On the motorway
Clive wanted to change his life. He was so fed up with things - not married, not many friends, worked long hours - and because he was lonely had formed a friendship with a family much younger than him.
The lady was a single parent with two children living on benefits and her ‘boyfriend’ was in prison for aggravated burglary. She was struggling. She met Clive one day when she was shopping and upon arrival at the cash till, she did not have enough money to pay for what she had in her basket. Clive very kindly offered to pay for the groceries.
That was the day when a lot of his troubles started. After telling her sob story, he visited her often, helped her with jobs in the house, minded the children and of course, there were many calls for providing money. She got so dependent on him, she started to telephone him saying she needed money - sometimes large sums and if he did not go round immediately, she would telephone again and become abusive, threatening and appealing to his soft nature, ‘We’ll all starve.’ Or ‘We’ll have no heating.’ These were the constant cries and he was dipping into his savings to finance her.
Clive had had enough of this and began to realise what a mess he had got himself into and saw little hope of it ever changing if he did not do something. He felt weak and used. The lady had really got him hooked.
One day he decided he had had enough and this was no answer to being lonely and working hard. He made an appointment with a life coach who listened to his problems. He said, ‘I know my biggest problem is that I cannot say, NO!’ ‘My other problem is I feel sorry for the little ones.’
After several coaching sessions, he began to realise that he had to say NO and he could not get involved in feeling sorry for the children. They were not his responsibility and if he was not there, this type of lady would look for another ‘sucker’ just like him. He worried that if he walked away, the children would suffer.
He adopted the approach of slowly withdrawing himself from the situation, joined a singles group at the local community centre and suddenly learned the value of assertive behaviour of saying NO. He realised that when one is asked a question, it is better to use the first word NO before anything else is said because using Err Err gives the other person the feeling you could be persuaded. He also learned to use fewer words and not give reasons why he was saying no. The more conversation you get involved in the deeper you get and further away from saying NO.
After a while he changed his telephone number. Fortunately she did not have his address but she did know where he worked and started to appear outside his workplace on the car park by his car. To stop this he parked his car in a different place and left the building by the back entrance. It was fortunate there was another way out.
Eventually, he learnt the art of protecting himself and met a very charming single lady at the singles club who had no strings attached and eventually rid himself of the other lady. One day he met someone who knew the other lady and was told, ‘She has another sugar daddy now whom she is putting through his paces!’
The moral of this story is that Clive who had been in the fast lane of the motorway had got himself into the situation without thinking about where he was going and soon he was toddling along in the slow lane with no idea of where to turn off. His dilemma was, ‘How do I move into the middle lane to give myself the opportunity to go either faster or slower in the journey of my choice?' He found his way and is now happily back in the slow lane going exactly where he wants to be.
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Tracey Hutchinson, MSc, NLP Master Practitioner, Cert ManagementMarch 12th, 2017