Relationship Conflict

Our relationships can be a source of great joy, fulfillment, and support, or they can cause terrible pain and become major obstacles in our lives. We tend to get caught up in the swirling emotions whether they seem positive or negative, and whether we are male or female, or young, old, or middle-aged. Most of us seem to believe we are much more logical, aware, and rational, and much less emotional and reactionary than we really are, to boot. We all seem to think that we are the ones who are right, innocent, and justified, and that we are the ones who deserve better treatment, more consideration, and more attention.

What if one day we suddenly stopped trying to get more FROM others for ourselves? What if we could step out of time and space, and look at our relationships from the outside, like a scientist looking in from an observation window?

We can do that to a reasonable extent, if we have as much emotional and mental stability and logic as we seem to think we do.

We can ask ourselves certain questions about our own true intentions and motivations. We can ask ourselves questions about actual events, and about our behavior and words.

We can also ask ourselves about what the other person actually did, and what they really said.

We can ask ourselves if we honestly know all the "facts", or if we just assumed much of them (we humans usually assume much more than we actually know).

What we can NOT know is how the other person really felt, or what their intentions really were. We can NOT know WHY they did something, or did not do something. We can NOT know about their own feelings or thoughts unless they tell us out loud, directly, and THEY can NOT know what our feelings or thoughts are either, unless we TELL them directly.

Things to ask yourself when your relationship is in conflict:

1. What exactly was happening before the most recent conflict in my own life? Was I upset about anything else, anything else AT ALL, before the conflict happened?

2. Was the other person dealing with something else that may have upset them, anything AT ALL?

3. What was my real, true emotion? What was the very first feeling that I felt?

4. What were the actual events that transpired? Did I ask calmly and respectfully for more information, or did I jump to react to my emotion instead?

4. What am I really, actually trying to accomplish with this conflict? What goal do I have in mind? What is it that I'm trying to make happen?
(There is always a goal and a motivation, sometimes it just takes a moment of focus to see it in our own mind.)

5. Which person honestly began the conflict? 

Which person turned their focus from information to emotion? From straightforwardness to deceit? From calm clarifying to assumption? From cooperation to control? From sharing points of view to domination? From action to reaction? From respect to disrespect?
From friendship to fault-finding, blaming, and shaming?

6. If someone I admire had done to me exactly what I had done, would I truly and honestly have not felt hurt or betrayed? Can I really say that?

7. If I was the one who did something deceitful, provoking, controlling, or hurtful, what exactly was my real motivation behind it?

8. Why would I be looking to hurt or deceive a person with whom I choose to be in contact with? Am I trying to prove something to myself? To them? To others? What?

9. If I feel compelled to do disrespectful or hostile things toward another person, why am I remaining in contact with them? What am I getting out of it? Is it right, noble, or good? If it's not, how have I come to this low point?

10. If someone is doing hostile and disrespectful things toward ME, why am I remaining in contact with them? What am I getting out of it? What is my motivation?

11. What have I honestly done to contribute to this person's well-being and improvement of their life and happiness? How often do I go out of my way to put their well-being and happiness above my own?

12. How far have I gone to prove that I was right and they were wrong? Did I have their well-being in mind when I was doing that?

13. Do I seriously believe it's okay to speak to them with aggression, hostility, and abusive language or physical displays? Why would I do that to another person?

14. Do I willingly and happily seek ways that I may have been wrong, or mistaken?

15. Is my real goal to restore peace, good will, and happiness for BOTH, not just for myself? Or am I just seeking a rush-feeling of vindication, retaliation, and triumph over another person?

16. Do I actually listen to the other person's point of view, or do I just believe I'm Sherlock Holmes and think I know everything about the other person's actions and motives without even trying to find out?

17. How do I react when the other person calmly asks me questions? Do I perceive any and all questions as accusations and attacks? (If so, I'm hiding something; what is it?)

18. Do I feel innately superior to this person, but I don't want them to figure it out so I can keep manipulating them?

19. What is my true intention with this relationship?

Is there a possibility that I really want to be the controlling person in this relationship?

Is there a possibility that I don't want to be committed or loyal to this person?

Might I have resentment toward this person that I didn't address?

Does this person remind me on some level of someone else, either someone I resent, or someone I admire?

Am I afraid of this person?

Am I using this person for loneliness relief?

Could I be using this person as a gopher, a sidekick, a little sister or brother, a work-horse, a crutch, a shield, a magnet?

Am I envious or jealous of this person; their charisma, their money, their looks, their family, their success, their intelligence, their talent, their possessions, their happiness, their friends?

Is there real truth in my heart, mind and soul that I have this person's well-being as my priority? Or is that really just something I tell them, and tell myself?

20. How much effort am I willing to put into this relationship, and do I expect the other person to contribute more than I do?
Do I honestly see one of us as more important than the other?
Do I really believe the other person is less capable than I am of contributing equally to the relationship?
Do I seriously feel entitled to receive more than I contribute?
WHY, on all counts?

21. How would the other person feel about my answers to these questions? How do I feel about my answers?

~If you have read through and answered all the way to the end, congratulations, and you may be well on your way to better boundaries, and better relationships. Conflict resolution skills are one of the keys to good relationships between human beings, and those skills are useless if we are not using them inside the realm of honesty. Honesty with ourselves, and honesty with others. If someone is not being honest with us, it is our responsibility to ourselves to strengthen our boundaries and remain aware and alert. And we need to keep in mind that hostility is not necessary in a healthy environment, ever, but truly caring about the well-being of all, for real, is absolutely essential. 

We don't have the "right" to lash out at another when we feel pain, fear, or betrayal. But we do have the right to ask for more information, in order to clarify events, thoughts, and feelings. And we should always ask ourselves all of these things as well.

Don't Dim Your Light

"Don't dim your light because someone else complains you're shining in their eyes. Ignite. Set your soul on fire."
~S. Sonnon

"Why are you even wasting your time with this hobby? It's not like you're ever going to become a champion. You don't even have enough money to get a real teacher. You're not going to figure it out on your own reading books and practicing by yourself. And let's be honest: you're not the most genetically gifted person. Shouldn't you just accept what you're really capable of and make the best out of the hand you've been dealt?"

"The words of a former close friend burned deeply, as I stood at my beginning. In his mind, he was being a critical realist because he cared. And I truly believe that he did have my best interests in mind. He was wrong to let his fears cloud his words, but he did care.

"Twenty five years later, I'd be voted one of the 6 most influential martial artists of the century for sharing the lessons along my journey to find great teachers, who allowed me to see my true potential in the clear reflection of their lucid waters. If I had never started, if I had given up anywhere along the way, I would not have been able to surround myself with those who would lift me up toward my own dreams, rather than hold me down under their own fears. More importantly, I would not have had the opportunity to let my teachers insights influence so many through my writing and speaking.

"Don't let someone make your sky into a ceiling. Climb and soar. You are only confined by the walls you have been building for yourself. You decide when you've had enough growth, success and abundance. Only you. Don't let others blame your situation on family, friends, genetics, government, enemy, job, boss, skills, money, geography, or condition. Blame darkens. Accountability illuminates. Don't dim your light because someone else complains you're shining in their eyes. Ignite. Set your soul on fire.

"The more, through their choices, others drift from their own truth, or the longer their fears keep them ignorant of it, the more they will hate you for speaking yours; the more they will try to hurt you for doing what they're afraid to do; and the more they'll try to climb over each other, like crabs in a bucket, when they see you escape your self-imposed limitations. Others will broadcast your failures yet whisper your triumphs. Listen to your internal signal, not the external noise.

"Live by choice, not chance. Make changes, not excuses. Be motivated, not manipulated; useful not used. Have self-esteem, not self-pity. Share autonomy through accountability, and freedom through personal responsibility, not confinement by blame and enslavement by self-entitlement. Don't let others ensnare you into wearing the cynical countenance with which they've insulated their perception of their own potential. Emancipate yourself with the courage to go ALL the way absolutely alone, if you must. And everyone will benefit from your example; for the success of one us realizing their dreams, benefits all of us realizing our own.

very respectfully,
Scott Sonnon

Our Self-Awareness

Sharks, crocodiles and insects react to the world according to their feelings.

If they feel hungry, they eat whatever or whoever they find.

If they feel amorous, they mate with whoever is nearby and accessible.

If they feel threatened, they attack or run away, regardless of whether the "threat" is real. There is no remorse or thought about the damage they inflict on others. There is no thought about the other's well-being at all. There is no hesitation, no double-checking. No doubt that their attack is justified or that their perception is accurate. They do not ask questions or wonder if they interpreted the situation correctly. They will turn on the one they were just nesting with or mating with in an instant, with no remorse.

We are not entitled to treat others according to our emotional reactions, unless we have turned in our Sentience status.

We can be self-aware, or we can relinquish that self-awareness and be like sharks, crocodiles and insects, believing everything we say and do is fine just because we felt compelled to do it, paying no attention to the damage we inflict on others, feeling justified in all of our actions and reactions.

When we choose to relinquish our awareness and responsibility of our own actions, and abandon trying to understand where others are coming from, and abandon the purposeful cultivation of our relationships, we are no longer "above" them, and are just as much of a threat to harmonious life as they are.

Hating Happiness: Another Sign Of Narcissism

Another overt sign of Narcissism is a compulsion to ruin any kind of positivity in a target's life. If a Narcissist sees their target with a happy face, or hears a happy tone in their voice, it is a trigger to cause some kind of distraction and wreck the positive feelings. The only time a Narcissist might not do that is when they are sure that they are the one who "made" the target happy. But even then, they still might react to the trigger. Anything positive at all in a target's life that can be perceived by the Narcissist can be a trigger for them to insert themselves and then ruin it. An accomplishment, a financial windfall, a good job, a new car, a good friendship, a new business connection or opportunity. Credit, praise or attention from others for something the target did. If the target might be perceived by others as funny, smart, talented, or attractive. Even a joke that the target laughs at, a television show the target enjoys, or a musician that brings the target inspiration and joy. Even a task that the target has taken on that could increase the target's self-confidence, even if just for a moment. Anything at all that the Narcissist believes to be something that will bring the target positivity in their life, and any time the target expresses happiness, joy, confidence, or celebration is a trigger.

The Narcissist will often try to SHAME the target for whatever it is, or they will put down whatever it is, or actually try to remove the thing or person from the target's life. Narcissists are driven to cause their target humiliation, self-doubt, anxiety and fear in order to maintain their own feeling of control over the target. They have a hair trigger, and can go from "Happy Happy Joy Joy" to "You ought to be ashamed!!!" in a nanosecond. The effect on the target can range from confusion to serious trauma that can result in mental and emotional illness, including suicidal ideation. And there are plenty of Narcissists who would actually find pleasure in their target committing suicide, since that would bring them all kinds of sympathy and attention, and give them even more reason to gossip about their target to fellow Narcissists. So don't think for a minute that a Narcissist would stop their abusive behavior just because their target feels suicidal.

Too Busy, Too Important; Pride Goeth Before A Fall

Adult, Mentoring And Guiding Youths

The society will fall when they believe themselves too busy to mentor the youth.

It begins with status. When they create a hierarchy among themselves, they will then separate the children by the status they have labeled the parents with. The Lords will refuse to mentor the peasants' children, and the peasants will refuse to mentor the Lords' children. Their disdain for one another will grow to such arrogance that they will no longer have the self-control to keep the children out of their pettiness.

From there, they will then further separate the children by their race. The Lords with dark skin will refuse to mentor the children of the Lords with light skin, and vice versa. And the peasants with light skin will refuse to mentor the children of the peasants with dark skin, and vice versa.

Then in their foolishness, they will separate the children by gender. They will teach, guide, and apprentice only one gender in the trades and skills of the world, and deny their mentoring to the other, to increase even further their illusion of supremacy and inferiority.

Their increasing lust for superiority over others will cause them to separate the children even further, by anything at all that they can find. Hair color, height, body type, eye color, the music they listen to, even the clothes on their back.

They will refuse to mentor, care for, or pay attention to any youth but their own kin. And then, only their own children whom they favor.

At the end, when their arrogance has all but consumed them, they will simply refuse to mentor any youth at all, and insist that it is because they do not have the time or the resources. When the youth have no mentors, no steady guiding hands or voices, and no one to have their backs in the world because the adults have decided that mentoring is a burden, those will be the last days.