Sunday, August 14, 2016

Parable of the Two Caged Lions (AKA- Lessons in Reacting to Low Self-Esteem)

Experts say that many of our abusers lack self-esteem and this causes them to hide it with an outward show of obsessive self love and attention seeking. 

That has always puzzled me. 

It leads many of us, in an attempt to be kind, and to try to address the deeper issue, to allow ourselves to be further harmed.

To attempt to LOVE away the disease.

I BELIEVE it is often true that abusers, at the very CORE of their problem, have been made to feel worthless as young children...or to be feel that their WORTH was dependent on the way others saw them.

...but in the case of the abuser I dealt with, that self esteem issue was so deeply buried that he could not recognize it. 

No one, including him, would EVER consider his self esteem to be low. 

Whats funny about it is that heaping praises upon him does not HELP his issues but only further "feeds" his feeling of being BETTER than other people. 

On the other hand, people on the other end of the low self-esteem spectrum CAN be helped by being praised and lifted up. 

I guess that is why it is important to figure out the best way to react to someone who may, indeed, have low self esteem... to minimize the harm to ourselves and to learn that we cannot help these people by sacrificing all that we are.

The Parable of the Two Caged Lions

You enter a room in which there are two caged lions. 

Both have been beaten and starved.

You are told that, at one time, the two lions were caged together but had to be separated because Lion#1 was attacking Lion#2.

When the keeper would throw in the limited food available, Lion#1 would consume it immediately and injure Lion#2 if he tried to take even a mouth full.

Eventually, Lion#1, becoming hungry, had actually attempted to kill and eat Lion#2.

You are facing the cages. You have been given a steak to feed to each lion.

Lion#1 is thin, but beautiful. His coat shines, he paces back and forth. He has no scars. He paces back and forth at the door of the cage,  His gaze is fixed on that steak in your hand and he roars loudly. His attention focused only on getting his needs met. Angry, insistent, pawing at the bars.

Lion#2 is thin and scarred by the many attacks of Lion#1. He cringes way in the back of the cage, afraid to approach because he has been beaten by humans so many times. He looks longingly at the steak in your hand and starts to drool, but takes his eyes off you only for a second and then looks downward. Beaten, frightened, hopeless, knowing he is powerless.

When you open the cage to feed Lion #1. He POUNCES on you and disregards the steak you offer. 

Why would he want a small steak when there is a much BIGGER meal just ASKING to be taken? 

He is angry and full of hatred toward people. He is interested ONLY in feeding, in surviving. You are worthless to him as anything but a source of food, RIGHT NOW.

When you open the door to feed Lion #2, he eyes you with suspicion...hesitates to come forward. When he finally does it is typically because he is so hungry he has nothing left to lose. He FEARS you and is afraid of you...but he knows that you are not FOOD. So he grabs the steak and runs to the back of the cage to eat it.

In the end, both lions began with the same issues and both will end up with a meal....but the harm to you is very different.

They both learn different lessons from this experience....

Lion#2 learns "Maybe not every human is bad" and becomes more trusting, less fearful, more calm and patient. 
Lion#2 can be helped by kindness.

Lion#1 learns "If I just wait long enough, another person will come along for me to eat" and becomes more aggressive, more cunning, more dangerous. 
Lion #1 is incapable of being helped by kindness. He will continue to kill and consume everyone who opens that cage door.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Your Path Forward

NO one else can really know YOUR TRUTH.
No one else can tell you how to proceed
No one else knows your path or your struggles
No one else is an EXPERT on your life
No one has lived your life
No one owns your life
No one owns your voice
No one owns your truth

No matter how much knowledge another may matter how much you respect their matter if their actions worked in their life... no matter how strong someone matter how many assurances and promises they may make....


There truly is no one "correct" path. The wiser people around us realize this. It is impossible for anyone to walk in your shoes, no matter how close they have been to you. For what they have seen barely scratches the surface of what you have experienced.

It is not our job to make others understand....that is impossible.

In order to move forward we may choose to listen to others, share our truths, weigh our options... the end, only we know our path.

We must find the strength to understand that WE walk this path.
Though we may have companions and helpers and people who support us... and though we have many who tell us we are wrong, misguided or "crazy"...

Only we can decide where we are truly going and why.
Only WE have to live with the outcome.