Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

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I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Friday, March 16, 2007


Last night was a passive meeting for me, though not intentionally. Several people with long stories and a shortened meeting to accommodate the business meeting. Anything I'd have said was more of an observation, so probably not much use to others. The people who monopolized the meeting had things they needed to get out, and that seems a big part of Al-Anon.

The topic was the tension between controlling and trust. I had a lot of thoughts about this. I was groomed for the stereotypical peacemaker/caretaker role when I was growing up. One of the scripts I'm working on explores how this came about. For me it was a bizarre and powerless role, in which you are actually given a lot of control. Of course it has a lot of restrictions, and part of the co-dependency rules are rigorous, continuous and fierce suppression any manifestation of your own ego. From the time I was 6 until I was 42 years old I did not have a sense of self except for constant free-floating guilt and unhappiness. Never understanding why I felt like shit, what I was guilty or bummed about, just looking with envy at people experiencing joy.

The peacemaker/caretaker controls the situation and it is to be impartial and rational, unlike all the other players. The first thing you have to control are your own feelings and wants. Mr. Spock was my model as a child and an adult. Detaching from your emotions was my first priority for those 35 years. I did a damn good job, scapegoating very few people. My Dad when I was young, my ex-wife later, and finally my mom. Emotions cropped up now and then, but I was mostly numb as I was able to suppress all of them except despair in an instant.

This was fun to write, as I realize my relationship with Mr. Spock has changed. I'll always think him a cool as Hell character, but role model? What a silly idea.

I'm good at management, but I don't crave it. I was once good at manipulating people, and like to think I wouldn't be any longer hoping that that is one skill that is not like riding a bike. I still tend to over-control myself, but it is something I believe I'm not doing very much. So while I was expected to be a controller of sorts, I never enjoyed or wanted to do so.

I've always been too trusting. And you know what, that is something I prefer not to change. I have five figures in debts owed me which I'll never see. The cool thing, is I have to make an effort to recall those details. I chose to trust, was let down, not my problem, so I moved on. It goes along with the social accounting I've mentioned in the past, that extra-dysfunctional bit of manipulating where Uncle Jeff reminds you he bought you two beers during the American Revolution, so you owe him with appropriate interest for forgetting. Holding on to that crap doesn't impress the person who let you down, but letting go of it sure is a nice gift to yourself. It is perhaps what I find most startling in my journey of the last few years, letting go of the vindictive tendency. It is better to be let down once in a while than to be trusting, as the boons from trust far outweigh the risks.

As I contemplated these things I remember the latest intervention. I wasn't being the rational detached observer that much. I let people see what made me sad, what made me angry, what Scott the person thought. I definitely got some push back on that. Felt kind of like a fired attorney, getting some heat for not going along with the program. I'm not prepared to enable the other parties to stop enabling the addict any longer. I've done that enough times. People who have been in my life for a long time haven't adjusted to the fact that obeisance to everyone else is not my only personality trait any longer. To actually assert my ideas, opinions, and feelings earn me a lot of resentment. I am aware of it when it happens. Sometimes I mention it, other times I do not. To borrow one of those lame shop talk phrases, I do a cost benefit analysis. No sense bringing out something that will piss off or hurt others if it is not important to me. Unless, I feel an ethical obligation.

Appropriate control and trust are a balance. You have to have a certain degree of control and trust, but they have to be balanced with others legitimate need for control and a realistic understanding and acceptance of the risk for trusting. I can't take or cede control all the time, neither can I trust unconditionally all the time.


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