When you have altitude sickness from taking the highroad too long, it’s time to make some changes. Personally, I recommend dealing with it “Dorothy” style (sans the blue-and-white gingham dress and rat dog). This may mean throwing a bucket of water on the witch, yanking the curtain back on the faux Wizard, and roughing up some dirty monkeys, but sometimes enough is freaking enough.
We all have witches and wizards who wreak havoc in our lives, serving as emotional terrorists. If you can’t instantly think of at least one person like this, you are either 1) lying (no doubt because you’re afraid the person will somehow hear your thoughts and go ape-shit on you just for mentally recognizing them); 2) living under a rock completely removed from society; 3) a man; or 4) you are the emotional terrorist in someone else’s life.
Surely you know the person I’m talking about. They may be lurking in your circle of friends, place of worship, neighborhood, place of employment, or God-forbid… even within your own family. I can think of two recent emotional terrorists in my life, and just the thought of these unstable whack-jobs leaves me longing for an anti-anxiety pill (luckily my dog, Riley, has prescription of Valium I can tap into when flashbacks occur).
These people may or may not have tangible power over our lives, but regardless, we have given them power. How so you ask? We have allowed them to have control over the quality of our lives because we have believed that the price of freedom was too great. Thus, we were unable or unwilling to take the stand. The idea of confronting this person or cutting them out of your life altogether leaves you petrified. This is the same reason you stay quiet, or do something you really don’t want to do. You acquiesce only because you don’t want to deal with the dramatic outpouring of nonsense that will projectile vomit all over your day if you dare not to play this person’s game or adhere to their erratic rules.
No longer. Got it? It ends now.
I’ve always enjoyed sparring. My brothers took karate for years when they were young. Accordingly, we would frequently turn our downstairs playroom into a makeshift WWF ring and do hand-to-hand combat until either… one of our parents freaked out and banished us to our respective rooms; we broke something, achieving the same result; or someone would get hurt, run off crying, and then we would all instantly disperse like cockroaches caught in a spotlight. Regardless, sparing became a favorite past time for us siblings. As we matured, the physical matches turned verbal, and we took pride in our ability to choose a topic, pick positions, and debate. Even though I enjoy the sport of controversy, if my bullshit meter has been redlining for too long, you might want to take cover.
Emotional terrorists however, are different than a typical confrontation. They require different handling than a more obvious enemy. They don’t comply with the standard rules of warfare. They fully ignore the Geneva Convention of life. And make no mistake, there are no moral principles governing their combat tactics (kind of like in the movie Mean Girls, but without the SNL cast members or pre-train-wrecked coke-whore Lindsay Lohan).
Because emotional terrorists often lack verbal skills and tend to be short on intelligence, they choose other approaches, such as leveraging your social and emotional fear- utilizing savage mental games to get their desired result (picture a toddler mid-meltdown jacked up on meth). Let’s recognize they are clearly the weaker side in this unfair, unjust war. After all, if they actually had the skill and power to achieve their purposes in a conventional way, there would be no need for these shadowy strategies.
If we could somehow see these people as they really are, we would find that they’re the most insecure and unhappy people around. They themselves live as prisoners of fear- terrified that you are going to tread on the one thing they have going for them. Or worse, they really have nothing going for them, and they tremble at the thought that you will expose them for the fraud they are.
In the musical, The Wizard of Oz (Based on the 1900 children's novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum), we find the Wizard, a mostly unseen character, revered as the ruler of the Land of Oz, residing in the Emerald City, the capital of Oz. The Wizard appears in several different forms (a giant head, a beautiful fairy, a ball of fire, and even as a horrible monster), controlling his subjects with fear, as they believe him to be powerful and the only one capable of solving their problems. But as the story unfolds, we learn the Wizard is nothing more than an ordinary man, with a back-story as a dubious circus magician. His mighty power is merely machine made; nothing more than smoke, mirrors and a microphone.
How many times have we been controlled by the different faces of the great & powerful wizards in our lives? If a complete stranger treated us the way our wizard has, we would raise a hypothetical middle finger and tell them to spin on it (in no uncertain terms).
Here is my question then... Why do we keep allowing the little circus magician and his throwback sound system to control us?
"Pay no attention to that man (or mean girl) behind the curtain." These are words we should pay attention to. If we decide to push back the curtains on the emotional terrorists in our lives, we would find that they are scared, insecure people with nothing really going for them. If you happened to be loved, successful, educated, self-sufficient, or aren’t coming to the table empty handed, it is very possible that an emotional terrorist might be threatened by your power. After all, accidental or not, your house may have landed in their territory (hopefully not on their sister).
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”