In January of 1969 a young college student from Miami, Florida named Allan was returning to a university in California after Christmas break to continue his first year of studies. His first three months of classes had gone very well. He was met at the airport by his roommate Phil. They had a good time talking while they headed back to the university. (Allan, Phil, and the other characters in this story are real for the purposes of the story but they are not real in real life).
Later that evening Allan asked Phil if he could get his advice about a personal situation that Allan was a little bit confused about. Allan explained how on his first night back in Miami on Christmas break he went out to dinner with his girlfriend, Linda. He had talked to Phil about Linda many times before during their first three months together as roommates. Phil knew that Linda had gone to a college in Chicago that had one of the best nursing programs in the country while Allan came to California because the university they attended had a very well respected political science program. Phil also knew that before they headed off to go to different parts of the country Allan and Linda agreed that if the pressures of college forced Allan to get emotional support from a girl in California or forced Linda to get emotional support from a guy in Chicago, that their relationship was strong enough so that they would be able to quickly patch up any damage that might have been done to their relationship while they were apart when they got back together in Miami on Christmas break.
"OK, Allan", said Phil, "so what happened when you told Linda about Nicole?" "Well", Allan said, "her response to hearing about Nicole was similar to my response when she told me about a guy she met in Chicago named Eric. She seemed very logical. She asked some questions and she helped me to understand what might have been happening during my short time with Nicole. And by the way, Phil, when I explained to Linda how you helped me to break things off with Nicole, she wanted me to let you know that she appreciated what you did." "Well", said Phil, "that's what friends are for."
"Phil", said Allan, "what happened between Linda and Eric in Chicago was similar in some ways to what happened between Linda and her first boyfriend in high school, Peter Johnson. In high school she had sensed that Peter liked her when they first met but she said he had been afraid to approach her. Then one night Linda noticed that Peter looked surprised when he saw another guy showing some interest in her. That guy who was showing interest in Linda had a reputation at the school for being shy and quiet but he wasn't afraid to talk to Linda. Within a week or two after Peter saw her with the shy guy he came up to her and asked her if she was dating the shy guy. This took her by surprise and she said "no". Peter then said that he was just curious because the shy guy seemed to have kind of a limited emotional structure and everyone knows that love is based on strong emotions. Peter became her first boyfriend but the relationship was based largely on the fact that Peter had a stronger emotional structure than the shy and quiet guy had."
At this point Phil made a comment something to the effect that he had seen that sort of thing happen a couple of times in his own high school when he was younger. He then asked Allan if Linda's involvement with Eric in Chicago was based on Eric having stronger emotions than a shy and quiet guy in Chicago who was showing some interest in Linda.
Allan went on to explain that when Eric first met Linda in Chicago he was afraid to approach her. Allan then explained how after having seen Linda talking to a shy and quiet guy named Ron, Eric got his nerve up and approached Linda using pretty much the same line that her first boyfriend, Peter Johnson, had used on her in high school. "She started to feel herself responding to Eric" said Allan. "Eric brought out some of the same emotions in her that Peter Johnson had brought out in her in high school. But after spending a few days getting to know Eric she started to feel emotionally drained. Her mind was clouded and she got a very low score on an exam. She figured out that her involvement with Eric had interfered with the exchange of spiritual and emotional energy that she had with me through the Collective Subconscious (or through whatever technique it is that people use to exchange spiritual and emotional energy with each other). She said that she had to tell Eric to leave her alone. Her relationship with Eric was more superficial than her relationship with me and for that reason it did not give her the strength that she needed in order to handle the increased pressures of college life that she was experiencing. Her relationship with Eric was based on the fact that he had stronger levels of emotional energy than Ron had but her relationship with me was based on the fact that we were similar in a lot of ways. For this reason she was able to experience larger exchanges of spiritual and emotional energy with me than she was able to get with Eric."
After hearing the story about Linda's involvement with Eric, Phil thought about what he had heard for a few moments and then he started to give Allan his analysis of what was happening between Eric, Linda, and Ron. "Allan", began Phil, "when trying to understand people such as Ron and the shy guy who Linda knew in high school it is easy for us to get caught in a trap. What we see on the surface is that it appears that Eric used the argument that he had stronger emotions than Ron did as his basis for developing a relationship with Linda. And furthermore it appears that the relationship he developed with Linda did not last because Eric's emotional structure was not strong enough to satisfy her. Compared to you, Eric was nothing emotionally and he was not able to satisfy Linda. The problem with this analysis, Allan, is that Eric is not going to accept it because of his weak ego. Guys like Eric always have weak egos. And being as he is accustomed to using people like Ron as his spiritual slave, or scapegoat, he is going to try to spin things around so that it appears that Ron really did have quite a bit of spiritual energy. Eric's lies will in this way distort the situation and make it appear that there probably was in fact a good basis for Eric to have a relationship with Linda. After his relationship with Linda is over, he will change his story and he will make it appear that his relationship with Linda was not just based on the fact that Eric had more spiritual energy than Ron had."
"Allan, I'd like to tell you a true story about a friend of mine in high school. My friend Jeffrey was a spiritually and psychologically vulnerable person like Ron. One summer Jeffrey got a summer job. He told me that his boss at the place where he worked that summer did something very unfair to him. He punished Jeffrey for no good logical reason. Jeffrey also said that he could tell from sarcastic comments made to him by his coworkers that the boss had bragged to his coworkers about the unfair thing that he had done to Jeffrey. Jeffrey told me that when this problem with his boss started, he felt so bad that he would have to lay down in bed almost every night when he got home from work. Jeffrey had felt this same sense of panic in the past anytime a person in a position of power over him was treating him unfairly and when there was nothing he could do to stop it. Jeffrey knew that he needed to think rationally and that he needed to snap out of what he was feeling but his underlying feelings of panic that he had kept below the surface and that were now coming to the surface made it impossible for him to think rationally. Being as he did not know what he could do to resolve the problem he decided to just let the situation unfold and hope that the solution to the problem would somehow appear magically."
"As the days went by Jeffrey noticed that his boss was becoming a little bit more accepting of him and he also noticed that some of the other employees who had been having trouble with a lack of motivation at their jobs were now doing better at their jobs than they had done before. Jeffrey realized then that when his boss treated him unfairly, it motivated the other employees and the work of the other employees improved as a result. Jeffrey then realized that his boss was at least somewhat happy with him and was happy to have Jeffrey working for him because Jeffrey was indirectly responsible for improving the performance of the other members of the group. But as soon as Jeffrey started to be comfortable in his new role as the person who was responsible for the improvement in the performance of the group, the other employees started to lose their motivation because they were unhappy that Jeffrey was no longer being treated unfairly. At this point his boss started to once again start treating Jeffrey unfairly."
"Jeffrey had always felt that perhaps early in his life people in a position of power over him had treated him unfairly but he could never understand why they would have done that to him. He didn't understand why other people might want to hurt him. After his experience at his summer job he started to realize why people he knew early in life might have mistreated him and why no one at that time would have stopped that abuse from happening. What Jeffrey learned from the experience at his summer job was that both in the experience he had at the summer job with the unfair boss and also in the experiences he had early in life back before his first memory, when he was treated unfairly by people in a position of power over him, there was really no way that he could have negotiated with the person or people who were mistreating him. The reason that it was not possible to negotiate with these people was that the person or people who treated him unfairly liked the end result of what occurred whenever they mistreated Jeffrey. They liked the fact that when they mistreated Jeffrey it motivated the other people in the group to do better. It made the other group members stronger. That was probably the reason why Jeffrey was never able to break free from his difficult situation early in life. If Jeffrey would have been allowed to become stronger early in life it would have made the group members become weaker and the other group members would not have allowed that to happen."
"After analyzing what happened at his summer job, Jeffrey realized that the person or people who were treating him unfairly early in life probably did not want him to develop normal relationships with other people because if that were to happen, there would be nobody left to provide extra spiritual energy to the other members of the group. Jeffrey was forced to only send a small amount of spiritual energy to the people who he had relationships with and he was forced to send a lot of spiritual energy to the other group members so that they could become stronger at his expense. This transfer of spiritual energy to the other group members happened whenever he was treated unfairly. The person or people who treated Jeffrey unfairly early in life probably did what they did not because they hated Jeffrey but rather because of their love for the group that they were a part of. It might have even made them uncomfortable at times when they abused Jeffrey, but they liked the end result of what happened when they stole Jeffrey's spiritual energy and gave that spiritual energy to the other group members."
Phil thought for a moment and then continued. "Jeffrey told me once that he had a similar situation to the one that Ron had with Eric and Linda in Chicago. In this case the guy's name was Brian and the girl's name was Brenda. Jeffrey felt that Brian, the guy who got involved with Brenda for a while until she broke off the relationship because his emotions were too shallow, was trying to make people think that Jeffrey was actually the guy who had developed strong emotional feelings for Brenda. Jeffrey knew that was not correct. He knew that his emotional structure was just as weak after he got to know Brenda as it was before. Jeffrey knew that he had not developed any sort of a genuine exchange of spiritual and emotional energy with Brenda. But Jeffrey was not able to get Brian to back down and admit what had really happened. Brian did not want to admit that he had developed a genuine and fairly strong exchange of spiritual and emotional energy with Brenda and that after getting a good dose of Brian's emotions, Brenda knew that Brian was not the type of guy who would be able to sustain her emotionally. About a year after Jeffrey's "involvement" with Brian and Brenda, Jeffrey was getting to know a girl who he liked and suddenly another guy who reminded him of Brian came over and broke into the conversation in a somewhat rude and awkward manner. In this case, though, the other guy already had a girlfriend so Jeffrey was confused as to what his motivations were. Jeffrey figured out that it was possible that the guy was trying to interfere with Jeffrey's attempt to get to know the girl because this guy had once used someone similar to Jeffrey as a scapegoat in the same way that Brian had used Jeffrey as a scapegoat. When he saw Jeffrey talking to a girl he felt the need to come over and take over the conversation so that this girl would not get to know Jeffrey too well. He feared that if this girl really got to know Jeffrey she would realize that guys like himself and Brian use guys like Jeffrey as scapegoats when girls dump them. And then this girl would spread the word around the school that guys such as him and Brian had actually been dropped by their previous girlfriends because of their weak emotions and not for whatever false reason that he and Brian had made up at the time to avoid social disgrace."
At this point Phil said to Allan. "I think that about does it for my analysis. Do you have any more questions, Allan?"
"No", said Allan. "I think that you have come up with a very good analysis of the situation. Thanks to you, Phil, I think that I understand guys like Ron and Jeffrey a lot better now."
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Copyright Don Bergquist 2010