It is all about Energy
Most of you are familiar with the subject. For those who are not, it will take you 5 minutes and you will join the crowd, I promise... Today we have a very special topic. The 6th Insight, and the 6th, as some of you know, is a particular number across various philosophies, as it carries the meaning of illumination. Now, you might be surprised, and it might be a bit difficult on you, but the 6th Insight will be all about your family. Not about you personally, but about our closest relatives, our parents, natural or adopted. We’ve already touched upon the subject of the family while discussing the 4th Insight of how important it is to know where you come from, who are or who were your parents and mentors, and what is/ was the relationship between you and them.
The 6th Insight expands these questions further. Iit is good to know our past relationships with the closest relatives, but it is even better when we actually proceed beyond this knowledge and work with it. So just to move a little bit deeper into the subject, let me briefly return to the 4th Insight which talks about the struggle for power. We struggle for power because we don’t know how else we could possibly approach power.
The Fourth Insight tells us that humans compete for energy with each other. We do this unconsciously in every encounter.
Is it good, is it bad?
By asking this question, I don’t mean that we live in a place where everything is strictly divided into black and white, however, in this case the idea is that we’ve been very wrong about how to manage power, because our desire to be powerful prevents the very flow of power. The struggle for power prevents us from being WITH the power, instead of striving FOR it. It prevents us from sharing it with others. The reason why we struggle for power is because we have an internal need for controlling our environment, which for various reasons develops in us from the early childhood. In this sense, we speak about an unavoidable survival mechanism, and the way we act as human beings. In order to survive, we need to attract others, and, yes, we do it for the sake of our survival. If we do not have parents who love us enough, who return our smiles, our hugs and touches, we will probably strive for it more and more, and more... The instinct of survival tells us long before we learn how to speak or walk that we will die, if we don’t receive the attention of our care-givers, be it parents, grandparents, other relatives or mentors. Our need to control the immediate environment in any possible way is stronger than any other need already at the earliest stage of our development as a human being. This is when we develop our defence mechanisms and when we learn how to attract and flirt with those who take care of our needs.
The 4th Insight introduces the idea of three egos that we develop in our early childhood: the Child, the Parent and the Adult. The Child ego (in an adult) strives for care and protection, the Parent ego needs to provide these two qualities when they are no longer needed. It is the Adult ego that provides a balance between these extreme positions.
The 6th Insight tells us that beyond these 3 ego types, there are four major controlling mechanisms. I personally find them absolutely hilarious and I use this typology in my workshops on how to act assertively. Lots of fun to understand but at the same time we should not forget that these are very serious mechanisms, because they shape and govern our personality and sometimes our life-long character. What’s even more important, these mechanisms do not exclude one another. We might have two or even three, and switch from one to the other as we develop as human beings. However, there is usually one predominant mechanism that had proven best in our early tactics and that we have been instinctively applying in situations of danger or insecurity since then. I’m going to go through these mechanisms with you right now, and I am certain that you will recognise them in your everyday enactments. The whole idea is really about discovering them and then remembering the reasons why you act in this particular way, or why you are much more familiar with this and not another mechanism, and what it has to do with your family, your care-givers.
"The need for control and the addictive quest for dominance is a universal quest aimed at avoiding the inner void..." (Philip Kavanaugh, Magnificent Addiction)
The first controlling mechanism has the most aggressive characteristics: the terrorist or the intimidator. Actually, I prefer the word terrorist because it’s so much more telling. What are the typical features of a person who terrorises his or her immediate environment? Here are some ideas. Think about a 2 year- old child that throws a tantrum in the middle of a supermarket because s/he wants to secure her/himself a toy from a shelf. If you as a parent react to that tantrum, which is an uncontrolled outburst of anger and frustration, by giving the toy to your child (something like: ‘oh, just have it and be quiet’, or ‘darling yes, you can have it of course, just stop this show’), the child will quickly learn that the mechanism based on terror works really well with his or her care-giver. From early on, s/he will also attempt to use the same mechanism elsewhere, in school as a bully, and later in the adult life as a dictator. What are the typical patterns of behaviour? 'I want!', 'Give me!', 'I’m important. I’m the most important', 'Listen to me!', 'I’m right.', 'You must! And if you don’t, I will make you.' Typical bullies What do the do? They will insult you, but behind that insult there is something else... Behind all these types of behaviour there is an inner void, but on the surface, we confront a person who is extremely aggressive.
The second type of mechanism, as we move along the line, is less aggressive but still on the same quality side. It is the interrogator type or otherwise a policeman. The typical attitudes displayed by an interrogator evolve around questioning the other: 'What did you do?', 'Where did you go?', 'Why did you spend so many hours there?'. The policeman is interrogating the situation, wanting to know everything. 'How much did you pay for it?', 'Why did you buy so much? What for?', 'When exactly?'. A person ruled by this mechanism is completely or foremost unable to let others really feel any space, freedom or choice. The interrogator will simply not allow anyone any space, so naturally people confronted with such pressure will feel constantly controlled and checked upon. For example, a wife of a husband-interrogator will be in need of answering her phone under any circumstance, as well as to answer every question, even the most ridiculous one. It is the kind of pressure like being in an immediate vicinity of a police station all the time.
The third type is on a more passive side of things. This mechanism involves a fair amount of aloofness, a hard-to-get-persona type, or otherwise, someone who acts very mysteriously and won’t tell you much, but rather pretend that s/he is not necessarily interested in anything that has to do with you or a situation. This kind attracts others by not being involved directly in anything. People who are not willing to commit are very much into that category. If I’m not here, I’m not taking any responsibility: 'No, no, no, it wasn’t me...', 'I don’t care, or maybe, I care but I won’t show you that I care…'.
The fourth defence mechanism is the victim, which is the most passive form of control but nevertheless just as much controlling. We often believe that victims do not control because they are controlled by others. This is quite far away from the truth. Most certainly, they act extremely weak and unable to change their situation, but in doing so the victims can control well their surroundings. How do they control? Most often, they cry and while crying they try to make you feel guilty. They sense no need for taking any responsibility for any of their actions, because others are in charge. Their mission is to ensure that someone else will take the responsibility for anything that takes place.
Now, it is important to remember that all four types of defence, to a lesser or greater extent, are present in us. Some mechanisms are more familiar than others, with some we feel much more at home because we’ve understood from an early childhood that they work for us better. Remember that our parents also had their mechanisms and depending on what mechanisms they used, we’ve developed others in order to match and survive in the environment we were confronted with. The less we were loved, the stronger mechanisms we had developed, and the more often we had felt like using them to be able to survive. Nevertheless, in order to possibly change our behaviour, what is important to us is that all four mechanisms are based on fear. I will address the phenomenon of fear next…