Dr. Margaret Paul
We all have a needy part of us, which we can call our wounded self, or ego. The wounded self, in one way or another, is always pulling from others to get the love, attention, approval and validation that it seeks.
When there is no loving adult part of us present to attend to these inner needs, then the wounded self has no other options but to try to have control over getting what it needs from others.
We choose not to show up for ourselves and take care of these needs when we operate under some false beliefs. Some of the major false beliefs are:
- I can’t do it – I can’t take care of myself
- Another can do it better for me than I can for myself
- My best feelings come from getting love rather than being open and loving with myself and others.
These false beliefs can keep people stuck in attempting to manipulate others into giving them what they want, and never experiencing the incredible joy that comes from being loving rather than trying to get love.
The needy person operates under another false belief – that others cannot tell when they are being pulled on and manipulated into taking responsibility for them.
For example, Joseph came to one of my five-day Intensives because his marriage was falling apart. His wife had finally declared that she was no longer willing to be constantly pulled on to fill him up and take responsibility for his feelings.
Joseph had never been any other way and had no idea what to do differently. He came to the intensive hoping to discover how to do it “right.”
When Joseph was working with me, his intention was to figure out how to do it right so he could get my approval. Part of my job as a facilitator is to help people become aware of whether their intention is to learn about loving themselves and others, or to control getting love and avoiding pain.
Joseph had no intention to learn about loving himself. He just wanted to learn how to better manipulate getting approval from others.
Joseph tried one form of manipulation after another to get me to give him the approval he was not giving himself. First he was charming and complimentary regarding me and my work.
Then he went into story telling and explaining. Then he plunged into his self-judgments. Then he withdrew and became silent. Each time he tried a new manipulation, I would gently ask him what he wanted from me and if there was anything he wanted to learn about loving himself.
Each time he said he was open and he wasn’t. He was interested in “doing it right” and giving right answers rather than in learning about loving himself.
How did I know he wasn’t open? There is a huge different between action and energy. While his actions might have looked open when he was asking questions about how to take care of himself, energetically he was completely closed.
The only way we can know a person’s intent is to feel it within our own bodies. I could not feel Joseph. He was in his head rather than in his heart, so no open energy was coming from him.
Finally Joseph decided that he could get me to take care of him if he went into deep pain, so he started to sob and sob. He was in victim pain, the needy pain of the abandoned child that says, “Take care of me.” I looked around the room.
No one was moved my Joseph’s pain. No one felt his pain in their own bodies. This is how we know whether or not a person is open or closed – by what we feel in our own bodies.
I did not move to comfort Joseph and care-take his pain. While I felt deep compassion for his abandoned inner child, it was he who was doing the abandoning and causing the pain.
When I offered him this information and told him that his sobbing would not work to get me to take care of him, he became enraged. He screamed at me like a little child having a temper tantrum.
I lovingly invited him to try every manipulation he could to get me to take responsibility for his feelings. I encouraged him to notice that he was not wanting to learn about what his abandoned inner child needed from him – he just wanted me to do it for him, just as he had been doing with his wife.
Joseph did try everything to get me to take care of him, and when nothing worked he finally chose the intention to learn about loving himself. He left the intensive in a completely different place than when he came, determined to learn how to take care of himself.
And he did. His marriage is thriving!