August 31, 2021 at 5:43 pm #385536
I am wondering if you could assist me in this. I would be most grateful.
For over 15 years, I have been a key member of my Strata Committee (“SC”), which is the committee which makes decisions for all the 45 owners who live in our block of townhouses.
I recently became aware that the Treasurer has been paying for certain repairs for his own unit without the permission of the SC He then used his position to tell the Strata Manager to pay for his own repairs – out of the owners corporation’s funds. This is an abuse of position of power. The Strata Manager therefore raised this with me personally as they feel that the Treasurer’s behaviour is inappropriate.
I am often the “unwelcome” voice which calls out on such unethical behaviour. Most SC members would not call out such behaviour for fear of retribution and perhaps also they rather someone else take the heat.
I have therefore been ridiculed and abused. And recently, outvoted by other SC members who fear retribution from the Treasurer. They also like him because of “favours” that he continues to provide them i.e. make SC decisions and approve payments that, in turn, favour them.
I do not agree with them because I feel that it unfair to all owners who are not represented on the SC. We need to act equally for all owners, regardless – and this is the law.
However I have suffered abuse from some current SC members for being the only person who raises issues with this inappropriate behaviour. (Note: Previous SC members would have supported me but they are no longer in the SC or have relocated elsewhere.)
I do not want to go battle this out at the Tribunal as it would cause me more stress and anxiety – particularly when other SC members do not support me.
I have had sleepless nights on this as feel that it is not right or fair to other owners. Somehow, I just cannot let this go.
I have the option to resign from the SC. I feel that I am the lone SC police person among the current committee of unethical people. And for that very reason, always feel the need to be there within the SC to call out on such behaviours when they get too far.
However, perhaps the time has come for me to step back. Should I resign and just “let go” of the situation in the Buddhist way? Am I too attached to this?
I would very much appreciate a considered advice on this.
Thank you in anticipation.August 31, 2021 at 8:36 pm #385541
“I have therefore been ridiculed and abused… However I have suffered abuse from some current SC member.. I have had sleepless nights on this as feel that it is not right or fair to other owners... I have the option to resign from the SC. I feel that I am the lone SC police person among the current committee of unethical people… Should I resign and just ‘let go’ of the situation in the Buddhist way?“-
– I think that it is a good idea that you resign and let go of the situation because (1) you’ve been ridiculed and abused, suffered sleepless nights as a result, and that is not right or fair to you (2) you are the lone SC police person among the committee of unethical people, meaning you don’t have anyone on your side, no one to fight with you against the unethical people.
There is so much injustice in our world.. and much of it can not fixed and make right. It is sad, isn’t it.
–September 1, 2021 at 5:04 am #385544
Hi Anita – thank you for your great advice. From what you have written, I think you are suggesting that I would do well to accept that there is so much injustice in our world that I cannot change. This is widely known, yet something in me just cannot accept – until perhaps after reading what you wrote. My holding on to this ideal view of the world has perhaps caused me much suffering as you articulated i.e. sleepless nights, ridicule, abuse, etc
You know, I have wrestled with this issue for years. Yet the simplicity in which you communicated your thoughtful, clever and kind advice has been profound for me. It has relieved me of a burden I carried for years. I am very grateful.
Why have I just held on to this for so long??
THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH ANITA!
DCSeptember 1, 2021 at 6:42 am #385546
However, perhaps the time has come for me to step back. Should I resign and just “let go” of the situation in the Buddhist way? Am I too attached to this?
Just wanted to say something about the “Buddhist way” of letting go as I understand it. A unskillful detachment often leads to indifference and a giving up. A skillful detachment is a doing by not doing, action and stillness… In the situation you describe a setting of healthy boundary might involve a detachment from outcome while engaged in the process, being true to yourself.
That said I agree with Anita, as in all things their is a time and now might be a time to take a step back and center yourself. Not as a fight or flight reaction to the situation but a middle way.
There is so much injustice in our world its a challenge to know when take a stand, when to ‘be the policeman’, the ‘social worker’, the’ peacemaker’… all have their time and place. I feel the most important is that when we act regardless of how (which role we play) we do so from our center, being honest with ourselves regardless of result.September 1, 2021 at 7:18 am #385547
Thank you for your considered advice. I appreciate it very much. Problem is that I find it hard to be involved and not blow the whistle on such unethical behaviour. I understand you said to adopt the middle way. However I am unsure how I can see those wrongdoings (by being in the SC) and keep quiet. It is my calling out on such behaviours that has led to ridicule and abuse by other SC members. Hence I am thinking that I should bail out completely because I feel that under the circumstances, I cannot be an SC member and yet keep quiet. I simply cannot “unsee” things that I see. What do you think?September 1, 2021 at 7:19 am #385548
You are welcome and thank you for your kindness. Your kindness shines through your reply: thanking me, expressing that you value my advice, giving me (too much) credit. All this suggests to me that you are a good person.
“accept that there is so much injustice in our world that I cannot change. This is widely known, yet something in me just cannot accept.. My holding on to this ideal view of the world has perhaps caused me much suffering as you articulated i.e. sleepless nights, ridicule, abuse, etc.“-
– this makes me think of a man looking back in time, holding on to this ideal view of his childhood, but there was some injustice there that needed to be fixed before it could be ideal. The boy is now a man, but something in him, the boy that’s still there, is trying to fix that long ago injustice.
“Why have I just held on to this for so long??“- could the above be an answer, one of a few perhaps?
anitaSeptember 1, 2021 at 11:28 am #385555
Sorry DC I didn’t mean to imply I was suggesting you continue as a member of the SC. I agreed with Anita on that. Sometimes
I was talking about the idea of detachment and letting go in general.
From what I read your authentic self requires you to speak up when you notice wrong doing, while your anxiety and sleepless nights appear to be attached to the outcome of speaking out. Begs the question is it possible to be act as our authentic self requires us to act and be detached? The middle way would be to detach oneself from the outcomes (good or bad) as you engage (engagement can involve stepping away). Being still within ones actions…
Not easy… We all have a desire to be ‘seen’ and heard’, which is where healthy boundaries come in and that in this case may require you to step away from the SC and create some space to breath. (Sometimes Love requires a relationship to end)
In this space you may decide to meditate on why and how you take on the police role? I’m not suggesting that your actions are in anyway ‘in the wrong’ only that its a good way to learn things about oneself. Try to do so with out attaching labels to your thoughts or self on the matter.
Each role we play has a time and place as well as various methods. Another question you might ask is if their are ways to engage in the these ‘roles’ that are more successful then others? For example when I attempt the police role in the past I became a ‘hammer that saw every situation as a nail’. Worked great on the situation that really were nails not so much on the ones that weren’t.September 1, 2021 at 7:05 pm #385565
Dear Anita – Thank you again for your dedication to helping me. Yes, you are absolutely right! There was a lot of childhood trauma that perhaps is manifesting in adulthood. I really had to delve into it today before I responded. Thank you again for your kindness and thought-provoking messages. They have helped me a great deal!
DCSeptember 1, 2021 at 7:27 pm #385566
Dear Peter –
No apologies needed! I do appreciate the kindness in your heart for assisting me – and you have, a lot more than you realise!
Both you and Anita have been fabulous in providing me with fruitful perspectives to help me grow. I am eager to learn and probe deeper into why I do certain things habitually. And yes, this police role is absolutely true – unsure why I continually go out of my way to see that perpetrators do not get away with misdeeds. I have started to ponder why I am this way, why I am so attached to the outcome to the extent that I want to control it – rather than detaching from the outcome.
I am very new to Buddhism so I have a lot to learn. Any guidance would again be gratefully received.
Thank you again Peter.
DCSeptember 1, 2021 at 8:50 pm #385567
You are welcome and thank you for being as gracious and kind as you are.
“There was a lot of childhood trauma that perhaps is manifesting in adulthood. I really had to delve into it today before I responded“- if (and only if) you would like to elaborate on the part of your childhood trauma that may shed light on your current challenge (“Letting go of injustice”), you are welcome to do so, and I will reply further.
anitaSeptember 2, 2021 at 4:30 am #385577
Thank you for asking and helping me get to the bottom of my “injustice” issue.
I have 2 siblings, and we were parented by a single mother, whom I came to realise is a narcissistic and toxic person. She has little capacity for empathy, is self centred, controlling, critical, etc. If you read about the traits of a narcissistic mother, she has all of them.
To this day, each time I contact her (we don’t live in the same country), she would never ask about how I am doing but instead, focus on what she wants from me – in a very ungrateful and demanding way. It is very clear that it is all about her. It is my culture to respect elders, so all my siblings just give in to her whims and wishes. She is getting older now, and those demands are increasing. I feel that she uses us for her own needs. I don’t think we have ever got any form of emotional support from her. The only support from her was housing, education, clothes, food, etc when we were growing up.
My dad died when we were 5 years old, and my mother had an affair with a married man. This man tortured and abused us kids, physically and emotionally. The abuse lasted till we were grown-up in our late teens. I left as soon as I could to study univeristy in another country. And never returned to live with my mother, much to her disappointment as she wanted me to be back looking after her.
The above is a brief account of my childhood. There was a lot of trauma as we were abused as children.
When dealing with my mum, while I understand that it is important to set boundaries, I don’t want to feel the guilt of neglecting her when she passes on. She is elderly now. So, I find myself wrestling with a dislike for her as a toxic person/parent, but a deep care for her because she is my mother.
DCSeptember 2, 2021 at 7:30 am #385579
You are welcome. This post is probably going to be tough for you to read, so please take your time reading, take breaks, and of course, if it gets too distressing, you can choose to stop reading at any time.
I want to jump straight into what I’ll call The Core Injustice: the biggest and earliest Injustice that you experienced:
“It is my culture to respect.. her whims and wishes..(to respect) her.. affair with a married man (who).. tortured and abused us kids, physically and emotionally… till we were grown-up in our late teens”.
I know that you wrote: “It is in my culture to respect elders”. I know that it is in your culture to respect parents as well elders. Thing is, culture does not make an exception for very abusive parents or elders. Without such exception, culture teaches to respect abuse.
What kind of social or cultural “justice” is it that teaches children to respect, for the duration of their lives, the whims and wishes of “a narcissistic and toxic person… self centred, controlling, critical, etc.”, who brings in a man into her children’s lives who abuses them for years?
What kind of justice is it when a woman is allowed to hurt her children badly for years.. and she get away with it, no one holding her accountable as she keeps abusing them into adulthood: no apologies, no regrets.. no guilt, no justice.
Let’s look at a minor injustice, in comparison, one that you wrote about in your original post: “I recently became aware that the Treasurer.. used his position to tell the Strata Manager to pay for his own repairs – out of the owners corporation’s funds. This is an abuse of position of power“.
Your mother used and still uses her position of power to abuse you and her other two adult children. It is society and culture that give her this position of power to keep for the duration of her life, turning the other way when she uses her position of power against her children.
In your original post you wrote in regard to the relatively minor injustice of recent: “I have therefore been ridiculed and abused. And recently, outvoted by other SC members who fear retribution from the Treasurer… I have suffered abuse from some current SC members for being the only person who raises issues with this inappropriate behaviour“:
(1) As wrong as the ridicule and abuse you suffered as an adult in the context of the SC, it was of a way lesser abuse in duration and intensity than this: “This man tortured and abused us kids, physically and emotionally. The abuse lasted till we were grown-up in our late teens”.
(2) The other SC members fear retribution from the Treasurer if they act to correct the injustice. Similarly, you fear retribution if you acted to correct The Core Injustice in your life, and the retribution you fear is Guilt: “I don’t want to feel the guilt of neglecting her when she passes on. She is elderly now… she is my mother”-
– It is society and culture that instill in children this Guilt, a terrible pain of being a bad-boy (or a bad-girl) if you act to correct the injustice of parental abuse. The cherry on top of this societal-cultural dishonest manipulation of adult children of abusive parents is saying: well, look at your mother.. she is elderly now, harmless.. about to die.. don’t upset her now, take the non-physical abuse (as she is too weak being elderly.. to hit you herself or to have an affair with a man who will) for just a little bit longer.. okay? Good boy!
anitaSeptember 2, 2021 at 10:41 am #385594
I have to say you have a gift for expressing your self in words.
I’d like to share a story that I often think about
Let me tell you one story here, of a samurai warrior, a Japanese warrior, who had the duty to avenge the murder of his overlord. And he actually, after some time, found and cornered the man who had murdered his overlord. And he was about to deal with him with his samurai sword, when this man in the corner, in the passion of terror, spat in his face. And the samurai sheathed the sword and walked away.
Why did he do that? Had the Samurai acted from a place of anger at being spat it would not have been the same as in acting from his sense of ‘duty’ – his authentic self. For most of us, I think, its easier to take action clinking to the energy generated from ‘being angry’ or better yet ‘being righteous’ in our anger… only such anger tends to burn everyone involved and usually involves ego and a desire for control. Had the Samurai acted from anger attached to ego the end result for the murder would have been the same but He would have been changed.
Acting from the core of ones authentic self, the still point, The samurai acts as he must. The samurai leaves the SC not out of anger or disappointment but because it is the correct action for the samurai to take. That is the impression I get when reading your posts. That you are leaving not out of ego or anger but that in this moment of time that is what the situation calls for. No other reasons requiredSeptember 2, 2021 at 10:57 pm #385612
Thank you again for caring via listening attentively and then responding thoughtfully. Means a lot! Thank you!
For a long time, it has been very difficult to acknowledge that my own mother is a narc or is toxic. We grew up indoctrinated that she can do no wrong – and everything that she did was because of love, and I have to be grateful for her satisfying my physical needs for food and shelter.
A few years ago, she started to do a few things which were blatantly and incomprehensively unkind. I think she found it difficult to accept that I have become very independent of her. And it is perhaps her perverse way of drawing me back to her. What she did plunged me into depression. The silver lining is that, in my attempt to understand her and her actions, I grew and pierced the original delusion I had about her.
Your insights have enabled me to again revisit my childhood, and realise that maybe my preoccupation with justice, albeit a little trivial, stems from what happened during my childhood – and to put in your words, perhaps my attempt to right the “core injustice” that happened to me and my siblings all those years ago.
Perhaps within me is an anger – a burning flame – that has never been extinguished.
So, to heal and move forward, would the way be to accept that all of us are flawed (including my mother), and then let go? As you rightly said, injustice is everywhere.
Thanks again Anita for your invaluable insights!
DCSeptember 2, 2021 at 11:05 pm #385614
Thank you for your samurai story. I really like it – it is very pertinent for the issue I continually face.
As you summed up ” The samurai leaves the SC not out of anger or disappointment but because it is the correct action for the samurai to take. ”
Very grateful for your sharing with me the story and your wisdom – as you actively and patiently listen to my concerns.
I feel as if I have grown.
Really appreciate it Peter!