Monday, March 8, 2010

Unseen influences: interference and minor sabotage

I decided to write this article after discovering Carissa Conti's in2worlds website and reading what she has to say about Interference

I have some stories of my own to tell about interference on an individual level; I want to add my personal experiences to the available information.

Interference in childhood
The first occurrence that I can remember of a particular type of interference that I call 'nipping in the bud' happened when I was very young. I had invited twin girls from my class in school to my birthday party. I remember their names, but I can't remember much else about them, apart from the fact that this was the first - and last - time that they visited my house. We were playing games; my father was clowning around and he threw his arms up and 'accidentally' hit one of the girls in the face. She burst into tears, and the sisters decided to go home.

I soon forgot this incident, and did not think about it for many years. It is insignificant in itself, but a pattern emerges when it is considered together with other, similar incidents. 

When I was around five years old, my father hit me right in the middle of my forehead with the end of his billiard cue: by coincidence this is the area of the ‘third eye’.

I remember visiting the house of a girl from another school several years later:  this was a very rare occurrence as I did not like accepting hospitality that I could not return. She played some pop music records and this triggered an invasion by the lodger, a rather unbalanced woman who rushed into the room and started shouting hysterically. She screamed something about 'jungle drums' and taking us all to court. This frightened me, but my friend's mother calmly told the lodger not to speak to her daughter like that and led her away.

I was very jarred by this, and did not visit that house again. I was also affected by the difference between the home life there and my own: I had not heard a parent defend their child before. These girls were not potential lifelong friends; I did not really miss much by not keeping in touch with them, but I do wonder whether there was anything more to these incidents than simple chance.

Interference in adulthood
Another minor incident happened many years later, when I was just about to join a queue for train tickets: an unbalanced man rushed up and pushed right in front of me saying “You don’t mind, do you”; he was telling me not asking me. When it was his turn, it took such a long time to deal with him that I missed my train. I was visiting a work colleague for the first time; such visits were very rare. This was actually just an inconvenience; it was not a nipping in the bud of a potentially good relationship. I came to realise that this colleague was an energy vampire. She dropped out of my life as soon as I started to wake up and provide sensible solutions to her never-ending problems.

I often found myself in a long queue for train tickets that was so long that it was difficult for other people to get across the station. I noticed that no matter where I was in the queue, it was the exact point where people tried to push through. They just ignored me as if I were invisible. I remember being in a New Age bookshop and having the same person with a huge rucksack push right in front of me three times: I went from section to section and he seemed to be following me, although he behaved as if I were not there. 

I remember deciding to visit a New Age exhibition and an unusual garden over one weekend; on both occasions as I got off the bus a man got off too and walked very close to me on the way, talking to himself. This was alarming: it made me decide to forget the attractions and go back home; I was afraid that they would follow me around and ruin my enjoyment. I was too weak to deal with this at the time.

Interference no longer has an effect
A time came when I realised that although some unpleasant incidents often happened after I had been in the company of an energy vampire, others seemed to be triggered by something I said or did.

I arranged to meet a new friend at a coach station. I was standing in line waiting to buy the tickets when a very unbalanced woman came and stood quite near me. She was shrieking threats at the world in general. She screamed “I’ve got a knife and don’t think I wouldn’t use it”. Security guards came and took her away. I was only slightly disconcerted; when my friend arrived, I just told her that that she had missed some excitement as an unbalanced woman had caused a disturbance.

In Neither Here nor There, Bill Bryson wonders why crazy people like train and bus stations so much. So such incidents are common, but I did wonder at the time whether this was a performance staged for my benefit.  Was it an attempt to nip a new relationship in the bud? It was a complete failure if so.

A few weeks later, we were sitting on another coach waiting for it to leave when a woman outside made a small disturbance because she wanted to speak to someone on the coach who didn’t want to speak to her. A few trips later, we got off a bus to find two men standing in the road shouting abuse and threats at each other. We just carried on as if nothing had happened and soon forgot the incidents. She said that the men were obviously unstable, which is the reaction of a ‘normal’, healthy person: I was very happy to have reached that level myself.

In the distant past; I might have felt paranoid, bruised, jarred or frightened; the incidents might have left a nasty taste in my mind; I might even have given up trying to build a new relationship. However, by then I had long been aware of the possibility of unconscious sabotage so I just mentally said to whatever might be behind these incidents: “Is that all you’ve got? Is that the best you can do? I am so sorry to disappoint you.”

I did not react to these incidents nor let them affect my behaviour, so there was no point in arranging any more. They were the last of their kind.

I suspected a long time ago that psychotics and other disturbed people were being used to inconvenience, confuse, distract, upset, harass and attack selected strangers in public places; it is interesting to learn that other people have come to the same conclusion.

Interference from fellow workers
I too have experienced interference from fellow workers. I don’t think that there is anything more sinister at work in most cases than the usual automatic, unthinking reactions that you get from collective-minded people when you say or do something that shows that you are on a path of your own and can think for yourself.  I have never let this sort of reaction inconvenience me or affect my decisions. You need to decide what is behind what they say to you.

For example, it seemed to disconcert and frighten many colleagues when I said that I was going to become self-employed: they tried to dissuade me. This is the ‘concerned citizen’ syndrome. They have dependants and mortgages and are afraid to live outside the security of a regular income and the protection of a company. They don’t like to see other people go where they can’t follow. Unconscious envy is always another possibility.

I remember one colleague who ordered some interesting technical papers on my behalf from her head office. When I asked her if they had arrived yet, she said that as she was not sure why they had been sent, she had thrown them away. I discovered that she told many colleagues that the head office was selling off some good quality office equipment for next to nothing: she ‘forgot’ to tell me about it so I missed an opportunity to get some very good bargains. She used to ask me what I wanted to drink, and never brought what I had asked for. Once is chance; twice is coincidence; three times is enemy action!

Despite my belief that there are usually no special unseen influences at work behind most interference from fellow workers, there are some incidents that seem like sabotage attempts to me.

I remember that whenever I wanted to have a deep conversation about strange coincidences with a particular colleague, someone would often come in and interrupt. We could talk about anything else and nothing disruptive would happen. I got the feeling that someone was sent rushing to the scene to put a stop to the spreading of dangerous ideas.

There was another colleague who took an interest when I first started talking about energy vampires: we often went to lunch together in the staff restaurant so as to continue our conversations in our own time. I often noticed that colleagues at the next table would suddenly become unbearably noisy when we arrived, which made it difficult to hear each other and concentrate. We dealt with this by getting together outside of working hours.

I am now looking at all of these jarring and annoying incidents from the viewpoint of someone who has experienced many good incidents, in public and at the hands of strangers, possibly as a result of and reward for recognising the part that unseen influences play in our lives.

My next article will be about these positive experiences.