Can Values get distorted?

Can Values get distorted?

The debacle of the last few days has got me thinking!

This time last year Stephen asked me to write down my list of my top 50 Values! Wow! I panicked! I downloaded a list from the Internet! (I bet most people do this!). From this list of a couple of hundred or so I deleted all those that didn’t ‘do it’ for me. I was then asked to put these in order! Another interesting piece of homework. What is fascinating in all this is that Fairness never got into my top 50! Let alone the Top 10! Why? That’s what I’ve been pondering!

Well I think it’s because to me Fairness is intrinsic to meeting my Values of Love and Generosity (both of which I value highly). So actually for me Fairness doesn’t have to appear in my list. My other Values are too strong to need it. In fact resorting to Fairness only happens (for me) if the values of Love and Generosity are absent. Yet for my 2 brothers Fairness took them over. It’s become their obsession. So much so that the good values of love and trust, not to mention generosity have fallen by the way side. Like 2 small children in a playground they don’t want anything that isn’t Fair. Gosh I so nearly got sucked into their “game”.

So what got into them? Well I think it was driven by H. H has huge issues and I think they go back a long way. Years ago. when our parents were alive he was always trying to find out if I was getting what he considered preferential treatment. Whether I was getting some hidden ‘deal’ from them that he hadn’t had. He would check up on me and them by asking questions and expecting answers to things which were none of his business!

His biggest resentment was when Alex and I bought the flat thus owning a part of the parental property. We did it so cash could be released which they desperately needed. It also meant we ended up being the ones on hand to do the caring – which we did! But H wanted to be the one to do the bailout. He told me as much!! Significance is very important to him.

His resentment even stretched to Alex and I spending money on our holidays. He told me we shouldn’t be able to afford to go to the places we did! So he would try and scupper things when he and I had to share the caring of our Dad in the last years of his life, by attempting to organise his holidays at the same time as us!

Stories and incidents like these are too numerous to mention here. And the more I look at it the more horrified and saddened I am that he’s ended up in this place where resentment seems to be consuming him. I wonder what the trigger was.

And sadly his influence has infiltrated and coloured and affected what could have been a loving and fun time sorting out our inheritance. Instead of where we are now!!

So my question is Can Values get distorted?  Can the wrong rule end up being applied? Or a rule which is un-winnable?

I’ve bowed to pressure!

Sometimes it’s better to bow out!  And I have.

An email from the other brother backing H’s view tipped the balance.  Especially when – in his predicted CEO style- he started on about charity and being cordial.  Not to mention that he felt that morally the agreement had been fulfilled if not legally.

Though why I always get the giggles when he starts pontificating on about “What our father” would have wanted is a side to me that’s baffling!   You see I always want to add on “Who art in heaven” each time he says it!!  And somehow reading each sentence as “Our father, who art in heaven, would have wished……..”  makes it all funny!!  Especially when each sentence is so pompous!!

So dear reader I’ve done what I’ve done.  Thank you all so much for your stupendous support.  Which I know I appear not to have taken! But it was incredibly useful as it helped me think,  Thank you to Stephen for ringing me and listening as I talked it through!

So my decision has cost me financially.  And not cost them.  So in a way that gives me a certain dignity (just!).  And love (for me).

But I  wonder what the cost to them is.  Have they retained my respect for them?  Good question.  Have they retained Trust?  Another good point.

Have they got my Love?  Ah now there’s a question?

Will they think about any of these things?  No of course they won’t.  Not now.  But maybe one day.

Will they feel good in the long run.  Who knows.  I’m not them.  They will be who they want to be.

Will I forgive them.  Yes probably one day.  Not now.  It’s too soon.  But I probably won’t forget!   Fortunately this will be the last time we are forced to communicate with each other.  Once the sale of the final property goes through.  Wow do we need a buyer and a buyer big time!   A bonused banker is what we need who wants to invest in a pad in the country!

Then when the dust settles I believe I can at least be friends again with my other brother.  H has too many issues regarding me.  He will have to sort those out in his mind before he can be friends with me.  And my guess is he never will!

What difference will this make to my life.  Well in terms of seeing my 2 brothers not a lot.  We don’t see each other a great deal anyway.  And usually only when there’s a family event!  Last time we got together was my 60th birthday party – which they walked out of in favour of the pub across the road where they remained until after midnight rather than mix with me and my lovely friends.  So you see dear reader, we can hardly claim to be close!!

the pressure mounts

Clearly my non-response to my sibling H is irking him somewhat as he has now emailed requesting a response.

So I have several options:

1 do nothing

2  respond by repeating what I said on Friday

3  suggest he goes to see a life coach to sort out why he is feeling the way he is

At the moment I’m opting for (1).

(update:  To understand what’s going on dear reader, if you haven’t you need to read the following earlier posts:  Surfeit of Siblings and Pattern Interrupts)

Pattern Interrupts!

I confess, dear reader, that this evening I’ve had a moment of incredible anger!  Nay, fury!

My ‘darling’ elder sibling has just fired a second missile!  A wish to know if “I’d thought any further about what I’m expecting from our Joint Agreement” – which I wrote about the other day.

This time he used the email approach, sent to me and our other brother!  Clearly designed to up the level of pressure a notch or two!

I have replied to this email – referencing our Agreement and have left it at that.  But the rage I felt was quite extraordinary!

I then started to sail off down a “Why do I have to deal with these things on my own?  Why isn’t Alex here supporting me?”  type road!   Things like broken stuff and getting things mended don’t bother me one iota – I sort these things out in my job!  It’s the emotional support I need.  And I decided I needed it this evening!


Then I remembered a story I was told the other day.  This friend said her parents used to argue and fight like crazy and she remembered one occasion when her parents were in mid-fight.  Her father picked up a vase to throw it at her mum.

“Not that one”  she yelled  “It was a wedding present”.

This stopped the fight in its tracks and they both ended up collapsed with giggles and hugging!

Pattern interrupts are good!!  And just writing this has shifted my mood!

After all my dear sibling can’t help it if he’s decided to wreck his marriage, is rattling round in his over-large house, can’t bear to part with his money and is feeling lonely.  He needs to love himself and be happy in his own skin before he has any hope of liking me!!

Perhaps I should lob a precious piece of inheritance at this head!!  The thing is I don’t think he’d laugh!!

But I might!!!

Doing nothing is still an action!

I think that’s a lot of the problem.  Being stuck and not knowing what to do, which way to ‘go’ or what action to take is still an action. A very passive action.  It is the action of hoping things will change. That some solution will appear and solve ‘everything’ for you – whatever ‘everything’ is.

But is such a strategy successful?

Strategies always achieve something – but do all our strategies actually give us what we want?

Taken to it’s logical conclusion a decision strategy to do nothing is going to give us nothing.

So a good strategy is to decide on what outcome you want and then build a strategy which gives you that outcome.

You need to base the outcome on something realistic.  No point in deciding on an outcome which is contingent on some other person behaving in a way you want them to – they might not. They might desire a different outcome.  They might be in turmoil too!  So then that’s both of you plodding about in the mud!

The outcome has to give something to you, for you and for those who maybe rely on you.

Yes there may be some issues with the outcome which others may not totally like. But the important thing is surely to ensure that by designing your outcome you live by your values and the rules you apply to those values.

It can take courage to choose an outcome. But what is the reverse?

Doing nothing!  Does doing nothing meet all your values as a human being?  Does doing nothing give you the life you want and which should be yours – not in a selfish way but in a giving and loving way?  Will doing nothing solve the problem?

So if you want life to be better than it is today.  Then having a strategy and acting upon it is really the only route out!

Doing nothing is highly likely just to give you more of the same – or worse!!  Doing nothing could be having a very deterimental long-term effect on others who maybe are relying on you.

And putting yourself back in charge of you will help you build a better you.

So that’s how I see it!

What do you think?  Do feel free to comment – you know I love discussions!!

BTW If you need help then see a good life coach!  And soon that will be me!!!

Conversations with my Life Coach

“A conversation with a coach is unlike any other conversation” (Stephen Hedger)

It’s taken me way too long to really appreciate the full significance of those words.  Yes clearly this is the case. But it is much deeper than that!  Really??!

Yes because a conversation with a coach is a special type of two way exchange.  The client deep (in my case) in her turmoil. The coach has to listen – and by that I mean really listen to reach the core of what that turmoil is.  How else can he know which tools to use to help. And it was this that was basically giving me the heebie-jeebies!   I’d convinced myself that I am not a good listener.

I’d failed to keep my focus on Stephen’s statement!  A coaching conversation is totally different.  I will be there to listen and really listen.  Not to sit and take notes (gosh I found that irritating when I went to see a psychologist during one of my failed attempts in the beginning to get help).  And I suddenly realised the significance of the ice-breaker session we did at the beginning of that NLP Course I attended.  Something I was finding difficult to explain to one of my friends who, quite rightly, queried what had been achieved by such an in-depth exercise!

I now believe we were being encouraged to LISTEN. Really concentrate at a level  of attentiveness which goes way beyond what any of us would probably do normally.  Because those of us who want to become coaches will need to reach this level of attentiveness so we really hear what the client is saying – and so be able to use their words – not to paraphrase, or put our own spin on them.  What is interesting is that even two weeks later I can still remember quite a lot of what the others in my group said and in some cases the words they used. I can’t remember their names – but I didn’t need to – we were all wearing name badges.

And during that session I had no desire whatsoever to interrupt any of the group.  I had no desire to help them out  – I wanted them to be able to do it for themselves (which is what we’d been asked to do) and I found myself silently egging them on to achieve it.  I didn’t interrupt!

I’m just kicking myself on how slow I am for the penny to drop!!