Saturday, February 22, 2014

Don't Accept Passive Aggressive Behavior

"Behind the smile, a hidden knife!"    
 Ancient Chinese saying, describing passive-aggressive behavior

My cleaning lady resigned last week. I'm astonished that I still feel incredible relief that she's gone. For good. 

Here's how it goes with passive aggressive people. At first they appear conciliatory, helpful and genuinely caring. But eventually they drive you crazy with their invisible but controlling manipulation, forgetfulness, and procrastination. 

You might inadvertently anger or disappoint them in some small way, some way in which you are not even aware, like getting ill and not able to give them your full attention, and they "up" their game of passive aggressive anger. You will pay for your sins in one way or another when you fail to meet the exceptions of the passive aggressive person. 

Passive-aggressive behavior, says psychotherapist and clinical hypnotherapist Andrea Harrn is "non-verbal aggression that manifests in negative behavior."  The ambiguous control hides behind stubbornness, forgetfulness, or procrastination to name just a few negative but latent behaviors.
In the beginning my cleaning lady and I seemed to bond, sharing much in common. But ultimately I grew weary of the victimization stories. I also noticed that there was a whole lot of talking and very little cleaning during the two hours she was here. She failed to work independently, always seeking to clean in a room close to me so she could talk. Rooms where I was hidden from view were skimmed as I saw it. When she departed, the house never really sparkled or seemed clean.

Then, when she inferred that one of her clients made her enter the house through the garage because she was "the help" while other visitors used the front door, I took one giant step backward. Something was wrong here...and I wanted to change the composition. My monies were spent for cleaning, not for listening to and reinforcing victimization. This was too much.

Dusting was our battleground from day one. It was hit and miss, and she rarely ever used the disposable feather dusters that my previous cleaner had requested. I was paying to see dust hang heavily, not only in the air but gather on figurines, books, lamp shades and picture frames.   

When I watched her replace books on the tables, and asked if she had dusted them, she asked virtuously-- like a 1950's Southern girl batting her eyelashes-- "Oh, you want me to dust the books too?" Does anyone seriously believe that books are immune from gathering dust? Who would think that? Only someone who doesn't know how to clean house or doesn't like to dust. I vote for the latter as this woman had been working for the agency for over five years. 

Not a month ago when she was strolling into the bedroom with the vacuum, I asked if she had dusted the room first? Her response: "Oh, is that what you want me to do?" Come on. We had talked repeatedly about cleaning from the top down--dust then pick up the dust that falls to the floor with the vacuum.  Actually, I think she got so caught up in telling her stories, she paid little attention to what she was doing. She had no organized system. It was talk, talk, talk with unwritten rules about cleaning unless they benefited her.  

For example, she dusted no table that held electronics, such as the TV stand with a DVD player or my night stand that housed the CPAP machine because "I don't want to mess anything up." If she didn't dust those stands, who did? Me. How convenient for her.

Early on, I actually sat down with her and showed her how I would dust a table. I removed all the items, dusted the wood with a special oil-treated microfiber dusting cloth, cleaned the glass inserts with Windex and dusted all the other objects with a feather duster before placing them back on the table. Is that really so hard to remember?

Her memory always (conveniently) failed her. She arrived every two weeks only to have her memory wiped clean like a hard rive on a computer about how to dust. As counselor Harran writes on the Counseling Directory website, "Chronic forgetting shows a blatant disrespect and disregard for others to punish them in some way."

Cleaning the toilets was another hit and miss proposition. Often they didn't look clean, and I found the toilet brushes bone-dry. Or I'd find blue toilet cleaner in the guest toilet days later so I needed to clean it to remove the blue ring that had corroded in the bowel. She was doing a poor job, whether deliberate or not, and her failed memory was her protection.

Last week I decided to make a list for her. If her memory was that poor, maybe she needed extra help? If I had to present her with a list of duties each time, then she could check off items on the list as she accomplished them. Maybe it would be helpful for her? I was gentle but firm.

I must admit I wasn't prepared for her overblown reaction to the list. She. Was. Angry. First, she stated that in all her years of cleaning, she had never had a list like that. Really? I was merely asking her to do what I had been asking since the day she started, but she kept failing to do. She didn't understand the microfiber cloth, and when I pointed to it, she walked away and disappeared in the bedroom while I was talking. She knew. She had used the oil-treated cloth it on everything.

Then she fibbed  about the bathrooms, saying sometimes she used the toilet brush from the master bath to clean the guest bath. My bathrooms are on opposite sides of the condo. Who would carry a dripping, wet brush from one side of the condo to the other when a toilet brush was aaccessible in both bathrooms? Again, she suddenly seemed to realize how silly that sounded and walked away from me before I could say more.

What really shocked me was the intensity of her anger and the disproportionate reaction to my requests. I wasn't asking her to wash and iron the curtains or polish the silverware. I was requesting the same things I had been asking from the day she started--change the bedding, wash the floors, dust thoroughly, clean the bathrooms, including the toilets and vacuum. That's it. Nothing new. 

What was new was that the game was finished. I was on to her, she'd been exposed, and she knew it. No more batting her eyelashes like Carol Burnett in a comedy skit saying "Is that what you want me to do?" Flutter, flutter, flutter. 

She had shared with me that out-of-town relatives gifted her with a new computer so she could Skype with them whenever she wanted. Several weeks later, she told me that she had not used the computer because "I guess I don't like people telling me what to do." 

B-I-N-G-O! And therein held the answer to the dusting problem or any other cleaning request I would make. She didn't want to be told what to do, and she didn't want to change. She arrived at my home with that attitude. She apparently didn't like to dust. And from that moment on, I was controlled by her passive aggressive behaviors. She had basically controlled me for six months. And it was good to have that passive control out of my life.

She might always play the victim, living out the "poor me" scenario for a lifetime. And she will most likely always make excuses, viewing others like me as demanding. She will definitely remain stuck in her passive aggressive behavior unless she decides to change. She turned down the opportunity this time. 

Lucky for me, she resigned. She went back to the office, telling the office manager that she left my house on "bad terms" (which surprised me as we had not talked about this before she left) and was hesitant to come back. No doubt she was hesitant to come back because she knew the jig was up. I was putting an end to her passive aggressive forgetfulness. She knew she couldn't do it here anymore and get away with it. I discussed the situation at length with the office manager of the agency and agreed that I needed a different cleaning person.

I'm so glad she's gone; I was feeling more and more depressed about her upcoming visits. Now I just sigh relief that I no longer have to put up with her shenanigans, her passive-aggressive tricks. Once a passive-aggressive person leaves your life, you are amazed at how subtlety you were controlled by him or her. You felt it but you couldn't put your finger on the problem because the behavior is latent.

The experts say that passive aggressive people are totally out of touch with their own emotions and for that reason, they feel deeply misunderstood when confronted. She didn't see me asking her to be responsible or see that a solution might be worked out by working together on the problem. It had to be her way or the highway. In her mind I was making unreasonable demands, and I couldn't be pleased. She will never change that behavior unless she takes a long, hard look at herself. This time she obviously passed up the opportunity.

Life is too short to put up with this kind of behavior, especially when you're paying for it. If she has problems, it's her responsibility to seek help. Me? I'm waiting for a new cleaning lady to arrive in a couple weeks, one I had as a fill-in and loved her. In fact, I called the agency after she was here and said, "Where have you been hiding her? She's great!" 

Life is too short to tolerate someone's mind games that manifest in negative behavior against you. Passive aggressive people can be replaced. If you are hiring a job done, there is always someone else who will be happy to have the work and do it well.

How do you deal with passive aggressive behavior?

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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

The following prayer was written after the tragic 9/11 devastation and reprinted today from my book A Maze of Grace Prayers (2001). 

Today marks the 12th anniversary of that horrible tragedy when so many lost their lives and their loved ones. There is bound to be "anniversary" grief today coupled with cognitive dissonance -the good, the bad. There is bound to be grief in the memories. I would only ask you to remember that it is not happening again. Remember your loved ones but do not get stuck in the grief. 

Considering that our government rationally decided not to "punish" another country yesterday, this prayer is as important today as it was in 2001.Only when we stop the war, the revenge and find a better way, will we touch the true power within.

The Power Prayer for Power 
by Dianne J. Moore

Oh, compassionate Father, 
Today we come with a different question
and a dismal cry.

The terrorists' attack on 9/11
vanished buildings into rubble,
disintegrated and maimed lives,
and left hearts bleeding with sorrow.

Feelings of sadness and desperation 

hover over us like the branches of a weeping willow.
We search the heavens and ask, "Why?
Why lost lives? Why the wreckage? Why so much pain?"

The answer lies in the Power of free will--

That God-given gift that expresses itself through choice:  
love or cruelty, peace or revenge, good or evil.
The terrorists chose hatred
and now it is our turn to choose.

We have spent centuries in world wars,

trying to get even,
when all we achieved 
was more bloodshed and violence,
like meeting our reflection in an old mirror.

An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth

is the order of barbaric souls,
the language of the ego.
Someone must stop the vengeance. 
Let it be us--now.

For when we feel our oneness with those in pain

we can't help but grieve--like an infinite number
of hearts in one body
because it is our pain, too.

Oneness is the compassion from which we are borne, 

the salve that heals all wounds.
Power lies in changing our mind
from revenge to forgiveness
Power lies in compassion.

It is time to open to a greater understanding

to use our power to create a consciousness
of love and peace and prayer
all of which can heal the world.

We must trust that You will bring good from evil,

in your time, in your way.
It is not our work to avenge
It is our work to love one another,
drawing peace unto all hearts and all nations.

Thank you, dear God, for your gift of Power,

And forgive us for misusing it, 
for we are all capable of doing so.
We take a stand, we make a commitment
to stop cursing the darkness,
so we might once again paint the landscape with love and life.

And we choose to trust in your divine, loving

power in the days and weeks to come.
Thank you God.

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Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Call for Prayer Might Mean A Miracle

I woke up every two hours last night, thinking of a friend I've known since high school. We have not seen each other for years, but spiritual time has no time. Every time I woke up, she was intensely on my mind. I have these connections enough now to trust them. 
A spiritual teacher in Phoenix told me that whenever someone comes to mind like that, especially repeatedly, it is a call for prayer. So I sent my friend a silent prayer last night.

Today I emailed her and asked if she were OK? Interestingly, she had had some strange indigestion problems last night that were troubling. She was out of State, traveling back home today, and promised herself that she would have it checked out medically. She also said she and her daughter had been talking about me last night.

Emilie Cady in her book Lessons in Truth explains that when we become aware of our "unity of spirit" "We become keenly aware of the Holy spirit, speaking as intuition, guiding even the simplest of our tasks of every day." That's exactly what I believe happened regarding my friend last night.

Perhaps, this 1976 lesson taken from Unity teacher Ed Rabel will further explain this spiritual principle. At the time he enrolled in the correspondence course for the Unity movement, he came down with hepatitis and found himself flat on his back in the hospital. He was yellow and sick but mostly concerned about keeping up with his correspondence courses. He was perturbed, thinking, "Why does this happen to me right after I have come into Truth?"

Soon, another patient was brought into his semi-private room, a man suffering from hardening of the arteries and in a constant state of mental confusion, yelling out and making strange noises. After a week they moved the man to another room. When Ed asked the nurse where the man was taken, she explained that he had only a few hours to live so they were taking him to the "dying room" because his passing would be very loud and disruptive due to his medical state.

After considerable thought, Ed told himself:

"Don't just stand by and passively bear witness to this sad situation. There is something more involved here. There is a reason why you have hepatitis that has nothing to do with karma or failure. There is a reason why this room and this man and this situation and your finding of Truth all connect somehow, and you must not just be a passive bystander here. So, for the first time in my life, folks, totally novice at this sort of thing, I prayed for this man's healing, even in this advanced stage of the illness.
"To make a long story short, that man was brought back into the room the next day completely healed. They called his wife, she came to the hospital, and she could not believe it. She took him home the next day. I do not know how well he was, how much improvement, but the man was coherent. He was not in pain. He was not groaning. He was not dead, and he went on with his wife. That to me is something that is a highly significant point in my life."

Was it a coincidence that my friend came intensely to mind each time I woke up last night? I don't think so. Was it a coincidence that Ed Rebal was hospitalized with this dying man? He didn't think so.  I believe that the  Spirit who connects all of us was leading us, giving us an active, spiritual message to pray.

The next time someone comes to your mind repeatedly, don't ignore it. It's a call for prayer. God may need to work through you to get a message across.

*from Ed Rabel Lectures 3: The Birth of Jesus (

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Friday, August 9, 2013

Martha Smock's Six Steps to Healing

I didn't sleep well again last night. I have another touchy situation where a sportscaster--whose last five minutes of TV fame ends at 11:30 p.m Monday through Friday--lives in the condo above me. Unfortunately for me, he arrives home at midnight waking me each night.   

He's a young guy, full of energy, with a heavy gait who walks heavily on his heels and has probably walked that way all his life. Even though his landlord has discussed the situation with him, his noise levels have not changed much in eight months. It must be all those sports verbs that wind him up tighter than an eight day clock because by time he arrives home at midnight, he's rearing to go and wakes me about four times between midnight and 3:30 am when he finally goes to bed. It's maddening to say the least. 

All of this has been discussed with the landlord who has tried to do everything possible to make the condo more sound proof without success. It's basically a matter of living in a place that lacks adequate noise barriers between the upstairs and the downstairs units, and an ambitious, young man who is not the most other-oriented in the building.   

Due to fibromyalgia (often called muscular rheumatism), I need deep REM sleep to heal the muscles. The onset of REM sleep doesn't occur until at least 90 minutes after falling asleep. Therefore, most nights, due to the noisy neighbor and his odd hours, I don't fall into REM sleep until 3:30 or 4:00 a.m. so my muscles don't get a chance to rest and heal. They ache constantly like old-time rheumatism. Add to that the pain of a degenerative spine pushing on nerves and nerve roots and bone-on-bone knees and sleeping is darn hard work.

Additionally, each time I woke up last night, I thought about my recent car issues and felt depressed. It's costing me about $600 to have brakes and two new tires to make a 93' Chevy Lumina derivable around town. The car has only 68,000 miles, but it's twenty years old and in Michigan winters, everything rusts. I was told by the Chevy dealer that the brake lines and the fuel lines are so severely rusted, they could break in two weeks or one year...depending. The car had to sit outside last year for two months through wicked winter weather which, I'm sure, progressed the deterioration at a faster rate. 

All summer I have focused my concentration on returning to AZ so I would not have to go through one more winter of intense pain. But that will take a miracle, a new car, for sure, because the repair man at the Chevy garage said "Don't get on the highway with that car." 

So each time I woke up or was awakened last night, I felt depressed, feeling it was impossible that I will ever  return to a place where I could feel better. That I will die in this god forsaken town up to my arm pits in snow, ice, bitter winds and freezing temperatures for six months. You'll never convince me Michigan has four seasons. More like two--a long, long winter and a short summer. I also ruminated about whether it was worth putting so much money into a 93' Lumina. Worry, worry, worry.  

Is it any wonder that I woke up this morning with knife-stabbing pain in my back, running down my left leg into my big left toe, and feeling like I'd been hit by a semi-tracker trailer sometime during the night? That kind of stress and tension only adds to muscle tension which increases pain, robbing me of sleep which goes round and round like a vicious cycle.

So this morning I turned to a newly constructed website which provides spiritual lessons and inspiration both written and audio. Today I chose Martha Smock's Healing Ability  audio. Martha was the editor of Daily Word for 35 years.

For those who need healing, I have written a synopsis of her Six Steps to Healing. I would suggest when you have time, you listen to her complete audio on this new website.

Step 1:  Relaxation.  Sit quietly with your eyes closed. Unclench your fist and jaw and relax. Then say, Be still and know that I am God. Say this like a mantra as many times as necessary to relax your mind and body. Smock reminds you that you are in the presence of God right now. Spirit enfolds you every moment. Say, Relax and let go. Underneath are the everlasting arms. You mind, body and emotions will feel the soothing effects of relaxation. Relaxation opens you to healing God thoughts.

Step 2:  Denial.  You deny that disease, illness and pain have any power over you. You don't deny that they exist because they do, but you deny them power over you. Tell your situation: You have no power. This step is the washing away of the belief in appearances and makes you ready to receive healing. It's a positive declaration of your faith in God and life.  Say aloud to your pain or physical illness: I do not believe this has power over me.

Step 3: Affirm your affirmation in God. Everything works for you when you are free of fear. See the life of God flowing through you from the top of your head to the souls of your feet, revitalizing, cleansing, healing, and restoring you. When you affirm God's power, you identify yourself with it. When you identity with God you become one with the substance of God-- Life of your life, breath of your breath.

Step 4: Realization. This step goes beyond thoughts and words. It's the incorporation of your being into God. It's the acknowledgement that the living substance of Spirit is in your body. It is the inner knowing, the glory that shines through you. You do not wonder if God has heard your prayer. You know. You stand in the light of the presence of God. Your life is opened to the Truth. New faith carries you forward.

Step 5: You have healing power. We don't think of ourselves as having the power to heal. As much as we might feel helpless at times, we are not. Think of how the disciples felt when Jesus was gone. But...he told them that they could do what he did and greater things. They found the power within them and called it forth. They invoked it. You can too. 

Step 6: Gratitude. You're not thanking God for favors granted to you but for what God is and what you are--a child of the Most High. Thankfulness is more than saying "Thank you God". It is the whole giving over of your whole self and life to God. The relinquishing of your petty self to the larger Will and the higher ways of Spirit. Bless the Lord oh my soul and all that is in me. Bless his Holy name.

What is your favorite healing step from Martha Smock's suggestions? What works for you?

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Friday, July 12, 2013

The Only Prayer You Need

“Prayer is not an old woman's idle amusement. Properly understood and applied, it is the most potent instrument of action.”
― Mahatma Gandhi

How do you pray? Do you kneel at the edge of a bed? Do you sit in your Lazy Boy, lean your head back, close your eyes and engage in conversation with God like quietly talking to a friend? 
Do you repeat a mantra? Do you pray after crawling into bed and before you fall asleep? Or, perhaps, on occasion you fall asleep before your prayers are finished? 

There is no right or wrong way to pray and meditate. We are free to create a one-on-one method that connects us with our Creator.  

During my prayer and meditation time, I envision myself zooming into space until I slow down and settle among the stars. It's a thrilling trip. Then I experience the perfect peace and harmony around me. No gravity or sound. Twinkling lights. I focus on the connection of my bodily energy with the peace and energy of the stars and vast universe. 

Next, I focus on my breath, inhaling, exhaling until I feel stabilized, knowing fully that every breath I take is God energy. My primary goal is to connect the energy of God with the spark of God within me. That is our one-on-one connection with God.

Next, I choose a mantra and repeat it over and over, such as, "I am as God created me" or "the highest is nearest" or "I am one with God--whole, complete and lacking nothing." I spend a great deal of time repeating the mantra as I experience a solid connection with my Source. 

It's a wonderful place. I stay there for long periods of time sometimes as long as an hour. Forty minutes is standard, but time doesn't matter. If you've ever gone into the silence and connected with your Creator one-on-one, there are no words to describe it. It's truly the peace that passes all understanding. It's peaceful and loving and free of worries. 

Like every human being, I fade into my own thoughts during prayer and meditation, but as soon as I'm aware of it, I bring myself back to my meditative state and my connection with God. This separation can occur many times during the process. I don't worry about it. I merely correct it when I become aware.

Toward the end I make my prayer requests. These range from improved health for others and myself, to peace and comfort for those who have lost loved ones, to those struggling through a difficult time in one way or another, to safe travel for those on the road, to worldly affairs, to my current, most personal request that a way be provided for me to return to Phoenix where I felt better physically due to my health issues. 

I end with "Not my will but thine be done."

It's not all so simple. How many of us have prayed repeatedly for a specific desire only to have our requests unanswered? Perhaps, for years. Or so it seemed. And then felt extremely frustrated or despondent. No doors opened. No change appeared on the horizon. Maybe we stopped asking because it seemed the answer was "no." 

Maybe not.

I have been praying for my return to Phoenix since about 2009. The pain and depression I suffer during a Michigan winter has to come as close to hell as I can image. I'm housebound and hurting. The skies are gray day after day. I can barely move or walk due to joints that feel like they're filled with gravel. Hell is often defined as hot. I find it cold in the depths of wintertime.

When a plausible offer to go to Phoenix occurred last September, I was scheduled for kidney surgery, very ill and had to reject it. I was so frustrated and disappointed. Why would this help come through now? I kept asking. The answer seemed to be that it wasn't meant to be because the timing was wrong. I had a window of sixty days and there was no possible way I could accept the offer at that time. In fact, I was hospitalized three times following the da vinci robotic surgery due to complications. I was so sick, I was looking for the angel of death.

I'm smart enough to know that one doesn't jump out of a plane without a parachute.  I tried that once. Believe me, it doesn't work. I am teachable and learn from my mistakes. I'm not making a major life change without a safety net of some kind. That's just foolishness. I want the highest and best for me and only God can provide that.

It's common at this point of prayer for people to either stop praying or get mad at God. Or both. Yet, the answer is not in praying harder to manifest your good. Or to give up. The answer lies in releasing the external desires and to focus solely on knowing God more fully. What does that mean?

One answer to my prayers has been contact with Independent Unity minister, J. Douglas Bottorff. Reading his daily blog ( Doug's Bottorff's Blog ) is a tremendous spiritual tool. I learned in my contact with him that I have been, in fact, praying with the wrong intention, focused solely on changing my external conditions. 

In an email, Bottorff explained, "The point of meditation is to experience God. As you experience God, emphasis on changing your conditions (bad as they may be) lessens and your interest in pursuing an even deeper experience with God increases.

"The irony here," continues Bottorff, "is that the more you make peace with where you are, the more new doors are likely to open. The practice of meditation will bring you to the point where you can be happy right where you are. It stimulates the process of filling your life where you are, like holding a glass beneath running water. Once the glass is full, it overflows. The same is true with your life."

As Bottorff points out, prayer allows you to find "your center of power." 

"Do it with the sole intention of knowing God, not solving all the problems that are in your life," he explained.  

"It is difficult to pull your attention from the problems at first, but you can do it," he urged. "There is a best way for you that does not require that you jump off a cliff. Let go. Seek God only. Release all energy that has you pining away for better conditions. Seek to love and find peace with your life as it is right now."

This is good advice for everyone.

You see, God is not in a location such as Phoenix or Alaska or Denmark or a new house or apartment. Connecting with God is an inside job. When you are bonded with your Source, you can't help but feel peaceful. And that can happen anytime, anywhere.

Pray and meditate. Put feet under your prayers; do your legwork or your paperwork or whatever it requires. Pay attention to your intuition. Follow up on all hunches. But, then, release all outcomes and enjoy your life one day at a time, one moment at a time.

"It is difficult to pull your attention from the problems at first, but you can do it," he urged. "There is a best way for you that does not require that you jump off a cliff. Let go. Seek God only. Release all energy that has you pining away for better conditions. Seek to love and find peace with your life as it is right now."

Please write me and let me know how you experience prayer and meditation. 

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