Friday, October 18, 2013

How feelings lead to self-deception

One of my favorite books that explains the way most people navigate their feelings and relationships is Bonds That Make Us Free, by C. Terry Werner, founder of the Arbinger Institute. The book and institute are primarily about self-deception. Here's an illustrative quote:

“Fable: When we're stuck in troubled feelings we believe that all our feelings are true-- that is to say, we believe that by our emotions at that moment we are making accurate judgments about what's happening. If I'm angry with you, I'm certain that you are making me angry.

Fact: Though we truly have these feelings, they are not necessarily true feelings. More likely I'm angry because I'm misusing you, not because you are misusing me.” 

I wrote a little bit about empaths' tendency to endow their emotions with feelings of Truth here.

This recent comment reminded me of this principle:

I think most people don't consider sociopaths as 'unknowns'. Most people think they know everything there is to know, and no amount of reasoning or metaphorical musings is going to change that.

[P]eoples' lives revolve around sparing their conscience. All their thoughts and actions must be justified, and they treat their morality as if it's entirely objective. When someone gets a 'bad feeling' about someone, then the source of that bad feeling is evil. I've realized that there are topics I choose to avoid, they give me a 'bad feeling'. When I examine that feeling, though, I realize that it says more about my own inner workings than anything that's happening outside my head.

Racism, bigotry, and discrimination stem not from some objective truth about the targeted population. It comes from parents, the media, and peers teaching young minds to dislike groups of people, and this dislike is rationalized by exaggerations and outright lies until the population is appropriately villified. I hate smokers because I find the stench of burning tobacco absolutely revolting. I hate hobos because they ask for and feel entitled to my money. They force an unwelcome interaction with me, be it through a pervasive miasma or trying to sell me pins and dirty papers.

Black guys and flamboyantly gay guys make me uncomfortable. I don't hate them, but I grew up in an ultra-conservative, ultra-white area. Fortunately, my family is not composed of bigots, so the extent of my racism and homophobicity is that I merely feel uneasy. I understand that this is a learned behavior, and the only way to unlearn it would be to interact with these people that make me feel uncomfortable, to teach myself that they are human, and not at all unlike myself. Most people, however, just consider people that make them uncomfortable to be evil somehow. It's much easier to reconcile their bad feelings this way, rather than recognize, admit, and try to change the fact that they themselves are the ones with the defect.


  1. People DO feel revulsion because of family and societal "programming,"
    But not always.
    I DO detest the order of tabacco, not just because of the Suregon
    General's reports. I have experienced first hand, the affects of
    sniffing tabacco order, and know I don't like it. Bias against the
    smoker has nothing to do with it. I hate the sin, but love the sinner.
    If I didn't love him/her it wouldn't matter to me that he/she was
    committing slow sucide by ingesting the posion, and draging me down with him through second hand smoke.
    If I aviod bums it's not just because I'm physically revolted by them.
    I have, and will "give in the office" to fight poverty, but I'm redicent
    to expose myself to possible disease, and having a deranged person
    pull a knife on me.
    No, the real tragety is when people hate you impulsively for reasons
    that even they can't define. The "feel" they get from you.
    This has to do with the planets in the first house of your Astrological
    In my chart, I have Pluto in the first house. I simply "weird people out."
    I always have. There's nothing I can do about it.
    I also have Mars in the 7th house. The 7th house is the house of "open" enemies. The upshot of the Pluto/Mars opposition in these
    houses, is that you get much hostility from other people for reasons
    even THEY can't express. So I simpily make the best of things.
    A negative reaction to a negative event, only compounds the negativity.

    1. You know, when you choose to believe in something, you'll subconsciously train your mind to recognize 'coincidences' which will in turn confirm these beliefs in your mind, even when they're negative.

    2. You know, when someone like Astro Boy here is so utterly uninteresting or even repulsive to pretty much everyone, including a group of anonymous strangers on the internet, sometimes it helps him retain the little sanity he has left to put the blame on something like the position of Pluto in relation to other planets during the time of his birth.

      It's a safety blanket, this delusion:

      "It's not my fault I'm creepy, it's Pluto's. Damn Pluto!
      It's not my fault people don't like me. it's not my behavior, or the fact that I am a boring idiot. It's Mars being a bastard planet and not cooperating with Pluto!.

      How these damned planets have fucked me! And alas, there is nothing that I can do about it. I can't go back in time and nuke them into a desired position after all. So why bother?
      I will simply have to remain positive in the face of this overwhelming astrological damnation and dedicate myself to educating a bunch of anonymous strangers on a sociopath blog on the beauty of deluding yourself and blaming everything else for your shortcomings."

      This is why no matter what logic and reasoning you use to try and help him, he will cling to this safety blanket for dear life and continue lamenting the fate those asshole heavenly bodies wrote for him.

    3. Most people do not impulsively hate someone based on a "feeling" they can't define - intuition. However, they may choose to avoid you at all costs, particularly if you're the type to surrender your behaviour to the alignments of planets.

      I personally believe that intuition originates with the many human senses. It is not supernatural. Remnants of perception, such as a movement out the corner of your eye, or a subtle sound that would normally be ignored as background noise could occur simultaneously. Whilst these events could be filtered as irrelevant by the rational mind, their coincidental synchronicity could alert you to an awareness of your surroundings, such as being watched or followed.

  2. I have libra in my house and masking tape in my closet.

  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Mach, right now I just plain fucking love you.

      "Heaven": the invisible carrot offered as reward for a life of misery and servitude by those that so dearly love to use the stick on you.

    2. Mach, a pity you deleted this post.

      So what do I have so far. The narrative of a woman, a father's girl, who married a "born again Christian" man that did not treat her right. She bore him four kids she considered nothing but "soiling and pooping machines" till they got slightly older. ... Then not suppressing her feelings any longer as he did not give as much as he took in the relationship she finally separated from him. Lately--sometimes in 2013--she discovered that her husband may well have been a socio/psychopath. Which makes me wonder how long ago she separated from her man.

      What we also learned today, if I remember it correctly: C Terry Warner must have a similar misogynistic outlook. As member of a group in the monotheist tradition, or more precisely as a member of LCD. He may not understand the wisdom of feelings--which in fact helped you to get out of the marriage, after you did not suppress them any longer for the benefit of your man.

      Anything I got wrong?

      Now what got you into the marriage to start with? And how long ago the separation happened?

    3. Ok, maybe longer than 2013, as MachavellianEmpath, though only from May 2013 on. Apparently.

      il principe

    4. Strictly Mach, if you are not inventing your story as you go, what I wonder most about is: Why, if you separated from your man are, you still so obsessed with him? Why is he directly or indirectly in most of your statements? Maybe your ultimate motive for being here. You never really write about what exactly he did to you, except for a subjectively used equation. If you give you should get exactly as much. Hmm? It works with presents but how exactly does that work in any relationship?

      Why not let him go mentally too for good? He stole part of your life? He couldn't have done without your consent to start with.

      Something went wrong with the relationship and you have no part of that too? I find that hard to believe, since it does not fit my experience. You suppressed whatever you yourself wanted for too long. Why? What for? Why give birth to four kids first? Soiling and pooping machines initially?

      What I understand by now is that you hate the man, but I cannot really grasp why. Should I hate all "born again men" as a female, is that what you suggest? Why should I, some may find their "born again females" looking for exactly such a man.

    5. We separated in 2006 and divorced in 2008. I actually don't hate him at all. But I do hate that the "programming" we both received prior to meeting each other (his was- "you are the most special person ever" and mine was "you exist to serve alpha males") led to an imbalance of power and satisfaction that ultimately killed our friendship. We feel in love as two rebellious kids who made each other laugh nonstop, but fell out of love when one became an investment services bigshot who expected to be catered to and the other was pregnant/nursing continually for 8 years. I challenge any first love to survive that sort of assault on romance.

      I definitely have done my fair share of thinking about sociopathic men, however. After all, a woman does have needs and the last time I was romantic with the father of my children was 2006. Between then and now I have learned quite a bit about human behavior.

      Because I'm financially secure, independent by nature, definitely done satisfying the biological imperative to reproduce, and genuinely really like men, I've had quite a time dating (but not bedding) a wide assortment of individuals. Some nice, some not so nice, but all had lessons to teach.

      And as for having kids so young- I did what I was programmed to do. While it crimped my style when I was younger, I didn't really understand what I was missing so it wasn't as awful as it might seem. Plus I had myself convinced that I was being noble.
      Now, I am more cynical about my own motivations and also the religious dogma I was born into, but feel pretty satisfied about the way life turned out for me. I really like my kids. They're very interesting and we have grown up together. The show "Party of Five" feels a bit like my reality. It is a happy accident that I have never felt more freedom from that dogma at the same time my self sacrificing behaviors don't serve my children (because the whole martyr mindset did work well when I was an overworked and exhausted young mother).

      I have less guilt, no ticking biological clock, and a world that opens up more each year. It's true I mention my ex husband but he has to be an ongoing part of my life bc of the kids. In my opinion, he has his faults but he's capable of empathy and generosity. The real "monsters" (if they are in fact, monsters) are the elders in both of our lives who used both religion and financial manipulations to control us like pawns. He was ultimately more ok than I was to paying lip service to the older generations. He's the furthest things from a "Born again male" But that's another story.

      One clue:

      I still love a man I am not currently in contact with. I think he had sociopathic wiring, a horribly repressive religious background, and is wrestling with demons bigger than the love I had for him. My failures to appreciate him non judgmentally might be my life's biggest regret. I am determined to understand the sociopathic mind because I don't think it's evil. Rather, I think it's human nature to project our own evil onto others that we label sociopathic. So interacting on SW has everything to do with my confronting the part of myself that was raised to judge others.

      So far, the only thing I feel certain is evil is the human tendency to scapegoat others. When I feel I have solved the riddle of how to relate to sociopathic individuals in a nonjudgmental fashion (mind you- I have no problem judging evil actions as evil- what I am talking about is that tendency to label someone "all bad") I suspect I will visit SW less. But maybe not. The humanity I sometimes glimpse here is at times more profound and sacred as anything I've heard come out of the mouth of a self proclaimed saint.

      It's a fascinating sort of penance. ;)

  4. It is so interesting to get insight into how an abnormal human being views normal humans. Thanks for sharing.

  5. a sociopaths is like a bind man he cannot see but he makes up for it with counting steps and better hearing
    just like the sociopath is missing some things and better at others

  6. interesting in this post reminds me of someone whe tells me he believes in right and wrong after observing him i've seen him mix up right and wrong from weak and strong

  7. Wow, your house must be HUGE!

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