Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Entitlement Part II


“Knowing too much of your future is never a good thing.”
-Rick Riordan

Last month I wrote about one aspect and dynamic of feeling entitled. This month I am writing about another dynamic of feeling entitled. This dynamic involves how it can manifest and where it comes from. Even the best of us with our limitations, are not able to provide fully for anyone. We can want to and intend to, but their needs may be such that in combination with our limitations or weaknesses, we aren’t able to give them something basic to what they feel they need. As a young child, ideally, we are given enough so that we can flourish and feel loved and lovable and valuable. Life isn’t fair, so many of us feel like we didn’t get enough, and we feel wounded. That then becomes our work; to heal, to plumb the depths to get to the root of our wounds and to make them our friends and our strengths so we can know how wonderful we truly are. We have to earn our inheritance, so to speak.
What can happen and does happen is many of us feel cheated emotionally and spiritually and we feel we are “owed something.” Life “owes” us. The truth is we owe us. But it doesn’t feel like that. So we grow up feeling angry and resentful and entitled to everything. Not only do we see this dynamic in some cultures, we also see it in individuals. A cultural example is what has been going on in Ferguson, Missouri. What began as a crime of robbery and guilt and over reaction by the policeman and the young man (perpetrator), Michael Johnson, became a completely different entity. This crime became an old racial tension of unresolved hurts and pain. The “crimes” became a black culture feeling entitled to everything after generations of unfairness and of crimes perpetrated against them and a suburb, Ferguson, where unfairness has continued. This event became an excuse to riot and pilfer and demand different treatment. 
An individual example lives in my family with my sister and her adopted son. This boy has very dark skin and lives now in a very white culture, knowing he is different and feeling often that he was taken away from his family. He and his adopted mother are bonded deeply but they also have great difficulty with each other at times. A huge factor which affects him in addition to this is that his mother has difficulty hearing and seeing. These deficits also affect her ability to process her surroundings in a quick manner; her processing is slowed down. This boy needs both physically and emotionally to have someone who sees him and literally helps him to do the step by step process involved in daily activities. You can see the difficulties inherent in this scenario. Here is a boy who has real needs that his mother wants to provide, but has physical limitations in providing them the way he needs them. In giving this a thumbnail sketch, a dynamic which is ongoing is his resultant feeling of being “entitled” to things. He feels cheated in life; first by being taken away from his birth mother and family and second by being in a culture he inherently doesn’t understand and then not having his needs met in order for him to feel safe. He needs to feel safe, as we all do. If we feel cheated by life we are in a reactive state of being a victim much of the time.

Being cheated in life is a mind-set. If we set our minds to a way of thinking, we can equally unset our minds. This takes a willingness to look inside and to begin to love ourselves. Being and feeling “entitled” keeps us from becoming the vital, whole and healthy people it is possible for us to be. Healing is an inside job. 

Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:
Find yourself a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Write down something in your life which you feel entitled to, or a way in which this manifests for you. This could be feeling you have a right to be taken care of, or have a right to be right, or have a right to be heard, or feeling angry at life, or resentful of something or someone, or feeling entitled to a certain relationship, and so on.
Write down how this acts for you as completely as you can. 
Now, write down what you could do for yourself to change this feeling. In other words brain storm with yourself, and with a friend if this helps, what you could do differently to help you to know that everything you really need is possible for you to accomplish through you, loving you, and through connection to self, others, and God, or the universe, or however you think about what is greater than us all. 

Read what you have written over the period of a week and see if more comes to you and see how this helps you in your life.

Monday, April 20, 2015

Entitlement

“Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary. It fulfills the same function as pain in the human body.
It calls attention to an unhealthy state of things.”
                                                                                                          -Winston Churchill

How many of us know folks in our lives who act entitled to things? We talk about it, and so, in some ways we probably all have some feelings of being entitled to something or someone. Yet, some folks carry that feeling with them a lot of the time. There is an aspect of entitlement which is helpful for us to have; feeling entitled to loving parents, to being and feeling loved. Parenting is one of the most difficult jobs there is. Not only is it so very important, it also brings up much of our unfinished or unresolved issues with and within us and our caretakers. In addition, we carry within us unresolved issues across generations that get passed to us in the womb and live in us as if those traumas happened to us.
Many children act as if every toy and gadget that comes out is their right to own. When we are 2 or 3, those actions can be cute. When we are 10 and older, it is not cute. There are adults we know who do the same thing, just with a little more sophistication and with bigger toys and bigger consequences. Where does this sense of entitlement come from? One of the places it comes from is being given too much; too many things without earning them. My son went to a fairly affluent high school. I remember when one of the young men he knew had a car accident and destroyed his Mustang that his parents gave him. After this accident, of course his parents felt that their son needed a car; they replaced their son’s car with a BMW. Did he earn that car in the first place? And in the second place, did he earn an upgrade?  The answer is no, he didn’t. How can this young man ever make this up to his over giving  parents? He can’t, and some part of him feels badly about it, but is so used to getting things that he only knows how to take from them and then feels he is entitled to those things. His parents may not be emotionally available to their son and so give to him through material possessions rather than through real life affection and nurturance. In other cases, some parents aren’t able to give to themselves much less to their children, emotionally and/or financially. Some parents want to be available to their children but don’t know how or don’t feel they can from some deep underground wounds of their own. Or from some unknowing loyalty they carry to something deeper within them. An example of an unknown loyalty is when we unconsciously feel we can’t have something or be successful because our father wasn’t or lost his business or went bankrupt. We unknowingly carry a loyalty to our father by not doing well and/or by trying to make up to our children what we didn’t have. Whether we are given too much without earning what we are given on some level, or whether we aren’t given what we truly need, we do grow up with some sense of entitlement. 
My father was born in 1927 and grew up during the Depression. His parents were struggling. His father couldn’t find a job so his mother had to work. Before that, his mother had physical issues from his birth and had to be hospitalized right birthing her son. She had many unknowing alliances within her, which came first before her son. She was merged with her mother’s feelings, and those came first. One of the ways she was merged with her mother had to do with her having a son. Her mother lost a baby boy by accidentally suffocating him by rolling over him at night with him by her side in bed. Then, dad’s mom’s first child was a boy. How difficult this must have been for her, without her consciously knowing it. She became sick a lot through his young years. My father didn’t get enough from his parents. His father was jealous of his son for having his wife’s attentions, and he wasn’t able to provide for his family or take care of his wife the way he wanted to. He took his anger out on his young son. My father didn’t get love the way he wanted or needed. Most importantly, he never came to terms with his life with his parents and never forgave them. He has rejected them for most of his life. To love them was too painful. As a result, he to this day filled with his dementia, feels entitled to everything. He has to be the best, he has to feel appreciated, he has to come first, and he has to win. He feels entitled to all that. So, he also unconsciously makes up stories based on truth to make him feel like he has it all. He is the best at Bingo, at bridge; everyone loves him, and so on. For many years with his stories, I did think he was one of the best bridge players. I called the organizer for his bridge groups when he was being moved to an assisted living facility in another city to see which group in his new city would be best for him. She told me he would be best in the beginner group. She had nothing at stake in telling me the truth. That was a true eye opener for me. He feels entitled to everything and being the best at everything. 
He never received the love he wanted; he didn’t get enough and so went through life being angry when things didn’t go his way. Do any of you know anyone like this? Do you have aspects of this type of feeling entitled inside of you? Again, we all have some. The important thing is to recognize when this happens inside us and to find a way to make peace with this and with what happened with us in our lives. As we find some peace with our entitlement and can see it clearly, we can develop our self love and fill these needs inside of us with us and by us. We can’t get all of our needs met. We can look at our parents with a larger lens and find some compassion for them and find some for ourselves so we can earn our own place in our hearts.

Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:
First of all, let’s get out some paper and a writing utensil. Let’s keep this exercise simple. On this sheet of paper, at the top, put four columns. 
Column one write, where I feel entitled in my life.
Column two write, where I feel I didn’t get enough.
Column three write, who wasn’t able to provide my needs, and how.
Column four write, where and with whom I need to find some peace or resolution.
Take a few minutes early morning, or before bed, and write out what comes to you. After writing what comes to you for a week, then read back what you have written a few times so you have a greater understanding of this dynamic in your life.
If you would like to share your reactions and what you have learned, and you feel this is helpful for you, I would love to hear from you.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

End of Pain and Suffering

“Find a place where there is joy, and the joy will burn out the pain.”
                                                                             Joseph Campbell

I went to an event for a Jewish holiday called Roshashanah. This holiday is part of what we call, the High Holidays. These holidays consist of Roshashanah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot. RoshHashanah is a time of letting go of all the negative thoughts and actions we have accumulated from the past year and it is a time of celebration. I celebrated this Jewish New Year with thousands of other people of all religions from all over the world. Have you ever celebrated something, not including a sports event or concert with thousands of people? If you have you know it is quite an experience. Not only was I part of this event, but this event itself brings people together for the purpose of ending our pain and suffering individually and throughout the world. 

Can you imagine yourself living absent the pain and suffering you usually carry with you? I was somewhat skeptical upon arriving. And upon leaving after a two day experience, not only did I feel lighter, I also felt more positive and very aware of my internal energy in relation to others. By that I mean that as I engage with others I feel how their energies feel within me and what their energies bring out in me. When I am near or with someone with negative energies brewing inside of them or with very divergent energies within them, I feel an uncomfortable feeling within my guts. I then notice what I do with my feelings. I often am tempted to help them and to bring them out of their inner funks. I am tempted to do this for them, but also for me. So now I notice this and instead of trying to raise their consciousness, I leave them alone unless they ask for my assistance. I realize that what is going on inside of them is theirs to deal with; unless they ask me for help. 

Secondly, I find certain people are hard for me to be around. I just don’t feel good around them. Instead of making myself, I now can allow myself to not engage, to not try to please them, and I can walk away. I used to try to please them and disregard my own inner self and feelings of disease and uncomfortableness. What I am doing now is not taking responsibility for others, and I am not ignoring myself. I am honoring them and me. Do bad and painful things happen to people? Yes. I am learning to be aware of their pain and suffering and allowing them to find ways to deal with theirs. This frees me to work with my feelings rather than ignoring, stuffing, delegating, or spewing them onto others.

On another level, the Jewish New Year, RoshaShanah, was a holiday my father hated. He never saw it is a celebration, but as a painful experience. When he was growing up, being in a very religious Jewish family, everyone spent the whole day in Synagogue and seemed to him to be suffering. He neither saw nor experienced any joy or happiness or celebration. Everyone looked unhappy. They fasted for the whole day and were in a devotional place. His family’s particular Orthodox community didn’t see this holiday as a celebration. It was serious business. As an adult, he and mom decided that they didn’t want to be part of this holiday. They had joined a Jewish synagogue in case any of their children wanted to learn more about our heritage and our Jewish traditions. At our home we only celebrated the holiday of Passover and Chanukah, as dad had a special relationship with his grandfather he called Zadie, who taught him the significance of Passover on both a global and personal scale. 

My personal experience of this holiday first began as an adult. I joined a synagogue so my son and I could learn more about our religious heritage. Recently, it has deepened to a fuller level with my experiences within a spiritual philosophy called Kabbalah and their approach to life as well as the significance of certain meaningful holidays. 

Bad things do happen and we do experience pain. And, as we approach these things differently and learn to love ourselves and others on a deeper level by listening to and honoring our inner selves and feelings, the experience of pain and suffering changes. It no longer is that, but more importantly is learning. Here is to a life of growth, inspiration, learning, health, wholeness, and vitality.

Shift Your Story, Shift Your Life:

Try this interpersonal exercise and see how it helps you.

‘Go to the grocery store, or a coffee shop, or a drug store, or any place you go to where you are around others. As you go, become aware of centering your thoughts and feelings and become in tune with your inner thoughts and feelings. How do you feel?

Now, as you get ready to enter the store, keep your awareness of self with you. As you come near others pay attention to how you feel. Do you feel good, or bad, or uncomfortable or anxious suddenly? Is there a change in your inner feeling or attitude? Just notice. Now, as they or you walk away, notice how your inner feeling changes; if it does.

Do this consciously another time or two. It slows down your whole shopping experience… so don’t worry. After you have done this with 2 or 3 people, let it go and just continue as you usually do.

This exercise is designed to help you to notice your inner life in a new way. Honor the feelings and see if you can become more aware of them throughout your life, one step at a time.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Are We Kind?

“Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.”
                                                                                             -Kahil Gibran


The other week a friend had suggested I be kind to myself. That word stood out to me; kind. I think and talk about nurturing ourselves. We read and talk about loving ourselves. I don’t often hear about being kind to ourselves. It sounds good. When I think it or say it, it feels good too. What is being kind?

Kind is like being gentle, but different. Being kind involves an action and doesn’t just mean going easy on our self judgments. When we actively love ourselves we are being kind to ourselves. To be loving to ourselves carries with it the weight of how we were loved in our lives and so can be hard. Being kind feels so light. It involves how we take care of ourselves through baths and spas and pedicures and taking rest….but it is also so much more. It doesn’t carry comfort with it, like with food; except maybe to be kind through not overeating and making good choices by ordering a salad with our sandwich instead of french fries.

Kind. My father loved words, and in his work would look up the root meanings of many of the words his patients used. He would listen to them at a deep level and a level so they, he and they, could understand what was underneath their conscious minds. With this in mind, one word he loved to use and to teach with is “nice”. People use that word a lot; nice. “That was nice.” “He was such a nice person.” So he looked it up, and so did I. Its root meaning from old French, Middle English, and Italian meant to be foolish, ignorant, and senseless. Over time we had changed the meaning to one more superficial; pleasant, agreeable.

If we really think about it, most of the time we use the word, “nice” we use it in the context of being or acting unknowing. When we say, “She is very nice”, often in an underlying way really means, she doesn’t confront, or she takes our words at face value. When we hear someone say “nice”, or you yourself use the word, take a minute and see what the true meaning is; unknowing, or pleasant, or both.

Kind is from Middle English and means; helpful, considerate, natural, and even indulgent. Being kind to us and others certainly fits the original definition. Can you be helpful and considerate to yourself? And can you consciously take the time and effort to consciously be helpful to you? Take an extra five minutes a day and do something kind for yourself.


Small Actions that Promote Big Results:

Let’s do a little exercise. First, take out a piece of paper and pen and write out or list actions you can think of that are helpful and considerate to you. Next list ones that are helpful to others.

Take the time to consciously do at least one act of kindness for you, and for another every day for 40 days and write them down.


After the 40 days, take a moment to sit back and see and feel what difference that has made for you in your life. I would love to hear how this goes for you. Feel free to share.


Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Our Life's Purpose

“To truly laugh you must be able to take your pain and  play with it.”
                                                                                                                                                               -Charlie Chaplin

Many of us think about our life’s purpose and know we have one, and don’t always know what it is. Sometimes our purpose is to shed light on something. Sometimes our purpose is to meet and be with our soul mate….sometimes our purpose is to break a pattern that has been repeating….and so on. Sometimes, what we think is our purpose really may not be. On that same line of thought, sometimes what we think we want and what we think we are here for consciously is not really what makes us more of who we are in our essence. Sometimes, our eyes are bigger than our stomachs and we want something that really isn’t in our best interest. Sometimes, the opposite is true where we play it small and don’t really stretch into who and what we can be. 
I am here, in my small way, to help to ease the pain and suffering and to help us to hear our soul’s voice in our bodies. I do this through my chiropractic work, through facilitating Family Constellations, and through blending Imago work, image, and meditations with my chiropractic and Family Constellations into a whole entity. I call this Body Presencing. Here, I help others to heed and to heal their souls through listening to their own voice as unique, sacred, and separate from their families, even over generations. This took many years for me to know, accept as my purpose, and to find words for it.
Once we find and know our purpose, the rest becomes easier. There are many struggles and challenges along the way. Usually, this is because we fight ourselves. We may not want what we see as our gifts, we may want something grander. We may want something familiar and because of this we miss what is under our noses…because it doesn’t smell like, tastes like, or feel like what we are used to. 
In my 2015 blogs I will be writing tributes to my father who is at the sunset of his life. He knew his life’s purpose in some ways, and in some ways he didn’t. He grew up in the south side of Chicago as part of a religious Jewish family in a very Irish neighborhood. This was also a land of gangs. My father being a small, cantankerous, angry boy had to prove himself to these gang members. He did this through fighting. Because he was so small, he won by default in that he was often the last man standing; or so he says. He didn’t care about physical pain so he turned off his pain channels. This was mostly because of a series of traumas he endured as a two year old, which I wrote about previously where he was regularly abused by his caretaker while his mother and father were at work. There were pain days and there were torture (fear) days. He much preferred the pain days where he learned to stop feeling the pain. Of course we know that the emotional pain has endured. 
Being part of a gang gave him a sense of family and he was proud of that. He always thought  he would grow up to be a “hobo” and travel around by rail box car, or a physical education teacher because he loved sports. As a high school student, his class was shown a movie in which the main protagonist was a psychiatrist. He was so moved that he knew he wanted to be a psychiatrist when he grew up. After two years in the Navy in WW2, the use of the GI bill gave him the means to go to college and onto medical school, where he became a psychiatrist. He successfully practiced for over 50 years and became renowned in his field. He helped many people to become more whole. He listened to their emotional pain and helped them to know themselves.
This was his life’s work and his passion, but was it his purpose? He always wanted more. As he got older, he wanted more money as he wanted to leave a legacy…of money. He became confused and lost his focus. He helped others in order to help himself and he helped others to navigate their emotional pain as he longed for someone to help him. He wanted to start a foundation to help other lost souls and got “hooked” by scammers who “listened” to him and supposedly cared about him. All they cared about was money…just as he did towards the end. When he was younger that confusion of self and purpose wasn’t as obvious, but it was there. He helped others for himself. There is nothing wrong with helping others for us, if we know it. Many of us are in the ‘helping’ professions to help us; and we know it. It is the not knowing, the unknowing of the intent that is our undoing. So he thought his purpose was to help others but really his life’s purpose was to listen, love, and help him. If he could have accomplished that he would have helped to break a generational pattern in our family. We had generations of family members, mostly the men, who hated themselves. 
Can we know our life’s purpose? Yes, I know we can. Can we become confused regarding our purpose? Absolutely we can. Our purpose is tied to our hearing and loving us where we can see our strengths, our gifts, our weaknesses and allow us to follow the path that is true for us. This is different from what we yearn for or fantasize about. What is hardest for us uses our strengths, makes us grow, and become fuller people. This is usually the path to our true purpose. What is yours?
If you would like help decoding yours, please feel free to contact me by sending a private email to: gail@bodypresencing.com.

Shift Your Story Shift Your Life: Guided Meditation
The stories we constantly tell ourselves often determine the paths we take in life. So get comfortable, place your feet on the floor, and close your eyes.
Tune into your breath. Feel your chest rise and fall as you breathe; 3, 4, 5 breaths.
Ask yourself, what is my life’s purpose? Then let that thought just go. Notice the next thought that comes up for you, and let it to. Ask then for help so you can know your true purpose. And just breathe.
In a few moments, in your mind’s eye, you will find yourself at a favorite place for you. It could be a waterfall, it could be by your favorite, tree, or a path you walk and you like to take, etc.  When you are there become aware of your senses. How does it smell, what colors do you see, and what do you hear?
A path might open for you….follow it and watch and listen. A person might come up to you. Ask him/her what they have to tell you.
You might hear a voice speaking in your ear. Listen. You might get a deep sense of knowing. 
Once you have received some kind of message, become aware of your breath, and count to 5 and open your eyes. Write down your experience so you can come back to it. Do this meditation whenever you are in the need of some guidance.

If you didn’t get anything this time around, no worries; just enjoy the experience.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

What Is the Cause of the Pain?

“The only gift I have to give is the ability to receive.
If giving is a gift, and it surely is, then my gift to you is to allow you to give to me.”
                                                                                                     -Jarod Kintz

As a Chiropractic physician I work with many people in different degrees of pain, dysfunction, and even illness. I look at my patients through the lens of finding the cause of their pain. The cause is not only on the  physical level, but also the spiritual and metaphysical levels. Almost every physical complaint is tied to a spiritual cause. We often dont listen to our internal issues until or unless we are in some kind of pain.

As this year also ties me and my work with the influence of my father and his life, good and bad, I am taking the time to relate my father and his beliefs to mine. He is a child psychoanalyst who believes in the power of the mind over the body and in the body/mind connection. He liked to say that our bodies are our minds. Our bodies certainly influence our minds, and visa versa. Every complaint can be traced towards an emotional/psychological/spiritual root. Listening to our voices is key to understanding ourselves. My fathers forte was listening to what is behind the complaint, or it shoes, as he called them. He loved to make fun of us in a playful way. He particularly listens to the words people use to understand their unconscious minds. He even had a special dictionary he used which traced the root of most words to their original use and ethnic meaning. As he listened to his patients he would often look up some key words to see the root meaning to better understand them. On word in particular which comes to mind that he loved to play with is the word, nice. We often use nice as noun; she was nice, or he looked nice. The root of the word,nice, means, ignorant or unknowing. When we take the time to think about when and how we use that word, the root does make sense at a deeper level. 

Ironically, in his dementia, he has a condition called aphasia, where he can no longer locate words in his brain. He can see what he wants to say, but no longer has the words to express his thoughts. Words that were so important to him are no longer available to him. Now he has to understand in a whole different way; through image and feeling.

Finding the cause of pain is very important. Often just shedding light on a situation shows us the path to recovery. I was working with a woman who came in asking what she could do to feel better. She had been struggling with one condition after another for the last few months. First she had a knee injury, then shingles, and next a very bad respiratory infection. She does take a lot of supplements and yet feels like she is constantly sick. She knows something is missing. 

We spoke about how chronic and even acute stress can affect our immune systems. I knew she had been dealing with a lot of family issues and reacting to other people rather than being able to listen and respond to them without reacting. In her mind she knew better but something was preventing her from just being able to listen. I reminded her of a discussion we had recently had regarding her over sensitivity to her mother in law and its relation to her unresolved feelings with her mother and her over sensitivity to her own mother. She is very affected by her mother in law as her husband of many years is too close to his mother. She has always been second to his mother in many ways throughout her marriage. There has been a continued sense of competition with her for over 35 years. That dynamic alone over a period of time can affect our stress levels and our health. In her history her father had immigrated from Russia and never spoke of his past; it was taboo. She remembers her mother as being stoic and she, my patient, always having some competition with her brother for their mothers attention. Her mother didnt have enough resources for her own inner support system. 

My patient then remembered that what should have been a very happy moment recently was marred by her own internal reaction. She had found out she was going to be a grandmother. Instead of just being happy, she began to feel jealous of the other grandma because she lives near her daughter and son in law, her son, and my patient doesnt. She recognized she was jealous and in competition but didnt know what to do about it. In fact, she felt shame and tried to push those feelings away instead of dealing with them and feeling them. 

When ever we try to push feelings away, we actually drive them closer to us; they want to be heard and acknowledged just as much as she wants to be heard and acknowledged. We spoke about instead of pushing them away, to bring them in, listen to them but not be ruled by them, and hold both her feelings of love and happiness and her feelings of intense competition, real or imagined. If imagined they are real. Next, we spoke of holding her little self and see how painful some aspects of her early years were for herso she can begin to mother herself and give herself a lot of love and nurturing as she didnt have back in the early times of her life. We then spoke about when unconscious beliefs (like not being good enough) collide with conscious beliefs (like being good enough) often our bodies also feel the effects of the internal battle through illness or pain. 

She began to understand and more memories began to surface for her with her mother and father. Making peace with our parents, exactly as they are or were, and our inner parent is a huge step towards our sense of peace, happiness and healthour true inheritance.

Recommendations:
We all have stories like the one above in our lives. To see our inner battle and to learn to love us is key to our heath; inner and outer.

On my website, www.bodypresencing.com, I have a non-reactive formula which you might find helpful as you begin to find yourself reacting to a person or situation in your life. 


Try the formula and see how it helps you. I would love to hear your personal stories and how it worked for you!


Are You Invisible

Your conscience is the measure of the honesty of your selfishness. Listen to it carefully.
                                                                                 -Richard Bach  
The other day I received a phone call from an old friend who was also a friend of my family. In our conversation she said something, which stayed with me and gave me pause. It caused me to think and work with the information she gave me in an enlightening kind of way. She told me a story which involves my father. The short story is that she was in town, lives out of town, and asked if she could come over to visit. He answered, yes, if she would be invisible.
I will elaborate on this story shortly. In the mean time, have you ever felt invisible, or were asked openly or tacitly to be invisible? For the many of us who have experienced this, it is not fun. It doesnt feel good, nor does it honor us. One good thing about old friends is that they hold many shared memories, some of which we remember, some we dont consciously, and some their perspective sheds light for us. Our friends are a true blessing. They can also hold memories of events we werent privy to, but ultimately are about us. This is another blessing. What does it meant to be or to feel invisible, and what can we do about it?
Back to the story; in this story we were already adults and my friend was in town to visit her mother. Her experience with her family has always been difficult and painful. This visit was a holiday time. We became friends around the age of 11 or 12 years of age, and have continued our friendship on and off since then. During those preteen and teen years, she would often come over to our house and she became a friend of the whole family. Each person had their own individual relationship with her. For awhile she was close to my father. He could be very helpful to her at times in his caring and yet self involved way. During this particular visit she asked if she could come over, and it was during the holidays. My father usually reserved holidays for family time, and it just happened that he had a patient staying with the family at this time. This patient involves another family story at another time. I tell you this to add context to the story. So when my friend asked to come over he told her she could but she would have to be invisible.
So she came over. I wasnt there at the time, and she sat next to my younger sister and shared the sofa with her as my father was nurturing his patient who was living with us. My friend turned to my sister who was just sitting there and asked her how it felt to be invisible. They both shared a chuckle. On another note, it was not funny.
This friend grew up being and feeling invisible to and with her family, as she wasnt really seen by them and longed to be seen. In my family we would be seen sometimes, usually at some events and always during some time of crisis, but otherwise most everything revolved around our father. Hearing her tell me this story helped me to see things more clearly and to understand myself on a deeper level. When she was telling this story I too felt a chuckle inside, but for a different reason. She was told to be invisible in this instance, and we and many others were tacitly asked to be invisible. In a way, this was a gift because it was clear and out in the open. When it is silent and unsaid, as with us, we can grow up wondering about why we act in certain ways, draw certain types of people to us, and feel a certain way about ourselves. When we were growing up we didnt really understand with words what was being asked of us. Taking it out of its cover is a very helpful experience and can give us a real ahaexperience. 

Small Changes that Promote Big Results:
A great exercise is this: write down some questions and answer them in a few sentences. Dont belabor this exercise. 
Do you feel invisible? How does this affect you in your life? What was asked of you growing up? Did you live in a household where both or one of your parents was all about themselves? 
Next week I will elaborate on narcissism a bit more, with stories that show where and how it can begin. 

A book I recommend is, Narcissism, Denial of the True Self, by Alexander Louwen.