The Trouble with Authority Issues

Here is one of those hard to break cycles in which the cause of the problem prevents the solution to it. Once a person has been abused by an authority it is very difficult for them to get over it because any person striving to help is deemed an authority and thus, untrustable.

Losing that first relationship of dependability and trust creates an angry person who refuses all help (cuz they don’t trust it will help) and so must “do everything on their own.” Not only that, but their distrust extends from the person who first broke trust to their boss, to their teachers, even to God.

“God didn’t protect me from this person who hurt me so I can’t trust God either.” This is a conundrum. The expectation of being let down or hurt leads to that reality. The chip on the shoulder from being hurt always makes others defensive as well. So, the person with authority issues will inevitably work for the unfair boss, will get pulled over by the condescending police officer and will spend hours on the phone trying to get a refund for $12.99.

This will be further proof of the injustice in the world and lackadaisical attitude of God. The people most hurt will become skeptical of everything. They will see people as trying to get something out of them. They will see kindness as manipulation and love as entrapment.

What can be done when any action taken will be perceived as an attack?

I know what rescued me from being a PWAI, person with authority issues, was a native American woman named Fran. She sat in a talking circle and passed around a feather. When you held the feather you could talk and everyone else had to listen. I thought this talking circle was miraculous. People actually listened to what I had to say. They had to. Ha ha ha. And everything shared in this circle was sacred. It could not be spoken of or referred to outside of the circle. And Fran listened to each person so intensely. She would nod with a serious expression and you felt like Mother Earth cared about your feelings.

Having Fran look at me the way she did and watching her listen to each person was the first time I felt compassion. It melted me. My insides turned to warm butter. Fran cared. Fran listened. Fran didn’t judge. And nothing shocked or frightened Fran. No issue was too great for her heart could hold the whole of the world. I asked Fran how she was able to be so loving and compassionate and she said “I see through God’s eyes.”

Looking at people through God’s eyes meant that we all looked dear and precious and like the miracles we are. And Fran changed my years of swimming upstream just from the way she looked at me.

It took many years to melt my rebellion. It took many years to let go of my anger. It took many years to remove my armor. I was significantly protected. But I did it. Taking one tiny trusting step at a time, finding one healer after the next who I could trust to support my transformation and not betray my trust. Then, finally one day, like the caterpillar turning into the butterfly, I trusted again. I trusted men and women, and bosses and police officers and God and even myself. Even those bureaucratic people on the phone have hearts, I learned.

So, now my goal is to offer help to others. The ones who don’t want help because they can do it all themselves. The ones who mistrust actions and intentions and project suspicious motivations. Somehow I will learn what they need. Non-judgment. A belief in their highest self. A witness to their pain. An encouraging word.

And I will give what Fran gave to me…faith. Faith in myself, faith in God, faith in a world that is, at its core, good.

Thanks Fran…no more tickets.

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