[This is a continuation of a true story on being the target of hate and the spiritual growth that came as a result. The first story can be found here: Hate Games. What to do When You Are the Target of Someone’s Hate (And the Spiritual Lessons that Followed.)
When last we left this saga, I had come out the other side of two intense years of obsessive hate games a newer, lighter version of myself, the result of the gifts of my required spiritual growth. (Do you need to catch up? Hate Games. What To Do When You Are The Target of Someone’s Hate. From a Spiritual Perspective). Or listen to the Audio Version, read by me.
My teachers came in the form of two neighbors who I refer to as Mr. and Mrs. X. To briefly sum up the situation: I was President of our neighborhood Home Owners’ Association Board; they decided to paint their brick without permission; we asked them to stop and take the paint off; they asked me to intervene on their behalf to sway the Board in their favor. I did not. They retaliated by spying on my husband and I, taking photos and videos of us and then creating stories about all the nefarious ways in which we were a neighborhood nuisance.
I responded emotionally and was triggered into anger, frustration and an overwhelming desire to set the record straight by un-sullying my reputation. And therein lay the work at hand: How to shed my ego and release all of the negative energy that was percolating inside of me. It was a journey to a deeper level of spirituality, which of course was the purpose.
“I try to view the challenges in my life not as annoyances, but as confirmations of fortitude.” ~ Oprah Winfrey
So many of you reached out to me after my last post. I was very grateful to hear from you. You shared your own personal truth and hopefully healed if just a smidge. You pontificated the bigger picture: “I worry about the climate of hate and intolerance so prevalent in the world right now and it is hard for me to reconcile.” And brought it down to the medicine it was intended to be: “Your podcast was just what the doctor ordered.” We are all in this together, I tell myself, and the very best thing I can do is to share my truth and what I have learned with hope that it helps another along their way. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for validating this for me.
Once I had done the personal work required and had healed enough to write Hate Games. What To Do When You Are The Target of Someone’s Hate. (From a Spiritual Perspective), I had the opportunity rather expeditiously to put all of my spiritual lessons to practice. Because Mr. and Mrs. X remained busy with new iterations of the same theme and thus, I got to check out my fortitude.
First, they sent their daughter over with my freshly published blog printed out and in hand, to let my husband and I know that what I wrote was “slander.”
A few days later, my husband watched from our front windows as a police car pulled up in front of Mr. and Mrs. X’s home. Mrs. X walked out, with what looked to be the same piece of paper in her hand, and proceeded to point to our home as she spoke animatedly to the police officer.
Shortly thereafter, my husband found another false claim had been made to our Metro Codes Department in a file that is now 11 complaints deep, all instigated by Mr. and Mrs. X.
Finally, we got a letter from an attorney. The lawyer Mr. and Mrs. X hired couldn’t spell “tortuous” but chose that word to describe how Michael and I have treated Mr. and Mrs. X. The letter went on to state that Mr. and Mrs. X are tired of being harassed and stalked for these past two years and we must cease this behavior.
Psychological Projection: Psychological Projection is a defense mechanism in which the human ego defends itself against unconscious impulses or qualities (both positive and negative) by denying their existence in themselves while attributing them to others. For example, a person who is habitually lying may constantly accuse other people of lying.
I’m an empath. I didn’t realize how much I feel for others and pick up on their energy until five years ago, so even as I say to myself: “I am doing SO good. None of this has phased me in the least!” I have to confess that the extent of their obsession has been eye-opening for me and when I see them, I feel them. Their antics work through me always with a little blip of sadness for their hurt and rage. It’s like a hiccup, really. It doesn’t last long. I replace it with gratitude immediately because pity is an egoic emotion with negative, self-righteous energy. Gratitude is the vibration I choose to live in. It’s a choice, always.
This scenario is nearing three years. It surprises me that it has been this long. The truth is that all of my biggest lessons can be measured in years. Both the years going through the challenge as well as the time it took me to learn what it was trying to teach me. Such is the school of life for us all: An opportunity to evolve into higher versions of ourselves when faced with disappointment, disillusionment or heartbreak. As Gary Zukov said in an interview with Oprah:
“What other way could you learn that would create changes in you so permanent, so deep, so constructive…?”
With these most recent opportunities to flex my newly formed spiritual muscle, I thought I’d offer what helped me through this round of attacks for those who need it most:
- Intention is energy. If someone has told a lie about you and you want to set the record straight (as I did) ask yourself: What is my intention in wanting to correct this lie? For me, it was all about preserving the reputation my ego had built: I’m a smart, honest, kind person who is designing a life to serve others. Anytime you have an emotional response to what someone says and you are offended, hurt, angry or feel betrayed? That’s your ego. You are not your ego.
- Your energy is your energy. Don’t give it away to situations or people who either haven’t earned it or don’t deserve it.
“Everything — including love, hate and suffering — needs food to continue. If suffering continues, it’s because we keep feeding our suffering.” ~ Thich Nhat Hanh
- Recognize when someone is operating from fear. Fear is jealousy, anger, resentment or rage. The more you don’t act in response to this, the more it loses its power. Think about it like this: Your neighbor makes a complaint about you that isn’t true. You get upset and say: That’s a lie! You are telling a lie! Bam. You are in the sandbox throwing sand at each other. You are low-vibrating energetic equals. Like attracts like. Do you want to be like your lying neighbors?
- Make it into a movie. One of my favorite strategies in dealing with Mr. and Mrs. X is to think of the drama they create as a movie I am watching. They are the stars of the show and wow! Do they play their part well. Energetically, I intentionally create a circle around my body, the circumference of my arm length. Everything within my circle is love, joy, and gratitude. Everything outside of my circle is a movie that I can watch without judgement; without reacting at all. If you keep your energy within your own personal sphere, then you can disengage from whatever you are seeing. If you feel yourself slipping, say a silent mantra “Everything within my circle is love, joy and gratitude. Here are the things I am grateful for…” and recite a list. If you are in a place to do this out loud, then by all means do it out loud. Your voice is a vibration, too, and when you use it to say what you are grateful for, it will shift your perspective immediately.
- Bring some levity to the situation. This one quote got me through a few rough patches. It appears in Brené Brown’s book Daring Greatly:
“Don’t try to win over the haters; you are not a jackass whisperer.”
Here is what I hope for those who are harming others with their words and actions, those who are struggling with fear, jealousy, anger and rage: