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The imperial mindset

I endured and witnessed much abuse as a child.

I learned a lot from it.

One of the most important lessons I learned was that there are, roughly, two sorts of people: one who will hear you, whether or not it benefits them, and another who will only hear you when it suits them. The former are great friend material; the latter, who hold what I call “the imperial mindset,” are best kept at a distance.

If I ask you not to do something that hurts me, especially with little to no benefit to you from doing it, and you do it anyway, you’ve indicated with your action the probability you hold an imperial mindset.

If I ask you again, and explain why, and you do it again, you have confirmed my initial impression. Unless you later adopt a cooperative mindset, we will not be friends.  Not ever.

If I ask you again and provide another explanation for my request, and then another, and still another, and you just keep doing it, I will cut you out of my life completely, if possible.

If I can’t cut you out, for whatever reason, I will acknowledge your imperial mindset, understand you will not change, and stop asking. Instead, I will do my best to remain cordial face to face while utterly shutting you out of my heart.

We won’t talk feelings, or go out on adventures, or do anything but exchange perfunctory greetings.

It’ll look to you like a choice I made, but really?

It was a choice you made: to not hear, because it didn’t suit you.

There are many people in this world who will hear and respect your wishes, whether or not they understand. They implicitly understand that their opinion, or total understanding, is unimportant to your requests to withhold hurtful-to-you acts.

I am so grateful to call many of these people friends. Because of them and childhood abuse, I know the difference between imperial and cooperative mindsets, and know that life is sweeter the less empire one lets in.

Categories: Communication, Health, Safety Tags: ,
  1. November 2, 2017 at 7:42 am

    cooperative & cooperative & cooperative thinking i am, i am, i hope it again !!!!

  2. November 2, 2017 at 10:02 am

    Love this! As a parent, I feel like it’s so important to teach our children about this from an early age – not only so that they can be responsible listeners and friends, but also so that they can tell the difference between people they can trust, and people they need to guard their hearts from. Unfortunately you’ll never truly avoid having to learn this the hard way, but at least I can be there to support them and guide them when it happens! People will make you feel bad or judge your decisions to protect yourself from those who are hurtful, but you should never feel guilty for doing so.

    • November 5, 2017 at 7:55 am

      Yes, yes, and yes! Whatever I felt and understood as an individual was amplified as a parent. I want my kids, niece, and nephews to know it’s okay to cut out those who fail to hear them. No matter how nice they may act or seem, “nice” or “charming” in that context is either strategic or insincere, and a total waste of time when there’s so much so good out there that could be experienced instead of simply enduring.

  3. November 2, 2017 at 11:26 am

    Some people show us fast, if they only want us in their surrounding fir use/abuse or they wish to make a mutual friendship for mutual joy, Deborah.

    • November 5, 2017 at 7:56 am

      So true. It’s funny how sometimes those signals, so subtle at first as to be unseen, leap out from the first moment when the slightly bigger sweeps are made.

      • November 5, 2017 at 8:00 am

        I agree and find it important to listen to the inner voice from beginning. Often we wish to give people an extra chance by mind, but often we will regret this.

  4. November 2, 2017 at 12:41 pm


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