One Sunday morning in January 2006; I was between dreamland---the place I can be whatever I want: good, a savior, charitable, the kind of man I would like to be, a hero among men---and the, so called, real world. Lying in this stupor I was mulling over the annoying disagreement I had the previous day with this person, who lives far away – thank goodness. It was then I had this Epiphany; from my perspective I saw this individual as being an "I" person. It hit me then that she, like so many others see the world through glasses (metaphorically speaking) that I will now appropriately name "I-glasses." With this in mind, I'll say there are I-glass wearers and eye-glass wearers, which for my intent and purposes may be considered opposites – positive versus negative or good against evil. Please note: I've hyphenated the eye-glass wearer to distinguish them from people that really need eyeglasses to correct a physical visual impairment.
So, before I actually start, I would like to create an aid or expression that will provide a short hand so that it will be easy to say and I'll have to type less:
1. I'r will be a contraction of I-glass wearer.
2. Eye'r will be a contraction of eye-glass wearer.
Briefly, I'r is short for I-glass wearer. I'r is pronounced "I are" and translated to mean "I am." You might think of the person as saying -- I am wonderful, I am terrific, I am magnificent, I am a god/goddess among the masses, and actually, I am the center-of-the-universe. That should paint a picture that is easy to understand.
I was going to compare the I'r with the eye'r but realized that for the most part, they are generally opposite. So, except for an occasional point here and there, there won't be much said about the eye'r. Just imagine the opposite behavior of the I'r and you'll probably be right on for an eye'r.
Without getting to personal, I will attempt to explain the difference between people that wear I-glasses and those that wear eye-glasses – which are metaphors for the way people behave. I'r see themselves pretty much as the center-of-the-universe. They tend to blame everyone else for their problems and expect everyone to live up to the standards they set, however they don't have to. Remember, always that they are the special chosen one. Many will be gifted in one way or another, the arts, sports, theater, etc, . . ., but its not a prerequisite.
Before delving into the I'r persona, I need to explain, that these glasses also have lenses that contribute to their behavior. The lenses of all glasses have several features: color, clarity, and field-of-vision.
Further, like a transition lens, the features can change with the situation, rarely are they absolutely rigid. In general the feature will hover in a consistent area that fits the I'r's needs.
Further, from time-to-time we may change glasses, between I and eye, depending on a very specific situation or event, but in general, that is, statistically speaking, we will be predominant in one type. Can a person change their eye wear? I think so, however, it's hard and takes a lot of sincere soul searching. Like an alcoholic, the I'r must first acknowledge that they have a problem, but when you think you are perfect it's nearly impossible to do. You've got to be extremely truthful with yourself. It's hard to look in a mirror to see if you are, metaphorically speaking, ugly when you might well think you're handsome. Sometimes though, a life changing event does occur that causes us to change, such as a near fatal heart attack or accident that we barely survive. As you can see these are special cases and not all that frequent.
Characteristics that can be associated with the I'rs:
The ultimate I'r is a sociopath and for our purpose will be in its own special category. There are no laws or rules for them, although they may know what is acceptable and not acceptable in society, they will still do whatever it takes to fulfill their needs – particularly if they think they won't get caught. Whereas the sociopath has no internal value system, the typical I'r does, even though it may only be limited; they may or may not adhere to it. It usually depends on what's in it for them. The line between the I'r and the sociopath is sometimes a big blur. There is probably a little sociopathic and I'r behavior in all of us.
One of the major difference is that the sociopath may not see themselves as the center-of-the-universe or even as being special. It's their conscience that sets them apart, they don't care what they do and feel no remorse. The sociopath I'r is keenly aware of the person's feeling that they interact with, but it's their needs that drives their behavior; they use their knowledge of the person's values against them. They use this knowledge to manipulate and con others, without any feeling of guilt or remorse. Whereas, the typical I'r just expects everyone to worship them and act accordingly. Again, for our purposes the typical I'r will be a non-sociopathic type.
The I'r has a conscience, albeit small, they need to rationalize their action and behavior. Most I'rs will adhere to their values, particularly if they are important. The values related to personal interactions, such as manners and courtesy, must be followed by others, but not necessarily by themselves. Should the I'r violate one of its own values, they will rationalize an acceptable reason for doing it. Like, "He Made Me Do It, You Made Me Love You (I Didn't Want To Do It.)" Sorry, the song title just fit so perfectly.
When we consider the motivation for the I'r response to others, we can use examples. Let's take the death of a person close to all concerned; say a relative as a beginning example. At the wake you can hear the I'r mourning its loss and how it's going to make their life more difficult – like how dare that person die when I need them. The eye'r will be the person consoling others and giving comfort for their loss. I don't know what glasses the person wears that considers the dead person feelings, i.e., how they were before death. Let's say the person was suffering from a terminal disease and in constant pain. Cancer does that. They might well believe that this death was in fact a blessing – a blessing for the person and everyone. Well, let's just say that the I'r is self oriented and that eye'rs are motivated by the needs of others in situations like this.
In general I would not consider the following person a typical I'r but rather a situational I'r. When it comes to time, she has very little considerations of others, however, in most other thing she is very much caring and agreeable.
A simple case of my first I-glass wearer behavior that happened many years ago. There was this sailor, USN, stationed aboard a ship home ported at Newport, RI. It was the dead-of-the-winter and the wind was whipping in from Narragansett Bay. If you ever want to know what real cold is like, stand on this Naval Pier, where his ship was moored, with the conditions given above. At the end of his shift he proceeded to the head of the pier for his ride. He waited what seem like hours, but was really closer to fifteen or twenty minutes. He asked the I-glass wearer in this case why couldn't you have been there before I was released. The reply was, "Then I would have had to wait for you." It didn't matter that she would be sitting comfortably in a warm car and listening to music.
The I'r believes the world revolves around them – in psychology or philosophy it's called egocentricity – perhaps, egomaniac is more appropriate. They blame people (parents, spouse, co-workers) for the way they are; this is usually reaffirmed by a million or more therapists. It is never considered that hundreds of others were raised, married, or work in the same kind of environment and manage to grow into normal (if there is such a thing) human beings. I'm not talking about people that were faced with criminal abuse, be it physical or mental, although most of these people manage to get past it and live a productive life. The I'r is always brilliant – that's what they think, they are legends in their own minds.
A short caveat: I explained on my home page, that quick decisions are not always an indication of a pattern of behavior or predictability. However, if you look at the type of quick decisions an I'r makes, you will see a pattern of decisions based on a singular piece of data, without any additional prior knowledge, the data may or may not be accurate, it really doesn't matter -- the I'r sees what they want to see. In addition to other characteristics associated with poor decision making skills.
I'rs are quick to reach conclusions, after all they know all there is to know that's relevant. Analysis, you've got to be kidding, that's for the dumb eye'rs. I was told I was cheap by this individual that lived across the country from me and had no idea of my spending habits. I asked, "What led you to that conclusion." "Oh," was the reply "You never fly anywhere. You won't fly here to visit me." My I'r made the statement, emphatically, without doubt and without considering anything else. I'rs are "Quick" to arrive at firm conclusions based on a single speck of data and put a label on others. Yet, they will rarely ever give themselves a negative label. I might be cheap, it all depends on how you define cheap. First, I would drive anywhere I can, rather than fly – regardless of the cost difference. I hate to fly. In addition, I have a zero desire to visit this I'r. The truth be known, I wouldn't want to visit even if I were paid to and all expenses were included.
I know planes are statistically safe, I have flown more than fifty times. The longest being from San Diego, via LA to Japan. I hated every second I was on those planes, including the time we were on the tarmac, with the engines off; in fact – I hated being at the airports. If I never get near a plane again I'd be unbelievably happy. Like John Madden, if I have to fly, I will. Also, it's a bit funny, the I'r never would consider that I might not want to visit her -- this would be inconceivable from her perspective. While I don't, so to speak, throw my money away, I do buy the things I want but do not necessarily need. Some of them are noticeably short lived. We eat out frequently and donate to various charities; probably not as much as we should. I see something I think would make someone close to me happy, I'll buy it for them.
We were asked by an I'r (the one that called me cheap – sometime afterwards), rather it was a demand, that one of us, my wife or I, come help while she was convalescing from an operation – not yet scheduled. I should add at this point that this particular individual had treated us pretty poorly for many years prior, she had stopped all communications with everyone in my family because of a comment my wife supposedly made. During those many years, she wouldn't answer our phone calls or respond to our letters/cards. The same behavior was accorded our children. Another notch in the I'rs persona – it doesn't matter how I behave, you have to behave as I expect you to. She expected one of us to drop everything and rush out there.
We asked someone we knew, that lived a bit closer (a couple of hundred miles, it still closer than 3000) to help out until dates could be planned and arrangements made. If my wife, who ultimately went, would have gone right away she would have been gone close to half a year – which would have been quite acceptable to the I'r. You need to understand that the I'r sees others lives as being unfulfilling and trivial, unless we are serving them. We made all the arrangements for the planned dates and paid for it. We were sent a check, which we returned and told her it wasn't necessary. She kept it. This is the same individual that now tells me she has plenty of money to hire help. From my perspective, if I were to have someone come out to help me I would have demanded they take the money. People shouldn't have to pay to do others favors in situations like this. There are times it cost us to do others favors, this should not have been one of them. Let me state, "I really don't care about the money." I guess I don't like being called cheap by someone who might really be cheap.
By providing the aforementioned assistance my wife did this I'r a huge favor, regardless of any compensation she would have given. The way the I'r thanked my wife for providing servant like assistance, without pay, was to send her subscriptions to three or four magazines. The gesture was appreciated; it's the thought that counts. The point is not the gift. Of the magazine, maybe we might have subscribed to one -- National Geographic. The others we would have turned down if they were offered to us free. They were magazines we wouldn't pickup at a newsstand even if they were giving them away – they arrived and ended up in the recycle pile immediately; what a waste. You see, the I'r sees themselves as the model for others to follow. Therefore, what the I'r thinks you should read, you should read -- how could anyone not understand the importance of this material, since I recommend it. They have extreme difficulty understanding why other people can't get along with them – not themselves getting along with others.
The I'r told, not asked, that I watch a certain TV show. I did. The I'r asked me what I thought of it. I told the I'r I didn't like it; the I'r got quite upset and berated me.
Let me give you an example of the I'r paranoia and quickness in reaching a conclusion. An I'r sent a relative a short story and enclosed a letter stating emphatically that they had told their children something about I'r that had caused their children not to communicate with the I'r. It was a story of a homicidal man, imprisoned for killing someone. He couldn't get along with anyone and didn't care, somewhat like the I'r. At the end of the story one of the man's nieces backed away in fear from the man when he got close. One can probably surmise that the child was informed about the man's history. So the I'r must have concluded that the relative told their children something about them that scared or repulsed them away. Since the I'r is not a homicidal maniac, just a maniac, I don't believe there is anything in this person's history that would have done that to cause the children not to communicate or back away, attitude and basic behavior aside.
There were some particularly important factors that the I'r overlooked or just failed to consider, most likely the later. First, the I'r had for all intents and purposes ignored all communication from the relative and the children for several years – which was eluded to earlier. A good example of the I'r's mentality, "Hey, I've decided to communicate, now you have to." The second part is that the children didn't communicate much more with their parent than they did with the I'r. Most of the time their communications was due to the grand children or send us money. Thirdly, they really don't have much to say to the I'r, who was not even a small part of their life while they were growing up. The I'r rarely sent them birthday, Christmas, or other event acknowledgments. But, nevertheless others have an obligation to them.
In the movie, "Failure to Launch," which I haven't seen yet, the lead character is a live-at-home adult, i.e., an adult that lives with, in this case, his parents. In the movies it is funny, not so in real life. In a similar real life situation, the point that comes out is, "Hey, I'm the important one here." You can see that the child is strictly thinking of themselves. In most cases they don't pay rent and do little to help around the house. They will eat, without providing food or cooking. They usually have a hard time maintaining a relationship. Their need to have it their way, gets in the way, no pun intended. Most one-way relationships are doomed to failure or a lot of unhappiness for one or both partners. The I'r in this case does give assistance now and then but it usually at no cost to their own needs. How can I explain this?
I'rs have a unique ability to wait and pounce when you least expect it, regarding something they will claim was said. By using this method, it assures them that the intended victim will be thoroughly confused, possibly feel guilty. The victim for the most part has long ago forgotten what was actually said and is totally unprepared for the upcoming assault. The I'r waits and waits, until they're fairly certain that we are not expecting it and they know we're unprepared -- then they spring it on us like a python grabbing and crushing its prey. If the I'r really wants to solve the problem, why do they wait so long, months or years, before springing it on you. A few days to mull over what they think they heard and what the person could have meant, would suffice to regain their demeanor, bci or otherwise. If they genuinely wanted to resolve the issue, they could call or visit while the person might still have a semblance of what they're talking about. I guess that's the point, they really don't want to solve the issue, they want to accuse you while you're way off guard and thereby gaining the advantage and to justify what they intend to drop on you. What follows is a typical example.
Well, my favorite I'r called and did it to me again. The first thing she said was, "I'm not putting you in my will." Like I really cared. I guess, what she was trying to imply was that my wife and I had helped her because of what she would leave us. I have no idea what she may be worth, from a financial point and I never considered it important. I can tell you what I think she's worth as a human being, but I won't. Frankly, if she weren't a close relative, we would have long since stopped taking her calls and responding to any help she
The next thing she said was, "You've said a couple of things that have upset me a lot."
Somewhat Puzzled, as I usually am when she does this to me, I asked, "Like what?"
"When I was talking to your wife and told her about an anal examination (not her behavior - the real one) I heard you in the background, you said cancer." she challenged, I think she was implying I was glad she might be sick, well she is sick -- mentally. The last thing I would want would be for her to get sick because she's such a drain on my spirit and patience.
Beginning to lose my cool, "I told her what I said was that the anal exam is an exam where doctors are
She said, "OK, I'll give you that one." Like she was doing me a big favor, there is the tendency to believe that it really matters to others; how unfortunate for them.
"Wow, what else are you going to accuse me of?" I asked.
She then stated, "I was hurt badly when you said you and your wife discussed putting me in a retirement home."
At that point I lost it, which, by-the-way I'm extremely ashamed of, and replied, "I never said such a thing."
"Are you denying it." she challenged again.
"Yes, categorically, I did not say that. How in the world would I be able to put you in a home? I have no legal rights regarding you." was my reply. I wanted to add that if I had the capability to put you anywhere, it would be in an institution for the insane, but I kept that to myself. After thinking about this when the conversation had ended, I would liked to have said, "They would put me in jail for violating the Constitution's law against Cruel and Unusual Punishment. To put you in a home would cause undue pain and suffering to the staff, patients, and other patrons."
With my inner emotions getting the better of me, the conversation deteriorated more and more. So the accuracy of exact wording is probably deluded. I used profanity, which I had not used for years and I am ashamed of it.
She then said, "Did you ask uncle money-bags for money to pay for your son's law school."
I didn't think about it at the time, the advantage of catching me off guard, but I should have asked, "What business is it of yours, anyway." I just replied, "No, I never asked uncle money-bags for any money, ever!"
"He told me you did and that you ask him for money for your tennis court that I lent you a thousand dollars for. Are you saying he was lying." she stated in a demanding manner, not at all unusual for her.
Loud and angrily I responded, "You f_in right I'm saying he was lying. I never asked him for money for anything. I've been proud that I was able to do things on my own." I added, because somewhere she had said she lent me money to build the tennis court, "You did not lend me money for the tennis court, it was to help me buy this house. I had the tennis court built with a loan from my Navy bank."
The rest of the conversation is a blur. I suspect, and inwardly hope, she will honor her, "I'll never speak to you again," statement. At least that's what she said more or less. I find it pitiful that she would actually believe I would lose any sleep over this. She did it to me once before because of something my wife supposedly said, (I spoke of this earlier) years later she told me about it. I didn't care then, and I don't care now, about her disassociation with us. I've tried to accommodate her because that's what family is supposed to do, even if the relative is not likable, and it's just plain courteous. I know we discussed several other meaningless things, like my grandson's failure to send her a thank you note for a graduation gift, I suspect she holds me accountable. Her poor treatment, discussed earlier, of her nephews and niece. The way she treated my wife when she helped her recover from a medical emergency.
After giving the conversation some deep soul-searching thought there were several things I learned from it. I believe that all we experience is worthwhile, if we can learn from it and it makes us a better person.
I found that I had not achieved the level of personal control that I thought I had, and acknowledge my failure. I state that the I'r did not make me lose control, she had no control of me, I did it to myself. I blame only me and no one else. Well, it's back to work on this part of my character.
It makes me also wonder why is it that the people closest to us, some we love very deeply, bring out the worst in us? I want to make it clear that the I'r does not do this to us; it is our choice.
If I had half-a-brain I would have said, as soon as I realized that my emotions were coming into play, "Let me call you back in a couple of hours, tomorrow or whenever you like, I need to regain my composure. Anything I say now may not come out right and may not make any sense and it will probably exacerbate the problem. If you really want to resolve the problem this would be best for both of us." I suspect that the I'r would object. Rarely does a predator allow its prey to escape once in its grip.
In the I'r's mind they are really hurting the other person, by not interacting in a favorable manner or at all. It gives them a sense of power they really don't have, except in their own mind. I was speaking to this I'r, a while back about my lack of considering athletes, actors, artists, and similar persons special or to be held in high esteem. She could not understand that for me to hold someone in high esteem I expect them to make the world a better place to live in or do something for people, like Mother Theresa. She could not understand or grasp, how a mere mortal like me could not hold people like her in reverence, an artist -- a goddess among the common. I kid you not. She couldn't find the words to express her dismay. I guess I caught her unprepared.
It is important to point out that the I'r will disassociate with everyone that is related or friends with the person they want to hurt, unless they need them for something. They do this to inflict greater suffering on to their victim. Unfortunate for the I'r that the victim often regards this as a blessing and doesn't for the most part notice. An I'r cannot accept that someone might not care or notice their absences.
A burning question is, how does one deal with an I'r? I guess I'm not someone who should guide others in this, after my behavior during the conversation given as an example, however, the lessons I've learned through the pain and suffering may help others avoid undue punishment. Some of the strategies I've developed and hope to use are as follows.
The absolutge best way to deal with a I'r is "Don't." I know there are many cases when we can't avoid dealing with them, e.g., a close family member (spouse, parent, sibling), a boss, a customer, etc---etc, used when you can't think of another example but know they exist. First and most important is "Never Lose Control" of your emotions. This is a good habit for life in general. Remember, the I'r thrives on this. It gives them a sense of power and control. By keeping calm, you take that away from them.
There is this funny saying that seems appropriate: Arguing with an I'r (you can change I'r for anything) is like wrestling with a pig in the mud. After a while you realize the pig is enjoying it.
Some of the simple things to do; they say the best defense is a good offense.
I'm not saying he was a typical I'r but probably a situational I'r. He used this method to gain a power over the individual like an I'r does. By remaining calm and attentive I was able to diminish his power to cause me to feel bad. Make no mistake, I wanted feedback and I wanted to do the job right, I just didn't want to be, figuratively speaking, beaten.