Deception: it’s all in the mind

This morning I went to the hospital with my daughter A. We had an appointment that was made quite a while ago (due to summer holidays we had to wait a couple of weeks) to have two warts removed on A’s hand and foot. That was at least what we thought was going to happen…

Before we could leave I had to find the medical papers to bring with us. I had to search my whole office to find out I had filed it away in my cabinet in a very organized way. Since I normally tend to leave this kind of paperwork on my desk until it is needed the next time I had a hard time just because I forgot I filed the papers properly this time. Yes, there is a connection to my mess and my daughter’s :-).

We arrived at the hospital and the first thing we had to do was paying the ‘ticket’, the contribution to the medical costs you have to pay here in Italy for all medical operations. For this visit to the dermatologist we had to pay € 26,50. We went to the waiting room and after just a few minutes we were asked in.

The doctor, a woman with a foreign accent, probably from some eastern european country, had a look at A’s hand and foot and quickly concluded that the best treatment was medication, specifically calling it “the kids method”. She said that burning the wart away was not a good option since you had to come back several times to have the wound checked afterwards. Then rapidly she started to explain how the treatment had to be done.

The first thing we had to do is go to the pharmacy to purchase special silk bandaid tape. This had to be wrapped around the foot or hand leaving a small opening on the spot of the wart. Then we had to purchase disks with acid that need to be put on this small opening so the acid slowly can reach the wart and ‘eat’ it away. She specifically told us we should not read the leaflet of the acid disks medicine since it instructs to take the disk off at night. Instead you should leave it on 24/7 for at least 10 to 14 days.

To reassure A she said that you can do everything with the bandaid wrappings, swim, run go to the beach, etc. And she went on clearly trying to remember everything that is connected to warts and the cause of warts. Since a common cause of warts is a immune system deficiency she advised to take a medicine called Immunoactive for 60 days, calling it the ‘Ferrari’ option. Another option was the cheaper ‘Fiat’ medicine Macrocea®. The costs would be € 84,– for option 1 and  € 65,20 for option 2.

Wait a moment! How can this doctor know A needs this treatment since it is based on one of the common causes of warts? Or is it just a general precaution in case this might be the cause. If you read forums about warts and warts treatment you will come quickly to the conclusion there is no effective treatment at all. Even burning them away is not a guarantee the wart is not coming back. I see it makes sense to look at the cases and funny enough the doctor at the end concluded that stress was one of the main causes of warts since it lowers your immune system considerably.

Since A has been under quite some stress this winter and spring and before that she also had other periods that were quite stressful this last diagnose makes sense and deletes the need of the just prescribed medicines. Nevertheless the doctor did a good job in showing us how the actual medical care works. There is a pathology, the doctor establishes what it is and then produces the list of possible treatments and medications he or she learned to produce during their study or professional trainings. For me it is hard not to see a big influence from Big Pharma here.

A was not pleased at all by this since she expected a quick fix of her wart problem. She was big time deceived by the outcome of this doctor’s visit since it did not meet her expectation. For her again a confrontation with reality she will have to deal with. For us as a family again a situation where we have to use our common sense and find the best way to help A to get rid of the physical problem and also the real cause of her warts. Again a reality check for us as a family system where we need to support each other to walk through our processes so we can properly deal with this kind of situations.

The situation now is that A is back into a state of depression of which she only comes out when there is a situation of distraction (=deception). Real life issues like the warts will bring her and us as a family back to the real situation. It learned us again that we can not count on medical care being efficient and also shows us that whatever happens the actual money system requires more money to keep up the deception.

What we need is an equal money system that is founded on equality for all with in this context a medical care system that has a starting point of helping people to overcome their medical problems in an effective and practical way with no limitations due to lack of money or profit driven diagnosis by doctors that have a degree in selling Big Pharma products.


My daughter’s messy room

Every time I walk into my daughter’s A. room I have feelings of disgust. Besides a narrow strip that is leading to her bed the whole floor is filled with a wide variety of objects like pencils, dolls, doll dresses, Playmobile, Lego, and tons of dust since the room has not been cleaned for months.

We helped A. to clean the mess on a couple of occasions but she never managed to keep it tidy. Here I have frustration popping in. Frustration because I see there is an issue pending with no apparent solution. Frustration because every time A. makes a progress in the way she is dealing with her life there is no change to the situation in her room.

We’ve been avoiding to put pressure on the issue in the previous months because of A’s middel school exams. Now summer holidays have started several weeks ago and the situation is still the same. We have had the whole story with D. and connected to it we’ve established A. had lived in fear and depression for a while. Now she’s working on the outflow of this experience but nothing leads to changes in her room. I was left speechless when asked about cleaning up her room A. answered with no hesitation that it was not something she planned to do during summer holidays.

When tonight again I entered her room to collect a cup to put in the dishwasher I was confronted with this messy room. I made a comment on something that was still dropped (to my opinion) on the floor and A. said she will take care of it later. “later” is for me the same as never, since she uses this word just to make me happy and make me leave.

I am possessed, obsessed by this room. I need to work on this and let it go. The physical situation in the room is not my problem, the reactions I have are indeed. I really need to work this out because I feel that a part is reflecting my own shit. On the other hand I know that A. is dealing with big time resistances and only when she has dealt with those she will be able to clean up the mess. Imposing or forcing A. into action might lead to a clean room, but it will return to a mess in no time if the source of the problem is not adressed.

Quite complex to separate the emotions from the facts. Besides feelings I also see my ego that tells me it is not fair A. can go on with this behavior without consequences. If in a specific situation the outcome is she was wrong in saying or doing something a simple “sorry” is all she gives before going on with her life as if nothing happened. Big time ego here that is suggesting revenge, punishment to make sure A. understands that she is not allowed to do that. A. needs to be more aware of the consequences of her actions but it is not up to me to judge what the consequences should be. They will be there anyway.

I am very allergic to the mess in A’s room and any kind of mess she leaves for days, weeks, months just laying somewhere in or around the house. You can ask A. repeatedly to collect the stuff and bring it to her room with no result for many times. A curious thing is again the frustration connected to the fact I can justify why I am not doing certain things, too busy with other more important stuff while A. is either watching a movie, sleeping in until late, making a drawing, playing with a girlfriend, doing nothing.

The toughest part of this is that it is a mirror to myself. I too have a lot of mess to clean up, not physically so visible as in A’s case but my resistances are equally tough. Meanwhile I am struggling with the question to what extent we can accept A’s behavior in the context of our small family community like leaving her stuff for days, weeks and sometimes months somewhere in the house with no apparent goal or motivation. Stripping as properly as I can this question from any feeling or ego related matter I still see a couple of points we need to agree on within our family context.

So, wrapping this up, I need to work on finding the starting point of all this shit so I can clean up my own mess. From the practical side I am going to propose an agreement between all of us about how we should deal with our stuff in the house and in our own rooms/studio’s, within the context of our small community. Meanwhile, the most effective thing I can do is being an example. This morning I started to clean up one of the tables in our garage! Immediately started to develop a feeling of hope this will influence A. immediately and motivate her into action… I have a lot of self forgiving to do here!

Paralyzed by fear and by possession

I feel fucked, fucked-up, betrayed, nervous, possessed. What is going on? A lot of things that are at the end all related to each other…

The fact: A couple of nights ago I decided to monitor the activities of my daughter and the YM (young man) who’s sleeping over regularly for practical reasons related to work. My decision was triggered by a sum up of the many signals mainly given by my daughter during the day. What I found out was confirming my darkest suspicions and as a father I can tell you it has a blowing impact. While hearing sounds of intensive kissing (and who knows what other activities that produce the same sounds) I felt paralyzed. I knew I had to go into the room next door to stop that what was going on. I could have woken my partner, but I did not. I only managed to listen while my heart was racing. I did it for hours apparently, because when finally my daughter left the room to go to sleep it was 4:30 in the morning.

It took me hours to calm down and with no effective sleep I got up in early morning to do my things and to have some distraction. Only much later I managed to concentrate on my work, but I could not go around the consequences of what I lived that night.

Looking back I see that I had been fighting with many thoughts. I asked myself if I could make it to interrupt what was going on. I heard A. giggling and that somehow reassured me that she was OK and apparently having fun. No need to brutally interfere there and to create a negative situation of something that might have been positive. This actually was a justification for not coming into action since I was not able to move.

While having breakfast with my partner S. we actually started together talking about the same thing. I told S. what I experienced and heard that night while shaking wildly with my arms. It was again clear to me that the whole thing had a huge impact on me and S.

In the previous days I started paying more and more attention to my daughter’s and the YM’s behavior . Every time I entered A’s room she was clicking something away on her laptop. I decided to check this out and was able to trace google search terms that were used within our home network environment. Besides searches like “the 10 strangest things you can do with a condom” the one that triggered my alarms was “how does it feel to have your pussy licked” in Dutch. Teenage curiosity or preparing for some action for the next time our young man was in the house?

I am not against experimenting on sex but with all necessary precautions. A girl aged 14 and a man aged 20 is not a very happy combination. I saw my daughter being pulled into a situation that was far beyond her real way of life which is to me still very childish. Also I never experienced A. trying to be attractive sexually with attitude or clothing.

Many questions however remained unanswered. Since we are not sure to what level the two manage to stay responsible for their actions or be aware of the consequences we do not know. When S. checked the sheet that was on the sleeping couch she found two big stains. Here again we wanted to know for sure there had not been a situation in which A. risked to get pregnant.

At the end we had the full story from A. One thing emerges very clearly, she was afraid of the YM already for some time. His behavior grew slowly to a more obsessive way of acting. Very subtly he managed to have A. sitting close to him, not because A. was liking this so much but because he managed to pull her towards him all the time. The same for the so called chasing games that gave him the opportunity to touch her inappropriately.

We are very aware of the fact that A. might have giving encouraging signals that unfortunately were generated out of fear. It is amazing to see how fear can lead to actions that seen from the outside seem to be perfectly normal or even giving the exact opposite signal. This, however, is not justifying the YM’s behavior. He has not been able to sense or understand he was dealing with a girl that was not ready to answer his sexual needs.

Having put this part back into a manageable perspective we prepare for a proper wrap up of the whole situation. With the help of the Desteni tools we will work things out so we understand the starting points and the consequential outflows of our actions and lack of action.

We will work out a practical way to deal with this new situation in which we decided that for the safety in our family the YM, at least for a while, might better not be our guest anymore. He will have to understand first what happened to him, what he accepted and allowed to happen and what the extent of the consequences of his behavior are. Until now, despite of intensive coaching, he has not really showed progress on his practical day to day behavior, he improved only technical related matters that nevertheless allowed him to produce some nice work.

Until we are ready working out our points we will reduce collaboration to the minimal necessary to finish ongoing projects. For the next month there are no big projects to work on so there should be plenty of time for hm to work on some points.

Almost possessed by anger

This morning, while driving A. to school for exams, we had a black car in front us having a uncertain driving style, fast on straight tracks, slow in curves. At a certain point I saw the driver threw a cigarette out of the window and I cynically was waiting for the package to follow. Instead of that a white paper napkin came out of the window. Apparently the driver finished the ‘pasta’ (see picture) and wanted to get rid of useless things.

At that point I felt anger coming up. Why? Why was this person throwing out all kind of stuff in nature? My mind was racing to find ways of revenge, but did not manage to come up with anything suitable other than overtaking the car and stop it. And then? Spitting my rage over a person that is probably not aware of what she is doing (later I saw it was a young lady)? Useless.

The way I felt the rage coming up was scary. I almost felt that if I did not manage to control it I might have lost myself in that anger. I was aware of what was happening to me and I could quite easily remain in control. I was surprised this time by the ease a situation or trigger could so easily lead to an escalation within me. The next step was becoming possessed with the anger and the consequential outflow could have been a series of actions aimed at this person until I could make MY point. Pointless, if you look at this from where I stand now.

These situation happened before but I’ve never managed to have such a clear view of what happened to me. I can now address the issue properly and start working out the causes. Nice example of my ongoing process!

Beaten by the EGO

The last week I’ve been paying attention to my ego and I’ve had a couple of occasions where I’ve been clearly beaten by the ego. The freshest episode was this morning when A was showing pictures on my iPhone that trick the eye and reveal how our brain interprets specific patterns. At a certain point A showed me an photo and since I did not see the hidden image inside it she told me to look at the right side of the phone’s screen. Since I still did not see anything she pointed it out and to my perception she was aiming at the left side of the screen.

The result of this was a discussion in which I tried to explain why she should have said the left side and not the right side. Even after she, supported by S. showed me why she called it the right side by laying herself on the ground as if she was the phone asking me to tell her which was her right side I chocked in the tea I was drinking as a reaction to the whole. When A and S told me that I was acting out of my ego when trying to convince them to change their point of view I felt accused.

It is amazingly subtle and tricky not to let your ego speak in this kind of situations. In my attempt to explain my point of view I was doing it with an attitude of me knowing it better than they did. No way to repair it and I spoiled the possibility to explain the whole thing from the right perspective.  I see now how I should have been acting and what I should have done to understand A’s point of view and eventually explaining mine without a charge or an energy that is imposing to A the only way to see this.

While writing this there is a back chat going on that is still trying to seek revenge for this defeat (ego is strong and is constantly seeking for new ways to sneak in!) trying to find arguments that will make my (ego’s) point on the matter. Time to do some self forgiveness on the matter.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to let my ego direct the situation leading to an attempt to impose my point of view.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to ignore the other’s point of view on a specific matter.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to allow my ego to take over and cause me to choke in my tea because of a loss of control over my physical body.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself to have an ongoing back chat still seeking for revenge and getting my will in convincing A my point of view is the only right one.

I forgive myself that I accepted and allowed myself that I use a situation that triggers a “you’re not seeing this from the right perspective” as an occasion to let my ego boost up the situation instead of seeing it in the real perspective of the moment and dealing with it as is.

Beware of the EGO

Although I am very aware of what is happening in terms of the ego from my own perspective and the difficulties I already have in dealing with it myself, it becomes even more challenging when you have to deal with someone else’s ego.

A couple of days ago I had a meeting with my colleagues. The main point on the agenda was the feedback from the accountant on the business financial situation. We discussed the figures and saw a positive trend. We even talked about distribution of extra’s in November. This was clearly a polarity since within seconds, when the topic changed to the actual figures of customer conversions there was apparently an issue. We had very little conversions the last month and in order to keep the business running the way the accountant pointed out we needed to make more money.

The cause of the lack of conversions was quickly found. Me. Since I am the sales manager and responsible for the first contact with potential customers I had to be the cause why only five conversions were generated out of 88 registrations. I was surprised by this conclusion but as a system started to doubt myself immediately. Have I done everything I could to convert as much as possible? Did I spoil occasions to convert. Was I paying too little attention to potential customers? Have I been not convincing enough to talk new customers into our services?

All these questions where amplified by opinions about the way I do my job. My colleagues have no idea how I perform since we do not see each other very often since I work from home most of the time and tend to limit the calls to customers the few occasions I am in the office to dedicate my time to other issues we have to address as a team. We agreed that we should see each other more often and to analyse more in depth the reasons for the low conversion rate in April.

Only later I asked myself why we did not speak about the previous months. March had been the best month ever in terms of turnover. Apparently there is a reason why everything focuses on April. A day later I received a mail from the business owner proposing to take back partially the sales work alternating customer contacts with me. He proposed to see who was able to make the most conversions and if I managed to do 5 in May he will take back all the doubt he expressed about my performance as a sales manager.

Since I felt fucked by this and was not going to agree with the terms I had my back chat shooting all kind of possible discussions in high speed in my mind and my ego trying to suggest I should become angry and tell the fucker to shut up with his stupid allegations of me not doing my job properly. While writing this I still feel some adrenaline going through my veins… a typical reaction of me against unfair situations and feeling unable to do something about it.

Later on the day we discussed the whole matter again and reached an agreement that is kind of acceptable for all. The big challenge however, besides the real fact we need to address the low conversion rate, is to tackle the starting point that consequently manifested into this time consuming discussion instead of being just a fact we had to address professionally. My focus is now to bring the whole back to just the fact and to separately deal with the ego and back chat part since this is a perfect situation to analyse in order to understand myself better.

I also see I can be a living example in this and will discuss the situation with both colleagues to see if I can create some awareness on what really are the trigger points and the consequences of allegations, accusations and idea’s based on nothing else than thoughts that are expressed to another in words. Another interesting point is the polarity I saw clearly when talking about the business’ future. There is a growth (hurray) BUT in order to keep this growth we need to keep working hard (bummer) and not make any wrong decision (That is what the accountant said). This apparently caused some fear and consequently a quick analysis of the actual situation (and not the whole picture) causing some panic, a search for a cause to justify why the results are not what they are expected to be.

Fighting the mind

Today I had a very busy day. During the day I had a couple of moments I felt the need to get a break and stop for a moment the apparently unstoppable flow of tasks that were piling up. When I am in a situation I need to properly organize and prioritize the tasks to do. I feel a strong need to find some kind of automated process that helps me organizing and concentrating on what really needs to be done. To give an example, potential customers ask to be contacted. I tend to start with developing a system that helps me to keep track of the requests I have to deal with, so I can see what is done, were a follow-up is needed and which are still left to be done In the past weeks I have been setting up a simple system that needs still some fine tuning. I have to be careful not to spend too much time on fine tuning the process, leaving the ‘real’ work to be done for later.

The founder of the company I work for has developed a strong sense for surviving and has a ‘do it now’ way of working. He is very clear he expects the same from the other team members and can be very pushy if he sees things are not getting done, no matter how busy you (think) you are. If on top of that he is not always consistent in his message like: “do it when you have some spare time today” and a little later:”when are you calling them, before 2012 I hope?”.

Not so long ago I would have my ego jumping in big time because I allowed myself to feel hurt and attacked. Now most of the times I see he’s got a point, maybe not always communicating all details but it should be my responsibility to evaluate the importance of the request. Here it gets more complex, since I feel I am already very busy and systematically ticking off the list of things to do. If something comes in between I tend to put it in the queue even before I value the importance. Even if I am given all elements to set the right priority on a task I might tend to ignore them with a: “not now, I am busy” kind of reaction. My job role as the commercial guy that can close deals is very dynamic and depending on the ‘right moment’ to close the deal. As if it is a magic moment (a moment of deception?) you need to grab quickly before the other changes his or her mind influenced by who knows what. This is what I think is the perception of the ultimate commercial deal by the other team members.

To me the sales moment is not magical but an agreement between parties when it is clear for both what the deal is about. I have been advised to use tools like making the potential customer feel he’s special and that we as the service provider might be hard to get. And when you feel you need some tools to close the deal you use discounts telling them you are just doing it for them.

Although the companies customers seem to be all very happy I see this approach as unfair and deceptive. The consequences might seem futile in this case but to me unnecessary. Until now I managed to close deals just making clear agreements and giving very little discount. I have no fear of not closing the deal when an agreement is not reached. I will use all my common sense to make sure the other person fully understands what the product can do for them but I will not go on if I see there is resistance or just when they understand the product is not what they are looking for. – Am I justifying my way of working here?

I also noticed I feel certain resistance to make specific phone calls. The more important they seem, the more reasons I come up with that justify a delay. I tried doing this kind of calls with no preparation what so ever and they went really fine. So, why am I looking for all kind of information I might need before making a call to probably find out I needed different information anyway? I need to stop this pattern that probably has some deep roots in my youth. I as a kid feared the phone and had a hard time if I had to call someone, even people I knew like class mates. Funny to know that later in my life I spent almost 7 years on the phone as a support agent in a call center.

Although the picture I am drawing here is not complete I am glad I start recognizing patterns and constructs and can work on addressing these.