Moments with Sensei 3: The Power of Choice over Emotion and the Haunted Hospital

It was a warm night after dark in the mountains. My teacher and I sat outside on a balcony in our room in a 1920s hospital converted to a hotel and known for being extremely haunted. Our view was astonishing, we could see for miles over the valley from this balcony with doors that opened to allow in fresh evening air. This corner of the building used to be the insane asylum and old creepy lobotomy and gyn tools sat on display outside our room.

I probably had already had too many drinks (or he was waiting for me to have too many drinks) and the conversation turned to relationships then to the work I have done with stalker protection. We discussed everything from masculinity to the dynamics of a spiritual relationship to control issues and stalkers.

I remember bringing up how people seem to like to create drama and he commented how much of the control elements I’ve dealt with in stalker scenarios arises out of desperation. And desperation is the least attractive quality in a person. Generally it’s an instant deal-killer much like turning off a light switch.

(Here’s an article on cutting root of neediness)

He got up and walked over to the door as he often does with no explanation. Looking out at the stars, he stood there in peaceful silence for a few moments doing what he does, his long grey Native hair flowing down his back. He then came and sat back down noticing how I was waiting with baited breath to hear what he had to say next.

This man, who for some reason still unknown to me had agreed to mentor me in his ways years ago after years of persistence on my part, has lived an extraordinary life and has been my primary role model for what it means to be a man.

He then said “You know I had a good friend whose wife suddenly told him she was leaving with no explanation. He right then and there made a decision to just accept it and therefore create or accept no drama.”

The conversation twisted and turned as time and space seemed to shrink and blend together as it often does when I am with him. I wasn’t sure whether I was still sitting on a balcony or in some other reality. We discussed a recent case I had worked and finally settled into some personal introspective work. We went deep. As if guided by something beyond myself, I asked questions that surprised even me and I came out with some very cool realizations and insights about things that are really important to me in my life…and how they contrast with the control dynamics I often have to deal with in the case work that I do.

Though I typically like to illustrate lessons I learned with personal stories, I am not able to share any details on the security work that I do.

In my work, I have discovered several common denominators that indicate strong potential for control and stalking dynamics. I’ve written quite a bit on the subject and will post more here periodically. But the first one I want to address is intensity.

Oftentimes a person who has control issues will present way too much intensity in the beginning of a connection. To the receiver, this can be extremely charming as it feels as if you are being showered with affection. In reality, the other person is planting the seeds of their control mechanisms and it’s important to have the awareness to know the difference between genuine intensity and control dynamics.

New connections are often intense with excitement. When I met the girl who knocked me on my butt, it was extremely intense, like nothing we had ever experienced before….and quite scary in some ways as well as exciting as I knew I would have to really “step up” to be supportive of her and also in my own work on myself. I was in for a heck of a ride but I also knew that attempting to control the connection and its timeline would get me nowhere. Patience was the overarching theme and one of the lessons I was to explore.

In contrast, in the potential stalker scenario, the showering of affection continues for some time. As soon as there is a change in the response or the object of his affection pulls away or doesn’t comply with his demands, the dramatic side begins to show. First with small comments that seem innocent and caring. And then with more dramatic moves and eventually culminating in outright desperation that causes the other person to completely pull away and in worst cases can lead to emotional and/or physical abuse. When the person pulls away, the other partner will often begin to talk of what is “owed.” For example “You owe me a phone call.” Or “I want to see you just one more time.” These are manipulation tactics designed to pull on your heartstrings and only lead to more control dynamics.

Or, the other person is “ready to change” if you will “just give him/her one more chance.”

This is why the average woman will go back to the abusive man SEVEN times.

Some simple advice on dealing with these potential scenarios:

1. Develop the awareness to see through these dynamics. Ask yourself “Why am I drawn to this person?” Is it because of a genuine mind blowing connection or is it because you either 1) want to help or save him/her or 2) Need all the affection as validation of your self worth? Hard questions for sure, but worth asking.

2. If you decide it’s time to end things, end them completely. Tell the other person you are at a point where you need to go your separate ways and do it. Friendship is certainly possible in a health relationship but I am talking about relationships characterized by control dynamics which, by definition, are not truly loving or healthy.

3. Burn all memorabilia associated with the relationship and throw salt on the fire. This helps you both detach and move on and also opens the doors for new opportunities.

4. Do not accept emails, phone calls, packages, etc from the person.

5. If the person continues to push, consider tactics to protect yourself such as leaving town for a bit, being aware of your surroundings, changing your phone number, etc. True control freaks will not give up easily and will do everything they can to regain control

6. If you are the person who is longing after someone, give that person some space. Do NOT push or become desperate. If it’s over, it’s over. Let it go. One of the most attractive qualities in a person is having the self esteem to honor where another person is and being there to be supportive. This is love. Control is not love.

7. Restraining orders are a mixed bag. They can work in some scenarios but in others they only piss off the other person more and put them in a position where they are going to “prove their love.”

When I was in executive protection school, we watched videos of every public assassination attempt and physical assault on a public figure that has been recorded and studied them in detail. For example, John Hinckley shot President Reagan to attempt to catch the attention of Jody Foster who was a student at Yale University at the time and wasn’t responding to his advances. Obviously this is an extreme scenario example but I use it to illustrate the extremes that some people will utilize to accomplish their twisted goals.

It’s incredibly unlikely that you will ever face anything very threatening or dangerous. However, developing the awareness I spoke of above can assist you in many, many ways in life and in relationships of all kinds.

When I was in professional bodyguard school, I took particular interest in the psychology of stalkers and counter-stalker tactics. Probably the thing that irks me most in life is control dynamics and people who feel the need to attempt to control others…that has led me to the work that I do with stalkers and the writings that I do on balanced masculinity.

A friend recently sent me this article and most of it is pretty accurate so I thought it appropriate to share here. It’s likely most female readers of this blog have encountered at least one unstable stalker situation that was awkward at best and downright scary at worst….and charming at first.

10 signs for spotting a sociopath

#1) Sociopaths are charming. Sociopaths have high charisma and tend to attract a following just because people want to be around them. They have a “glow” about them that attracts people who typically seek guidance or direction. They often appear to be sexy or have a strong sexual attraction. Not all sexy people are sociopaths, obviously, but watch out for over-the-top sexual appetites and weird fetishes.

#2) Sociopaths are more spontaneous and intense than other people. They tend to do bizarre, sometimes erratic things that most regular people wouldn’t do. They are unbound by normal social contracts. Their behavior often seems irrational or extremely risky.

#3) Sociopaths are incapable of feeling shame, guilt or remorse. Their brains simply lack the circuitry to process such emotions. This allows them to betray people, threaten people or harm people without giving it a second thought. They pursue any action that serves their own self interest even if it seriously harms others.

#4) Sociopaths invent outrageous lies about their experiences. They wildly exaggerate things to the point of absurdity, but when they describe it to you in a storytelling format, for some reason it sounds believable at the time.

#5) Sociopaths seek to dominate others and “win” at all costs. They hate to lose any argument or fight and will viciously defend their web of lies, even to the point of logical absurdity.

#6) Sociopaths tend to be highly intelligent, but they use their brainpower to deceive others rather than empower them. Their high IQs often makes them dangerous. This is why many of the best-known serial killers who successfully evaded law enforcement were sociopaths.

#7) Sociopaths are incapable of love and are entirely self-serving. They may feign love or compassion in order to get what they want, but they don’t actually FEEL love in the way that you or I do.

#8) Sociopaths speak poetically. They are master wordsmiths, able to deliver a running “stream of consciousness” monologue that is both intriguing and hypnotic. They are expert storytellers and even poets. As a great example of this in action, watch this interview of Charles Manson:

#9) Sociopaths never apologize. They are never wrong. They never feel guilt. They can never apologize. Even if shown proof that they were wrong, they will refuse to apologize and instead go on the attack.

#10) Sociopaths are delusional and literally believe that what they say becomes truth merely because they say it! Charles Manson, the sociopathic murderer, is famous for saying, “I’ve never killed anyone! I don’t need to kill anyone! I THINK it! I have it HERE! (Pointing to his temple.) I don’t need to live in this physical realm…”