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The hidden conversation

Posted by Simon Parke, 23 October 2018, 1.18pm

Join me now listening to a conversation which you may recognise.

The surface transaction looks like a mature conversation between two adults. So let’s see how it turns out.

Joe is presenting Mary with a problem he has; and Mary, drawn in by his need, is making some suggestions about solving the problem.

‘Why don’t you try this/that…’ she keeps saying, offering different solutions, because she does want to help.

But Joe keeps saying, ‘Yes, but…’

And that’s how the conversation goes.

‘Why don’t you…’

‘Yes, but…’

‘Why don’t you…’

‘Yes, but…’

In the end, every one of Mary’s solutions is rejected by Joe. There’s always a reason why they won’t work.

And it will have dawned on you by now that you aren’t listening to a mature conversation.

The fact is, Joe isn’t looking for a solution. That’s not why he’s here. Coming from a victim/child space within himself, he just wants attention.

‘Give me some attention!’ is the underlying scream.

But Mary immediately goes into rescuer/advice giver/parent-figure mode, ‘Why don’t you try this?...’ Only it isn’t working…and things are about to get worse with a role change.

Mary seethes quietly that she hasn’t helped much, feeling de-skilled as Joe moves swiftly from victim to persecutor.

‘Well, you weren’t much help!’ he says which is a serious blow to the ‘parent’ Mary.

Joe’s now enjoying feeling superior, he’s now the powerful one, while Mary, previously the parent/rescuer, and the one in charge,feels helpless like a child, stitched-up by the transaction… a victim.

How things have changed.

Later, she will tell a friend, with some pleasure, that Joe is ‘just an ungrateful little brat. No one can help him!’ Like Joe, she can move from victim as well…it’s a very short step from victim to persecutor.

It’s always good to notice how the voices inside us play their games, shifting like the clouds.

We are a soap opera of voices, voices from our past, often putting the drama ahead of the healing.

Health is noticing the drama…and leaving it.

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