QA147 QUESTION: How do you explain a person that has been extremely good to someone who was in need, has even saved that person’s life and taken care of that person economically and socially, providing a room for that person and the person’s brother – and then the tables turned and the other person who helped was in need for some time, and the person did nothing but try to make that person’s life as miserable as possible in all ways – the very person that saved him! How do you explain that, please?

ANSWER: You see, you cannot give a blanket, overall, generalized answer to any question such as this. So many possibilities exist. The only thing that I might say generally is, in the first place, there must be a great amount of resentments in the person who received. But it is quite often that it is not that one-sided, especially when people feel themselves victimized.

It is so often that one does not see many things in oneself. Perhaps, sometimes, somehow, the giver was not so completely loving. Many of the loving acts may have been a reality, but many of the underlying currents may be so deeply unconscious and unknown – and therefore affect other people – so that the giver is not free. Since the giver has his problems and the receiver has his problems, this then may come up and create conflict and friction.

Now, when such a problem is viewed merely from the very superficial view, it is very easy to say one person is all wrong and the other person is all right. But you know in principle that this is never really so. It could not be. No matter how wrong – how flagrantly wrong outwardly – one person may be, there must be something in the giver too.

Not necessarily anything that is bad, but something where perhaps he deceived himself about his motivations, about his feelings. The moment it will be found and seen in self-honesty, the pain of the ungratefulness will cease. As long as such pain exits, as long as unhappiness and inner friction exists about such a situation, one can be absolutely certain that one has overlooked things in oneself that could be recognized.

One can never change the other person. One can never have an influence on the other person. But whenever you are in unhappiness, there is something you can find out about yourself. For the unhappiness must be a sign that there is something not recognized. In order to be where you should be within yourself, something ought to be seen so that you can rise above the situation – truly rise above it – and go on from there.

The true forgiveness and understanding can only come when one understands the self. Where one is in friction with others, where it seems that the other is totally wrong, and where there is no blame to one’s own actions, then there is something – if not in the action then in the feelings, perhaps way back and deep down – something that is not recognized and that very sorely needs the recognition.

It is much easier, it seems, to say, “Yes, there are ungrateful people and it is based on this and this rule.” But this is a simple and easy answer that cannot really bring deep satisfaction. There can be no deeper satisfaction than the one where one recognizes in oneself, “How did I myself, no matter how remotely and indirectly, contribute to this situation?” Then one truly becomes free of the hurt that exists.

QUESTIONER: But the former one has to forgive, over and over, again and again and again.

ANSWER: I cannot judge to what extent the forgiveness is genuine. Because if a situation is truly understood, one would either give again and then know that it cannot be met in any other way than by the way it is met, so that it would not then create a new disappointment – or one would decide not to do it anymore, without any guilt, without any inner tug of war within oneself.

Whatever one decides then, in any given case, it could not possibly lead to a renewal of the situation. Perhaps the problem simply lies in an unrealistic expectation and not wanting to accept the other person as he or she is, therefore, forever again expecting another mode of reaction.

Would you go on doing it if you knew he would or she would react the same way? That would be the question you have to ask yourself. And if you truly mean it, the renewed ungratefulness would not seem an ungratefulness, because you would count on it or you would decide that this is not justified and you would guiltlessly refuse to put yourself in such a situation.

The very fact that you find yourself again and again and again in the similar or same situation implies that you must be blind about something in yourself.


QA157 QUESTION: I want to ask about the challenge of dealing with a very intractable individual who habitually deals very, very harshly with people over whom he has control, without having any consciousness of the fact that his own characteristics are perhaps being projected onto them. Can a person like this, who is somewhat past middle age, be influenced? And how does a young person act towards people in authority who do not have the proper character for their role?

ANSWER: I would say, in the first place, it would be very important to determine the relationship with such a person. As far as influencing anyone is concerned, no one can be influenced who is not open to and is not capable of self-criticism.

As far as those who suffer from such a person are concerned, it is not possible that they can be victimized. They, in turn, have to examine the bondage that exists in such a case. What in them submits? What in them chooses to remain in such a situation?

For there is no realistic need to do so – ever. If one is damaged and negatively affected in such a relationship, then there must be something in the victim, so to speak, who submits willingly – unconsciously willingly – to such a relationship.

As long as one protests against someone else’s power, the one who feels himself bound is not facing the truth about himself any more than the victimizer.

QUESTION: But what if the victim is a young child who does not yet have the correct kinds of defenses that you mentioned before?

ANSWER: Well, if the victim is a young child, then, of course, a condition is created that he will have to overcome as an adult. It is not fatalism when I say no one is born into conditions unless certain elements already exist in this entity that need to be brought out by such a condition, and that afford him then all the more the possibility as an adult to overcome such a condition.

If such a child suffers, if there’s any way of counteracting it, it is to make it clear to the child that this is one particular person who acts that way and who is in error, and that this does not apply to everyone. So that the child is prohibited from forming an image in which he automatically is afraid of everyone in such a way later on, in his unconscious.


QA192 QUESTION: I’ve had a conflict recently with another woman I work with. And I feel that I am innocent in this conflict. I know and accept that it’s always 50 percent – I mean it’s supposed to be. And yet I cannot detect anything on my part provokes this hostility. It disturbs me very much. One thing I have learned about this is that I do not want to put myself ever again in the position where I am in an inferior work relationship with somebody who is in no way superior to me, just because she has one kind of a job and I have another kind of a job. And I do not want to create any more situations where I have a father and a mother-figure in the work relationship, and I regress and do things that I used to do but really want to get over. However, I think that something of it has played a part in this situation. And I’d like to learn from it, if you can help me.

ANSWER: It is an error to believe that it is always this specific situation, where it must be an exactly measured fifty/fifty proposition of each one having his part. It is true in principle, but as development proceeds, other relationships in an interaction begin to manifest.

So, for example, you are now in a state where it is not necessarily so, that you are equally involved in this particular situation with this particular person a priori. It may be that your own vulnerability to deal with hostility now has to be worked with, so that when other people are hostile toward you, you have to learn whatever it is in you that is still not clear.

For example, if you are not aware of certain hostilities within yourself – not necessarily to that person but in other situations – or if you are not aware of certain superiority feelings – you may be aware of them in principle but not where and in what devious ways they may manifest – in that moment, you have a vulnerability in your soul substance which creates a force field of attraction to other people’s hostility.

You then have to learn to cope with that. And you can only cope with that when you see where you are having, perhaps in a different way, but essentially similar qualities you cannot cope with in her, in the other person. Do you understand this? {Yes}

This would be a very important thing for you to pay attention to. It would be missing the point if you think it is only in that same situation. That may very often be the case, but not necessarily always. And still it does not mean that it comes to you innocently.

For if you would have cleared up that aspect of your soul substance, you would not be vulnerable to it. You could deal with it. So your vulnerability may exist in a totally different way or in different situations. But it nevertheless exposes you to a person here.

Next Topic