At the start of their shows, stage hypnotists say jokingly to their selected subjects, “Don’t worry. I won’t make you commit any crimes. I can’t make you do anything that goes against your morals or ethics.”
It’s the same for us. Short of holding a gun to their head, there’s nothing you or I could do to make a person behave in a way that is not in already in their character.
And yet there were times when people I have cared about treated me badly, and I would struggle with feeling ashamed, thinking I had done something to make that person behave so horribly.
Why did I feel ashamed? Why did I think I was the reason someone had behaved badly?
It wasn’t shame. It was actually a twisted case of pride.
I was mistakenly thinking I was so extraordinary I could cause someone else to behave a certain way.
Of course I understand now that when people behave badly, that’s their choice and their response. And my response – pride masked as shame – was my way to make myself special, other and separate.