The driver who cut you off in traffic? The neighbor who lets his dog into your yard? The friends and family who won’t pull their weight or just seem out to get you? Things are not always what they seem. We see something and get an idea in our head what it all means. Sometimes what we think it is is not what it really is at all. What you just experienced may not be what I just experienced. If we don’t speak about it and hear each other out, we don’t know that. Spiritual brother Armand related a story that is a great example. He wrote: “We recently allowed a friend to stay in our home for 2 months while we were away. She offered to take care of our home, mail, kitty and even give us some money to cover the utilities. She was told that if she ever needed help, our regular house and kitty sitter could come and help her and she would have to pay her. This was all agreed to.”
“One month into the stay, her mom became deathly ill. Our regular house sitter noticed that our kitty was out for long periods of time, including at night. She contacted us. We reminded our friend that she could get help if she needed it. She finally called for help. When our regular house sitter saw the shape of our home, full of dirty dishes, wet towels on the beds and floor, shoddy food and water dishes for our kitty and hundreds of fruit flies in the home, she scolded our friend and sent us pictures. We never told our friend of the pictures but listened to her side of the story. She always claimed that all she did was leave a few dishes dirty and was falsely reprimanded. She never took responsibility for anything continuing to say that her dying mom was her priority. She even blamed us for taking sides and not being more sensitive to her.
Yesterday, we had a heart to heart talk and her pain came up again. She again said that she did nothing irresponsible until we spilled the beans about the pictures. At that point, her expression totally changed and she said “I completely got distracted by what was going on with my life and didn’t consciously know any of that.” My take was that she disassociated from the situation completely just like people with Dissociative Identity Disorder often do when faced with major trauma. I realized in that moment how we often judge those that handle things differently when they may have no conscious clue as to what they are doing because of a disassociation. I’m not saying that they are not accountable and that there are not appropriate consequences, but in Eckhart Tolle’s words, “how can they be responsible when they are taken over by pain body?”
MORE BY ARMAND: Knowing it’s more important to remain loving than to be right