Recently, I was working with a client who informed me she was dating a man who happened to be a well-known life coach and spiritual teacher in the area. She conveyed that she was excited to be going out with him, but worried about some of his behaviors that seemed very abusive and disrespectful to her. (Including laying down on the ground when first saying hello to her, looking up her dress at her underwear, and then complaining how they weren’t sexy enough for him, and how she better start changing things if he was going to continue to go out with her. Plus, he was telling her how stupid she was, and most of his workshop participants were, and how he hated stupid people who couldn’t act as enlighted as he did). Despite these and other behaviors she related to me that he was participating in, because of his “spiritual” status, she doubted her own judgment telling me to my astonishment, “He’s the spiritual one, what do I know?”
She is not the first person to confuse power, status, and influence over others as a sign of spirituality. In all religions we see the same thing, abusive behaviors get ignored because the person engaging in them is supposed to have superior power, knowledge, personal or spiritual status. Even if they are doing blantantly insensitive and abusive things, it is hard for followers to believe that somebody so enlightened could behave in such a manner. So, they tell themselves, who are we to judge the motivations and behaviors of people who are supposed to be more evolved than we are?
Yet, when you understand the abuse dynamic more clearly where ever it shows up (at home, in the office, in the corporate boardroom, among the rich & famous, or the so-called spiritual), it isn’t that hard to spot, confront, overcome, and avoid abuse. So, what are the signs of abusive behavior?
To begin with abuse is first and foremost based upon an egotistic and entitled view regarding others and the world. In short, I am more special, evolved, intelligent, rich, powerful, beautiful and/or spiritual than you. Because of this, I am entitled to certain privleges that you are not. And, in my quest to satisfy my “feel good” (to use a law of attraction popular phrase), I can pretty much do what I want without any regard for how it impacts you. After all, I am responsible for creating my reality, and you are responsible for creating yours, and if you don’t like what I’m doing, or how I am treating you, too bad for you! Get over it already! Moron!
The problem with this spiritual view is it avoids a deeper understanding of what spirituality is all about. It takes a celebrity view of spirituality that links spirituality to power, status, a chosen few, and winners over losers. This view of spirituality produces a culture of specialness. Once I am more special than you, I am also more entitled to get my needs met, even at the expense of yours. Sadly, when this occurs spirituality is divorced from a greater sense of unity and at-one-ment, where meeting my needs at the expense of yours, is akin to harming myself, since we are essentially, one. Now, spirituality is about me being “above and better than you”, giving me a mindset that tells me I can meet my needs no matter what even by abusing, controlling, and disrespecting others. Why? Because since I am entitled to getting whatever I want no matter what, I am not even doing anything wrong when I am acting in abusive ways. Thus, my abuse over others is justified. But, it doesn’t have to be this way. Once you understand that spirituality is not about entitlement, superiority, power, fame, money, and getting my needs met at your expense, abuse is not that hard to spot.
To understand more about how abuse operates let’s get real clear about the following in the following note:
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Blessings and love,
Dr. Lisa Love
Copyright 2010 by Dr. Lisa Love. All Rights Reserved.
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