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Friday March 7, 2008: Invasion of Privacy

        A while back, a young woman emailed me.  She was upset with her boyfriend who delighted in proving he could ‘read her mind.’  The young man would call her during moments of the day when they were apart to describe where she was, whom she was with and what she was doing.  Perhaps he thought it showed how close they were, but the young woman found his descriptions far from endearing.  She rightfully felt spied upon, her privacy violated.  When she expressed anger at his mental intrusion, the boyfriend simply laughed it off.
                                
         Her question to me was how to get into his mind and show him what it felt like. Of course, I don’t believe in tit-for-tat responses.  I don’t believe in invading other people’s minds. If I want to know something about another person or want them to know something about me, the issue needs to be brought up in an open conversation.  On the other hand, I totally understood her problem—having been through a similar situation thirty-some years ago.  

        My relationship with John might have gone very well: both of us were psychic and understood the loneliness that comes from hiding the reality from family, friends and the general public.  It turned out that John was used to not only reading other people’s minds but also putting thoughts into their minds. I found this out only when he confessed surprise that I could block him out, a situation he had never before encountered. My surprise came from his comment. I hadn’t consciously blocked him out.  I’d been deep in thought about some recent psychic events in my own life. I must have put up a barrier while pondering how much of my own experience to reveal so early in the relationship.

         The big problem came later, when we were driving along a moon-lit road and I was staring at the moon, my mind blank. The thought popped into my head, “I should just drop out of college and marry John.  All I really want is to stay home and raise kids.”  Considering I had just transferred to an in-state college with the idea of saving enough on tuition to cover graduate school, and since John had already confessed his talent, I didn’t believe my sudden change of heart.  Still, I didn’t bring up the subject with John right away because of my own confusion.  Dating a fellow psychic held certain appeal but this latest glitch was something I’d never run into with my college friends.     

         Most people assume that if a thought wanders through their mind, it must originate within themselves. It’s easy with clairaudio to recognize someone else’s voice as coming from outside yourself, but mental telepathy is rendered in your own vocabulary, in your own inner voice (one of the reasons it allows communication across language barriers).  Still, another person’s thoughts have a slightly different feel to them, something I’d noticed whenever members of our psychic group used mental telepathy to communicate.  One could learn to sort out who was sending the message.

        What was my emotional reaction to John’s intrusion?  Yes, there was anger that someone would trick me into making a decision that was not my own. More immediate was the fear that if John came to know me better—how I reasoned and came to decisions—he could plant thoughts so cleverly I could not tell them from my own. Maybe I could block him from entering my mind, but the blocking process takes considerable energy. One can’t stay forever on guard—especially if you are going to build a lifetime relationship. John’s and my relationship fell apart rapidly.

          How sad in retrospect that John could not trust me enough to bring up the subject in the open, as a decision to be made between two equals. This was the problem I saw with the young woman who emailed me about her intrusive boy friend. The problem was not how to block his intrusions or how to show him why such actions feel intrusive.

         A healthy relationship is build on trust and respect.  Closeness to another individual is about the freedom to share our deepest feelings and work out differences. It is not about one person  convincing, persuading or manipulating the other into a ‘shared’ viewpoint.  It’s about feeling safe within a relationship because each partner respects the other’s right to sort out and present personal thoughts and feelings in their own time and manner.
     
         Could I have ever talked out my problem with John and gotten him to respect my personal space?  Hard to say if I could have left down my guard without always wondering when he might slip back in uninvited.  Had I married John and problems arose later, how would we have resolved them?  Would John try more manipulation or give up because it was all manipulation in the first place? Knowing he had the power to place thoughts, would I work so hard to mend bridges when we disagreed or would I put rigid blocks in place to keep him from switching my viewpoint?  In quiet moments, would I question the areas where we agreed, wondering how much was truly my opinion?  

        These are the problems that will haunt you any time you convince yourself the fastest and easiest way to win friends and influence relationships comes from indirect and hidden methods. These are the problems when you try to shortcut intimacy by pushing into someone else’s space, uninvited. These are the problems when you do not feel safe enough or respected enough to talk out different perceptions of a relationship’s conflict.
 
        Don’t play tit-for-tat. Be honest and up front in your relationships—because it’s the right thing to do, and because it’s easiest in the long run.
Posted on Friday, March 7, 2008 at 09:32AM by Registered CommenterThe Skeptical Mystic | Comments1 Comment | References1 Reference

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Reader Comments (1)

How very true! Much the same happened in my own relationship, until l realised that honesty was the only policy.
December 11, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAncientarcana

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