I had never heard the sound of my own hypercritical inner voice till I heard him speak. It would be a perfectly promising moment capable of delivering much happiness, peace and joy; but he would ruin it by focusing on a minute detail that not many would have cared about or even noticed.

I wondered why I never heard that terrible voice before I met him. I had met many others like him, of course. I even heard that hypercritical voice in my head from time to time. But it wasn’t until I heard him articulate it–over and over again, no less–that I realised how relentlessly unyielding my own hypercritical inner voice was.

Nothing could meet his ridiculous and contradictory standards. All the while, he did not seem to meet anyone else’s standards. He was a deeply lonely and selfish person. He kept everyone who came close to him at arm’s length–and when it wasn’t intentionally; it was unintentionally.

He was often rude to others–not noticing how he made others feel as he asserted what he thought were his ‘rights’. It was not the first time I’d met someone like this and it probably won’t be the last–but I had come to the end of my journey with people like him. People who echoed back to me the worst parts of me.

Through our words, we communicate what is going on inside of us. And sometimes, we take special care not to communicate what is inside of us. But it is the rare individual who can communicate all that is inside and also not inside him–just by opening his mouth.

Over the past few months, I observed, as a spectator, the relentless ramblings of a particular kind of individual I’ve run into far more times than I care to admit. An archetypal character that has caused me unimaginable grief.

On the surface, they seem like perfectly decent and normal people who hold down regular jobs. But when you scratch beyond the surface, you realise that the mind of this individual is absolutely bonkers–no matter how governed by logic they think they are. It is a logic that only works for them, after all.

There are outdated ideas in his brain that just do not work. As he unravelled the workings of his mind to me through his words–and as I remained an observer rather than a participant–I realised that this is the kind of individual inside whom the madness exists contained in a box that is slowly and surely ticking away. If you’re not careful, that madness will become your madness.

And when it does, you will surely be mad.

I know this energy. I have encountered it several times before; sometimes even in a deeply intimate setting. But this time, there were so many barriers that I felt I was watching it from afar–as a silent observer looking in on the spectacle and wondering why I tolerated it all those years.

It wasn’t that bad. But it was nothing great either.

A person that is so deeply unhappy, lonely and so vicariously dissatisfied will only make other people feel that way, too. I don’t know what event or events may have precipitated this behaviour–but it wasn’t from growing up in an openly dysfunctional family. It was probably more likely from growing up in a family where things seemed progressive and functional; but just weren’t.

It is immature energy that is restless and just wants to attack and attack; not from the front, but from the side. It wants to snip away at you slowly till you die. The worst part: the person doesn’t even know that they’re doing it.

You wonder if you should tell them and in the past I perhaps would have.

But this time I just let it meander into my world and into my home and then I let it go. With no judgment and no avarice, but only awareness.

The few times it happened to me, I was unaware. But this time, I was fully aware. There is no escaping this energy–for it exists and will continue to exist.

All we can do is not fight it and decide to just observe it as it quite simply turns to dust…

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