Let me begin by telling you that I really don’t know who Fred is. I just picked the name to illustrate my story. You may use the name Sam, Cindy, or Marmaduke- if you would like. Or maybe you just want to stick with Fred.
Meet Fred. Fred thinks his way, and only his way, is the right way. He is a my way or the highway type a fella. If you do not agree with Fred on everything, you are wrong. Only Fred is right, in Fred’s eyes. Fred criticizes, invalidates, and judges those who see things differently than him.
It is difficult to have a relationship with Fred. There are no win-win resolutions, and there are no compromises. Unless, of course, YOU AGREE WITH FRED. Then compromise is really easy.
Fred’s wife has learned to keep her thoughts to herself- expressing them is pointless. Unless, of course, you guessed it, SHE AGREES WITH FRED. Then expressing them is easy.
Fred’s children have a difficult time believing in themselves. Fred has given them that WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU look, a few too many times. They have learned to doubt their own opinions. Unless of course, let’s hear it, THEY AGREE WITH FRED.
Fred’s friends don’t seem to come around much. It appears that his know it all attitude has been too much for them to take.
His employees, well… They really are not happy working for Fred. You see, Fred is not open to suggestions, and they are tired of their opinions always being wrong- according to Fred, that is.
I have worked with several Freds. Freds don’t often come to therapy because Freds aren’t usually open to looking at things in new ways. But once in a while, Fred will make an appointment. Don’t get me wrong, Fred doesn’t make the appointment to change Fred. Fred wants to change the people in his life that disagree with him.
Because Fred doesn’t want to change, it is SO rewarding when Fred is able to have a WOW, Ah-Ha moment. Sometimes Fred begins to see that he has created many of the problems in his life- especially the ones affecting his relationships. He is able to see that his fear of being out of control has caused him to be controlling. He is able to see that making a mistake doesn’t make him worthless. And he is able to see that his deep sense of powerlessness has caused him to obsess over power.
Fred’s Ah-Ha moments help him to understand that there is often more than one path to a destination. These moments help him to understand that listening to feedback from others does not make him a less powerful boss- quite the contrary. By listening and validating the opinions of his employees, he and his company become more successful.
These moments improve Fred’s relationships, and they improve Fred’s life. These moments open the door to empathy. They open the door to compromise. They open the door to viewing things from multiple angles. These Ah-Ha moments lead to understanding- an understanding that we all see the world through our own unique lens, and that no one is perfect. Not even Fred.
Do you KNOW Fred? Do you LIVE WITH Fred? Maybe you ARE Fred.
Fred, YOU are special. WE ALL are special. We can be special without being just like you.
Come on, Fred. The time has come- the time to open your eyes.