure it’s time to grow up. It took them a little longer than most. Jason married at 32, Jonathan at 30. I married at 20, so in my eyes they were late bloomers. So when Noelle accused me of abandonment I couldn’t have disagreed more.
            “Noelle,” I said, “I haven’t abandoned you, I’ve just taken a seat in the bleachers and am watching you swing at the balls comin’ at ya. And I have to say, you might wanna step up in the box, you’ll have a better chance of hitting one of them.”
            “That’s what I mean Mom, if you took the bat you would hit the ball out of the stadium and I could have been on base already.”
            “My point exactly, you need more practice at the plate. I haven’t left the stadium, I’m here with my Starbucks cheering you on. You’ll hit it, you just need more practice.”
            Yeah, but I’ve watched you swing and you hit the ball out of the park every time. I could be here striking out forever!”
            “Really, So, you think I was always great at this game? Let me tell you, there was a time when I couldn’t even find my way out of the dugout. And low and behold one day I felt the wind of the ball flying past me as it almost hit me in the head, good thing I ducked or it would have knocked me out. It was then that I got mad, picked up that bat and started swinging. And did I strike out? Absolutely! But I never stopped playing. I swung and I swung and one day I actually hit the ball. I was called out on first but it made me more determined to out run the ball the next time and before I knew it I had made it to third base. Out of breathe, dirt in my fingernails and one ass kickin’ grin on my face cause I knew all I needed was one more base and I would have hit a home run. Nothing would stop me now. Again I took to home plate, and I saw it…this time I would hit a home run. The ball came flying by and I froze, “Ball!” life screamed. I stepped up in the batter’s box, life threw its second ball, I swung and I heard, “Strike One!”  F**k!, I thought. I became more focused, I wrapped my hands tighter around the bat and I lowered my head, focused like a lion getting ready to attack its prey and then… “Strike Two!” “God damn! Please, not another strike out,” I prayed. And then I stepped out of the box, I took a breath, hit the dirt out of my cleats with the bat, relaxed and visualized hitting that damn ball out of the park. More determined than ever I entered the batter’s box, got in position and silently said to that pitcher, “C’mon mother f**ker give me everything you got.” I watched as the ball came at me with lightning speed, and before I knew it my body swung that bat, the bat connected with the ball and I watched as it went over the fence and out of the stadium. My first home run!…finally.
            So I sit in the bleachers sipping my coffee and I cheer for you my darling. I feel your frustration, I honor your intent, and I root for your success. I pray for your persistence, but my time hitting balls for you has ended. It’s your game now. Abandon you? Never. Empower you? Always. There is only one way I can do that and that is to leave you to your game and allow you to play it your own way, in your own time, with the team you pick, and the strategies you come up with.
            Now go practice, find you inner source and put it to work. It’s just a game, have fun and know that no matter what happens there will always be another inning, another ball to hit, another game to play with different players in different stadiums. Hit them one ball at a time, take your time, aim and believe you own the ball, the field and the fans. And remember there will always be one constant…I’ll always be in the bleachers.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

"Ya Gotta Read The Field!"

Ya Gotta Read The Field!

            Michelle, my daughter-in-law, or Grasshopper, as I often refer to her taken from the "Kung-Fu" TV series, possesses more untapped potential than anyone I have ever met. Wife to my eldest son Jason at the age of 22, mother to my grandson Colin at the age of 24 along with becoming a certified public accountant that same year, scoring 99, 93, 92 & 84 on the four part accounting exam. Also, being a homeowner at the age of 25 puts her in the category of achieving a lot more than most given her few short adult years on this planet.

            As I’m visiting with her at her home on Long Island, she sits with tissues in hand and tears streaming down her face as she painfully explains her feeling of being stuck in her life. Worried about money, the idea of a second child haunting her and her full time job that is boring her out of her mind, she just can’t seem to get out of her own way.

“I’m tired, I’m bored, I hate my job, there’s never enough money. I can’t leave my job, how will the bills get paid.” She cries.

            “Alas, my darling, you’re not reading the field,” I say.

            “What?” she whimpers.

“In football the best players are able to get in position and before making their decision of where to tear up the line they read the field. They’re looking for an opening, they’re anticipating the moves of the other players and how they can maneuver through the line of defense and get to the end zone. Similar to life when you have to learn to spot opportunities. Learn how to read the world around you and anticipate certain changes and how they will impact opportunities coming your way.”

            “But how do you do that?” she cries.

“You breathe. You focus on being happy. You begin. You get in position, and you look around at the other players. What are they doing? You study the ones that have succeeded and you ask how they did it. You can’t back up your bet and that’s what you want to do. You want someone to tell you that you’ll win and no one can tell you that. It’s like free falling. You have to be willing to take the chance and believe you won’t splatter on a rock. That your dive will enable you to enter the water without injury. Life is set up for you to succeed. You don’t even need a backup plan, as a matter of fact if you set up a backup plan that just might be what you end up with. But if you visualize your success and accept no other scenario the Universe will have to deliver your dream or go one step further, deliver an even better scenario, one that you would have never dreamed possible.”

            Life is the ultimate team sport. You are the gladiator given everything you need to be successful if you just believe. You want guarantees, there aren’t any. And if there were what would be the point to all this. These challenges separate the men from the boys, or in this case the women from the girls.

            And I know what you’re thinking Grasshopper, “But how….?” Stop over thinking everything. Stop planning every little move. Calm down, visualize what you want in as much detail as possible and don’t ask how it’s going to happen. The “how’s” to this are none of your business. Does the field kicker ask about aerodynamics before he kicks the football through the uprights? No he doesn’t, he just focuses, kicks and voila through the goal posts it goes. He really doesn’t know how it happens he just knows that it does. And for those times when it doesn’t he will admit, he was distracted.

There is something greater than ourselves working for you out there. It is the intangibles, your gut feelings, those serendipitous moments, the power we were all born with to create. Your son knows it, why do you think babies are so happy? They look at us and think, WTF, have they all forgotten the power of thought?? Oh god I hope that doesn’t happen to me. There is power in the word “NO” but there is greater power in the word, “YES”.

If you want to be a worker bee and work behind a desk for 10 hours a day then so be it. There’s nothing wrong with that. But what I’m hearing is that you can’t stand it, you’re angry, you’re depressed, and you don’t love your life. Well, Grasshopper there is only one person to blame for that and it is you. So get away from your work desk and do what you have to do to move the energy toward your dreams. Knowing there are no guarantees except for the ones you put in place and that guarantee is that you don’t stop pushing toward the end zone until you have that football in hand and know that you are going to score…..a TOUCH DOWN!!