#33 - I’ve Got Mine, I Want Yours: Keep Your Damn Hands Off All Of It!
Updated: Aug 29
by KC Johnson
Greed has been the addiction of our American story!
These addictions exist all around us, but they don’t have to control us. We actually have tools within us to counter these addictive behaviors. Here is another way to look at these abusive actions by others. A greedy person may be powerful or controlling within society, but both behaviors can be at the mercy of the person’s inner needs that drive their day-to-day interactions, their quest for control over others, and their disregard for their actions. And that need to control others for personal gain originate in their childhoods.
From the lessons learned by our European ancestors Ages of Discovery and Exploration about conquering someone else’s lands, and the religious Crusades before them, these forefathers set the pattern justifying when conquering our North American continent reflected in our Manifest Destiny drive to stealing lands from the indigenous peoples already living in relative harmony throughout their ancestral lands. It was considered the ‘right’ of the settlers to remove anyone not looking and believing like them.
That same lawless mentality exists today by the most powerful people and corporations using our lands and people as pawns for extracting their false wealth. The money they make is actually an exchange for the extracted minerals, for the use of the environment as as disposal site, and especially for the sanctity of life extracted from the people on that land.
Left unchecked the need for control and for power can grow into a behavioral addiction, even by those who see these behaviors as normal. Paul Hawken in his excellent book Blessed Unrest: How the Largest Social Movement in History Is Restoring Grace, Justice, and Beauty to the World describes this drive to ‘control the land for creating wealth’ by the businesses willing to exchange our future livability for their profits.
Corporations that don’t value life as much as the dollars they can gain from manipulating the people, wildlife, and the land are our greatest societal dangers. These businesses are run by people afflicted by their addiction to power, to the need for excessive money, to manipulating others, and to the freedom they believe they have to get away with anything they want.
And that same mind-set can exist in your daily contact with people close to you as well. It can unsettle your life in a million ways. Within the family a controlling member can destroy harmony and ruin the nurturing every child needs to become a healthy adult. At work that behavior can eat away at your self-esteem and challenge providing for yourself and family. Abusive behaviors can distort your friendships and complicate your relationships. It can become an addictive behavior for the person constantly manipulating others in a quest for fulfilling their incomplete nurturing.
You may be the person paying for the emotional consequences. Your emotional health issues can be at the apex of a cascading range of consequences reducing your quality of life as you struggle with toxic attitudes. Without using tools to maintain your healthy sense of self and personal boundaries you may feel a sense entrapment by addictive controlling personalities.
The corporate draining of capital and resources out of communities is just an extension of these controlling, abusive types of people. The consequences of the actions by powerful forces degrades your community, damages the environment you have to live in, and accelerates your mental health crises when you don’t maintain your inner strengths. On a larger scale these same personality types contribute to the rapidly advancing global weather issues and degrading environments that decreases your personal power over your life?
Do you feel able to moderate their abusive controls over you and others? Are you at a loss for taking control of your life? Do you know how to prevent your children from developing these abusive personality behaviors? And can you help these manipulators after they develop these behaviors seeking power and control over others? These are the questions for our times.
The powerful want it all as they attempt to feed their dysfunctional emotional developmental needs. Their need can never be enough as their personalities grow ever more demanding for more. Power is their addiction. They depend on you and all of us to be co-dependent on them. Once these manipulators gain their powerful positions, they want us to be content accepting their pitiful handouts and tolerating their abusive actions while they rake in unbelievable wealth. And yet for them it is still not enough.
How You Can Break The Cycle Of Their Addiction
All of the above passages sound pretty dire and foreboding. Yet you hold within you the tools for re-balancing this wildly out-of-balance equation. It requires educating yourself about how to prevent these dysfunctional personalities from developing, metastasizing, and manipulating you into endorsing their behaviors.
There is a quirk in our belief system around raising children that goes to the heart of how the need for greed, power, and control develops. We unintentionally set the groundwork for personalities going off the rails, and your own emotional needs may be providing the fertile opportunities they feed on. Incomplete nurturing creates within everyone a need to seek the love and emotional support not received in childhood. Though this need evolves in childhood, it never eases up even through adulthood. If anything, it can grow stronger and more demanding as the childhood emotional hole remains unfulfilled.
Let’s imagine you are born with an urn inside you that needs to be filled with nurturing love before you are able to love others and yourself. Most parents probably believe they do that with their children. But nurturing love means giving abundant appropriate touching, holding, and intimate time with their child. It also means giving the child the room to express unique ideas, being supported as the child moves through the practice phases of becoming an adult, and most important, accepting the child and young adult for becoming the person they choose to be.
My premise is that these parenting actions, when done generously, fills our urn with the love energy every person needs for giving back to others. The well balanced young adult has no need to use and abuse others -- the urn is overflowing! The sense of self develops into a love for self that is freely shared.
When that urn is not filled, when the nurturing is less than fully loving, the urn becomes a powerful driving force that seeks other sources of love energy. Significantly low urn levels of love trigger behaviors that can result in extreme manipulation of others as a distorted effort to drain that love energy from others.
The need for greed is a cry for help, in my opinion, and left unanswered the dysfunctional personality will seek the tools to ease that longing for love. Using others can grow into seeking positions of power that return wealth and further control over others. Money becomes a surrogate for love, not a very good one, but nevertheless, a time tested tool used for eons. Power can be a surrogate for money.
If you provide the love throughout a child’s life, there ceases to be the need to manipulate, to drain the love out of others. Withholding the nurturing love, even unintentionally withheld, and the child will have to seek it elsewhere. And the addiction grows, often out of control. That’s the nature of addictions.
Steps to ease the addictive need for greed.
- First, you need to recognize greed for what it is, an incomplete emotional development stemming from early childhood. Researchers stop short of exploring where the emotional development first begins that foster greed formation, instead studying the consequences once the behaviors become a part of the personality. Think of greed as an outgrowth of insufficient nurturing that translates into behaviors attempting to fulfill the insufficiencies for love.
- Second, the greatest need any person has is the need to feel loved. All of your behaviors grow out of the degree of nurturing love received during your early years into adulthood. This is where your sense of self develops that becomes the filter that you see life through. Every decision, every action, every thought reflects your held views about yourself with judgment clouding the view and self-love clearing the view for how you see the world around you.
- Third, and this is the most challenging point, you need to love these people experiencing that hold these incomplete emotional balances within themselves for the difficult path they are following even when they are causing you harm. Being non-judgmental returns your own balance and opens the door to dialogue with the out-of-balance person. Judgment complicates your healing process and shuts the door to helping others heal.
- Fourth, become clear how you want to respond to dysfunctional behaviors knowing that you do not have to indulge and accept their actions. Set limits on how you want to interact with them as they strive to drain the loving energy out of you. A greedy person needs you to be co-dependent on their actions, so learning how to say no and how to take corrective actions is not a judgment, but rather an adherence to your personal values and standards.
- Fifth, you can lovingly tell the person that their behaviors are unacceptable and you can even help them learn acceptable behaviors around you. This starts creating opportunities for that person to think about the consequences of their actions and practice more appropriate behaviors. You likely already use simple behavior modification skills whenever you meet someone you want to know by using body language, compliments, and showing compatibility. Be honest, be direct, and be open for further talking together about your concerns, lovingly of course.
- Last, and absolutely the most important point is you can help parents and anyone in contact with children learn how to nurture children more fully and lovingly. Stopping the cycle of dysfunctional behaviors happens throughout the child’s life and well into adulthood. In fact, even in adulthood, the behaviors that strengthen a child’s sense of self are still as important during any age of life. Appropriate touching, holding, hugging, sharing deep concerns, encouraging ideas, and accepting a person for their chosen identity, even as it changes from time to time, are the core features you can use to show that a person is lovable, accepted, and valued for who they are. It is how we breakdown the destructive behaviors developed from incomplete nurturing and support building a healthy sense of self in anyone.
Wrapping up . . .
Greed and excessive power addictions are draining you of your opportunities for designing the creative life you are capable of living. Just because our society began with a dysfunctional Manifest Destiny type of belief system, doesn't mean you have to adopt that same self-defeating and destructive mind-set.
By healing yourself you become able to help others around you. Children learn from the adults, and if your behaviors and actions are loving towards others, children will grow-up with that same mind-set that lasts a lifetime. Learning to lovingly respond to the manipulators diffuses their control over you. Even if they are not able to make significant changes, you can make yourself as resilient as possible around them.
Being able to love others also translates into caring about healing the fragile outdoor world around you. After all, our world’s condition is only a reflection of our collective internal sense of self condition. Making decisions to live lightly on this planet also helps others follow your lead. You disrupt that Manifest Destiny mind-set and create conditions for restoring our planet’s balance through your decisions and actions.
The most fundamental step everyone needs to take is to fully nurture every child with appropriate touch, holding them, giving each child non-judgmental opportunities to express their opinions, giving them abundant learning opportunities and decision-making situations as they grow older, and accepting them for the unique person they have a right to become. This is where you can directly alter the course of their lives and the future of our planet. - kc