Tag Archives: compensation

…and why did we choose to have them?

Kid spiritsLet me start off by saying that they are not ours. We have only created a space for them to visit. They were attracted to us because the environment we can and most likely will provide offers them the building blocks that will prepare and enable them to have the experience that they have chosen to come here for.

There are two things happening here. First, and for the most obvious reason, is that we have chosen to respond to our most basic and animalistic the urge toward having sex. We’re human and excitement, sensuality and natural urges come with the territory. However, the second motivation, and for the most varied of reasons, is that we’ve chosen to believe that bringing a child into the world would somehow answer or complete the picture of how our world should be and what and who it should consist of. This can be done consciously or unconsciously. Many of us might not recognize the driving forces within us that would choose or allow this to occur. But in this light, and conscious or not, the belief systems we and our partners hold are the key to the formation of the world that will give our child the impetus and encouragement toward living their chosen experience, whether Dinner guestsconceived in the most loving of encounters or through the most brutal rape. We are like hosts inviting someone to dinner. On some level our guests know what we are capable of providing for them and subjecting them to. But it is still their choice to accept with no guarantees…only potential to fulfill their intentions as having the child is for ours. You might even view it like a landlord-tenant agreement with the potential to be honored or broken. In this light we can see that nothing is fated. Nothing is meant to be. In this world all is chosen or rejected, accepted or refused. We buy our ticket and take our chances. We believe that some tickets offer better odds than others, however, we humans have the capacity to rationalize anything. But still, as I said, our chosen beliefs hold the key.

For those of us who, at the least, have arrived at the precipice of acknowledging and recognizing the perspective that we are much more than what we can see, feel, hear taste or touch, this perspective will hold little surprise or threat to our perceived self-value. However, for those of us who have not moved past that perceptual barrier, my perspective may seem fantastic and arbitrary.

When I say a threat to self-value, this may seem puzzling at first but I think after you read some of the reasons claimed for having a child you’ll understand how this could seem so.

Family-ChimpsThe first reason is the most simple and, perhaps, what most people claim is the reason for bringing a child into this world. For two people who are truly in love and are able to share themselves with each other and the world, it’s natural to want to have a family in which to share that love directly. This can usually only occur if both parents are mature enough to be accountable to themselves and to each other. When I say accountable, I don’t mean so much as being obligated toward answering another’s needs as much as being comfortable in our own skin in accepting and dealing with the choices we make without needing to cast blame on others for any unwanted circumstances. However, I believe this circumstantial perspective is in the minority among those parents currently bringing children into the western world today. For most there is an equating of love with possessiveness and security needs in supporting our self-image through the arrival and behaviors of our children. In other words, our children are a reflection of how we view ourselves and if they don’t live up to our ideal we somehow feel betrayed resulting in our seeing ourselves as less than who we believe we must be. Even simpler still, we believe our self-image is dependent on our ability to mold them into our ideal of what we wish we could be. This belief creates all sorts of pressures that run counter to our child’s need to express themselves according to their own heart. In this light you can see how having children could pose a threat to our own perceived self-value.

So now we can see that there are two driving forces that lead us toward having children; one to share the love we feel and the other to fill some vacancy in our perceived self-value within our moral and cultural codes. The fact that we must have a reason for having children in itself is strange enough to comprehend. Yet, with this in mind, let’s move on to reasons that amount to our rationale for having them.

Envy-1Reason one for having children may be to have them so we as parent(s) “can feel loved and needed by someone.” For those of us who never received the nurturance needed to feel loved and wanted, the unconscious urge to find it somewhere else can be overwhelming. It can lead to our doing things that compromise our values simply to garner the love and attention that we never received in our childhood. Having children may actually run contrary to what our own hearts may desire, yet, in having them we have been trained to believe something lacking will be fulfilled.

Father teaching young son how to hold a footballReason two for having children is in believing that they will fulfill the projected image of ourselves that we believe we have been unable to accomplish ourselves. We can see this in those of us as parents who, deep down, believe or have been trained to believe, that we are somehow inadequate or a failure in some way unless we’ve accomplished something worthy of the approval of others. This need for fulfillment is then transferred to our expectations of and hopes for our children to fill the void. This reasoning can be rationalized by stating to ourselves that we want them to have the things we never had or that they should have the opportunity not to make the same mistakes that we have. They, again, will usually feel the pressure to be or do things that may run contrary to what and where their heart tells them they need to follow.

BabiesReason three for having children, and this is probably the most common one, is that we believe that we are “supposed” to have them and that we are somehow deficient or defective if we don’t. This comes as a result of our own childhood training telling us that important decisions about our lives are determined by others and that we’ve never received the encouragement or allowance for making and being confident in our own decisions providing the potential for benefiting ourselves. We were told who we should be, what we should want, what we should believe and what is best for us. On the heels of that, if we do follow our own path, people become fearful in dealing with us since they somehow “know” that they should be making their own decisions. By not following “tradition” and the “majority” we are somehow odd and are not included in the groups who “follow all the rules.” This belief is followed through in the media with tales about courage being a characteristic and an elevation for vigilantes who don’t follow the rules and “do it their own way” flaunting the rules that we who do need to feel secure and unexposed for lacking that same courage ourselves.

Father & Son SignReason four is our belief about leaving a legacy. We want someone to carry on the family traditions, names and patterns. This will somehow insure infamy, but more importantly, our personal recognition through our remembrance by others after we’re gone. This is a feeble attempt at mortality. This is quite evident in hearing about parents who expect their children to carry on the family business even if, again, carrying on that business runs contrary to their own heart’s desires and wishes.

sex-1Reason five seems to be the most nebulous. Our pregnancy was and “accident.” It’s stated almost as if it wasn’t our “fault” that it occurred. Are we really that disconnected from our comprehension of cause and effect or is it just our way of giving ourselves permission to do what our culture expects us to not only plan ahead but “be prepared” for its inducement?

Reason six is those of us who feel pressured to have and raise children conceived through “illicit” behavior, as penance for an unsavory life style, through moral obligation, religious values, rape, or any host of other reasons entangled in values that somehow coerce and contradict our own inner urgings and heartfelt yearnings.

Producing children is certainly in keeping with our knowledge about the tendency for our species to perpetuate itself. But it seems a bit twisted to always consider ourselves in a position of having to explain ourselves for doing so in the context of our cultural conditioning. It’s a natural process. It seems that our cultural conditioning has somehow made our alignment with the process of our physical urges and natural patterns as somehow demeaning socially but that the cultural “obligations” for having children necessary for acceptance within our culture. The proverbial wink and a nod acknowledges the disconnect but quietly condones its results. Why the disconnect? What is it that is so openly expected from us yet so subliminally objected to Censorship-1when we do follow those urges? Is distancing ourselves from the fact that we still are animals after all rational even though our culture and religious tenets profess us to be “special” or above the animal qualities and characteristics that qualify us as part of nature’s magnificence and beauty? Why is not just expressing love for each other and producing children acceptable enough in its own right and seen as a natural alignment with our own heart simply because supporting nature and love is essentially the same thing? Why must it be something else?

masks-5I think when any of us look back at the experiences we’ve had with another person we can’t help but wonder if our connection to and feeling about them somehow tempers the way we relate to them. This is the most prominent in people that we’d like to make a good impression on or those whom we want to continue our connection to them feeling that our interchange with them either encourages us to feel differently about ourselves and/or that we feel that they match some ideal or preference that we have about the people and circumstances we’d prefer to be associated and connected to. There are a number of different dimensions that we must consider when we wish to assess our part and presentation to the world and those whom we wish to be with. The first thing we need to look at is the difference between who we are and how we behave when in or out of their presence.

Who we are, essentially, never changes. How we behave does. It’s our behavior that other people see that’s used to decide and define who they believe we are. We, in turn, accept this as our identity. Remembering that we believe that who we are is our perception of how the world sees us, we know that that can only be defined by the things we do, the possessions we have and Programmer-1activities that we participate in that the world can observe. So we can say that we are a computer programmer because our daily work consists of working, getting paid and being response-able with others concerning computers. If we behave by the employer’s rules, others will perceive us as a programmer. We know that if we want to keep our job there is a specific rapport that is required for us to maintain that type of connection with our preferred company. If we do it as a hobby, we might be more inclined to say that we dabble in computers only because there are some unspoken rules about what we can call a job or career and what we can call a hobby. So our identity, as transient as it may be, is what the world sees of our behavior NOT who we actually are. Who we are remains the same. We are a perceiving, feeling, thinking person. The moment the world becomes involved in that identification, outside circumstances come into play making our behavior the determining factor as to our identity. This may seem like I’m splitting hairs but when we perceive, that is one dimension of relationship; our core or who we are. When we conceive of and perceive ourselves with another person or the outside world, that behavior or identity changes because it includes the reflections and responses of others. The point I’m making is that the behavior and rapport that we offer or support is dependent on whether we’re by ourselves or whether we’re with others and the type of connection that we wish to maintain in our career with them. The same is true with personal relationships. We all know that we can feel and behave very differently just being friends with someone or being intimate with them and even that intimacy can have a differing rapport being radically different between person to person and our imagined or hoped for rapport with them. So, to recap, when we’re by ourselves, we can, and usually do, behave one way and when we’re with others we can, and usually do, behave differently. On other words, when we’re by ourselves, there’s no impression to create or maintain. When we’re with others, there is. Are you with me thus far? Now, let’s look at why we would behave differently with different people.

Irresponsible parent1Our childhood upbringing creates experiences that push us toward choosing how we feel about ourselves. If we’ve been encouraged to make our own decisions, trust our own instincts and intuitions, we begin to feel confidence in ourselves as a “valid” person and come to believe that we have nothing to hide. If we have been discouraged from making our own decisions, over protected or dominated into NOT trusting our own instinct and intuitions, we begin to feel inadequate and come to believe that we must hide our perceived inadequacy, aka, we have something to hide. This is true for everyone whether acknowledged or not. Every one of us has some degree of this emotional current running below the surface of our awareness. Some of us may be aware of it, but most of us are either not or choose to ignore it. This difference in feeling is the one of the major deciding factors in why we feel compelled to behave differently with different people in different circumstances. Dependent on the level of perceived inadequacies it can lead to some unbelievable compensation made in our behavior in order to avoid the exposure of them for fear of feeling anticipated interpersonal or public shame. The other major contributor factor occurs when we do feel adequate but don’t feel compelled to cover believed short comings because we feel comfortable in whom we are or we have worked through many of the challenges of our childhood that might have created these inadequacies within us. In this second case we simply might just want to limit our exposure to masks-4or interactions with people that we have decided are, in our opinion, arrogant, imbalanced or combative. For those of us who feel comfortable in our own skin and who, essentially, don’t feel fearful of exposure leading us toward compensating, this is not an issue. We have our Self-Trust and a stable self-confidence well ingrained. Our major concern here is to determine what occurs when we do feel compelled to compensate or “adjust” our behavior in order to create an image or prevent exposure.

There are two directions that this compensation or “adjusted” behavior may present itself through us. Depending on how badly our spirit was damaged in our upbringing will determine which way we go. We can, either, project outward and “paint” a better image of ourselves in our interchanges with others or we can retreat into the shadows in order not to be discovered. When we project ourselves or strike out “painting” what we feel might be a better picture of who we think or believe we are, we then more actively lean toward compensating. When we retreat into the shadows we lean more toward hiding. With those of us who choose the active Wild_and_crazy_guysShyness-1path, and depending on the degree of compensation that we feel we need to apply in order to evoke what we consider a more favorable response from those we interact with, we may ramp up our output. With a mild need and a mild ramping, others might not feel anything odd in our approach to them. But for some of us who have a very low self-image, our push to create an image may sometimes become overwhelming to the point where it becomes overly obvious to others and they start to feel our overcompensation as something being “off” with us. These are people we often label as “obnoxious.” Those of us who retreat into the shadows we label “shy.”

As you may have guessed, there as a very poignant reason why some of us will push the point and others of us will just back down. Its cause comes from two sources. First, the soul or spirit we are before we enter this life and body may have preponderance toward either projecting outward or retreating inward. Then, once we enter these bodies, we are now subject to the additional exposure to and training by those whose care we are entrusted to and the environment we find ourselves in. These two different sources are what scientist call nature vs. nurture. The first influence we can clearly see is innate or a given resulting in our accompanying disposition. But the second is “adjustable.” This “adjustable” dimension can make or break our choice between projecting out and retreating. Projecting outward we label being extroverted and retreating inward we label being introverted. To understand the difference we can look the process of training.

I don’t want to speak “science-eze” but in order to make a point I need to say that in the training of any sentient being (we are one…hopefully) there is always a combination of rewards and punishments used as a compellent or force for change. Scientists call this training conditioning. Some parents train with rewards and/or bribes. Some train with punishment and/or withholding. Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages. But to avoid any human emotional prejudice on our part, let’s look instead at horse training or “breaking” as ranchers would label it rather than people.

horse breaking-2Each horse has a spirit and resiliency which usually returns them to a comfortable and active state after any trauma or difficulty has passed. This resiliency differs from horse to horse. Some horses may be able to take more punishment (trauma) or abuse than others. It takes a skilled trainer to “know” or feel where that limit is. When a trainer successfully trains or conditions a horse to respond to specific commands, their spirit, their life and liveliness is retained. They still have an expressive personality. They still have spunk and energy. But when the trainer estimates that limit badly and pushes beyond what the horse is able to recover from, the horse’s spirit dies. The spunk disappears. The life goes out of their eyes. They become void of personality and expressiveness. This same process takes place in the training of children. If a parent is authoritarian or abusive and misjudges the resiliency of the child, they may, literally, kill the spirit of the child through using excessive discipline or punishments to induce specific behaviors. The child will then retreat and feel hesitant or even immobilized toward expressing or performing for fear of more punishment or abuse. In parenting, the overall effect of over-protection and abuse is the same. With excess directives, protections, punishments or abuse the child becomes reluctant and/or unable to act at all because they have either not been given the opportunity to learn how to be independent or for fear of behaving in a way that will draw more punishment and disapproval. Allowing for lesser punishments or abuses we find that this type of exposure produces only mild inhibition and shyness. So, we can safely say that depending on how far the “trainer” has gone beyond the child’s ability to recover and to be Abuse-1resilient will determine how shy or buried the child’s spirit and personality will be. Those of us who lean more toward being shy or introverted are usually reacting to over conditioning by virtue of an authoritarian or overprotective parent. Before I move on I think that it’s also worthy to note that children who grow to become abusers themselves regain their spirit through reclaiming their power by becoming the abuser but at someone else’s expense.

So where does this leave us? Those of us whose spirit has been “broken” will retreat inward and behave as an introvert. Those of us whose spirit remains intact will project, compensate and behave as an extrovert. Remember, both may not actually be inadequate or incompetent but feeling and believing that we are will lead us toward modifying our behavior when we’re with others.

Shyness-3In answer to our opening question, “Do we behave differently when in a relationship as opposed to when we’re not?” We almost always do to some degree. Even the best of us who have done an outstanding job in becoming accountable and have been ruthlessly honest with ourselves will still have things that we feel we need to hide. This is only human. But that little bit of a “discrepancy” won’t lead us toward needing to compensate for anything. We’re comfortable to just let it go unnoticed. However, if our conditioning has left us feeling that we are somehow just not enough or competent enough, it is here where the need to compensate begins to grow. The more intense our perceived denigration is, the more intense will be our feelings of inadequacy. The more intense our feelings of inadequacy are, the stronger will be our urge to compensate.

who-am-i-2So, when we speak with someone, and it’s usually with someone who might be important to us, and we feel the urge to “flower up” a description of our experience or heighten the “wow” value of what we’ve done, we have to ask ourselves, “Where is this urge coming from? What makes me feel that I need to do this?” This will be the beginning of recognizing where our imagined and assumed inadequacies lie. The reality of it is usually not so and it’s only a factor of how we were taught and perceived our self-value as a child. Who led us to feel this way? Why? This is the root and the core of where we can kill any urge for us to compensate.